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December 7, 2016


The Department of Romance Languages now accepting applications for RL scholarships!!!

RL scholarships are open to current UO undergraduate and graduate students in the Romance Languages Department. Undergraduate students must be declared majors or minors in the Romance Languages Department at the time of application. In order to receive a scholarship award you must be enrolled at the UO as a full time student during the 2017/2018 academic year.

The completed application is due in the Romance Languages Office by Monday, February 6th, 2017.

For more information please visit:

October 3, 2016

Two New Assistant Professorships in RL!

Our department is growing in new directions and we are announcing two new tenure-track openings for September 2017:

  • Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics, with specialization in contact linguistics, discourse analysis, or pragmatics. See UO Jobs.
  • Assistant Professor with a specialization in Contemporary Mediterranean Studies in French and Italian. See UO Jobs.

The Department of Romance Languages at the University of Oregon invites applications for a tenure track position of Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics, with specialization in contact linguistics,discourse analysis, or pragmatics. We are a creative department in the process of enhancing our curricula in Romance Languages and seek candidates with an active research agenda, demonstrated excellence in teaching, commitment to mentoring undergraduates and graduates, and professional proficiency in English and Spanish. The successful candidate will actively contribute to the newly-established Language and Society concentration in Spanish. The expected start date is September 2017.

Special consideration will be given to candidates who have research interests and expertise in multi-methodologies can teach a range of courses at the upper-division undergraduate and graduate levels, such as phonetics, advanced grammar, sociolinguistics, and second-language teaching methods, and historical linguistics can collaborate in the direction of our Spanish and Spanish Heritage Language programs can advise students in the SLAT certificate program (Second Language acquisition and Teaching) can participate in interdisciplinary programs such as Latino/a and Latin American Studies work effectively with faculty, staff, and students to enhance diversity, accessibility, and inclusion can teach in another Romance language.

Submit application online at Interested applicants should submit letter of application:  CV, samples of research, evidence of successful teaching (e.g. class evaluations, supervisor’s report, or teaching portfolio), and three letters of recommendation to: Spanish Linguist Search Committee c/o Professor Amalia Gladhart, Head, Department of Romance Languages, 1233 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1233. To ensure full consideration, application materials must be submitted by November 14, 2016.  Position will remain open until filled.

The Department of Romance Languages at the University of Oregon invites applications for a tenure track position at the rank of Assistant Professor with a specialization in Contemporary Mediterranean Studies in French and Italian, beginning in September 2017. Research specialization is open, though fields of particular interest to us include Migration Studies, Europe and the Maghreb, the Global South, Film and other visual media, Decolonial Studies, or Translation Studies. We prefer candidates whose research program addresses both French/Francophone and Italian/Italophone contexts.

The successful candidate will teach courses at the upper-division undergraduate and graduate level, in French or Italian, as well as a general education course in English, and have the ability to work effectively with faculty, staff, and students from a variety of diverse backgrounds.  We are a creative department in the process of enhancing our curricula in Romance Languages and seek candidates with a strong publication record, demonstrated excellence in teaching, commitment to mentoring undergraduates and graduates, and professional proficiency in English and French or Italian. Ph.D. must be in hand by the time of the appointment.

Submit application online at  Interested applicants should submit a letter of application, CV, writing sample (e.g. article, book chapter, dissertation chapter), evidence of successful teaching (e.g. class evaluations, supervisor’s report, or teaching portfolio), and three letters of recommendation to: Mediterranean Studies Search committee c/o Professor Amalia Gladhart, Head, Department of Romance Languages, 1233 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR  97403-1233.  To ensure full consideration, application material must be submitted by November 15, 2016.  Position will remain open until filled.

The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the ADA. The University encourages all qualified individuals to apply, and does not discriminate on the basis of any protected status, including veteran and disability status.

UO prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by UO policy. Questions may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, or to the Office for Civil Rights. Contact information, related policies, and complaint procedures are listed on the statement of non-discrimination.

