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La Gaceta Internacional
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Alumni Newsletter
College of Arts and Sciences
Department Website | Newsletter Archive Volume 19 | Summer 2014


Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Steve Wagschal

Laura Gurzynski-Weiss

Managing Editor
Jane Drake

Editorial Assistants
Alina Sokol, Joseph Pecorelli

College of Arts & Sciences

Larry Singell, Jr.

Assistant Dean for Advancement
Thomas Recker

Director of Alumni Relations
Vanessa Cloe

Department News

Letter from the Chair

Steve Wagschal

Steven Wagschal

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Warm Greetings from Ballantine Hall!

Since our last newsletter, there have been some splendid developments: Professors Anke Birkenmaier and Estela Vieira were granted tenure and were promoted to the rank of Associate Professor (Spring 2014), and Professors Deborah Cohn and Kimberly Geeslin have both been promoted to the rank of Full Professor (Spring 2013). Congratulations to all four for their accomplishments and contributions to the Department and beyond, including having recently published books about which you can learn more in the faculty publication section.

We have been successful in recruiting new tenure-stream faculty too. In August 2013, we welcomed to our core tenure-stream faculty two assistant professors: Professor Andrés Guzmán, an expert in US Latino literature and culture, and Professor Jonathan Risner, a specialist in Hispanic film. You can read more about their accomplishments and research agendas in the New Faculty Profiles section. Beginning in January 2015, we will also be joined by Professor Patricia Amaral, an expert in syntax, who will come to us from a tenure-track position at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While we are thrilled to welcome new colleagues, I must also note that we lose to retirement two long-time faculty members who have given so much to the Department for decades: Professor Maryellen Bieder and Professor Darlene Sadlier will join the emeriti rank in July 2014. On behalf of the Department, I would like to thank them both for their tremendous and innumerable contributions to the excellence of our Department, the University and the profession. You can read more about the careers of these esteemed faculty members in separate articles in this newsletter.

The newsletter highlights the varied academic, cultural and interdisciplinary experiences that our students and faculty have engaged in during the last academic year. In particular I'd like to mention that our Department has established a strong connection with the world-class IU Cinema, through collaborations on Hispanic and Lusophone cinematic culture, including a retrospective of Nelson Pereira dos Santos' work, organized by Prof. Sadlier, and the 2nd Latino Film Festival, co-organized by Prof. Birkenmaier. Such collaborations continue and the "Events" section of the department's webpage will be the place to look if you live in the area and are interested in attending one of the many activities next academic year, such as "Porous Borders: The Documentary Films of Natalia Almada" which will be co-organized by Professor Guzmán and Professor Risner.

Many of our activities are funded in part with the support of our friends and alumni. Thus we are incredibly grateful for new gifts such as the fellowship fund that our alumna Hadassah R. Weiner (PhD 1973) established this year. I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks to Hadassah and my appreciation to all of our alumni and friends who have made a commitment to the excellence of our departmental missions by contributing intellectually, personally, and financially.

Please also note the exciting news that, in July 2015, the department is scheduled to move to the architecturally-innovative Global and International Studies building which is currently under construction adjacent to the Herman B Wells Library. If you've been considering making a trip down memory lane and would like to see the Department in its typical setting on the 8th floor of Ballantine one last time, be sure to visit in 2014-15. And please let us know that you're coming so that we can welcome you.

Hasta luego, Até logo, Fins aviat,

Steve Wagschal

Steve Wagschal
Chair, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

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Annual Lecture a Tribute to Simmons

MESDA Lecture

Steven Wagschal, Michael Schuessler, Anke Birkenmaier

Since 1996, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese has paid tribute to a long-serving and distinguished emeritus professor through an alumni lecture in his honor. Professor Merle E. Simmons was a professor and scholar of Spanish American Colonial literature at IU from 1942 to 1983.

Professor Simmons's contributions to the department and to scholarship included authoring seven books, developing the program of study in Spanish American Colonial literature, and serving as director of graduate studies for seven years and department chair for five.

