News and Events

Guest Speakers

Black Italians and Digital Culture in Contemporary Italy

The Department of World Languages and Cultures hosted a virtual presentation on Zoom of the documentary, Black Italians and Digital Culture in Contemporary Italy, on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m.  Filmmaker Fred Kuwornu presented his multimedia lecture on young Black Italian artists and activists who have harnessed the power of both traditional cultural forms and newer digital platforms to shape the conversation on racism, identity, and citizenship. 
Fred Kudjo Kuwornu is an Italian-Ghanian filmmaker, activist, producer, and educator who was born and raised in Italy and is currently based in Brooklyn.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Mass Media from the University of Bologna.  As a teenager, he started his career as a DJ and producer.  Later, he worked as a TV scriptwriter for RAI public television in Rome.  In the US, he worked on the production of Spike Lee’s film Miracle at St. Anna.  Kuwornu’s own documentary films include the award-winning Inside Buffalo, about the African-American Infantry unit active in combat in WWII; 18 Ius soli, which investigates the issue of citizenship rights for the children of immigrants in Italy; and Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema.

Blackness in the Caribbean and Latin America

 The World Languages and Cultures Department hosted a virtual conversation called "Blackness in the Caribbean and Latin America", led by Dr. Roxana Curiel with guest speakers Dr. Mayra Santos Febres (she/ her/ hers) and artist Alán Peláez López (they/ them) on October 14 at 5 p.m. The artists discussed how their work engages with Black life experience across the Americas and the Caribbean, and what Blackness means in a context where latinidad, mestizaje, and nationalisms continually erase that experience.
Dr. Santos-Febres is an Afro- Puerto Rican writer with a PhD from Cornell University. Currently, Santos-Febres is a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, where she directs the creative writing workshop and the Festival of the Word. Alán Peláez López is an AfroIndigenous poet, installation and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México. Pelaez Lopez’s work is published in Poetry magazine, the Georgia Review, Puerto Del Sol, Everyday Feminism & elsewhere. They have received fellowships and/or residencies from Submittable, the Museum of the African Diaspora, VONA/Voices, and University of California-Berkeley. They live in Oakland, CA & the internet as @MigrantScribble.

Cultural Events

2021 TA Talks

The Department of World Languages and Cultures and the Office of Equity and Diversity hosted the 15th annual TA Talks featuring the 2020-2021 Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants from Germany, Canada, Palestine and Uruguay. The FLTAs shared about their countries and cultures and what makes them unique. 

Dragon Boat Festival

Visiting Chinese instructor Hsiang-Ling Wang hosted an event on the celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival on Thursday, April 22. 

Fulbright Night: Uruguay

Spanish FLTA Cecilia Nuñez shared about the big carnival celebrations all around the world and in her home country of Uruguay at the Fulbright Night on March 25th from 7:00-8:00 P.M. Uruguay has the longest Carnival celebration in the world, and Professor Nuñez shared about the traditions surrounding this celebration in her presentation. 

Fulbright Night: Palestine

Arabic FLTA Belal Elkurd invited the university community to join in a celebration of the olive harvest season in Palestine, the time of year when Palestinians gather to pick olives. Olive harvest season in Palestine is the time of year when Palestinians come together to gather olives, a mainstay crop of the Palestinian economy. Professor Elkurd shared about this wonderful time of year in Palestine and the traditions associated with it. This event took place on Zoom Thursday, March 4, from 12 to 1 p.m. 

Asian New Year Celebration

The Asian Studies Program and the World Languages and Cultures Department invited students the annual Asian New Year celebration on February 25th from 7:30-8:30 P.M. on Zoom. Students submitted videos on how to celebrate Asian New Year.

