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March 10, 2018

Leah Middlebrook in Tanner Lecture Series

On March 19, Leah Middlebrook will deliver a public lecture at Utah State University, as part of the Tanner Lecture Series. The talk, taken from her book-in-progress, is titled “The View from Thebes: Framing Poetry for the 21st Century.”


March 6, 2018

Middlebrook on Why Read Don Quijote?

In February, Leah Middlebrook spoke at a panel on Why Read Don Quijote Now? as part of the U.C. Berkeley Designated Emphasis on Renaissance and Early Modern Studies’ series “Why Read…?” Her short talk, titled “Knight + Duenna as a Way of Life,” took a twenty-first century look at the theme of friendship in the novel.

CLLAS Symposium

Justice Across Borders: Gender, Race, and Migration in the Americas

March 8, 2018
Knight Library, Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid St.
Gerlinger Lounge, 1468 University St.
Free & open to the public

Our thematic line of inquiry this year: America, Bridge Between Oceans poses the following questions: What happens when we put the Atlantic world in conversation with the Pacific? What kind of art and cultural production emerges? Which stories of struggles for racial, economic, gender and environmental justice arise? How does looking at Latinx and Latin American Studies from within the Pacific Rim region open up innovative and necessary methodological and analytical horizons? These questions also inspire our symposium Justice Across Borders: Gender, Race, and Migration in the Americas.

Fostering conversations about race, ethnicity, diasporas, gender, sexuality, migration, environmental justice, and culture that bridge the Atlantic and Pacific world, the symposium Justice Across Borders: Gender, Race, and Migration in the Americas explores what kind of new knowledges, art, social transformations, and activism we can create together in the face of increasing inequalities and social violence across the continent. We meditate on what contributions emerge from Pacific Rim-based research, art, advocacy work, and political movements when we put ourselves in conversation with scholars, artists, and activists based in the Atlantic coast.  We will discuss the increasing visibility of Caribbean migrants in the Pacific Northwest, environmental justice issues in Mexico, the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Southern Cone, archipelagic studies that encompass Caribbean and Pacific islands, gender politics within Latin American and Latinx communities in Oregon, experiences of Latin Americans alongside Pacific Islanders in the Pacific Rim region, queer Latina and AfroLatin@ art, indigeneity, blackness and Jewish diasporas in Latin America, challenges faced by a variety of Latinx communities in the U.S., etc. From a Latinx and Latin American Studies perspective, we engage comparative and relational dialogues with fields such as Pacific Islander Studies, Asian and Asian American Studies, Black Studies, Native American Studies, among others, hoping to bring new light into the epistemic possibilities of our fields and the meaning of Justice for all of us.

Symposium organizer: Alaí Reyes-Santos

Full list of affiliations

9:00 – 9:15 AM (Browsing Room)
Welcome from UO administration officials, CLLAS director, symposium coordinator.

9:20-10:30 AM (Browsing Room)
Race, Ethnicity and Diasporas
Rocio ZambranaLanie Millar, Roberto Arroyo
Chair: Marta Maldonado

10:40-11:50 AM (Browsing Room)
Women and Gender in Latin America and U.S. Latinx communities
Vicky Falcon, Michelle McKinleyKristin YarrisLynn StephenGabriela Martinez
Chair: Vicky Falcon,  Instituto de Cultura Oregoniana

12:00- 1:00 PM (Gerlinger Alumni Lounge)
Keynote Speaker/Lunch

“New Directions in Latinx and Latin American Studies: Archipelagos Across the Caribbean and the Pacific”
Guest: Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel
Chair: Rocio Zambrana and Lanie Millar

2:00-3:00 PM (Browsing Room)
Environmental Justice in the Americas
Judith Vega; David VazquezSarah WaldAnalisa TaylorPedro Garcia-Caro
Chair: David Vazquez