June 14, 2016

Commencement 2016!!!

RL Celebrates its graduates. Congratulations to the class of 2016!

The Romance Languages 2016 Commencement Ceremony took place on Monday, June 13th.  The event was a held outdoors in the EMU Amphitheater. Congratulations to all of the graduates!!  A special congratulations is order for the MA graduates (Elena Delgado Vazquez, Alizée Guillou, Marie Rodiet, Maureen Toussieux, Elizabeth Valdez, Javier Velasco) and RL newly minted Doctors, Alvaro Ares, Vania Diaz Romero Paz, Sandra Mefoude Obiono, Erin Moberg, Luz Romero Montano, Aara Zweifel.

Arika & Senna DSCN4289 DSCN4301 DSCN4305 DSCN4316 DSCN4326 DSCN4329 Elizabeth & Marie DSCN4259

June 7, 2016

Trujillo awarded Perry J. Powers scholarship


Te conecta con tus raíces y te hace valorar ser bilingüe y entender que tienes dos puntos de vista.

Wendy Trujillo, a major in Spanish with plans of becoming a teacher, was awarded the Perry J Powers scholarship by the Department of Romance Languages. Wendy was additionally awarded a UO General University Scholarship.

Wendy has a history of excelling. She migrated to the U.S. from El Salvador as a 10-year-old with her little brother in order to reunite with her parents. She faced, amongst other challenges, a language barrier. Yet she graduated from Willamette High School with honors and was awarded the Future First Citizen Scholarship awarded by the Eugene Chamber of Commerce. This award is given to one student per high school in Eugene.

Wendy began her studies in Spanish at the University of Oregon in the Spanish Heritage Language program in the fall of 2015. She came from LCC, where she had maintained a 4.0, which she has maintained at UO. Wendy balances school with a heavy workload and participation in CMAE and MEChA. In regards to the SHL program, Wendy shared, “Te conecta con tus raíces y te hace valorar ser bilingüe y entender que tienes dos puntos de vista. ”

Congratulations, Wendy.

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


March 11, 2016

Spanish Major Delaney Swink learns about Mapuche culture in Chile

swink 01Last semester Spanish Major Delaney Swink lived in Chile, studying for the first half of this academic year at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. In Valparaiso she was able to get involved in the community, volunteering with an organization called Hogar de Cristo, distributing hot and ready meals to the homeless around the city, directly to the places they sleep on the streets, creating opportunity to speak with people and gain perspective.

At the end of the semester Swink traveled to the south of Chile to work with an NGO called Maple Microdevelopment (founded by UO alumni) to learn about their micro-lending organization. In just one week, Swink was able to participate in the day-to-day lives of three Mapuche (indigenous people from Chile) families, scraping the surface of understanding some of the issues they face, and observing firsthand how Maple is becoming an integral factor in helping Mapuche families revive their culture and develop their community in ways that fit their community goals. Maple was an inspiration to Swink, who says that it was

“a model for how I would want to run my own nonprofit if provided the opportunity; respect for the needs of the community above all.”

Read more about Swink’s experience in Chile:

February 24, 2016

Sheela Hadjivassiliou wins scholarship to spend a semester in Lyon, France

In August of 2015, I was selected as the Graduate Teaching Fellow that would spend a semester in Lyon, France. I was awarded the Beall Scholarship which enabled me to undertake this fantastic experience. I am grateful to the Romance Language department and to the faculty that supported my candidacy for this position. I was aware of this unique program for graduate students studying French at the University of Oregon, but I had no idea that I would be able to profit from this opportunity so early on in my PhD program. I completed a Masters in Romance Languages (French and Spanish) in June of 2015, and I embarked upon my adventure in Lyon for the first term of my doctoral studies.

Sheela Hadjivassiliou in Lyon, France.

Sheela Hadjivassiliou in Lyon, France.

