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December 16, 2019

2019 Autorretrato Poetry Awards Announced

Warm congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Autorretrato Poetry Awards!


After reading Pablo Neruda’s poem “Autorretrato” during the third week of classes of Fall term—and following plenty of creative conversations about poetic descriptions—all 462 second-year Spanish students created their own poetry, writing “self-portrait” poems in emulation of Neruda’s style. Instructors selected the best poem from each of their classes, and a combined GEs and faculty committee (Mariko Plescia, Jon Jaramillo, Analisa Taylor) chose the three winners from among nineteen finalists. Senior Instructor II Rosario Murcia coordinated the awards, with the collaboration of the entire second-year teaching team. Winners received gift-certificates to the Duck Store.

And the winners are. . .

First Place: Princess Mason for her poem “La princesa” (Nathan Whalen’s student).

Second Place: Sean Kudrna for her poem “La diáspora” (Yosa Vidal’s student).

Third Place: Eleanor Davis for her poem “Yo soy el zoológico” (Paulo Henriquez’s student).


Our thanks go to:

All the Spanish 201 Instructors and Graduate Employees for their inspiration, encouragement, dedication in empowering their students to write such moving poetry in Spanish.

The Spanish 201 students themselves for the creativity of their wonderful “autorretratos”

November 14, 2019

Nov 15-16 Race, Racialization, & the Early Modern—Emerging Views


COLT invites you to join guests David Sterling Brown (SUNY Binghamton), Nick Jones (Bucknell U), Christina Lee (Princeton) and Marc Schacter (Durham, U.K.) and respondents Lara Bovilsky (ENG), Leah Middlebrook (COLT), Amanda Powell (RL) and David Wacks (RL) as we consider new research and emerging methodologies by which to approach the concepts of racialization, race, and emergent discourses of national, ethnic and religious identity in the early modern period. In particular, these discussions build from the insight that modern ideas about race were shaped in part by discourses of religious and ethnic sameness and difference that developed in medieval and early modern Iberia.

In addition to the scheduled research presentations and discussions, the symposium includes two open conversations, one focused on mentoring strategies for the 21st century and one focused on publishing venues.

The symposium runs from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Friday and from 9-12:30 on Saturday. All events will be held in the Spruce and Cedar Rooms of the EMU.

Readings are available in advance, for those who would like to learn more about the research of our invited guests.

Please contact Leah Middlebrook ( for links to the readings, or with any questions.

Hope to see you there!

November 7, 2019

Millar Publishes Book on Cuban and Angolan Revolutionary Cultures

Analyzes parallel developments in post–Cold War literature and film from Cuba and Angola to trace a shared history of revolutionary enthusiasm, disappointment, and solidarity.

In Forms of Disappointment, Lanie Millar traces the legacies of anti-imperial solidarity in Cuban and Angolan novels and films after 1989. Cuba’s intervention in Angola’s post-independence civil war from 1976 to 1991 was its longest and most engaged internationalist project and left a profound mark on the culture of both nations. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Millar argues, Cuban and Angolan writers and filmmakers responded to this collective history and adapted to new postsocialist realities in analogous ways, developing what she characterizes as works of disappointment. Revamping and riffing on earlier texts and forms of revolutionary enthusiasm, works of disappointment lay bare the aesthetic and political fragmentation of the public sphere while continuing to register the promise of leftist political projects. Pushing past the binaries that tend to dominate histories of the Cold War and its aftermath, Millar gives priority to the perspectives of artists in the Global South, illuminating networks of anticolonial and racial solidarity and showing how their works not only reflect shared feelings of disappointment but also call for ethical gestures of empathy and reconciliation.

Forms of Disappointment offers an insightful and unique comparative analysis of a body of works produced in the post–Cold War period. By focusing on the Global South, instead of the customary north-south relationship favored by Cuba experts, the book contributes significantly to the fields of Cuban, African, and Latin American Studies; and more broadly to ‘affect theory’ and postcolonial studies. It is remarkably well written with elegant and clear prose.” — Marta Hernández Salván, author of Mínima Cuba: Heretical Poetics and Power in Post-Soviet Cuba

June 10, 2019

UO Language Students earn Global Seal of Biliteracy

[see the corresponding article in the Register-Guard]

The University of Oregon has awarded 210 language students with the Global Seal of Biliteracy in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish in an inaugural program. Recipients tested to qualify for the new Global Seal of Biliteracy and can use the language credential to document their skills for jobs and study abroad opportunities.

The Yamada Language Center event was attended by awardees, university language professors, Sheila Bong of Avant Assessment, and Global Seal of Biliteracy representative, Hunter Sudek.

Students earned either the Functional Fluency or Working Fluency Global Seal of Biliteracy award by taking the STAMP 4S test, whichwas created at the University of Oregon’s Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS).

Awardees will be well prepared, according to a recently released survey of 1,200 upper-level managers and human resources professionals conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.  “Making Languages Our Business: Addressing Foreign Language Demand Among U.S. Employers,”found that 9 out of 10 US employers rely on U.S. based employees with language skills other than English and that a majority of employers report that their need for foreign languages has increased over the past five years and project that it will continue to grow.

