Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 2, November 2015                                                        
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Message from the Chair

Greetings from the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Latin American Studies Program at Temple University. Our November newsletter contains a list of recent graduate students who were admitted to PhD candidacy, upcoming doctoral defenses, lectures, and activities and opportunities for our undergraduate students. Due to the length of this issue, please make sure you click “View entire message” at the bottom of the email.

You are encouraged to send Michelle any news, publications, or inspiring stories you would like us to include in our next issue. Please continue to support the department and its many efforts, to spread the word about the work we do, and to let us know what you are doing in your lives and careers. 

Wishing you all the best, 
Hiram Aldarondo

Upcoming Events
SPANISH & PORTUGUESE FILM SERIES: Gender in Latin American and Spanish Cinema 

La huérfana (Orphan)
Spain/United States

Wednesday, November 4 at 3:00pm
306 Tuttleman Learning Center

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DOCTORAL DEFENSE: Daniel Sebastian D'Arpa

Dominican Spanish In Contact With St. Thomas English Creole: A Sociolinguistic Study of Speech Variation On St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Dissertation Examination Committee
Prof. Augusto Lorenzino (Dissertation Advisor)
Prof. Jonathan Holmquist (Examination Committee Chair)
Prof. Paul Toth (Internal Reader)
Prof. Paul Garrett (External Reader, Anthropology Dept.)

Friday, November 6 at 3:00pm 
1221 Anderson Hall

Search for the Heavy Sound

Friday, November 6 at 4:00pm 
422 Anderson Hall 

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Problemáticas del espacio en la narrativa hispanoamericana contemporánea (1990-2010)

Dissertation Examination Committee
Dr. Sergio R. Franco (Dissertation Advisor)
Dr. Hortensia Morell (Examining Committee Chair)
Dr. Hiram Aldarondo (Internal Reader)
Dr. Raúl Bueno Chávez (External Reader, Dartmouth College)

Monday, November 16 at 1:00pm 
821 Anderson Hall (Women's Studies Lounge)
Student News & Alumni Reports
The following graduate students were admitted to PhD candidacy this year. Congratulations!

Kathleen Cunniffe Peña (Dissertation Director: Hortensia Morell)
Dissertation: “Irlandés in the Americas: Irish Themes and Affinities in Contemporary Spanish American Literature.” 

Megan DeVirgilis (Dissertation Director: Hiram Aldarondo)
“Blood Disorders: A Transatlantic Study of the Vampire Figure as an Expression of Ideological, Political, and Economic Tensions in 19th and Early 20th Century Hispanic Short Fiction.”

Angel Díaz (Dissertation Director: Sergio R. Franco) 
Dissertation: “The Politics of Life and Death: Mexican Narconarratives at the Edge of the Twenty-first Century.”

Rimante Navickaite (Dissertation Director: Paul D. Toth)
Dissertation: “First Language Use in Modified Group Work Activities in Second Language Learning Classroom Context.”

Erica O’Brien (Dissertation Director: Montserrat Piera)
Dissertation: “Flipping the Script: Feminine Culpability Models and the Inversion of the Damsel in Distress Motif in Medieval Iberian Texts.”

Brendan Spinelli (Dissertation Director: Jonathan Holmquist)
Dissertation: “Dialect contact in the Spanish of Philadelphia: Is there a case for convergence?”
Gabriela Díaz-Dávalos spent the beginning of her summer at a conference titled "3ras. Jornadas de Lenguas en Contacto" which took place in Nayarit. México. The conference offered a space to learn from many research presentations and to participate in discussions on different issues such as cultural and linguistic diversity that are linked to the better understanding of national and foreign languages in linguistic contact situations.

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Temple Students Reaching Out to Honduras
Written by: Logan Peterson

Temple Students Helping Honduras (SHH) is a local campus chapter of a national organization working to build schools in Honduras, empowering children and helping them stay out of gang violence. The goal is to have Temple students on the ground helping to build schools in Honduras by May 2016. During Temple SHH’s first semester officially on campus, they visited many of our Spanish courses and have gotten more than 200 students involved. So far they have raised more than $500 for their May 2016 service trip to Honduras. As a national organization, Students Helping Honduras has a goal of building 1,000 schools in Honduras by 2020 and they are on track to meet that goal. Interested students/faculty can join our email list at or you can email us.

