Newsletter Vol. 6, No. 1, February 2021                            
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Message from the Chair

Dear alumni, students, and instructors,

We live in a “brave new world.” It was about a year ago that we first heard of a menacing new virus, Covid-19. Since then our lives have been turned upside-down. Dreadful loss of life and incredible suffering, physical, emotional and economic, have marked this past year which “will live in infamy,” in the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt. As we begin the year 2021, which, we hope, will be a much brighter year, it is important to reflect on the fact that living in the midst of a pandemic has also enhanced our sense of responsibility and our solidarity.

Despite all the challenges we are facing, and thanks to the resilience of our students, staff and faculty, here at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese we have readily adapted to our new environment by converting courses online as quickly and effectively as possible (including hybrid options with in-person instruction for the Spring of 2021) without sacrificing our pedagogical rigor. The University, CLA, our committed faculty, and our extraordinary staff deserve our deep appreciation for all the time and effort they have invested in making these changes possible in such a limited time. But I especially want to recognize all our students who have so loyally and magnanimously put up with us as we were working through such transition.

We have learned to adapt to this unprecedented situation, but we look forward to a future where we can go back to being more personally connected, a time when we can chat with colleagues and students in the hallways or applaud loudly at the end of a stimulating lecture, a time when we can walk into a classroom and feel the students’ energy instead of sharing a Zoom screen, or meet with them casually for office hours in our offices instead of virtually, a time when we can proudly shake hands or hug our students when they graduate, instead of waving to them through a computer screen. While we wait for that time to come, I encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and Temple University Four Pillars of Health.

The global pandemic is not the only challenge we faced this past year. We have also experienced an unprecedented time of social and political turmoil. Our department is committed to transparency, diversity and inclusion, as well as to maintaining an environment of tolerance and understanding of cultural and political differences for our students, faculty, and staff. The education we wish to offer is one that fosters an interdisciplinary and multi-ethnic community and that provides opportunities for racial justice and social acceptance.  We continue to be deeply committed to ensuring the success and well-being of all our students.

In this newsletter you will read about some of the things we have been doing and are planning to do, about the professional accomplishments of our faculty and about the accolades and awards of our undergraduate students. We are very proud of them and congratulate them all on their successes.

I also want to take this opportunity to say farewell to old colleagues and to welcome new ones. This past summer our colleague Assistant Professor - Instructional  Thomas Morton retired after many years teaching and inspiring our students. Despite the fact that, due to the pandemic, we were unable to honor his retirement with a party of “despedida” we want to thank him for his tireless dedication and to wish him the best. He is looking forward to pursuing his passion, photography. At about the same time a new colleague, Assistant Professor Christina Baker, joined our department but because of the pandemic we have not been able to honor her with a welcome party either. While the party will have to wait until a more auspicious time, we still want to recognize her in this newsletter. Assistant Professor Baker obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and, before coming to Temple University, she taught at the College of William & Mary and the University of Dayton. Her area of expertise is in Contemporary Latin American Literature and Latinx Studies, Ethnomusicology and Theatre. We are delighted that she is with us.

Lastly, perhaps the only benefit of this pandemic is that communication has become easier and that means that anyone will have the opportunity to virtually attend all of the events our department will host. Therefore, while we hope to welcome you back to the Temple campus in person soon, in the meantime we encourage you to read this newsletter and to visit the Department's website for information about the activities we have planned for the Spring of 2021. We hope you will join us for some or all of them. We have two Graduate Students conferences, a performance, several invited talks, our Spanish Club, a Film Series, a roundtable on cooking and activism and our Sigma Delta Pi event.

We would not be able to do many of the things that we do without the unfailing support of our friends and alumni. We wish to express our immense gratitude to those who have committed themselves to sustaining the excellence of our department by contributing intellectually, personally, and financially. More than ever in this precarious year, we hope to continue to count on your generosity.

I wish you all good health and strength to meet the challenges ahead, but also a renewed sense of solidarity and purpose, as the pandemic teaches us lessons that will help us to strive for the common good.

Saludos cordiales,
Montserrat Piera

PS: Since the present issue is long, please make sure you click “View entire message” at the bottom of this email.
In Memoriam: Professor C. Christopher Soufas
With great sorrow, the Department mourns the passing of our retired colleague, C. Christopher Soufas Jr. who died on December 28, 2020. He is survived by his wife Teresa Scott Soufas (also a former professor at our department and a former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts) and by his son Paul and his granddaughters, Cassandra and Payton Soufas.