Why Learn Chinese Event

Chinese GA Hsiang-Ling Wang, Dr. Yamile Silva, Dr. Ann Pang-White and several guests shared the benefits of learning Chinese. The Director of the Education division from the Taipie Economic and Cultural Office gave information about free Chinese-language scholarships and paid internships in Taiwan. A University of Scranton alumnus also shared about the Huayu scholarship that he recived to continue his study of Chinese in Taiwan. This event took place on January 28th from 2:00-3:00 P.M. on Zoom. 

Fulbright Night: Canada 

On Thursday, October 22nd, Canadian FLTA and French instructor Chama Laassassy hosted a virtual French and Francophone Trivia Night featuring trivia and games on French and Francophone cultures. 

Fulbright Night: Germany 

On Thursday, November 12th, German FLTA Rebekka Stein hosted a virtual cultural event on German Christmas traditions. This event included an advent calendar with various Christmas traditions, beliefs, and practices. 

Faculty News

Dr. Roxana Curiel

The World Languages and Cultures Department welcomed Dr. Roxana A. Curiel as a new Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies in the World Languages and Cultures Department. 

Learn more about Dr. Roxana Curiel

Faculty Scholarship

Dr. Yamile Silva

Dr. Yamile Silva has been elected a member Executive Council of the Colonial Section, Latin American Studies Association (LASA) for a five year-period (2020-2025). LASA is the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. With over 13,000 members, more than 60 percent of whom reside outside the United States, LASA brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines. 

Silva published her annotated edition La sonrisa del paisaje. Diarios de Abigail Mejía (Santo Domingo: Ministerio de Cultura de la República Dominicana, 2020. pp. 180). Her article, “‘I, humble servant of your grace’: Isabel de Salazar’s and Ana de Nabarrete’s Petitions" has been accepted for publication by Revista de Estudios de Género y Sexualidades (Michigan State University). It will be published on Nov. 2020.

Also, Silva’s book review of Rocío Quispe Agnoli. Nobles de papel. Identidades oscilantes y genealogías borrosas en los descendientes de la realeza inca. Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2016. 264 pp. was published In Journal of Gender and Sexuality Studies Volumen 45, Número 2 (2020).

Finally, her article “"Different when I Opened My Mouth: Experiences, Reflections, and Perspectives of Faculty Members with Foreign English Accents in Higher Education" written in collaboration with Dr. Andrés Ramirez (Florida Atlantic University) has been accepted by Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism and will be published on its forthcoming issue, Volume 19, Number 2. 

Silva was invited as a keynote speaker by the International Book Festival of Santo Domingo organized by the Ministry of Culture (Dominican Republic). Her talk “La sonrisa del paisaje. Escritura y cultura material en los diarios de Abigail Mejía” on June 4, 2020 was via Zoom and YouTube due to Covid 19.

Dr. Silva’s panel "Representaciones del miedo/Representations of Fear" was accepted for the LASA2021 Virtual Congress: Crisis global, desigualdades y centralidad de la vida, May 26-29, 2021.

She will be the guest editor, with Dr. Ana María Díaz (Oberlin College), of the thematic dossier "Yo llana estoy": jerarquías, transgresiones y despliegues de género en América hispana colonial (1492-1898) to be published in the Journal of Gender and Sexualities (Michigan State University). Also, Dr. Silva has been working on the article “La intervención de Estados Unidos en la República Dominicana através de las crónicas de Abigail Mejía” to be submitted this May to an academic journal.

 Finally, Dr. Silva has been promoted to Full Professor at our institution.

Dr. Marzia Caporale

Dr. Caporale had the following publications appear in print:

  • Book review: Federici, Sandra, et Raphaël Thierry, coord. Africa e Mediterraneo : Cultura e Società. “Libri in Africa, libri d’Africa.”  Vol. 89. In Etudes Littéraires Africaines Spring 2020
  • Journal article: ‘Recasting the Gaze: Self-perception and Body De(con)struction in Nelly Arcan’s “La honte”’ L’Esprit créateur 60.2. 2020.

