News and Events

Cultural Events

World Languages and Cultures TA Talks

 On March 31st and April 28th, the World Languages and Cultures Department's Fulbright TAs and Visiting Instructors presented about their countries and cultures at the annual TA Talks to students, faculty, staff, teachers, and high school students. Over 120 people attended these events.

At the first event on Spain, Taiwan, and Palestine, Spanish FLTA Julia Illarramendi shared about her home city of Pamplona, Spain, and what Spaniards are talking about today, including current events, popular culture, world news, the economy, and more. Visiting Instructor of Chinese Chun-Sheng Su shared about Taiwan's political history with China, daily life in Taiwan, and how it maintains its independence as a country. Arabic FLTA Belal Elkurd shared about his home country of Palestine and its history and conflict with Israel as well as its unique culture.

At the second event on France, Japan, and Germany, French FLTA Nawel Kahouaji shared what she loves about her country, such as the emphasis on work-life balance, the beautiful scenery, and affordable education and healthcare,, as well as what she likes about the United States. Visiting Instructor of Japanese Kentaro Fukube shared about the various climates and regions in Japan, how collectivism impacts communication, and daily life in Japan. Finally, German FLTA Fabian Postert gave attendees a tour of different regions of Germany and their most important landmarks, discusses the truth behind stereotypes about German people, and shared German history and politics. 

Japanese Origami

Visiting Japanese Instructor Kentaro Fukube taught students about the history of Japanese origami and how to make origami cranes and frogs at an origami workshop. Origami, the art of paper folding, is a big part of Japanese culture, and Professor Fukube shared just how complex and simple origami can be as he walked them through the steps for making a few simple origami crafts.

          3 students engaged in an origami workshop        Group of students holding origami while sitting at table

Spanish Game Night

Spanish FLTA Julia Illarramendi shared about Spanish bar culture and led students in games that are typically played in Spain, using cards from Spain. Bars are a huge part of Spanish culture, with one bar for every 175 inhabitants, and Julia shared about what students might find in a traditional Spanish bar--food, beer, and card games. She shared basic Spanish vocabulary and traditions surrounding bar culture and taught students to play a few games that one might find if they visited a Spanish bar.

                               Julia Illarramendi, a teaching assistant from Spain, holding up game cards                    Students sitting at tables while playing Spanish card game

Crepe Cooking Class

 French FLTA Nawel Kahouaji shared the history of crepes, which are from her home region of Brittany in France, which she showed on a map of France. Then she demonstrated how to make France and taught attendees to mix and make crepes for themselves with a variety of toppings.

                                        French FLTA, Nawel, holding up a crepe at the Crepe Cooking Class      3 students serving crepes at the Crepe Cooking Class

Arab Women Today

Arabic FLTA Belal Elkurd, French FLTA Nawel Kahouaji, and Arabic GA Khadiga AboBakr participated in a round table discussion on Arabic women today at the Women's Center at the Unviersity of Scranton and presented about women's rights in Palestine, Egypt, and Tunisia. 


Mid-Autumn Night Festival

 Chinese Visiting Instructor Chun-Sheng Su taught his Chinese students about China and Taiwan's Mid-Autumn Night Festival. They celebrated by cutting moon cakes, brewing Oolong tea, and enjoying them as a class. They watched the Mid-Autumn Festival Gala on TV. 

Chinese Visiting Instructor, Cheng Su, standing in the middle of group of students

Chinese Paper Cutting

 Visiting Instructor of Chinese Chun Sheng Su shared about how Lunar New Year is celebrated in Taiwan and China before teaching students to make Chinese paper cutting crafts with red envelopes. Students learned about the traditions surrounding Lunar New Year, such as writing spring couplets for on the door frame, the large dinner eaten by family and friends, and red envelopes filled with money that are given to children and the elderly on Chinese New Year. Then, Professor Su taught students to cut these envelopes into simple Chinese crafts, a tradition that is often done with the envelopes after the New Year. 

Group of students and Chinese Visiting Instructor holding up crafts during the Chinese Paper Cutting Event

Asian New Year Festival

At the Asian New Year Festival, Chinese Instructor Chun Sheng Su taught students Chinese calligraphy and Visiting Instructor of Japanese Kentaro Fukube taught students calligraphy while students celebrated the Lunar New Year. 