Heather Young-Downey (CLA '12) recently conducted a conference presentation titled "One Bad Apple: Womanly Wiles and the Feast of the Senses in Celestina’s Kitchen" at the 2nd Symposium of the Mens et Mensa Society for the Study of Food in the Middle Ages, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, on October 31, 2015.

Back to Binghamton: A Visit to the Binghamton University Foreign Language Conference
Written by: Josh Pongan (CLA '07, '15)

Just because we are teaching does not mean we stop being students. Every fall educators from all over the northeast gather in New York for the Binghamton University Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. It is a dynamic forum where language teachers come together to share ideas, research and strategies about all different topics. For the past three years Professor Patricia Moore-Martinez and I have been active participants in the conference having presented on different themes such as program design and how students can learn content and language through creating, editing and organizing a wiki about the Spanish Civil War. The conference is organized by a Temple graduate, Chesla Bohinski (CLA '12), and creates an exciting space to share with others and energize ourselves for the upcoming year. While every year we leave the conference with fresh ideas and new perspectives, the core concept that we carry back to our department is the value of collaboration.

Recent Faculty News
Director of Yax Te’ Books and Spanish & Portuguese department faculty member Hana Muzika Kahn recently collaborated with author Gaspar Pedro González on a trilingual book of poems titled Xumakil / Botón en Flor / Budding (2014). Kahn translated poems from Q’anjob’al and Spanish into English. González is also author of A Mayan Life, Return of the Maya, Nuestra Literatura Maya, and El 13 B’aktun, published by Yax Te’ Books.
Chris Soufas recently released a book examining Spanish attitudes to the issue of modernity titled Subject, Structure, and Imagination in the Spanish Discourse on Modernity published by Palgrave-McMillan (July 2015).
José Manuel Pereiro Otero co-edited with Luis T. González del Valle the third and last volume of Comedias y Dramas, a book‐length edition of Nobel Laureate Jacinto Benavente’s works (Madrid: Fundación José Antonio de Castro, 2015). 
Montserrat Piera recently conducted a conference presentation titled "Wining and Dining at Celestina's Table" at the 2nd Symposium of the Mens et Mensa Society for the Study of Food in the Middle Ages, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, on October 31, 2015. Piera also released the following publications:
Student Activities
Spanish Club
Looking for a way to practice your Spanish? Click here.

Mondays 4:00-5:00pm 
422 Anderson Hall
Portuguese Club
Join us for weekly opportunities to practice Portuguese and explore Brazilian, Portuguese and African cultures. 

Mondays 4:00-5:00pm 
421 Anderson Hall
In need of some extra help with your Spanish class? Our department has graduate students/TA’s that are willing to meet with you for a nominal fee. Check our website for a list of tutors available during Fall 2015.
Study Abroad Opportunities
2016 LASS in Costa Rica

We are still accepting applications for the Latin American Studies Semester in Spring 2016! To learn more about this unique spring semester language immersion program, check out our video!

Apply Now
2016 Temple in Spain: Oviedo Summer Session

Our summer semester in Spain program is based at the University of Oviedo in the province of Asturias.

Application Deadline: February 15

Apply Now

Brazilian Adventures: A Temple Student’s Perspective of Life in Rio de Janeiro

Written by: Jordan Bynum


One of the first things I noticed on my taxi ride from the airport on the day that I arrived in Brazil was the beautiful landscape. Rio de Janeiro has huge steep mountains and plenty of tall trees, foliage, and beaches. The people are super friendly and make you feel comfortable while you try to practice Portuguese with them. They generally are delighted to see a gringo speaking their language. In truth Brazilians are the best part of Brazil. The tourist spots are nice, but I really enjoyed meeting and interacting with locals. They have unique perspectives that are extremely interesting.

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