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October 27, 2016

Students of Portuguese language talk about their experiences in Brazil and Portugal

Studying abroad  may be one of the most beneficial experiences for a student learning foreign languages, not only for the opportunity to study in a foreign nation and take in the allure and culture of a new land, but also to find new ways of thinking. Find below the stories of three students who went abroad this summer to improve their Portuguese skills.

Kevin O'Hare, Ph.D Candidate, Political Science

“I visited Lisbon Portugal during the month of August to take Portuguese language classes at the Instituto de Cultura e Lingua Portuguesa, which is at the University of Lisbon and to conduct interviews for my dissertation. During my trip, I visited many historical landmarks and enjoyed Portugal’s delicious food. Some of the places I visited wereBaixa Chiado, the Castelo de São Jorge, Belem Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and the town of Cascais.” —  Kevin O’Hare, Ph.D Candidate, Political Science

Robert Catlett“Getting to go to Rio for the 2016 Olympics was an amazing opportunity. I got to see some of the best athletes from all over the world, come together and compete for the gold medal. This wasn’t my main reason for going on the trip. It was to help the people and Favelas of Rio. Thank you so much to the L.I.V.E. Olympic Project Community Collaborations International organization for bringing all of the volunteers and amazing people together to help the kids and the families in the favela of Manguinhos in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”  Robert Catlett ’19, Romance Languages

Isabela Crocker“I spent this summer in Lisbon, Portugal, to learn Portuguese. It was a fantastic experience to have, and I think that Portugal is a very overlooked country with amazing people and a rich history and culture! Photo of me in a Knights Templar Cathedral.” –Isabela Crocker ’18, Romance Languages

To have more information about the Portuguese program at the University of Oregon, please contact Instructor Bené Santos at

May 12, 2016

2016 Romance Languages Newsletter

The 2016 Romance Languages Newsletter is here!  8 pages full of news and photos of our faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. The newsletter is created by Prof. André Djiffack.

Click here to view the 2016 RL Newsletter


October 15, 2015

Alumna news from Senegal: Clara Broderick (BA French 2014)

A little over one year after graduating, Clara Broderick, BA in French and International Studies 2014, is sending her greetings from Senegal and grateful thanks to the French faculty and GTFs who helped her navigate academic and post-college paths—Associate Professor of French André Djiffack, Associate Professor of French and Italian Nathalie Hester, Visting Lecturer of French Patrick Moneyang, Associate Professor of French Fabienne Moore, Adjunct Assistant Professor of French Géraldine Poizat-Newcomb, and Ph.D. Candidate and GTF in French Sandra Méfoude. Here are her inspiring adventures!

            Since August 2014, I have been living in Dakar because I so enjoyed my study abroad experience here and was eager to step into the new challenges of a professional environment in Senegal. I came back to friends and “family” and old teachers, and really enjoy living in a francophone country. However, it’s my Wolof that is really getting good! (I live with my husband Bara and his family—we got married 10 months ago—and I am enjoying being part of a wider Senegalese community.)


Bara and I: Traditional dress for Tabaski (al-Aid) the biggest Muslim holiday

At my arrival, I started working as a preschool teacher in a private bilingual Senegalese school (an almost sure-fire way to find a job in many countries around the world as a young American female). It was a good experience—I helped to set the school up as it was in its first year—but I am now more where I aimed to be. Since May, I have been interning at Save the Children in the West and Central Africa Regional office. I work doing research, editing, and information management activities for the Program Quality Director, who oversees 11 West and Central Africa countries. My favorite projects so far have been those dealing with Save the Children‘s Ebola Recovery Strategy Plans—learning all about how Save the Children reacted to the outbreak in its Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea country offices, and trying to establish more proactive and feasible resiliency plans for these offices in the next few years. (These country offices, like most government systems and non-profit organizations during the outbreak, were overwhelmed and incapacitated).
It’s work that is satisfying to me, and collaborating with kind, dedicated people from all over the world is an absolute pleasure. I find it interesting though that in working at such an organization, I’ve kept my core liberal academic scruples. There is as much to ask and to critique from inside the offices of such a large “charitable” organization as there is from the field or from the outside. No matter where this internship leads, it has already been an extremely fascinating experience in post-grad “real life” as they say.
I do, however, miss academia and the wonderful University that is Oregon. Truly, I think of you all as having been an important part of my four years there, and I hope only that we can keep in contact in the coming years. Obviously, the works that you all do are fundamentally interesting to me, and you remain a sources of inspiration, advice, and memories for me!