May 29, 2019

Periphērica e-journal Launch

The first issue of Periphērica: A Journal of Social, Cultural, and Literary History, a multilingual, online, open-access, peer-reviewed, biannual journal, will be finally available this week. Join contributors, authors, and members of the editorial board for a launch reception at the Dream Lab in the Knight Library on Friday May 31st at 4:00-5.30! Some of our collaborators will be beaming in to celebrate together the opening of the new journal. Thanks to a committed group of readers, authors, reviewers, editors, and supporters, this journal has now become a reality.
Periphērica seeks to offer new critical perspectives on the social, literary, and cultural histories of Latino-América and Iberia as liminal, peripheral spaces in the production of contemporary cultures. The first issue includes eight peer-reviewed articles, two interviews, three book reviews, and a poem.
April 11, 2019

Spring Speaker Series: Misogyny


Wednesday, April 24th

Fabian Alfie, Professor of Italian, University of Arizona

“Many Men Talking with the Same Mouth: The Discourse/s of Misogyny in Medieval Italian Literature.”
3:30-5:00PM, 151 McKENZIE HALL



Wednesday, May 8th

Renée-Claude Breitenstein, Associate Professor of French, Brock University

“Defending the Female Sex: Collected Eulogies of Women in the French Renaissance.”

3:30-5:00PM, 151 McKENZIE HALL


Friday, May 17th

Verónica Gago, University of Buenos Aires/CONICET

“El cuerpo del trabajo: una lectura desde la huelga feminista/The body of work: a reading from the feminist strike.”



Tuesday, May 21st

Samantha Irby

Keynote Speaker: Women in Media Symposium

7:00PM, LILLIS 182


April 8, 2019

Crystal Chemris publishes article

Crystal Chemris, Courtesy Assistant Professor of Spanish, has published an essay, “Moriscos, Amerindians and Góngora’s Soledades in Context,” in the journal eHumanista/Conversos.  This essay responds to the French anthropologist Carmen Bernand’s association of the Baroque poet, Luis de Góngora, the historian and critic Pedro de Valencia, and the mestizo writer Inca Garcilaso with humanist circles that grappled with the status of national minorities and the indigenous. Chemris argues that Inca Garcilaso actually anticipated Pedro de Valencia’s social writings, while Góngora incorporated features of Inca Garcilaso’s heraldic shield in his major poem. She also addresses their political and aesthetic engagement with hermeticism in the context of the debates over the Sacromonte forgeries, a series of false relics which historians have viewed as part of a clandestine campaign to promote the status of confessional minorities in Spain. Writes Chemris, “I draw inspiration from the work of my University of Oregon colleagues in transatlantic, medieval, early modern and colonial Hispanic Studies and look forward to continuing my research.”

The essay can be found in eHumanista/Conversos Vol. 6, No. 1-2, 2018, pp. 284-305.

March 18, 2019

Faculty Profile–Devin Grammon

Devin Grammon joined the Romance Languages faculty as Assistant Professor of Spanish Sociolinguistics in fall, 2018, having earned his PhD at The Ohio State University.

Grammon identifies three pillars of his research interests: sociolinguists, language contact, and language learning. His research revolves around questions of what it means to know a language or to be a speaker of a language, which is linked to a broader platform of combating inequality and making linguistics and language learning more accessible to more people. He describes his interests as arising out of reflections on his own experience as a person who learned Spanish in high school and has lived and traveled in Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. He’s done extensive research on language contact between Quechua and Spanish in Cuzco, Peru.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently digging deep into a set of interrelated questions that revolve around the theoretical construct of sociolinguistic competence, which is about the ability to use language in ways that are socially and culturally appropriate. What is the nature of sociolinguistic knowledge and how do we implement it? How do we determine what is appropriate and for whom? What metrics do we use? These issues relate to my dissertation research and several articles I’m working on about language learning, study abroad, and heritage tourism in Cuzco. Lately, I’ve been rereading work by Oregonian sociolinguist Dell Hymes from the 1970s on ‘communicative competence’ that has helped me to problematize a lot of settled knowledge in both second/foreign language education and contact linguistics. So much of what we traditionally thought about second language learning rests on assumptions that don’t really match the reality we’re living with in 21stcentury. Globalization, mobility, and technology all play a part. People increasingly learn and use language in ways that don’t sit well with the idea of the ‘native speaker’ and bounded languages that reside in the brain. Through my work, I imagine what sociolinguistics might look like if we move away from essentialist views of language and society and ask who benefits from viewing language and competence in particular ways. I feel encouraged to engage those lines of inquiry here at UO.

How did you come to be interested in sociolinguistics?

I got interested in sociolinguistics through studying Spanish. I took Spanish on a whim in high school, as one of several options to fulfill a requirement; I didn’t think about it too hard—it was something new and different. I grew up in small towns, where those kinds of classes weren’t really offered; in high school, we moved to Cañon City, Colorado, a town of 12,000 people. That was the first time I had the opportunity to take a class in another language.