While in Lyon, I lived five minutes from the Rhone River and would often walk along the river path in the evening. My studio was centrally located and I took full advantage of Lyon’s excellent public transportation system to explore the city. My job was twofold: similarly to being a GTF at the University of Oregon, in Lyon, I was both a student and an employee. As an employee, I worked as the graduate assistant for the Centre Oregon. I assisted the undergraduate students with practical details—getting cell phones, calling utility companies, etc.—and I helped the students navigate the French university system and create their class schedules. I also planned cultural events that we attended as a group. I met amazing people, saw incredible museums, gazed at fantastic architecture, shopped at open air markets, and scoured the city trying to find the best boulangerie. I was in Lyon with a remarkable group of undergraduates, and together we went to the theater, film festivals and museums. We saw plays that ranged from the Geneva Ballet’s futuristic interpretation of the Nutcracker to a modern playwright’s interpretation of classical Indian epic mythology.

Sheela in Lyon with students

Sheela in Lyon with students

As a student, I pursued my own research interests while taking classes. I study India’s French colonial past; specifically, the history of the French colonization in southern India. My research interests include: Indian diaspora and migration studies, Indian identity in Caribbean and Mauritian Literature and dramatic stagings of “India” in contemporary French theater. I attended two plays that portrayed “India”—one at the Lyon Opera and the other at a small experimental repertory theater— and my current project involves analyzing the manner in which both of these productions choose to represent “India”. I examine temporal and spatial factors in conjunction with other formal theatrical elements, and I consider structures of meaning in both plays to interrogate the ways in which “India” becomes homogenized and exoticized.

Although I had many positive and wonderful experiences in Lyon, I was also there during the November 13th Paris attacks. I felt somewhat removed geographically—Lyon is two hours south of Paris—yet the attacks impacted my time in France and marked a change in my experience as an American student studying abroad. The attacks themselves were horrific. They seemed to provoke reactions that were divisive and unifying—bringing out both the best and the worst among the people I encountered in both Lyon and Paris. On one hand, I witnessed disturbing and violently racist reactions to the attacks—fear inspired Islamophobia that I found more terrifying than the attacks themselves. On the other hand, I was able to witness extraordinary unity in the face of extreme violence. For example, I attended a vigil at the Lyon 2 campus at which the university president called for tolerance and peace. He condemned the senseless violence of the attacks while at the same time stressing the diverse and vibrant nature of the university’s student body. I travelled to Paris two days after the attacks and was struck by the surreal sense of normalcy superimposed upon a city in mourning.

Memorial for the Paris attacks in Lyon

Memorial for the Paris attacks in Lyon

Despite the attacks and subsequent state of national emergency that prohibited large public gatherings, I was able to experience Lyon’s famous festival of lights, if in a much more subdued form. Instead of four days of music and festivities, the 2015 Fête des Lumières was observed just the night of the 8th of December. Thousands of candles were placed in window sills, they were carried through the streets and then many were placed in front of a memorial to the victims of the attacks.

I am now adjusting to life back on campus at the University of Oregon and pursuing my first year of coursework as a doctoral student. I am currently the secretary of the Romance Language Graduate Student Association (RLGSA), and together with my colleagues, we are planning our annual Works in Progress event and various other professionalization workshops for the graduate student body. It is only now that I have returned to Eugene that I can fully appreciate the wealth of both cultural and linguistic experience that I gained in Lyon.

lyon beaujolais 1

February 11, 2016

Mariko Plescia Makes a Short Film about Interning for the 2015 EDOC Film Festival

“What do we value more: our commitment to justice or our fear of the law?”

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden posed this question to a full house the opening night of the 2015 EDOC (“Encuentros del Otro Cine”) Film Festival in Quito, Ecuador. May 21st at roughly 7 p.m. in Quito, 3 a.m. in Moscow, Snowden joined the festival via videoconference to discuss Laura Poitras’ film Citizenfour (2014). For Romance Languages graduate student Mariko Plescia (RL PhD ABD), who interned with the festival during the 2014-2015 academic year, this moment represented not only the culmination of much collaboration to secure the meeting with Snowden, but also a link between her research on Latin American documentary film and compelling contemporary politics.