3:10 – 4:30 PM Roundtable (Browsing Room)
“Art, Migration, and Political Activism: Caribbean and Pacific Islander Migrants in the Pacific”
[SPONSORS: Department of Ethnic Studies, the Wayne Morse Center for Law & Politics, and the Center for Asia and Pacific Studies (CAPS)]
Panelists:  Judith Sierra-Rivera; JoAnna Poblete; Philipp Carrasco, Oregon AFL-CIO; Ileana Rodriguez Silva; Joyce Pualani Warren; and Jannes Martinez, Iyalocha, Lukumi priestess
Chair: Alaí Reyes-Santos

4:40PM – 5:40 PM  Plenary Session (Browsing Room)
“Latinx Communities: Questions, Challenges, and Transformations”
Monica Rojas, Director, Movimiento AfroLatino de Seattle; Laura Pulido; Ramona Hernández; Edwin Melendez, Director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies
Chair: Gerardo Sandoval

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (Gerlinger Alumni Lounge)
RiffiandoDominican Artists in the House! A Talk/Reading/Performance
Josefina BaezAna-Maurine Lara, and Ernesto Lara
Coordinator: Ana-Maurine Lara

Light Dinner/Reception

Sponsored by the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS); Wayne Morse Center for Law & Politics; UO College of Arts and Sciences; The Office of the Provost; Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS); Latin American Studies program; Department of English; Department of Romance Languages; Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Department of Anthropology; School of Journalism and Communication; Department of Philosophy; the Center for Asia and Pacific Studies (CAPS); the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA); Department of Ethnic Studies; Global Studies Institute, and the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP).

February 15, 2018

The Center for Open Educational Resources for Language Learning has given the RL a Badge as “OER Master Creators”

The Center for Open Educational Resources for Language Learning (COERLL) has given us a Badge as  “OER Master Creators”, for our work on the “Empowering Learners of Spanish” collection.


The Empowering Learners of Spanish project is published by the Center for Open Educational Resources for Language Learning (COERLL) at the University of Texas at Austin and funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Using a critical pedagogical approach, these activities teach sociolinguistics and critical inquiry into language ideologies. This collection reach over 250 students per year at institutions like the UO and Western Illinois University in addition to K-12 teaching workshops in Oregon, Texas, and Illinois.

The ELS project developers are,

Claudia Holguín Mendoza  (Romance Languages, University of Oregon)

Robert L. Davis (Romance Languages, University of Oregon)

Julie Weise (History, University of Oregon)

Kelley León Howarth (Romance Languages, University of Oregon)

Munia Cabal Jiménez (Western Illinois University)

October 17, 2017

Amanda Powell recently published a chapter in the new research guide Routledge Research Companion to the Works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 

Amanda Powell (Senior Lecturer II, Spanish) recently published a chapter called “Passionate Advocate: Sor Juana, Feminisms, and Sapphic Loves,” in the new research guide, Routledge Research Companion to the Works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (ed. by Emilie L. Bergmann and Stacey Schlau; 2017).
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648–1695) continually stirs both popular and scholarly imaginations. World-famous in her own time, in the modern period her writing has received consistent scholarly attention only since the 1970s. Her poetry, plays, and essays stand out in the political, religious, and intellectual context of colonial New Spain — what we know as Mexico. This volume examines areas of scholarship that illuminate her work, including her status as an iconic figure in Latin American and Baroque literature, present-day popular culture in Mexico and the United States, and feminism across time.
Amanda Powell’s chapter in this research guide examines how and why scholars regard her thinking as feminist, and what approaches past and present scholarship takes toward her passionate love poems addressed to women. The title of the chapter is: “Passionate Advocate: Sor Juana, Feminisms, and Sapphic Loves.”
September 25, 2017

Jesús Sepúlveda Travels to Cambodia to participate in Sylt Foundation’s program “Transformation and Identity, Trauma and Reconciliation”

