On February 8, Mario Becerra and Briceida Rodriguez, who are completing a BA in Hispanic Studies and are student members of the SoCIOLing (Study of Community Involvement and Outreach & Linguistics) Lab, presented the poster ‘A sociolinguistic analysis of morphosyntactic phenomena in the Spanish of Pitt County: A pilot study’ at the SLINKI (Spanish Linguistics in North Carolina) Conference held at Appalachian State University. Under the mentorship by Dr. Stephen Fafulas and Dr. Ricard Viñas-de-Puig, the students summarized the results of the research project in which they investigated the expression of future and clitic doubling constructions by native Spanish speakers from Pitt County.
Stephen Fafulas (on left with mentor Kirk St. Amant), hired this year as Asst. Prof. of Spanish, graduated from the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy in December. His project was entitled, “Bridging the Gap: Bilingual Education and Community Engagement.”
Suzanne Powell, our Lead Administrative Associate, was recognized as a Treasured Pirate for her leadership in keeping up faculty morale in difficult times.
Dale Knickerbocker, Professor of Spanish, was selected in a search to continue as the Linda McMahon Distinguished Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures for 2014-16.
Prof. Michael Schinasi was selected for a Fulbright award to Spain in spring 2014, for his book proposal Performance and the Theater Industry in Nineteenth Century Spain: the Teatro Español and the Creation of a National Theater. The chapters of the book are tentatively entitled: 1. Ideology, Realpolitik and the Creation of Spain’s First National Theater. 2. Six Images of the Teatro Español and its Famous Café from the End of the 18th Century to the End of the 19th. 3. The Theatre’s Operation. The Monarchy’s Takeoever of the Building. 4. The Second Period of the Teatro Español. Quarrels and Jealousies. Politicization of the Theatre and Attacks by the Madrid Press. Demise in 1851.
More than one publisher has expressed interest in the completed manuscript on this neglected pivotal moment in 1849-51 of the History of the Spanish theatre. Prof. Schinasi was a Fulbright grantee to Spain once before, in 1987-88. He is author of an edition of the Poems of Ventura de la Vega (Grupo de Estudios del Siglo XVIII-University of Salamanca, 2005) and is at work on an edition of his prototypical bourgeois comedy, El hombre del mundo (1845). Prof. Schinasi’s work on Vega complements his proposal for the Fulbright: a detailed history of the national theatre and a textual edition of one of the most popular contemporary plays. Vega was a principal architect of the theater reforms of 1849 that created the Teatro Español, and was the national theater’s first director. Prof. Schinasi hopes to have an extended period in Madrid for use of the resources there, particularly the National Historic Archive, the National Library, and the Archive of the Comunidad de Madrid.
The Department mourns the loss of Elizabeth Griffiths, a Business major and Hispanic Studies minor who died in a traffic accident in Greenville on May 21, 2013. Last summer Lizz studied abroad in Granada with Rosa Lopez-Cañete, and she was a regular at the Spanish conversation roundtable, La Sobremesa. Javier Lorenzo recalls, “Lizz was a bright star in our Spanish program and will be sorely missed by both faculty and students. Her warm smile and kindness, both inside and outside the classroom, made a lasting impact on all of us and we are extremely saddened by her sudden and untimely demise.” Joanna Bradley remembers Lizz as “A very special student. She took my 8 am Accelerated Spanish course and ALWAYS had a smile on her face! The class was intense and the material was difficult, but she managed it, excelled and even provided much needed help to her classmates. I will always remember her as an encourager and a positive influence on those around her.”
Prof. Michael Schinasi, the Department’s leader in the use of Centra for live DE Spanish instruction, has long wanted to find a way to offer students both a fourth day of instruction in 1001-1004 and a way to use the relatively low cost expertise of native speaking tutors in foreign countries to improve student language proficiency. He proposed to Jim Gehlhar in the Office of International Affairs a one semester experiment in hiring live DE tutors from ILISA language school in Costa Rica. Thanks to the generous support of Dr. Gehlar’s office, the department is able to offer an honors section of Spanish 1004 in Spring 2013. In this course students are refining their command of the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish. Readings further acquaint students with the life, literature, and cultures of the Hispanic world. Unlike other sections of Spanish 1004, the honors section has an additional required lab that is a graded part of the course. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays students have face to face meetings with their ECU professor, Alberto González-Valdés, and in their lab on Tuesdays and Thursdays they use Centra web conferencing from their own computer to meet with a tutor in Costa Rica. In their videoconference with Costa Rica students are receiving additional practice in oral communication, reading and clarification of difficult grammatical structures. The intent of this course is to promote a very high level of proficiency in Spanish to prepare students for foreign study or upper division work as majors or minors.