Snowden joined the film festival EDOC 2015 via videoconference.

Snowden joined the film festival EDOC 2015 via videoconference.


After defending the prospectus of her dissertation, “The Politics and Poetics of Time in Contemporary Latin American Documentary Film,” Mariko wanted a way to gain professional experience in the film industry while also continuing her research. So, she contacted Cinememoria, the nonprofit cultural organization that hosts the EDOC film festival, and proposed a collaboration. With the support of her advisor Cecilia Enjuto Rangel (Romance Languages) and professor Gabriela Martínez (Journalism, Cinema Studies), Mariko was awarded the Dixon Graduate Innovation Award in order to pursue this year abroad.

From October through the culmination of the festival in June, Mariko participated in the day to day building of the festival’s XIV edition. As part of the programming team, she worked with directors and distribution companies in the process of incorporating films in the festival. Among other highlights were working in the video archives and collaborating with Manolo Sarmiento (Cinememoria, executive director) on a grant proposal for the EDOC Online Film Archive Platform, a project for which the UO Digital Scholarship Center provided significant guidance.

Mariko at the film festival inaugural ceremony.

Mariko at the film festival inaugural ceremony.

Mariko explains that working for the festival opened her eyes to the tense balance between the routine tasks and the decisive taking of political sides that go into crafting a cultural event like EDOC. True to the 2015 festival slogan, “Ver la realidad te cambia,” Mariko describes the festival program as impacting. The lineup revealed global instability, a sort of “champú caótico,” as the festival director describes: from Citizenfour and the Snowden revelations to We Come as Friends and neocolonialism in South Sudan, the films expose an entangled battlefield of global powers. Sarmiento states, “estamos saliendo de la hegemonía americana ya desde hace bastantes años y todavía no está claro quién va a ser el nuevo hegemónico, tal vez no lo haya . . .” (February, 2015).

On a note that dialogues with Mariko’s examination of ethics and time in Latin American documentary films, during the opening ceremony Snowden thanked Poitras and documentary filmmakers around the world, explaining, “we have a better world because of the work you do.” He also mentioned that he feels a “special fondness” for Latin America because it is one of the first regions “to stand up and say no, things have to change.” According to Mariko, Snowden’s audience was attentive and excited, abuzz with the significance of this conversation at both a national level and worldwide. Other memorable aspects of the festival included a master class with directors Alan Berliner and Hubert Sauper, leading Q/A sessions with directors Berliner, Firouzeh Khosrovani, and Mateo Herrera, and writing for the festival catalog and periodical.

Mariko Plescia interviewing Firouzeh Khosrovani at EDOC 2015 film festival.

Mariko Plescia interviewing Firouzeh Khosrovani at EDOC 2015 film festival.

Pulling together the festival experience with her research on Latin American documentary film, Mariko made a short film (El otro cine) about EDOC and its historical impact on the audiovisual field in Ecuador. Along with a small cinematic crew, she interviewed the founding members of Cinememoria, filmmakers, fans, and public functionaries in the cultural sector, including the director of Ecuadorian National Cinema Council and the rector of the National University of the Arts, Guayaquil. These conversations allowed Mariko to address her burning questions to the filmmakers and to better understand how the industry (from funding to distribution) contributes to the meaning of the films. El otro cine was shown as part of the UO, Oregon State and Portland State University Cine-Lit VIII International Conference on Hispanic Film and Fiction in February, 2014.