For several years now the Sylt Foundation and its curator, Indra Wussow, have fostered a dialogue that breaks national borders between artists dealing with “Transformation and Identity, Trauma and Reconciliation” in their work, probing the legacies of Germany’s Fascism, South Africa’s Apartheid, Chile and Myanmar’s dictatorship, and Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime. Following a Sylt Foundation residency in South Africa in December 2017, Chilean poet and RL instructor Jesús Sepúlveda was invited to Cambodia from August 3-17, 2017 to meet with fellow poets and authors from Cambodia, Germany, and Myanmar, and numerous cultural agents invested in Cambodia’s past, present and future. Indra Wussow and co-curator Irene Leung organized a rich array of encounters: there was a dinner roundtable with choreographer and dancer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro who collaborated with oral historian Theresa den Langis and trauma psychologist Sylvia Johnson to create a ballet performance on forced marriages—one of the legacies of Pol Pot’s regime; there was a brunch and later an art opening with Java Arts’ gallery owner Dana Langlois focused on supporting emerging Cambodian visual artists and designers; a discussion with Cambodian curator Lyno Vuth and young artists in a newly created artist-run space, Sa Sa Art Projects. With German author Sasha Rey and Burmese poet Diu Ga Lay, Sepúlveda also participated in a translation workshop with aspiring Cambodian poets, exchanging poems and crafting translations into English and/or Khmer that culminated in a public, multilingual poetry reading at Meta House, the German Cambodian Cultural Center, sponsored by the Goethe Institute.

Translation workshop at Meta House on 8/8/2017

The group also attended the screening of Cambodia Son in a community theater. The 2014 documentary by Masashiro Sugano relates the odyssey of Kosal Khiev, now 37 years old, born in a refugee camp in Cambodia, exiled as a one-year old to California with his mother and siblings, falling into delinquency and jailed at 16 for the next 14 years; and deported to Cambodia, permanently banished from the USA. Kosal, who has become a spoken word artist, took questions from the audience, shared memories and hopes, performed his texts, and joined the Sylt Foundation fellows for dinner.

Spoken word artist Kosal Khiev with Indra Wussow, Jesús Sepúlveda, Diu Ga Lay and Chantha Lock on 9/8/2017

Another unforgettable encounter took place with Youk Chhang, founder and director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (or DC-Cam). Himself a survivor, a refugee in the USA, and now a philanthropist and human rights advocate, he has a mission to document and educate about Khmer Rouges atrocities, bring justice to the victims, and heal with the curative powers of art and beauty. In addition to his archival research, Mr. Chhang commissioned late Lebanese celebrated architect Dame Zaha Hadid to design an exceptional building named the Sleuk Rith Institute that will serve as an archive, a museum, and a graduate research center for trauma studies in the heart of the Cambodian capital. The fellows toured the Documentation Center, observed the busy team of interns digitizing documents and testimonies, and the work of videographers, then visited the nearby Wat Langka temple to marvel at the funerary urns hidden from the Khmer Rouge and rediscovered by accident by Mr. Chhang. Across the boulevard, Cambodia’s main teacher’s college, the National Institute of Education, boasts an art gallery. As a parting gift to the group, Mr. Chhang gave everyone the Teacher’s Guidebook to the teaching of “a history of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979)” published by DC-Cam along with a textbook printed in the hundreds of thousands and distributed to all students in grade 9-12 (Kampuchea was the name of the Khmer Rouge state). “Genocide education is genocide prevention,” says the back cover.

Director of DC-Cam Youk Chhang with IndraWussow, Jesús Sepúlveda & Sasha Rey on 11/8/2017

Sepúlveda also delved into Cambodia’s contrasted history with an emotional visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (a high school converted into a torture center by the Khmer Rouge), a tour of the Royal Palace, and excursions near the city of Siem Reap to the famed temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bantey Srei, and Preah Khan.

Grateful thanks go to the Sylt Foundation’s generosity and vision in making possible an essential cross-cultural, international dialogue among the arts on responding to trauma, on identity formation and transformation.