Each fall, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese honors Professor Simmons by inviting a distinguished alum of the department to visit Bloomington, speak to the department's faculty and students, and reconnect with his or her roots as a part of the Merle E. Simmons Distinguished Alumni (MESDA) Lecture. This year's lecture, the 18th annual lecture in the series, was presented by Professor Michael Schuessler.

Professor Schuessler graduated from Indiana University in 1989 with majors in Spanish and Art History and a certificate in Latin American Studies. Following his time at IU, Professor Schuessler completed his PhD in colonial literature from UCLA and taught for six years in New York at Barnard College and Columbia University. Since 2007, Professor Schuessler has been a professor of humanities at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa in Mexico City.

Professor Schuessler has published widely, including a monograph on Mexican colonial missionary theater and murals entitled Artes de fundación: Teatro evangelizador y pintura mural en la Nueva España, intellectual biographies of Elena Poniatowska and poet Guadalupe Amor, a co-edited volume on Mexican cinema and one on Mexico's gay culture, as wells as more than 23 scholarly articles and book chapters.

Professor Schuessler's MESDA lecture, presented September 20, 2013, was entitled "Transcultural Modernists: Four US Women and the Mexican Cultural Renaissance." Among the four women discussed, Professor Schuessler detailed the life and influence of American journalist in Mexico, Alma Reed, who first traveled to Mexico in 1923 on assignment for the New York Times Sunday magazine to write a piece about the archaeological sites surrounding Mayan ruins in the Yucatán.

During her time in Mexico, Alma Reed met the governor of Yucatán, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, an advocate for indigenous rights and egalitarian reform. The two were engaged and soon to be married when Carrillo Puerto was assassinated. Professor Schuessler discussed the ongoing relationship between Mexico and Alma Reed, especially as it is captured by the famous ballad "La Peregrina" written in her honor.

Professor Schuessler's lecture included a discussion of the myriad methods he employs to conduct the detective work that uncovers the information that comprises his analyses of the traveling writers, exiles, expats, and immigrants that, all too often, are overlooked by or excluded from nationally defined literatures. This engaging talk undoubtedly contributed to the tradition of excellence continued through and commemorated by the Merle E. Simmons Lecture Series.

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Latino Film Fesitival a Success

The second IU Latino Film Festival and Conference took place on April 3-5, 2014 at the IU Cinema. Co-organized by John Nieto-Phillips (Latino Studies Program), Anke Birkenmaier (Spanish and Portuguese), and Jon Vickers (IU Cinema), the event featured fourteen invited speakers, seven long-feature films, five documentary films, and five Dominican shorts.

Among the guests were film scholars Chon Noriega (UCLA), who delivered a keynote lecture, Jerry Carlson (CUNY), and Gabriel Meléndez (University of New Mexico). Also present were the former director of the Cuban Film School EICTV, Tanya Valette, Dominican filmmaker Laura Amelia Guzmán, and as a special invited guest, actor, director and activist Edward James Olmos, who delivered a Jorgensen lecture.

The event carried as its overall theme the tag "Transnational Lives." Its three panels centered on documentary filmmakers and film projects, ranging from the PBS-episode "Prejudice and Pride" to local documentary projects; New Dominican Cinema in relation to its neighbors Haiti, Cuba, and the United States; and literary adaptations to the big screen of novels written by Latino-writers, such as Julia Alvarez, Rodolfo Anaya, and Esmeralda Santiago.

The films and conference were well attended, and the organizers were glad to see a diverse group of students, faculty, and members of the Bloomington community come together. A specially designed Educational Resources Blog encouraged instructors and students to engage with individual films by answering questions (in Spanish or English) and reading additional materials.

For information about the Blog (with full conference schedule) please go to:

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Professor Ortega, Hispanic Linguistics Invited Speaker

Laura Gurzynski-Weiss, Lourdes Ortega, Kimberly Geeslin

Laura Gurzynski-Weiss, Lourdes Ortega, Kimberly Geeslin

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese was honored to welcome Dr. Lourdes Ortega, Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and Editor of Language Learning, as our Hispanic Linguistics Fall 2013 Invited Speaker.