5 students sitting at table while showing their Asian New Year crafts   5 students showing their calligraphy

Palestinian Cultural Dance Class

On March 3rd, students learned about Dabke with Arabic FLTA Belal Elkurd who is from Gaza, Palestine. Dabke is a folk dance from Levantine countries like Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan that combines circle dance and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings, return of travelers, graduation parties, national celebrations, and other joyous occasions. Belal first taught attendees about the traditions surrounding Dabke and then showed attendees a few videos of people from Palestine dancing Dabke. Then, attendees learned the basic steps to Dabke and tried it for themselves. When asked why he planned an event about Dabke, he said it was because Dabke is one of the most important cultural forms of art in Palestine. At the event, he talked about where Dabke originated from and the traditional songs and music played to dance Dabke. He also mentioned that Dabke signifies the aspirations and struggles of the Palestinian people since 1948. When Palestinians dance Dabke, it unites them.


Asian Studies Open House

At the Asian Studies and Asia Club Open House, Visiting Instructor of Chinese Chun Sheng Su and Visiting Instructor of Japanese Kentaro Fukube gave presentations on learning Chinese and Japanese. Their elementary Chinese and Japanese students also prepared posters about Asia which Professors Su and Fukube judged.  

            3 people standing in front of Taiwan poster Japanese Visiting Instructor presenting during Asian Studies Open House


On April 11th, German FLTA Fabian Postert hosted presented about the World’s Largest Folk Festival in Germany, the Oktoberfest. This festival is a celebration of German culture that is held annually from mid-September to early October where more than 6 million people from around the world attend. Students, faculty, and staff that attended learned about the clothing, music, foods, attractions, and customs that make the Oktoberfest so popular. Attendees also enjoyed traditional foods that are offered at Oktoberfest such as root beer and warm pretzels.  Postert expressed that he was happy to present the Oktoberfest as an important part of German culture and also share his personal experiences, thoughts, and recommendations. 


Faculty Scholarship

Dr. Yamile Silva

Dr. Silva sitting at table alongside another presenterSince the Spring, Dr. Yamile Silva has been promoted to Full Professor and she is on sabbatical during this academic year.


Two of her articles and one academic interview to Costa Rican writer Tatiana Lobo have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals: " Narrativas de lo gótico en «La extraña» (1922) de Abigail Mejía" Revista de Estudios Hispánicos. (Forthcoming Spring 2022). “Qué el imperio de la tiranía caiga por los mismos medios que se levantó”: apropiaciones tácticas en Catecismo o instrucción popular de Juan Fernández de Sotomayor (1814) Revista Universidad de Cartagena (Forthcoming June 2022); and “La letra escondida: género, archivos y escritura en Tatiana Lobo: entrevista” REGS/Journal of Gender and Sexuality Studies (Michigan State University Press) (Forthcoming June 2022).

In November 18, Dr. Silva will present her paper “Abigail Mejía: cronista de viajes” at the XXX Congress, Association of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Santo Domingo, República Dominicana. Her proposed panel, which she will chair, “Representations of Space in the Colonial Latin America (1492-1898)” has been accepted to be part of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) conference in May 2022.  Dr. Silva’s critical edition of Entre Frivolidades (1922) by Dominican writer Abigaíl Mejía is under review by an academic press.  Silva has submitted a proposal to be part of the NEH Spanish Paleography and Digital Humanities Institute hosted by UT Austin and LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections. She has also submitted a NEH Summer Stipend Grant. 

Service to the Community

On May 25, Silva served as a Spanish translator for the second vaccine clinic at St. John Nuemann Parish in Scranton.

Service to the Profession

Dr. Silva served as a book proposal reviewer for Routledge | Taylor and Francis Group during Summer 2021. Also, she participated as an external reader for the Doctoral Dissertation “Lecturas firmadas. Género y antologías en la España contemporánea” by Raquel Fernández at the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain in September 2021. Silva has been invited to serve as a peer review panelist for the NEH Division of Education Programs, Humanities Connections Planning and Implementation competitions to be in November 2021. Silva continues serving as a member of the Executive Committee Board of the Colonial Section in the Professional Organization LASA (Latin American Studies Association). Finally, Silva has been invited to give a talk on Litigations and the Exercise of Legal Rights in petitions by Spanish women in the Colonial Americas (XVI-XVII) at the Doctoral Program in Gender Studies at Universidad de Oviedo in Spain during Spring 2022 (TBA). 