Dr. Roxana Curiel

Dr. Roxana Curiel’s paper “Mujeres rifle: Masculinidad femenina en el evento fotográfico de la Revolución mexicana.” was accepted for publication at Hispania

She gave the following talks during the summer:

  • “Conversatorio Drag King,” Orgullo Crítico Independiente México 2020.
  • “How White Privilege Affects the Afro-Latinx Communities,” Conversation with Becky G, Kali Uchis, and El Guru for Conciencia Collective and We Are Mitú panel sessions.
  • “Drag King/Queer: Mujeres cis, personas trans y no binaries en el drag,” Día Internacional del Drag.
  • “Cultural Appropriation in Latinx Music,” Sociedad Latina (Summer Sessions).
  • Drs. Curiel and Silva arranged a talk with Mayra Santos-Febres and Alán Peláez López about "Blackness in the Caribbean and Latin America" (see below).

Dr. Roxana A. Curiel was a panelist at the Harvard Latina Empowerment and Development (LEAD) 14th Annual Conference. The virtual conversation was part of the “Education and Academia” panel at Harvard University. In mid-March, Curiel will be part of the “Ciclo de conversaciones OTRXS MUNDXS” for the Museo Tamayo, in Mexico City. This virtual event between the Mexican artist Ana Segovia, and Curiel’s drag collective, ManaDragKing, will reckon with notions of femininity and masculinity within discourses of mexicanidad (Mexicaness) and will include videos of their drag interventions. Finally, Curiel’s talk, “(Un)Documented Narratives: Immigration Enforcement, Trauma Porn, and Migration Stories,” was accepted to be presented at the VI Coloquio Internacional Repensar América Latina, organized by the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Centro de Investigación en Identidad y Cultura Latinoamericanas (CIICLA).

Dr. Habib Zanzana

Dr. Zanzana presented a scholarly work on medical humanities in spring 2020. “Blindness in World Literature and Cinema,” Northeastern MLA 5th Annual Convention. He participated in a panel on “Medical Humanities: Literature, Medicine, and the Arts.” March 5-8, 2020, Boston, Massachusetts.

 Dr. Zanzana will be presenting 4 scholarly papers at national and international conferences in spring and summer 2021. All conference events will take place on Zoom platforms.

  • “Covid-19 and the New Normal in France and Beyond” at the French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, on March 10, 2021.
  • “Reclaiming the Heroism of the Forgotten Women of the Algerian War in Nora Hamdi’s La maquisarde” at the Northeastern MLA Conference, March 11, 2021.
  • “Masculinity, Queer Identity, and Modern Arab Society” at the Northeastern MLA Conference, March 13, 2021.
  • Contemporary Womxn’s Writing and the Medical Humanities in Addellah Taïa’s A Country for Dying at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London, July 2021.

 Dr. Zanzana has published three poems (two in English and one in Spanish) on the online platform Viral Imagination Covid-19 in February and March 2021. “The Viral Imaginations: COVID-19 project is an interdisciplinary initiative focused on collecting, displaying, and archiving Pennsylvanians’ first-person, imaginative and artistic expressions made in response to their lived experience of the coronavirus pandemic.” It is a gallery and archive curated by Pennsylvania State University (College of Humanities, Department of Medicine; Penn State Bioethics Program; Communication Arts and Sciences; Art Education and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Science-Art Initiative-The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences).

The poems are listed below:

  • “On Her Way”
  • “Esmeralda” (a Spanish language poem)
  • “School Bell’s Ringing”

Read Dr. Zanzana's poems

Community Outreach

FLTAs Rebekka Stein (Germany), Chama Laassassy (Canada/Morocco), and Cecilia Nunez (Uruguay) as well as Visiting Instructor Hsiang-Ling Wang (Taiwan) virtually visited various local schools to share about their countries and encourage students to pursue the study of world languages and cultures in high school and college. Over 40 students attended these events at Pocono Mountain High School, Montrose Area High School, Pleasant Valley High School, and Wayne Highlands High School.
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