View from window at work



May 26, 2015

2015 Romance Languages Newsletter

The 2015 Romance Languages Newsletter is in print, 12 beautiful pages full of news and photos of our faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Many thanks to our tireless editor, Prof. André Djiffack.

Click here to download the pdf: RL Newsletter 2015

newsletter 2015

April 18, 2011

Perry ‘Jack’ Powers Memorial

The celebration of the life of Professor Emeritus, Perry “Jack” Powers will be held on Friday May 13th, 2011 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm in the Pape Room at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Perry 'Jack' Powers

December 2, 2010

Alumna Interview: Brooklyn College President Karen Gould (UO Ph.D. in Romance Languages, 1975)

Dr. Gould is the first woman President of Brooklyn College.  Previously she was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Long Beach.  She received her Ph.D. from Romance Languages in 1975, and has since held academic faculty and administrative positions at a number of universities.  She is a widely published scholar of Francophone literature, specializing in the literature of Québec.

You received your doctorate from this department in 1975.  Your dissertation was on Claude Simon?

Yes, Claude Simon was not very well known at the time, but [UO RL] Prof. Randy Brox (now Emerita) wagered well on that one because he was subsequently awarded a Nobel prize!  She advised me not to write on Beckett as I had originally considered doing.  She thought I might do better to work on an author who had not received so much attention, and Simon was a challenging and difficult, if then-underappreciated, author.

How has the landscape of French and particularly of Francophone studies changed since then?

To say it has changed hugely would not be an overstatement.  I grew up in California and spent most of my time [in the francophone world] in France, and had very limited knowledge of the rest of the francophone world (Québec, Africa, and the Caribbean).  Even though there was a substantial body of francophone literatures, it was not generally known to my generation of students.  I am pleased to have been a part of that change.  Doctoral students who followed after my generation, and who were writing in the 80s and 90s, were discovering this varied francophone literary landscape in exciting ways.  The introduction of Francophone studies has led to the revitalization of French studies, not because France is no longer of interest, but precisely because writing in French is now understood to be much broader than what is written in the ‘hexagon’ [France].  It has become ever more connected to our complex global environment—culturally, socially, politically, etc.  Students who grow up outside of the French- or Spanish-speaking worlds, and who come to those languages and their literatures with an external point of view, need to learn the kinds of things that natives learn as a matter of course: the history, politics, customs, and broader culture of the society.  In order to understand Flaubert or Duras, we need to appreciate all of these contexts.  We then begin to realize that we are learning a lot not just about French but also about the world.  To me, literature broadly conceived, in all of its manifestations, remains closely aligned with what it means to be human.  When we study literature, we are studying what it means to be human in various and diverse cultures, and this means that literature is perforce linked to many other disciplines.  This is what I have tried to bring home to students, so they can see the relevance of a text in light of the broader human experience.  And of course, the francophone world —it is not just a French-speaking world, whether you are talking about Sénégal, North Africa, North America, or the Caribbean— is fascinating to study.

How has your background as a Humanist and as a literary critic informed your approach to university administration?

It has, in as much as I started my career at a small liberal arts university: Bucknell.  I was one of the few young women on the faculty, and through my interest in connecting literature to other fields, I found myself working across departments quite broadly.  Later, I followed my husband to Virginia Tech, where I found myself working with faculty not only in Arts and Sciences but also in the College of Agriculture.  They had a robust “developing world” program, and I was teaching French to faculty who wanted to design agricultural development projects in the francophone world.

Working across disciplines and across departments added to my interest in curriculum development, as well as other kinds of work across department lines.  I enjoy learning about what other faculty are engaged in.  This is one of the exciting aspects of university administration.