Professor Soufas obtained his Ph.D from Duke University and held professorial positions at West Chester University, Louisiana State University and Tulane University before coming to Temple University in 2008. He was an active and valued member of the department until his retirement in 2016. His expertise was on 19th and 20th Peninsular Literature. Chris was awarded several prestigious scholarly honors during his career, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship. In the span of a long and prolific career Chris wrote five books (the latest one in 2015, Subject, Structure, and Imagination in the Spanish Discourse on Modernity), edited four volumes, published fifty-two articles in academic journals, and presented numerous conference papers. In his free time Chris enjoyed traveling and collecting paintings from around the world. Those of us, faculty and students, who had the privilege of knowing him during his tenure at Temple University will miss him.
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Student Conference

Liminality in Literature and Language: Affect and Migration

Theme: Liminal spaces in literature and other forms of cultural production, intersections of race, class, and gender, analyses of mobilizations and transgressions of borders, environmental and political crises, and social movements.
Keynote Speakers:      
Dr. Junyoung Veronica Kim (University of Pittsburgh)
Dr. Rebeca Hey-Colón (Temple University)
February 5, 2021 from 8:15am-5:30pm
Register Here  

For additional information, please contact

Upcoming Events
Rafael Beltran, 
University of Valencia, Spain

De Tirant lo Blanc al Quijote: entre caballeros, damas y libros

Wednesday, February 10 at 3:00pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 939 4580 8529

Conchi León,
Dramaturg, director, actor, and community activist

La Nostalgia De Los Sentidos: Testimonial Theatre and Cachorro De León

Wednesday, February 24 at 5:30pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 970 9356 7395

Jorge Cuéllar,
Dartmouth College 

On Disaster and the Future of Central America

Friday, February 26 at 4:00pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 944 8490 0268

Nelson Cerqueira,
Federal University of Bahia

Jorge Amado, Brazilian National Identity, and the Question of Literature

Friday, March 5 at 4:00pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 965 5676 9781

Cristina Martínez and Benjamin Miller,
South Philly Barbacoa and Casa México

Cocina y activismo: una conversación con Cristina Martínez y Benjamin Miller

Tuesday, March 9 at 4:00pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 913 8463 7247

Jesus Rodriguez-Velasco,
Yale University

El caballero octosilábico: sobre la memoria poética de Don Quijote

Monday, March 22 at 3:00pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 961 4982 5846

Bárbara Simões Daibert, 
Federal University Juiz de Fora

Iracema, Clara dos Anjos, A Menina Morta: Dead Girls and Patriarchy in Brazilian Literature 

Thursday, April 1 at 4:00pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 982 6282 4326

Sigma Delta Pi

Honors Society Ceremony

Friday, April 9 at 2:00pm

Please contact Fernando Fonseca Pacheco for Zoom link

The 7th Annual Language, Linguistics, and Life Virtual Conference

Teaching, Learning, and Assessment in Foreign/Second Language Education

Theme: language use across social and technological contexts
Keynote Speakers:      
Dr. Margaret E. Malone (Georgetown University)
Dr. Paul David Toth (Temple University)

Friday, April 23 at 9:00am
Register Here

Student News
As a Temple PhD Student, María Camila Franco is very interested in engaging current and relevant research topics, and she was accepted to the The NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics Winter Session through a mini-grant and a competitive selection process.  During the Winter course, participants will engage into 2 week-long seminars with international scholars in a range of fields, especially those that do not fall neatly into traditional discipline areas. Maria decided to engage this course in preparation for her dissertation proposal in Spring 2021. So far she has interacted with Scholars from MIT, Stony Brook University, Herzen University (Russia) and will be learning alongside students from around the world. Most topics are focused on contemporaneous approaches to Syntax, Cognition and Language.
Last year, the journal Linguística y Literatura, from Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia) published PhD student Daniel Guarin's article "A Social-Phonological Approach to Colombian Spanish in Philadelphia, United States: The Case of the Phonological Variable /S/ in Four Speakers From Different Regions of the Country". This article came from a paper he wrote for Associate Professor Augusto Lorenzino's seminar last year. The article is available here. The literary magazine Collage also published one of his short stories, "Lumbrambinos" in its 7th edition. The magazine can be read online here. Another article of Daniel's was accepted for publication in the journal Linguistica y Literatura. This article is from his final paper for Professor Jose Pereiro's seminar. His article is Andres Hurtado and the failed hero’s journey in Pío Baroja’s The Tree of Knowledge. The article will be published in April 2021.