Back at UO, Mariko is busy integrating this rich period of research into her dissertation writing and looks forward to sharing her reflections on two Ecuadorian films at the American Comparative Literature Association 2016 Conference. She also continues to edit the interview material for a short video to incorporate in Spanish and Latin American Cinema classes here at the University of Oregon. Mariko says that after seeing Citizenfour she is more conscious of what she types into the google search engine; but thanks to Snowden and brave filmmakers like those represented at EDOC14, she is also more motivated to develop a strong critical voice through her work as a UO graduate student.

Inaugural ceremony of EDOC 2015 film festival.

Inaugural ceremony of EDOC 2015 film festival.

January 11, 2016

Herrmann Awarded NEH Fellowship for book project on Spanish Civil War

Associate Professor of Spanish Gina Herrmann has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for her book project, Voices of the Vanquished: Spanish Women on the Left between Franco and Hitler.

Voices of the Vanquished is a book about Spanish and Catalan women’s oral histories that recount and grapple with their participation in anti-fascist movements in Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), their fight against the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975), their involvement in the French Resistance during World War II (1940-45), and for some, their survival of Nazism.


Tití (L) y Neus Catalá (R) After their Liberation from the Nazi Camp at Ravensbruck

Tití (L) y Neus Catalá (R) After their Liberation from the Nazi Camp at Ravensbruck


Herrmann will take her fellowship in the 2017-18 academic year.

January 7, 2016

Faculty Interview: Harinder Khalsa

FullSizeRender_2What was your path to the University of Oregon?

I was born in Ankara, Turkey. After the first year of college I moved to Istanbul where I continued to my studies in Italian Language and Literature. While I was in college I started taking classes at the Istituto italiano di cultura. Many European nations have these cultural institutions where they teach language and culture. There I earned several scholarships to study abroad in Italy during summer times.

My first study abroad was in Siena and then I went to Perugia twice while I was an undergraduate student. After I graduated, I received another scholarship to participate in a longer program, Corso di formazione per gli insegnanti d’italiano, in Perugia for learning how to teach Italian as a second language. Towards the end of my stay, in the month of July I met the person who I would end up marrying after six months. He was a UO student doing his study abroad program in Perugia. As they say, the rest is history.

In 1993 I came here and started as a GTF, working on my Masters in Italian. By 1998 I had earned two masters degrees in Italian and Linguistics. I had a baby the same year and taught Italian classes at Willamette University for nearly two years. Then in 1999 I was hired as an instructor. So since I started, I never stopped teaching Italian.

What made you want to study Italian?

My first major was Physics, but the trouble getting through Calculus 251, guided me to look for a different path. When I was a teenager, I used to travel with my grandma a lot. One of those summers, I was in the Southern part of Turkey, and I met an Italian family and we became friends. I just fell in love with their way of being and their language the sound of it and everything. And I said, “you know what, why don’t I study Italian?” Making a decision that completely changed my life was really as simple as that!

Why should people study Italian?FullSizeRender_3

It’s important to learn a language different than yours. Learning a language helps one grow in a way that may not be possible otherwise. Seeing the world from a totally different perspective, seeing yourself from a different perspective- it brings objectivity. It helps one face their own limitations but also discover their own strengths and see that there is not only one way of doing things.

When you learn a language you learn a whole new set of problem solving skills. I speak three languages, and I have at least three different ways of approaching situations at hand. Sometimes, I think like an Italian, sometimes I think like a Turkish person and sometimes I have to think like an American.

What was that ‘light bulb moment’ that led you to a career in Romance languages?

It was in my second study abroad experience, in Perugia, where there’s this big university of foreigners. And I met people from all over the world basically, from Cameroon to Greece to Ireland to United States- basically all around the world. And we all had one thing in common: a desire to learn Italian and speak it well. All our joys, sorrows, everything we shared in Italian. That unifying aspect of Italian had a great impact on me. We were all very different people, but we were still able to get together, speak in a different language from our own and discover that we were actually not so different. But it took a language in common for us to discover that. I hope all students at the University of Oregon discover the language that may have similar positive effects in their lives. A great place to start that discovery is

— Madison Layton @MadisonLayton01






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