A preeminent scholar in the areas of second language acquisition, including socio-cognitive and educational dimensions in adult classroom settings, second language writing and foreign language education, as well as research synthesis and bilingualism, Dr. Ortega gave a research talk, "Why Does Second Language Acquisition Need a Bilingual Turn?" presented a workshop on academic publishing, and met with faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

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Professor Shares Knowledge of Caribbean Linguistics

Luis Ortiz

Luis Ortiz

Dr. Luis Ortiz, who visited our department in spring 2013, is Professor of Hispanic Linguistics and current Dean of the School of Humanities at Universidad de Puerto Rico.

He gave a workshop on "Linguistic Variation in Caribbean Spanish" to undergraduate students of Hispanic linguistics and he delivered a talk entitled "Spanish and Haitian Creole: Acquisition of Interface Phenomena among Bilinguals." Dr. Ortiz also met with graduate and undergraduate students and faculty in Hispanic linguistics.

Dr. Ortiz has published on linguistic variation (mainly morphological and syntactic variation) in varieties of Caribbean Spanish and is currently working on contact linguistics and bilingualism among speakers of Spanish and Haitian Creole on the Dominican border. His most recent book is entitled, El español y el criollo haitiano: contacto lingüístico y adquisición de segunda lengua.

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National and International Guests

In addition to hosting a number of conferences and ongoing internal lecture series, the department welcomed several invited scholars this year, offering exciting new research to students and colleagues in the university community. Guest speakers and their lectures included:

James Buckwalter-Arias (Hanover College), "El origenismo ante la literatura mundial."

E. Michael Gerli (University of Virginia), "The Gathering Storm: Pre-Expulsion Converso Apologia in Castile 1391-1492."

Adrienne Martín (University of California, Davis), "Quixotic Animals."

Peter Hulme (University of Essex), "The Dinner at Gonfarone's: Pan-American Literature in New York in the Early Twentieth Century."

Rita de Maeseneer (University of Antwerp), "Nobody's Nation. El caso de Junot Díaz."

Gisela Cramer (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá), "Identity Politics and Foreign Relations: The Instrumentation of Pan-Americanism during World War II."

William Viestenz (University of Minnesota), "Monstrous Birth: The Politics of Neighborliness in La pell freda."

Diego Pascual y Cabo (Texas Tech Univesity), "If Not Attrition or Incomplete Acquisition, Then What?: Back to the Basics of the Input in Heritage Speaker Bilingualism."

Nelson Cerqueira (Zacarias de Goes-FAZAG School), "Hermeneutics and Literary Criticism: Reading Jorge Amado."

Álvaro Enrique (fiction writer and critic), "Magic Journalism. On the New, New Latin American Non-Fiction Writing."

Joấo Paulo Cuenca (Brazilian author) and Elizabeth Lowe (translator), "International Perspectives on Brazilian Literature."

Luís Madureira (University of Wisconsin-Madison), "Where 'God is like a Longing': Theater and Social Vulnerability in Mozambique."

Rena Torres-Cacoullos (Pennsylvania State University), "Code-switching and cross-linguistic priming."

Fernão Pessoa Ramos (Universidade de Campinas, Brazil), "Cinema Documentário e Cultura Brasileira: Breve Panorama Histórico."

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Nelson Pereira dos Santos Retrospective

Colleagues celebrating the visit of Nelson Pereira, front center, at the IU Cinema.

Colleagues celebrating the visit of Nelson Pereira, front center, at the IU Cinema.

In April 2013, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Indiana University Cinema hosted "Fifty Year of Brazilian Cinema," a week-long retrospective of films by the internationally-acclaimed Brazilian director, Nelson Pereira dos Santos.

The event brought together faculty, students and the community to view some of dos Santos's major films, including his 1963 classic Vidas secas (Barren Lives) and his recent documentary on bossa nova composer Antônio Carlos Jobim. A gala reception was held in the Federal Room, where dos Santos and his wife Ivelise Ferreira enjoyed meeting graduates and undergraduates from the Portuguese program.