Another one of our PhD students receiving accolades is Alodia Martin-Martinez, as she received a Dissertation Completion Grant for this Spring semester. Congratulations Alodia!
Faculty News
During 2020, Professor José Manuel Pereiro Otero, in collaboration with Professor Emeritus Luis T. González del Valle, has published the edition of Guatimozin, último emperador de México, a romantic historical novel authored by the Cuban writer Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (1814-1873). The work is volume 831 in the collection Letras Hispánicas published by Ediciones Cátedra.

Professor Pereiro Otero has also published the article “El vientre de la bestia: crueldad, tiranía y tormento en la emblemática de los hermanos Covarrubias” in Hispanic Review vol 88, issue 2 (pp. 185-214).
Associate Professor Adam Shellhorse recently published an article, entitled, "The Verbivocovisual Revolution: Anti-Literature, Affect, Politics, and World Literature in Augusto de Campos", in the peer-reviewed journal, CR: The New Centennial Review. In addition, his essay, “A Política do Barroco em Osman Lins: A Escritura da Violência e O Ornato", will be published in the peer-reviewed journal, Veloz Littera, in Spring 2021. He is currently completing a new essay, entitled, "Theses on Affect and Anti-Literature in Augusto de Campos: The Untimely Power of Brazilian Concretism," which will be published in Spring 2021 in the peer-reviewed journal, Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies. Lastly, his organized double-panel, entitled, “Postutopian Form: Literature, Aesthetics, and Politics in Posthegemonic Times / Forma Pós-Utópica: Literatura, Estética e Política nos Tempos Pós-hegemônicos”, has been accepted for the XXXIX International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Virtual Conference, in May 2021.
Associate Professor  Victor Pueyo had his article “On Impure Communism: Rethinking Radical Democracy in Two Early Latin American Utopias (1516-32)” published in New Centennial Review 20.1 (2020): 123-145.

His article “El escándalo de Celestina: magia, inquisición y acumulación primitiva en la España del Holocausto (1486-1507)” was also included in Edad de Oro 38 (2019): 35-53.
Assistant Professor Rebeca Hey-Colon is currently a Fellow of the Center for the Humanities at Temple (CHAT) Fellowship for 2020-2021. Her work establishes connections between the Caribbean diaspora, Chicanx communities, and broader Latinx Studies by analyzing the presence and valence of water. As a CHAT Fellow, Hey-Colón will work on her book manuscript Rippling Borders: Women Writing Water in Latina Literature

Assistant Professor Janire Zalbidea recently published articles on task-based language learning, cognitive individual differences, and learning in study abroad contexts in the journals Studies in Second Language Acquisition and Applied Psycholinguistics. She was also awarded a Language Learning Early Career Research Grant to expand her research agenda on second language development in immersion settings abroad. Stay tuned for further exciting news from the TU Multilingualism and Second Language Acquisition Research Lab! 
Faculty Spotlight
We are excited to have welcomed Dr. Christina Baker to the Department of Spanish & Portuguese this past fall as an Assistant Professor of Latin American Popular Culture. Last year Christina published the following two articles:
  • “Santiago-Orlando: Performances of Queer Vulnerability and Futurity in the Work of (Me llamo) Sebastián.” Chasqui 49.1 (Spring 2020): 202-221.
  • “Soundtrack of an (After) Life: Transfemicide, Mourning, and Pop Music in La Prietty Guoman by César Enríquez.” Latin American Theatre Review 53.2 (Spring 2020): 5-31.
Alumni News
A huge congratulations goes out to Alexander Voisine (CLA '18, Global Studies and Spanish, Honors Program) as he is Temple University's first recipient of the Gates Cambridge scholarship. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by a donation of US$210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. Each year Gates Cambridge offers c.80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. Approximately two-thirds of these awards will be offered to PhD students, with approximately 25 awards available in the US round and 55 available in the International round, making this award even more competitive than the Rhodes scholarship.
Alex spent two years on a Fulbright, studying at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico where he earned his master's in International Relations and a research project on LGBTQ+ refugees living in Mexico, which involved over a year of participatory fieldwork at a local NGO. He was also a CLA graduation speaker in May 2018. Alex had internships at the Niskanen Center in DC, Project Citizenship in Boston, Tierra de Lenguas in Mexico City, and is currently a consultant for the United Nations Program for Development (PNUD). At the UN he has been pioneering a training program for public officials and NGOs on the protection of trans migrants’ personal data. He has volunteered at HIAS Pennsylvania, Casa Refugiados in Mexico City, Puentes Hacia el Futuro in Philly, among others. While at Temple, he was cofounder of Freely Magazine (which is still thriving) and Temple Refugee Outreach. 

