Department of Languages

Faculty news, Spring and Summer 2017

Yanming An, professor of Chinese and philosophy, received the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities (CAAH) John B. and Thelma A. Gentry Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities. Established by Frank and Sarah Gentry to honor Mr. Gentry’s parents, John and Thelma Gentry, this peer-reviewed award recognizes an outstanding humanities faculty member and provides an annual competitive fund to support projects, materials and activities that will improve and enrich teaching in the humanities.

Raquel Anido, assistant professor of Spanish, received the CAAH Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The annual dean’s awards are peer-reviewed by the college faculty awards committee. Each award comes with a plaque of recognition, placement on the list of awardees in the dean’s office and a cash award. Her nominators write glowingly of her excellence in the classroom.  One wrote, “[she] imparted a wealth of knowledge on her other students and me about Spanish language and culture, but she also imparted the necessity for passion in whatever one is doing. She encourages her students to pursue their passions, to never settle and to challenge beliefs.” Another said, “Anything less than the best is not enough for [her].  I truly admire this desire in her. She challenges all of her students to be the very best they can be. In return, she brings her best, every day, to the classroom. Her standards are high but not impossible, and I truly appreciate that she cares enough about her students to educate them to the best of her ability, push them beyond their comfort zone and help them to discover their strengths and passions in the process.” And, from her own teaching statement, Professor Anido reminds us all of this very important message: “Teaching is a passion for communicating knowledge, for sharing and giving back what you have learned from the most inspiring readings, travels, life experiences and teachers you have had.”

The Summer issue 94.1 of the journal of Italian studies Italica contains an article by Luca Barattoni, associate professor of Italian, on the representation of work in post-WWII Italian Cinema. The article is entitled “Diritto negato, pratica alienante, collisione corpo/macchina: l’identità ferita nella rappresentazione cinematografica del lavoro” and looks at film as the privileged medium for a symbolic negotiation of work in Italian society.

Adrienne Fama, lecturer of Spanish, received a scholarship from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to study in Salamanca, Spain. She spent two weeks in July at Colegio Delibes taking a methodology course for instructors of Spanish as a foreign language.

Together with Kim Misener Dunn, lecturer of American Sign Language, Stephen Fitzmaurice, assistant professor of American Sign Language, presented “An Eye on ASL Standards” on January 28 as hosts of the first annual Clemson American Sign Language Pedagogy Conference in Greenville. This conference welcomed ASL educators from the Southeastern United States and will become an annual event. Steve presented a ten-hour workshop in February for working educational interpreters related to “Knowledge Competencies for Educational Interpreters.” This workshop was the inaugural professional development session for interpreters working in public schools across the state as part of the South Carolina Educational Interpreting Center grant awarded to Clemson from the South Carolina Department of Education. From March 31-April 2, he served as an invited moderator for two sessions at the second international Symposium on Signed Language Interpretation and Translation Research held at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. The symposium promoted the exchange of scholarship on signed language interpretation and translation as well as provided a platform for interdisciplinary research across various disciplines including linguistics, communication, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and education. He also published an article “Unregulated autonomy: Uncredentialed educational interpreters in rural schools” in the American Annals of the Deaf. This research employed ethnographic methodologies to explore how interpreters without national certification were enacting their role in a rural high school. He also provided a workshop for the South Carolina Department of Education: Research to Practice Institute focusing on educational interpreters and how to convey key vocabulary in their interpreting work.

In August William Daniel Holcombe, lecturer of Spanish, published a peer-reviewed article in Mexican Studies / Estudios Mexicanos, a journal co-published by the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In the article, Holcombe examines how Mexican chronicler Carlos Monsiváis (Mexico City 1938-2010) utilized the concept of slumming and the term “queer” in his later works that focused on sexuality studies. Holcombe, William Daniel. “Lo queer de Carlos Monsiváis: slumming en el ambiente.” Mexican Studies/Estudios mexicanos 33.2 (Summer 2017): 272-95.

Joseph Mai, associate professor of French, published Robert Guédiguian in Manchester University Press in May. Intervening at the crossroads of philosophy, politics, and cinema, this book argues that the career of Robert Guédiguian, director of Marius et Jeannette (1997) and other popular auteurist films, can be read as an original and coherent project: to make a committed, historically-conscious cinema with friends, in a local space, and over a long period of time. Illustrated with comprehensive readings of all of Guédiguian’s films. He also gave a paper titled “Democratic practices and the Human Affair” at the Bophana Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he was conducting research on the work of filmmaker Rithy Panh. The Bophana center, named to preserve the memory of just one of the Khmer Rouge’s many victims, was founded by Rithy Panh to provide audio-visual resources and production training and support to young generations of Cambodians.

Tiffany Creegan Miller, assistant professor of Spanish, received the CAAH Lightsey Fellow award for her work on (Re)negotiating the Politics of Orality and Ethnography in Performances of Kaqchikel Children’s Songs and Poetry. Established by Dr. and Mrs. Harry M. Lightsey with an original pledge of $100,000, the endowment provides support for junior faculty members in the humanities for summer research projects that will advance their scholarship. A peer review committee of faculty has judged these proposals. Tiffany was also invited to Elon University in North Carolina on April 6 to give a talk on Kaqchikel Maya children’s songs in relation to contemporary Pan-Maya activism in Guatemala and participate in a panel discussion of the film, “Ixcanul” (2015). Both of these events were part of a series focusing on indigenous rights in Guatemala in the 21st century. Miller also was invited to be a guest lecturer for a medical Spanish class at Brown University on March 13 to discuss health care initiatives focusing on diabetes and child malnutrition in Guatemalan Maya communities. She also organized a panel session on Central American cultural and literary production at the Latin American Studies Association Congress in Lima, Perú. As a presenter in the panel, Miller discussed her recent work with Kaqchikel Maya children’s songs as a form of socio-political activism in terms of language revitalization efforts for this Guatemalan indigenous language. In early June, Miller also attended the DHSI (Digital Humanities Summer Institute) at University of Victoria.