Dr. Roxana Curiel

Picture taken in mirror by Dr. Roxana CurielDr. Roxana A. Curiel is currently working on her paper “(Un)Documented Narratives: Immigration Enforcement, Trauma Porn, and Migration Stories.” This work was accepted to be published in the forthcoming edited book The Latinx Experience: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, under contract with Sage Publishing (2022). In addition, thanks to the Summer Research Grant she received this year at the U of S, Dr. Curiel worked on the second chapter of her book manuscript, “Illegible Lives: Blackness, Indigeneity, and Femme Bodies in Mexico.” In January 2022, she will present the first version at the Modern Language Association convention in Washington, D.C.

 Moreover, as part of her efforts to build support for racialized and minoritized faculty, along with Dr. Billie Tadros and Dr. Anne Royers, Dr. Curiel obtained a Clavius grant entitled “Supporting Faculty from Underrepresented Backgrounds: Supporting the Mandated of the Society of Jesus to Serve Faith and Promote Justice.” Thanks to this grant, and donations from diverse departments across the College of Arts and Sciences, they are getting individual memberships to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), a crucial resource for BIPOC faculty.

 In June 2021, to celebrate Pride month, Dr. Roxana A. Curiel was part of a conversation with trans activist Sofi Kowo, one of the organizers of the first “Marcha Lencha” in Mexico which aimed to fight transphobia within the queer community. She also participated in the “Palabra y Memoria” virtual event. She exposed her research on Colonel Amelio Robles, a Black trans man from Guerrero who served in the army of Zapata during the Mexican Revolution (1910). She was also invited to give a virtual talk at El Foro Espacio Cultural Alternativo, as a closing seminar, directed by activist and drag king performer Nancy Cázares. Her workshop explored the theory and praxis of drag in Latin America. The participants and Dr. Curiel discussed issues related to machista violence, strategic drag, and her article “Mujeres rifle: Masculinidad femenina en el evento fotográfico de la Revolución mexicana.” On October 8, 2021, Dr. Curiel will talk at the “Stories for Good: A Celebration of Diversity in Our Community” event for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, Berkshire Community College. She will also participate in an educational session, and panel discussion with drag queens Boxxa Vine, Angel South, and Noelle Diamond.

In January, Dr. Curiel presented her paper, “Illegible Lives: Blackness, Indigenity, and Femme Bodies in Mexico” in the Race and the Aesthetics of Refusal in Contemporary Latin America/Hemispheric Americas panel at the Modern Language Association convention in Washington, D.C. The Summer Research Grant she received last year at the U of S founded this project. In addition, Dr. Curiel and her colleagues, Dr. Shantee Rosado from Rutgers University, Dr. Prisca Gayles from the University of Nevada, Reno, and Dr. Sarah Bruno from Duke University, proposed the panel “Embodying Race and Performing Blackness in Las Américas: A Black/Latinx Feminist Cypher,” for the 2022 Annual American Studies Association meeting. During this performative session, scholar-performers will provide clips of concerts, music videos, or dance to open their pieces. These video clips serve as one connective space in the cypher. Scholar-performers will then perform original pieces that weave together art with scholarly analysis. They will collaborate in the session (e.g., during the Bomba performance, one scholar-performer will take on the role of drummer while other acts as the dancer).

In February, Nancy Cázares and Dr. Curiel organized and led the virtual event “Drag King sin fronteras,” along with her drag collective, ManaDrag King in Mexico City. The discussion included drag king/queer performers and activists from the U.S., Argentina, Nicaragua, and Mexico. In addition, Mexican painter Ana Segovia invited his drag collective to work on an exhibition that will take place in the fall at the Karen Huber Gallery in Mexico City. The project aims to question violencia machista and hegemonic ideas of masculinity.
Dr. Curiel also turned in the manuscript of her chapter “(Un)Documented Narratives: Immigration Enforcement, Trauma Porn, and Migration Stories.” This work is part of the forthcoming edited book The Latinx Experience: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, under contract with Sage Publishing (2022). Moreover, with the support of the Faculty Success Program of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, sponsored by the Provost, she is currently working on a paper entitled “De la Roma a Juchitán: Intimacies and Colonial Gaze in Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Graciela Iturbide’s Photography.” She will submit it to the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies this summer. This paper is part of the second chapter of her book manuscript, Machorras: Embodying Identity Against Mexicanidad.