He will be pursuing a PhD in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge while on the Gates scholarship. For his PhD, he is interested in looking historically at refugees/exiles who resettled in Mexico from the 20th century to the present, and who challenged gender and sexuality norms. He will focus on writers, artists, intellectuals and activists from across the world, examining how they impacted (and were impacted by) the artistic and political landscapes of Mexico. He hopes to situate his research within a growing body of work in the humanities and social sciences that seeks to critically examine and radically (re)imagine the possibilities of migration, at a time when the effects of climate change are slated to displace millions. He is looking forward to working alongside a global community of scholars who are unified by a common commitment to social justice and progress, and especially grateful for his professors, advisors, friends and colleagues at Temple (and beyond) who have helped him along the way. He is particularly grateful for the expansive Spanish language and humanities training he received while at Temple, which has provided him with a solid intellectual foundation upon which he will continue to build in the years to come. 
In December of 2020, Dr. Megan DeVirgilis (CLA '18), Assistant Professor of Spanish at Morgan State University, gave the keynote speech at the IX International Gothic Literature Congress “Internationalizing the Gothic.” Her keynote, “(Re)producing Terror: Gothic Beginnings in Latin America,” exposed how early Latin American Gothic is a uniquely female space ripe with domestic and social anxieties. In particular, she argued that the Gothic in Latin America is a continuous process of decolonization, one that hit its peak in the late 19th century, when Western trends such as the rise of feminism threatened to further expose the vulnerabilities of the public/private distinction, and regional literary trends such as modernismo suggested Latin American writers were capable of producing their own models. To access the full talk, click here.
Dr. DeVirgilis was also recently awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Award. This one-year fellowship will allow her to complete her book project, The Female Vampire in Hispanic Short Fiction at the Turn of the 20th Century: A Critical Anthology. Through transatlantic, historical, and feminist interpretive frameworks, she will synthesize and expound upon existing scholarship on the lesser or unknown works of established Spanish and Latin American authors such as Leopoldo Lugones, Clemente Palma, Emilia Pardo Bazán, and Carmen de Burgos. A large part of the project will also be dedicated to translating their Gothic-inspired stories to English, a task that would introduce these stories within the context of a greater Hispanic Gothic tradition into the British and Eurocentric field of Gothic Studies. Click here to view the Press Release, “NEH Announces $33 Million for 213 Humanities Projects Nationwide.” She is listed under the award recipients for the state of Maryland.
Despite the pandemic, Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea (ALEC) has been able to publish and distribute volume 45 (2020). The journal is currently working on the first issue of volume 46 (2021). The contents may be consulted here.
Study Abroad Opportunities
2021 Temple in Spain: Oviedo Summer Session

The Temple in Spain summer program is based at the University of Oviedo in the province of Asturias, a beautiful region of ocean, mountains, and Roman ruins in northwest Spain. The program is comprised of coursework in Spanish language, literature, cultural studies, and eating cultures (Human Behavior GenEd). 

Application Deadline: February 15 
Apply Now
Student Resources
Spanish Club

New this year, we are hosting conversation groups; where beginner, intermediate, and advanced level speakers are invited to come once a week to practice speaking on Zoom. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Tuesdays from 5-6pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 98655012881
Portuguese Club

Join us every Wednesday on Zoom!

For more info, please contact Daniel Raso at

Wednesdays from 3-4pm
Zoom ID: 6724352333
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