There are, of course, administrators coming from the social sciences and sciences who have a similar interest in making these connections.  I will say this, however: the Humanities disciplines have long been at the core of undergraduate education and have always endeavored to connect to related disciplines.  Philosophy, Literature, and History have long benefitted from cross-fertilization.  Psychology has also had a special impact on the Humanities, when one thinks for example of the impact of theorists such as Freud and Jung on the Humanities.  Lately, the impact of technology on the Humanities has been highly significant.

In the end, for me it has always been about helping the next generation of students achieve their goals.  I am very grateful for how much higher education has given to me and my family, and particularly for what it made possible for my father when he attended college on the G.I. bill, which he would never have been able to do without financial support.

As both a Humanist and an administrator, and especially in light of the recent talk of eliminating the French program at SUNY Albany, what do you think the future holds for French and Romance studies in Higher Education?

We all know that current fiscal pressures on higher education, both public and private, are severe.  For public institutions like Brooklyn College and the University of Oregon, the continuing decline in state resources has created a serious situation for all disciplines, but especially for disciplines that are less robust in their enrollment.  It is an intellectual conundrum as well as a great irony that at a time when we all know our graduates need to be ever more educated about the complex global environment and diverse cultural and linguistic communities of this century in order to be successful in their career objectives and in their public lives, we are now faced with this trend of closing language programs.

However, despite this current state of affairs, I am not as cynical as some.  I believe that much of the future of the Humanities will rest on our shoulders as faculty and administrators in making sure that our curricula are tied to issues and learning that seem important to those living and working in the 21st century.  The need to make the university curriculum relevant to our times does mean that the enrollment strength of some languages will rise or fall during certain periods, as it has done in the past.  There was a time not too long ago in the U.S. when the study of Russian and German was on the rise.  We know that enrollment in those languages is now in significant decline at most universities.  The popularity and perceived “utility” of studying a given language are connected to workforce interests, economic and trade relations, immigrant population changes, and many other external factors.  Peril goes to those who don’t want to think about it.  To the credit of French and Spanish programs around the country, the rise of Latin American and Francophone studies has expanded student interest at many institutions.  These are challenging issues that faculty and administrators must consider every year when we revise our curricula.

What will you always carry with you from your days in Friendly Hall?

I have many fond memories of Friendly Hall.  I think all of my classes were there, except those graduate seminars in the homes of faculty members.  What I remember most is the excitement and energy of my fellow students.  It was a time of vibrant interaction in Romance Languages and Comparative Literature.  I felt so privileged to be paid to go to graduate school.  I was thrilled that the University was giving me money to study!  The professors in Romance Languages were both demanding and supportive.  It was an intellectually exciting time in my life that I won’t ever forget.

October 30, 2010

RL Alumna Cecilia López Badano delivers Spanish language lecture on work of novelist Roberto Bolaño

Dr. Cecilia López Badano (Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro) will delivered a lecture in Spanish titled “Algunos aspectos insólitos de la narrativa de Roberto Bolaño: narcotráfico y anamorfosis; conejos pampeanos e intertextualidad” (‘Some curious aspects of the narrative of Roberto Bolaño: drug trafficking and anamorphosis; Pampa rabbits and intertextuality’).

Dr. López received her Ph.D. from the UO Department of Romance Languages in 2003. Her doctoral dissertation, “La novela histórica entre dos siglos.  Un caso: Santa Evita, cadáver exquisito de paseo por el canon”, written under the direction of Prof. Juan Epple, is forthcoming from the Consejo Superior de Investigación Científica (Spain). Her talk will deal with the aesthetics of drug trafficking and death in Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666 (Time magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year).

Dr. López’s delivered her lecture on Monday, November 15th, at 12:00pm in EMU Ben Linder Room. For more information contact Prof. David Wacks at

October 23, 2010

RL Alumna’s translation of Spanish novel covered in Eugene Weekly

Adrienne Mitchell (RL MA in Spanish) is the English translator of Rosa Montero’s novel Beautiful and Dark(Bella y oscura, Barcelona: Seix Barral 2003). Mitchell’s translation was published in 2010 by Aunt Lute books and will introduce readers of English to the Spanish novelists’ work. Mitchell’s translation was recently reviewed in the Eugene Weekly.

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