Finally, the most important thing that Dr. Curiel did was to get visa approval to visit her family in Mexico City for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020. She spent the holidays with her dogs, parents, aunts, and abuelita. She ate many tacos al pastor and was amazed to see her city respecting all the COVID sanitary restrictions in an unpolarized and collaborative environment.

Dr. Habib Zanzana

Dr. Habib Zanzana presented a paper on Moroccan Francophone literature titled, "Contemporary Womxn’s Writing and the Medical Humanities in Addellah Taïa’s A Country for Dying", at the Institute of Modern Languages Research Virtual Conference, University of London, July 2021.

Dr. Zanzana published a peer-reviewed article on, Don Quixote and the Construction of Dulcinea, in a book titled, Cosmic Wit: Essays in Honor of Edward H. Friedman, published by Juan de la Cuesta, 2021. He presented a research paper titled, “Contemporary Women’s Writings and Medical Humanities” at the Center for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing at the University of London Virtual Conference (July 2021). He will be presenting two research papers at the Northeast MLA conference in March 2022, in Baltimore, Maryland: a) “Cinema and the Contemporary Quebecois Family in the films of Xavier Dolan” and b) “The Intersection of Migration and Gender in Contemporary Arabic Literature and Cinema.”

Dr. Marzia Caporale

Dr. Marzia Caporale  published “Moroccan Identities in Motion: Narratives of Dystopia in Leïla Kilani’s film Sur la plancheTrans-Mediterranean Francophonies. Ed Megan McDonald and Claire Launchbury. Liverpool University Press. 2021.

Dr. Caporale had a conference presentation in March 2021 at the NeMLA (Northeastern Modern Language Association conference): “Queering Masculinities: Reinterpreting Gender Boundaries in Contemporary Italian Pop Culture.”

In November 2021 she had another conference presentation, this time to SAMLA (South Atlantic Modern language Association):  “Women Connecting Voices: Breaking Barriers of Confinement in Djaïli Amadou Amal's Les impatientes.

Dr. Caporale wrote the Book Review for Études Francophones, Spring 2022 issue. La Langue qu’elles habitent. Écritures de femmes, frontières, territoires. Eds. María Carmen Molina Romero et Montserrat Serrano Mañes. Bruxelles, Peter Lang, 2020. Dr. Caporale was also responsible for the following conference papers: "Popular Culture as Pedagogy: Teaching ‘Il Canto di Ulisse’ from Dante to Jovanotti in the American College Classroom,” accepted for Dante 700 celebration conference, University of Florence, Italy, January 2022. “For a New Poetics of Gender in banlieue Cinema: From La haine to Today.” NeMla 2022, Baltimore, March 2022.

Dr. Virginia Picchietti

Dr. Picchietti, Professor of Italian, organized two panels, entitled "Texts in Their Times" for the conference of the American Association for Italian Studies, to be held virtually in May 2022. Dr. Picchietti also created the course, Black Italy: Afro-Italian Identities, to be offered in Spring 2023. “Black Italy” (Black Italia) is a term used today to designate the group of first- and second-generation Italians whose identity lies at the intersection between “Italian” and “African.” In Dr. Picchietti's course, students study how Afro-Italian artists engage their cultural production as a means of actively contributing to the shift away from an antiquated and artificially fixed notion of “Italianness” and towards the development of a broader and more socially reflective multicultural, multiethnic, and transnational Italian identity in the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Students explore the platforms Afro-Italians use to engage such topics as hybrid and translational identities, race and racism, gender and sexuality, class, Italian colonialism and its legacy, and citizenship rights and status.

Faculty News

Dr. Yamile Silva

Dr. Yamile Silva (World Languages and Cultures) was accepted into the NEH-AHRC (UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council) Spanish Paleography and Digital Humanities Institute (November 1 until December 17, 2021). The institute will benefit her research and teaching on 16-18 century manuscripts in Spanish. The six-week online institute will provide her with specialized training from digital humanities practitioners from the University of Texas at Austin (LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections) and Lancaster University on several open-source tools that can be used to facilitate collaborative research, visualize data in colonial texts, and include these digital tools in her courses here at Scranton.

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