Dos Santos was interviewed in Portuguese by Darlene Sadlier on the IU Cinema stage as part of the cinema's Jorgensen Guest Lecture Lecture Series. A simultaneous English translation of the interview was provided by doctoral student Olivia Holloway Salzano. Brazilian Fulbright scholar Lorena Sales dos Santos assisted in a Q&A with dos Santos and Sadlier following the Jobim documentary.

Pereira dos Santos's visit was made possible by an agreement signed in November 2012 between IU and the Brazilian Academy of Letters, of which he is a member. At the signing, IU President Michael McRobbie presented dos Santos with Indiana's prestigious Thomas Hart Benton medal in honor of his distinguished career in film.

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High School Honors Program in Foreign Languages Expands

The summer of 2014 will hold new opportunities for high school students hoping to participate in the Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Languages (IUHPFL). Since 1962, Indiana high school students have been traveling with the IUHPFL to France, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.

Current prospective students are now able to apply to programs in Chile and China—IUHPFL's first programs in South America and Asia. The Program continues to maintain sites in ten different cities spanning across six countries.

The IUHPFL's combination of intensive academic instruction, a mandatory language commitment to speak only in the foreign language while abroad and the full-time integration into a host family allows for students to participate in a total immersion experience. Because of these three pillars, IUHPFL students observe marked development in language skills, individual confidence, communication, and leadership skills.

Starting this summer, students will have the opportunity to spend an unforgettable summer in the IUHPFL's newest Spanish-speaking site, Viña del Mar, Chile, in South America. Located in central Chile in the Valparaíso region, Viña del Mar is the fourth largest city in Chile though it has the cultural offerings of a city combined with the natural beauty and maritime culture of a port town.

The IUHPFL is collaborating with the Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University (IFSA-Butler) in Viña del Mar to offer students a culturally diverse experience that will incorporate volunteer work for the first time ever into the Program's model. The other Spanish-speaking sites are located in Mérida, Mexico; as well as Ciudad Real, León, and Oviedo, Spain.

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The Sights, Scents and Sounds of Iberian Empires

On October 4th and 5th, 2013, Indiana University played host to the "Sensory Worlds: Iberian Empires and The Other Senses Symposium" organized and headed by Professors Ryan Giles and Steven Wagschal. The two day event held at the Indiana Memorial Union consisted of four panels and three lectures, with a total of fourteen presenters from eleven different universities in the US and Canada.

The symposium's goal was to explore the ways in which Iberian writers crafted images to describe sensory perceptions of Old and New Worlds, both real and imagined. While previous research has tended to focus on the visual, invited speakers and panelists were asked to explore the ways in which medieval and early modern texts produced, activated, and continue to indulge the other senses—from the standpoint of philosophical and aesthetic insights, as well as modern approaches to cognition. The symposium offered a highly productive opportunity for the participants to dialogue and collaborate with dynamic colleagues and researchers working in cross-disciplinary areas in the fields of Iberian literature and culture.

The three invited lecturers were Josiah Blackmore (University of Toronto), Lisa Voigt (Ohio State University), and Enrique García Santo-Tomás (University of Michigan). Panelists included Emily Francomano (Georgetown University), Víctor Rodríguez-Pereira (Indiana University), Ryan Giles (Indiana University), Seth Kimmel (Columbia University), Henry Berlin (Transylvania University), Gregory Hutcheson (University of Louisville), Julia Domínguez (Iowa State University), Charles Ganelin (Miami University of Ohio), Moses Fritz (Indiana University), Steven Wagschal (Indiana University), and Sarah Gretter (Purdue University). IU moderators included Catherine Larson (Spanish and Portuguese) and Rosemarie McGerr (Comparative Lit and Medieval Studies Institute). The symposium was part of an ongoing collaborative project and planned collection of essays by contributors, as well as other scholars working on the senses in Iberian literature and culture.

The conference was made possible through generous support from the College Arts and Humanities Institute (CAHI) and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

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Song Fest Draws a Crowd

Song Fest winners William Northquist, Sarah Yde, Rachel Colegrove, event coordinator Israel Herrera and Kelley Carina Liu

Song Fest winners William Northquist, Sarah Yde, Rachel Colegrove, event coordinator Israel Herrera and Kelley Carina Liu.

