Areas of Study & Research

Our research

In Hispanic Linguistics, our primary areas of research are data-driven approaches to language in contexts of use by native and non-native speakers. We carry out this research in the areas of Phonetics, Pragmatics, Second-Language Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, and Syntax.

In Literatures and Cultures, we have research strengths in Film Studies, 20-21st Century Spanish American, 19-20th Century Spanish American, Colonial Spanish American, US Latina/o, Caribbean, Medieval, Early Modern/Golden Age, and Modern Peninsular including Catalonia.

We have recently come to conceive of our research areas in clusters that reflect primary research currents in the profession: “Geographies of Memory and Culture,” “Violence and Political Space,” “Philosophy, Political Thought and Psychoanalysis,” “Visual, Sound and Cinema Studies,” “Popular and Material Culture,” “Colonialism and Empire,” “Race and Ethnicity,” “Diaspora and Immigration,” “Gender and Sexuality,” “Culture and Modernity,” and “Cognition, Emotion and Sensation.”

In Luso-Brazilian literature and cultures, our research strengths lie in cultural, film and literary studies of Modern Portugal, Modern Brazil, Modern Lusophone Africa and Transatlantic Studies.

Teaching informed by critical investigation

Our research strengths directly inform both the graduate and undergraduate programs. We teach our research in all advanced undergraduate and graduate classes in linguistics, literature and culture. In linguistics, graduate and undergraduates receive training in study design and data collection.

Our distinctive research strengths also foment undergraduate learning through our program in the Dominican Republic, which draws on our research and teaching excellence in Dominican phonetics and Caribbean literature and culture.

Our research in second-language acquisition and in classroom-based teaching inform elements of the Basic Language Program as well as the graduate pedagogy course (S517) that we provide for associate instructors.

Awards and recognition

Our department was awarded a $533,000 Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Award from U.S. Department of Education.

As evidence of our strengths, our faculty and students have won numerous external awards and significant internal awards within the last 7-8 years. The following is a representative selection:

Awards to faculty

  • President’s Teaching Award – Israel Herrera
  • Humboldt Foundation Distinguished Leave – Anke Birkenmaier
  • North American Catalan Society Prize – Edgar Illas
  • NEH Challenge Grant – Kathleen Myers
  • MLA’s John K. Walsh Award – Ryan Giles
  • Mellon Innovating International Research Award (Deborah Cohn, Jonathan Risner, Estela Vieira)
  • Spain’s Ministry of Culture, Education and Sports (Manuel Díaz-Campos, Kimberly Geeslin, Myers, Steven Wagschal, Ryan Giles)

Awards to undergraduate students

  • Fulbright Fellowship – Rachel Geissler, Joseph Bradley, Mary Grace Gramelspacher, Megan Kelly, Craig Skillman

2018 Palmer-Brandon Scholarship in the Humanities

Five Spanish Majors have been awarded a prestigious Palmer-Brandon Scholarship in the Humanities, which recognizes students who are in the top 1 percent of undergraduates in their fields in terms of academic achievement, intellectual ability, and demonstrated commitment to the humanities:

  • Zoe King – B.A. Hispanic Studies, Sociology, and Political Science, Minor in Psychology
  • Mark Bond – B.A. Hispanic Literature and International Studies
  • Mary Lechner – B.A. Hispanic Studies and Sociology, Minor in Political Science
  • Kaitlynn Milvert – B.A. in Hispanic Literature and English, Minor in Portuguese
  • Sophia Muston – B.A. in Hispanic Studies and Journalism, Minor in German
  • Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research – Gabrielle Malina, political science and Spanish
  • Stahr Award – Christine White, Christine White, Political Science, Economics and Spanish; Molly Zweig, International Studies and Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Truman Scholar – Christine White
  • Herman B Wells Senior Award – Madeline Danforth

Awards to graduate students

  • NSF dissertation enhancement award – Steven Fafulas
  • ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation finalist – Cara Kinnally
  • Future Faculty Teaching Fellow – Amina Shabani