August 28, 2017

Jesús Sepúlveda Celebrates the 27th International Festival of Poetry in Medellín, Colombia

Eleven days after the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) laid down their arms, the International Festival of Poetry in Medellín began its 27th version, celebrating world peace and reconciliation in Colombia.

If Medellín was associated with Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels in the early 1990’s, today it has become the capital of poetry.

From July 8th to 15th, 2017, an international community of poets met in Medellín to celebrate poetry and peace through the slogan “construyendo el país soñado” and explore possible articulations to link poetry to the peace-making process.

Chilean poet and RL instructor Jesús Sepúlveda was invited to participate with more than 100 other selected international and Colombian poets to read poetry in public.  Readings were also held in Bogotá and in other locations in the country, including the so-called “normalization zones” near temporary guerrilla camps where former fighters transition into civil life.

Each day poets shared their poetry in public spaces—local libraries in underprivileged neighborhoods, countercultural theaters, universities, public plazas, and many cultural buildings.

This year was symbolic because of the recent peace agreement, but also particularly difficult because of political conflicts, which led some important institutions to withdraw their support from the festival.  As the founder and director of the festival poet Fernando Rendón put it, the cultural functionaries feel they own the public budget, therefore:

“Aunque la guerra haya terminado, se mantiene la escala de tropas y armamentos, y el mal gusto por la áspera dominación y la cultura de la fuerza; se menoscaba aún más el presupuesto de la cultura; se interceptan los fondos de las agencias de cooperación que engrosan los presupuestos ministeriales; se imponen nuevos tributos y requisitos a las actividades culturales; se privatizan espacios tradicionales para el arte; se restringe al máximo el uso del espacio “público”; se hace inaccesible el costo de los libros y otros productos culturales; se incumplen compromisos con sectores  avanzados del teatro nacional; se imponen a los actores culturales las mismas normas contables que a las empresas trasnacionales; se retienen aportes vitales para desarrollar procesos en los tiempos puntuales; se maltrata a los creadores y gestores.”


In spite of these difficulties, the festival was able to assemble poets, musicians and the public in an exceptional and peaceful symbiosis that makes this festival one of the most important poetry events around the world.

Poets also led literary workshops on current issues.  Jesús Sepúlveda delivered a talk on poetry and utopia called “Jardines para la paz” at the Corporación Ecológica y Cultural Penca de Sábila.  At the end of this workshop, participants wrote their own creative pieces.  The following day a reading was organized at the Palacio de Bellas Artes where poets Samuel Bossini and Graciela Maturo from Argentina and Jesús Sepúlveda read together with some participants from different workshops that took place during the week in the context of the “Escuela de Poesía del Festival” directed by poet Jairo Guzmán.

The closing ceremony of the festival was a collective reading where many poets, including Sepúlveda, read their work in front of a multitude that gathered at the Parque de los Deseos.  The crowd’s enthusiastic cheers and applause were an uplifting confirmation of the powers of poetry to embrace peace and unity in a country submerged in armed conflict for the last 53 years.

Jesús Sepúlveda adds: “I can only express my gratitude for the warm welcome and dedication of Fernando and Luis Eduardo Rendón, Gloria y Natalia, and all organizers for the smooth organization led by a team of presenters, interpreters, and translators, and for the energizing spirit of Colombia.  Language transformed into poetry and poetry transformed into peace are the keys of this festival whose creative resonance is a crucial experience for poets in all languages.  ¡Viva el Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín!”