Kim Misener Dunn, lecturer of American Sign Language, and her collaborators from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and Lamar University in Midland, Texas had the opportunity recently to discuss the challenges they encountered in educational research. Typically, Deaf individuals are seen through the lens of the dominant hearing society’s perception. Unearned vs. earned privilege in higher education were analyzed, and the benefits determined. Dunn and her colleagues used the grounded theory to generate components necessary for  successful Deaf and hearing research partnerships. As a result of this collaboration, “Deaf and Hearing Research Partnerships” has been published in the winter issue of the educational research journal American Annals of the Deaf.

Arelis Moore de Peralta, assistant professor of Spanish and health, presented “Perceptions and Determinants of Partnership Trust among Hispanic Participants in a Culturally Relevant Health Promotion Organization (PASOs) in South Carolina” at the 2017 Clemson University Research Symposium in May. This community-based participatory study allowed her to identify perceptions and determinants of trust among stakeholders of the PASOs organization, at two different stages of organizational development. The role of culture as a determinant of trust in partnerships was identified, in addition to organizational and socio-economic determinants. Data gathered were used to identify types of trust based on a selected typology (Lucero, 2013) used in the context of CBPR partnerships.

Johannes Schmidt, associate professor of German, had a book chapter, “Herder’s Religious Anthropology in His Later Writings,” published in Herder: Philosophy and Anthropology in the United Kingdom by Oxford University Press in March and in North America and elsewhere in May. From the publisher’s description: “J.G. Herder is enjoying a renaissance in philosophy and related disciplines and yet there are, as yet, few books on him. This unprecedented collection fills a large gap in the secondary literature, highlighting the genuinely innovative and distinctive nature of Herder’s philosophy.  […] The second part then examines further aspects of this understanding of human nature and what emerges from it: the human-animal distinction; how human life evolves over space and time on the basis of a natural order; the fundamentally hermeneutic dimension to human existence; and the interrelatedness of language, history, religion and culture.” The “Herder Yearbook XIII” (2016) is the second yearbook that Johannes co-edited (with Reiner Godel, Halle, Germany). This trilingual academic journal — published every two years on behalf of the International Herder Society — advances scholarly inquiries into the German thinker Johann Gottfried Herder, his reception and influence. The journal presents contributions from multiple and interdisciplinary fields, such as, but not limited to German studies, philosophy, history, linguistics, cultural and colonial studies, as well the humanities in general. At last year’s conference, Schmidt presented on “Herder and the Opera: Plurality of the Senses.” He also moderated a panel on Herder and the arts. In June Schmidt visited the OTH Regensburg in Germany, a new partner university, and gave two workshops: “German Culture and Economy in the US” (in German) and “Holocaust Education in the US” (in English). In addition, he promoted Clemson as a study-abroad destination for Regensburg students. He also took the opportunity to visit the first three Clemson students studying at Regensburg and got a tour of the large semiconductor manufacturer Infineon where one of the students is currently interning. Read more about his trip to Regensburg here.

On February 11, Daniel J. Smith, associate professor of Spanish, presented “Spanish L1 (1st language) and L2 (2nd language) ‘Errors’ due to Interference or the Natural Order of Acquisition” at the 20th Annual Conference on the Americas. The conference was sponsored by the Americas Council of the University System of Georgia at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia. Smith presented an analysis of ‘non-target’ Spanish L2 utterances by English L1 speakers and Spanish utterances made by Spanish L1 speakers who are exposed to large amounts of English as their L2, differentiating between ‘errors’ in ‘non-target’ utterances which are due to interference from either L1 or L2 and ‘errors’ due to the natural order of acquisition. The analysis also made implications for the role of interference errors in language shift and for instruction strategies in second language classes.

Gabriela Stoicea, assistant professor of German, participated in the Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association in Utrecht, the Netherlands in July. There she organized a three-day seminar entitled “Liberalism in Crisis: A Perspective from the Humanities.”

Graciela Tissera, associate professor of Spanish, presented her research on literature, film and culture, “The Fiction of Borges and Cortázar in Film: Exploring the Realm of Metaphysical Imagery,” and chaired a panel on adapting philosophers to film at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association 38th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico (February 17). Tissera’s students, Elouise Cram and Rebecca McConnell, participated in the panel to discuss their Creative Inquiry projects related to the Hispanic world through film, literature and media. Read more about Elouise and Rebecca.

Eric Touya, associate professor of French, received the CAAH Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service. The annual dean’s awards are peer-reviewed by the college faculty awards committee. Each award comes with a plaque of recognition, placement on the list of awardees in the dean’s office and a cash award. Eric also read a paper entitled “Claudel diplomate, poète, et exégète” on the panel “(Re)-presenting Claudel Today” at the Modern Language Association Conference in Philadelphia in January. The program was arranged by the Paul Claudel Society. He presented at the 2017 Clemson University Research Symposium in May. His presentation, titled “Why should STEM students study the Humanities?”, examined the extent to which the humanities are as important as science and technology and how students in STEM can benefit from taking courses in the humanities, such as literature, art, and philosophy. Eric read a paper entitled “Remembering the Great War: Apollinaire, Proust, Claudel, Valéry” at France and the Memory of the Great War: An Interdisciplinary Conference at the University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama. He also read a paper entitled “Sens, Interprétations, et signifiances musicales chez Valéry, Barthes, et Bonnefoy” at “Le Sens et les sens/Sense and the Senses,” the 2017 International Colloquium on 20th and 21st French and Francophone Studies at the University of Indiana in Bloomington.