The first two weeks in Spanish, I was completely lost, just really overwhelmed, and then it started to click. What made me push through?I couldn’t easily get out of the class. But more than that, the intense process where you feel vulnerable, and make connections with other students and the teacher. This interpersonal dimension was a big reason I kept taking Spanish. And once you start to get it, it’s sort of addictive, it builds its own momentum. A process of self-discovery gets bound up in language learning. I never thought that it would be something I would do as a career; it was an interest, an add-on. Even in college, I didn’t take Spanish right away, but when I did, I really liked it. I was going to be a Spanish minor. When I was almost finished with the minor, another student and I were in the library speaking in Spanish, and I was showing her photos from my study abroad program in Mexico. A student across from us got really upset, cursed as he called us foreigners, threw a stapler, and told me to leave the country. I was in total shock. It was another moment of deep introspection; confronted with my own privilege in a lot of ways, it made me want to continue, take the next step and become a Spanish major.

What other languages to do you speak or read, even a little?

After Spanish, the two languages I know best are Quechua and Portuguese because I studied them for many years. I conducted research on/in Quechua during my 18 months of fieldwork in Peru. I’m most familiar with the Cuzco-Qollaw dialect of Southern Quechua, which is spoken in Southern Peru, Bolivia, and parts of Northern Argentina. My Portuguese is rusty, but I can read it really well; I would have considered myself close to fluent at one point. I have also studied French (family ancestry) and taken Catalan. I’ve done a bit of research into Aymara, and other major indigenous languages of the Americas (Nahuatl, Maya), in order to understand some of the complexities of language contact situations.

What courses have you most enjoyed teaching—or most look forward to teaching—at the UO?

I have really enjoyed teaching Spanish in the US (SPAN 428). It’s interesting to me because, even though my research is not on Spanish in the US per se, I was already very familiar with that literature; many aspects of the situation of Spanish in US make me reflect on the situation of indigenous languages in Latin America. What’s been exciting about that class is that it has given me and the students a space to explore issues, myths, discourses, and ideologies surrounding the past, present, and future of Spanish.

Next quarter, I’m really looking forward to Language Contact in Latin America and Spain (SPAN 420/520). The course will focus a lot on social and cultural dimensions of language contact, looking at questions of linguistic diversity in the Spanish-speaking world. Looking at Rapa Nui on Easter Island, for example, will allow students to make a lot of connections to the situation in the US with Spanglish. We’ll look at more historic cases as well, such as varieties of Italian in Buenos Aires at the turn of the 20thcentury.

Did anything surprise you about UO or Eugene?

The biggest surprise was just that I was coming here to join you!  At times it’s been overwhelming, a big transition between grad school and starting a job on the tenure track. Students seem very familiar, easy to connect to. I’ve been struck many times at their level of preparation.

If anything has surprised me, it’s the extent to which I feel really at home here, in all respects. I get up in the morning, and I can’t wait to come in and get to work. And on the weekends, I can’t wait to go explore.

March 1, 2019

Grammon named 2019-20 Sustainability Faculty Fellow

Assistant Professor of Spanish Sociolinguistics Devin Grammon has been named a 2019-20 Sustainability Faculty Fellow. The fellowship will aid in the development of Grammon’s combined research and pedagogical project on the linguistic landscape and public use of Spanish in Eugene, focused on issues of sustainability. This fellowship comes with financial and programmatic support in conjunction with a three day workshop in June that will provide Grammon with opportunities to initiate ongoing community partnerships and develop community-engaged learning activities.


February 6, 2019

Prof. Millar Publishes Article on Cuban and Angolan Poetry

Lanie Millar, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, has published an article titled “Luanda in Santiago and Santiago in Luanda: Trans-Atlantic Dimensions in Cuban and Angolan Poetry” in the most recent issue of  MLN (vol. 133, no. 5, December, 2018, pp. 1277-1303). The article examines how several groups of twentieth-century Cuban and Angolan poems portray trans-Atlantic exchange between the Caribbean and Africa. It analyzes both mid-twentieth-century anti-colonial poems as well as late-twentieth-century poems written about Cuba’s support for the leftist party during Angola’s civil war, focusing on works by Cubans Nicolás Guillén, Antonio Conte, and Víctor Casaus and Angolans Agostinho Neto, Viriato da Cruz, and Manuel Rui. The poems are often considered only in their limited service to particular political messages. However, Millar argues that poetic nuances often remain hidden or unnoticed if we ignore the poetic in overtly political poetry. The article shows that these poems conceive of a more complex and nuanced idea of the Atlantic world than the simple notion of Africa as the sole origin of cultural inspiration for communities formed through slavery and colonization, which poets in the Americas imitate or copy.  As a result, the article argues, considering these groups of poems together reveals something much more complex than facile political messaging: an alternative social and political community that stretches between the Caribbean and Africa, founded on networks of readers and writers of poetry.
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