[For more information about the “Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín,” click here:]


June 11, 2017

Professor of Spanish David Wacks publishes in The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies

Professor of Spanish David Wacks has published an essay entitled “An Interstitial History of Medieval Iberian poetry” in The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies Companion to Iberian Studies. (Javier Muñoz-Basols, Laura Lonsdale, and Manuel Delgado, London: Routledge, 2017)

Medieval Iberian literature shows us a poetic culture that drew on several linguistic and regional traditions, and that was characterized far more by bilingualism, diglossia, and artistic crossings than by anything approaching a monolingual sense of national culture. In this essay Wacks examines the interstices of these crossings in a series of examples of the poetic cultures of medieval Iberia: the adaptation of popular Romance and colloquial Andalusi Arabic lyric by poets working in Classical Arabic and Hebrew (10th-13th   c.), the adaptation of classical Arabic poetics by Andalusi Hebrew poets (10th-14th c.), the diffusion of Provençal and Galician-Portuguese poetics throughout the Peninsula (12th-13th c.), Jewish authors’ adaptations of Romance language poetics (14th-15th c.), and the phenomenon of Aljamiado poetry, Ibero-Romance verses written in Arabic characters by crypto-Muslim writers in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The essay is available Open Acess here.

January 9, 2017

LALISA Conference: April 13-15

Program for LALISA and Conference registration available here!

CALL FOR PAPERS: 2nd LALISA CONFERENCE: April 13-15 2017 (already closed)

From Catalonia to California, Cuba, Chile, to all the many areas impacted by the long Iberian expansion that started in the 15th century, the foundational divisions of center and periphery have constituted cultural and social spaces where languages, bodies, ethnicities, and alternate mappings have resisted colonial hegemonic practices and institutions. According to Mexican philosopher Leopoldo Zea (1912-2004) the peripheral mappings within which Spain and Portugal were placed in the early modern period positioned their colonial territories at “the periphery of a periphery.” Decolonial movements and theoretical discussions have critically revisited the concept of periphery and problematized the discussion with new terms such as Gloria Anzaldúa’s “nepantilism” (“being between crossroads”) and her post-binary discussion of mestizo/a identities. Following on the fruitful discussions of our inaugural conference at Reed College in the spring of 2016, our Second Conference of LALISA at the University of Oregon aims to investigate the validity and contemporary currency of the center-periphery model as a way to understand Latin American, Latino/a, and Iberian cultural productions and social formations. We expect to receive papers from various disciplines across the humanities and the social sciences that will deal with issues related to the central themes of the conference:

Center/periphery; Peripheral knowledges and identities; Colonial and postcolonial cartographies; Spatial identifications; Walls, borders, and the end of globalization; Eurocentrism, white supremacist geographies of exclusion; Environmental humanities; Global/local; Postcoloniality in the post-Hispanic world; Gender formations in the peripheries of modernity; Virtual borders, zones of influence, divisions; Regionalism and nationalism, postnationalism, and neonationalism; Space and the modern/premodern/postmodern debate; Latinidad/hispanidad/indigenismo; Enrique Dusell’s concepts “underside of modernity, Transmodernity”; Marginalization and economic oppression; Racial peripheries, racialized bodies and places; Transatlantic crossings, hemispheric displacements, migrations, diasporas.

Abstracts should include a full title, a 300-word description of the paper, and the institutional affiliation of the presenter. Papers will be accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Please direct your enquiries and abstract submissions to

Peripheral Mappings:

Social and Cultural Geographies from the Underside of Modernity

Deadline for receipt of abstracts is January 30th.

Confirmations and a full program will be made available in February. A selection of revised papers presented at the conference will be published in the new UO-based online journal Periphērica: Journal of Social, Cultural, and Literary History in 2017/18.

The conference fee ($50 for faculty, $25 for graduate students) will include light breakfast and lunches on Friday and Saturday; a conference dinner ($45) on Friday will be available for those wishing to attend. Presenters will need to be members of the LALISA association at in order to attend the conference and the business meeting on Saturday, April 15th.


Poetry takes Jesús Sepúlveda to South Africa

Sylt Foundation Invites Jesús Sepúlveda to South Africa

Chilean poet and senior instructor Jesús Sepúlveda just returned from a three-week writer’s residency in Johannesburg where he met South African writers, poets, and artists.