The 2014 Song Festival had six undergraduate students of Spanish and Portuguese competing. Performances by special invitation included musicians from the Latin American Music Center, Jacobs School of Music, Spanish guitarist Tomás Lozano, ROK group, and the band Amigo Fields.

For the second consecutive year students from MCCSC participated, this time from the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship.

The winners were selected by a jury of music and a jury of language, comprised of Spanish/Portuguese respresentatives, Lecturers Dr. K. Allen Davis, Robin Reeves, Viviannette González, and Mazinha Vieira, and graduate student Maria Cintra Guimaraes.

Third place went to Spanish majors William Northquist and Sarah Yde who sang "Colgando en tus manos" by Carlos Baute and Martha Sánchez. Second place was awarded to Spanish major Rachel Colegrove who sang in Portuguese "Bem que se quis" by Marisa Monte. The winner of the 2014 Song Festival was business major Kelley Carina Liu with the song "Corre" by Jesse & Joy.

The event, which took place on April 4th in the Grand Hall of the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center, was attended by more than 100 individuals.

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Grupo de Teatro VIDA Makes New Community Connections

Scene from the 2014 VIDA production Quinta temporada featuring Jose Iracheta Carroll, Kuren Sikand and Jessica Foster.

Scene from the 2014 VIDA production Quinta temporada featuring Jose Iracheta Carroll, Kuren Sikand, and Jessica Foster.

On February 20-22, Grupo de Teatro VIDA performed its 8th annual production, Deseos y recelos (Desires and Suspicions), at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. The collection consisted of three shorter plays exploring human longing, thwarted ambition, and mistrust on personal, communal and political levels. The plays included El tigre (1955), written by Demetrio Malta Aguilera and directed by visiting scholar, Amanda Smith, and undergraduate Elizabeth Molleston.

In this play, set in Ecuador, a forestry worker, Zambo Aguayo, played by Andrew Shively, drives himself to madness with the fear that a tiger pursues him. Tony Hessenthaler and Alysa Shroff directed the Guatemalan piece, El tamal de nochebuena (1981), a comical critique of family and community dynamics as well as US/Guatemalan relations.

Lastly, Hannah Agauas directed the Chicano acto by Luis Valdez, Quinta temporada (1966), a fast paced and slapstick satire originally performed during the Delano Grape Strike (1965-1970) in California. Faculty advisor, Israel Herrera, performed the allegorical representations of Fall and La Raza.

This year marked the first partnership with the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, a project-based learning high school. Spanish facilitator, Melissa Tesoroni Mitra, led three groups of students to write and perform Spanish language pieces. VIDA also collaborated with its founder, Marda Rose (IU PhD 2013), who directed and performed in Charo González Casas's Sopa de sobre (2008) with students from IUPUI.

Rose invited González Casas to one of VIDA's performance at the IndyFringe theater in Indianapolis, March 28-29. VIDA also performed with the Jacob's School Roundabout Opera for Kids (ROK), an operatic performance group with a pedagogical mission led by Kim Carballo on April 11.

This year's VIDA performances included graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty, staff and community members: Gloria Navajas, Sarah Zeng, Omar Zamora, Cassandra Karkiewicz, Nelson Borges, Emily Riester, Catherine Kagemann, Enrique Pérez Jr., José Toledo Alcalde, Taylor Ostrom, Priyanka Jayanthi, Zach Hicks, Sammi Abbott, Nicole Brewer, José Iracheta, Kuren Sikand, Jessica Foster, Alexis Malay, Dakota Henninger, and Edward Lautzenhiser. Many thanks to the behind-the-scenes contributors: Taylor Gabby, Steven Barajas, Eric Carbajal, Teresa Hancock-Parmer, Michael Hancock-Parmer, and Elizabeth Ogle.

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Inaugural Group of Undergraduates Travels to Dominican Republic

Program co-director Erik Willis and students from the inaugural 2013 IU OVST program in the Dominican Republic

Program co-director Erik Willis and students from the inaugural 2013 IU OVST program in the Dominican Republic

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