Renowned poet Vonani Bila and Jesús Sepúlveda

Sponsored by the Sylt Foundation, Sepúlveda visited renowned poet Vonani Bila and his wife Gudani Ramikosi, an author of children’s books, at the Timbila Writers’ Village in the Northeastern province of Limpopo. Bila completed in 2016—in collaboration with poet Max Makisi Marhanele—the edition of the first comprehensive monolingual Xitsonga dictionary, Tihlungu ta Rixaka. Xitsonga is one of the ten vernacular languages in South Africa and the 920-page dictionary represents a great recognition of the importance of South African native languages. Sepúlveda will donate his personal copy to the UO library, so the dictionary can be available in the Pacific Northwest library system.

While in Johannesburg—also known as Joburg or Jozi, the two most common abbreviations for this city, the largest one in South Africa—Sepúlveda met with Aragorn Eloff, a member of the bolo’bolo collective and responsible for the publication of his book The Garden of Peculiarities reprinted in Cape Town in 2016. On the occasion of Sepúlveda’s visit to South Africa, Eloff published an interview, “A Mockingbird in the Garden,” in the online publication Medium on December 15, 2016.


Sepúlveda and kids from the Elim

Sepúlveda and kids from the Elim

Indra Wussow, art critic and collector, translator, writer and director of the Sylt Foundation, organized several literary tertulias to connect Sepúlveda with local writers and poets such as Xoli Norman, Charl-Pierre Naudé, Phillippa Yaa de Viliers as well as pianist Jill Richards and painter Jaco van Schalkwyk. Wussow also organized visits to sites of cultural, historical, and political interest. Tumi Mokgope, project manager of the Sylt Foundation, guided Sepúlveda through these sites: the Township of Soweto, home of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu where the uprising of 1976 triggered the social movement that ended apartheid in 1990; the Cradle of Humankind and the Sterkfontein Caves in the outskirts of Johannesburg, where the finds of ancient hominin fossils are exhibited. Sepúlveda also visited the Apartheid Museum in Joburg and the Freedom Park Museum in Pretoria to learn about the systematic and hideous regime of racial segregation installed in the country from 1948 to 1990.

During his stay, Sepúlveda also met with writers Zaide Harneker and Frank Meintjies, active members of the South African literary and political milieu, and discussed the development of the Abantu Book Festival, activism in Johannesburg, and the social and educational crisis in the country, with a 26.6% unemployment rate in 2016. Sepúlveda also discussed the current situation with Angie Kapelianis, broadcast journalist of SABC National Radio, who has been covering political news since Mandela’s presidential election in 1994.

While writing about the Soweto uprising, Sepúlveda found intriguing similarities between Chile and South Africa. “I was surprised to realize how close the recent political history of both countries are. Chile and South Africa ended their cruel regimes through massive demonstrations and civil disobedience at the end of the 1980’s, while transitioning toward modern, stable and yet neoliberal democracies. Rampant neoliberalism produces abyssal social gap and class segregation, which is the cause of huge problems in both countries. Another similarity is the nature of the extractive economies based on mine exploitation—with its negative ecological impact on the natural environment and people’s health. Another parallel is how South Africa and Chile have become in the last decade magnetic poles that attract economic immigration. While Chile has the fastest growing immigrant population in South America, receiving people from neighbor countries as well as from Colombia, Haiti, and Spain; South Africa is the second African country after Ivory Coast to receive people, making the immigrant population 4% of the total inhabitants in the country. After this residency, I have learned a great deal about South Africa, helping me to reflect with a wider perspective on Chile as well as the US, and reaffirming my conviction to honor linguistic diversity and cultural differences as the only way to build up tolerant societies for a harmonious world. I’m extremely grateful to the Sylt Foundation and Indra Wussow for this great opportunity.”


Xoli Norman

Indra Wussow

Indra Wussow

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