Posts under tag: Spanish
H. Ní Aódagaín (Spanish MA 2000) writes about “The Ultimate Teaching Tool: Reaching Out to Students Through Spanish Classes, and Love”
The Ultimate Teaching Tool
Reaching out to students through Spanish classes, and love
“¡Hola! ¿Cómo fue su fin de semana?” Another Monday morning Spanish class begins. Some students are alert, ready to start. Others straggle in late, excuses tumbling from their mouths. A few students are reticent to engage, even though it’s the sixth week of class. I make a special effort to reach out to them.
“How was your weekend?”
“I had to work,” the standard reply.
But sometimes their eyes meet mine, and I confront a face clouded with grief.
“My grandma died.”
Students attending Umpqua Community College (UCC) aren’t your typical undergrads. They didn’t participate in the local rite of passage, the one-hour drive north to attend the University of Oregon. They are the sons and daughters of the working class of Douglas County, whose median poverty rate rests at 20 percent. They’ve watched the timber industry—the foundation of the region’s economy—be decimated. Their dads, after years in the woods, might sit beside them in class as part of job retraining.
Domestic violence, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy form the fabric of many of these students’ lives. But so does the strength of their faith, the joys of hunting and fishing among the exquisite forests and green-gold waters of the Umpqua, and the multi-generational ties of family, a web that remains resilient against all odds. A student who mourns her grandmother mourns someone who kept her safe, told her she was smart or, without needing words, that she was loved.
Coming from a long line of educators, I believe in the power of teaching to change lives. Upon receiving my master’s from the UO in Romance Languages in 2000, I felt a duty to bring the larger world to students whose exposure was limited. I used the mechanics of Spanish as the first step toward introducing them to a bigger perspective.
It began simply enough: reciting the ABCs or counting to 10. Learning the basic question words to the tune of “Jingle Bells” had students in stitches. Maybe this Spanish stuff wasn’t so bad after all. Through the conjugation of verbs and teaching the difference between “el” and “la,” I communicated to each person that I believed in their innate ability to acquire knowledge.
“I can’t learn a language. I failed Spanish in high school,” they’d wail.
“You learned English. That’s a language. If you couldn’t speak English, then I’d agree. But you’ve already learned a language.”
My method of teaching—acknowledgment of each student’s inherent worth, and their right to be treated with dignity—grew from interacting with the distinctly unique individuals I taught: flawed, wounded, beaten down—yet still hopeful, alive, yearning.
My students taught me that encouragement, authentic caring, and respect are fundamental to the nurturing of a soul. In a classroom environment in which positive feedback—however small the achievement—was the underlying philosophy, students who were afraid to speak raised their hands, older women who had been told they “didn’t have the smarts to go to college” aced their tests, and eighteen-year-olds who hadn’t ever stepped onto a plane began to dream of visiting Paris.
From Mandy who couldn’t find Mexico on a map, to the former drug addict who gained entry into a highly competitive UO program, each student had a story worth telling. My job was to listen for it behind their self-deprecation and lack of confidence. Once I heard even a whisper of what a student wished for and was capable of, I drew out the most powerful tool I possessed and wielded it with fervor.
The subject was Spanish. The teaching tool was love.
On October 1, 2015, a UCC student shot and killed his professor and eight students. This essay is dedicated to the professor, and my colleague, Larry Levine; to the students who lost their lives while educating themselves; and to their families, for whom no words can ever console enough.
H. Ní Aódagaín, MA ’00, taught Spanish for 15 years at Umpqua Community College. To read her full essay, visit “Reaching through the Portal” at hnauthor.com.
Illustration by Sonia Pulido
Conversation (Q/A) with Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell on OCT 19 from 12pm-1:30pm at Crater Lake North EMU 146.
Please, sign up for this conversation (Q/A) by sending Cecilia Enjuto Rangel an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a limited space in this event and we want to know how many students, faculty members and members of the community are able to attend. Everyone is invited, please spread the word.
We also want to invite you attend his public lecture (free and open to everyone):
“Communication, Communion, and Confrontation in
Puerto Rican Art” by Antonio Martorell, Puerto Rican artist at
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Ford Lecture Hall
THURSDAY | OCTOBER 19 | 4 PM
Sponsored by: Teaching Engagement Program:
Community Engagement Grant
Co-Sponsored by: Oregon Humanities Center, Latin
American Studies, Division of Equity and Inclusion,
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Romance Languages,
and Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies.
Antonio Martorell is a visting artist at Linfield College. His exhibition,
“Rain/Lluvia” can be seen at the Linfield Art Gallery, opening October 16 and
continuing through November 18. It is his first exhibition in the Pacific NW.
Leonardo García-Pabón, Professor of Spanish, has published a book entitled El cuento sentimental romántico en Bolivia (siglo XIX) (La Paz, Bolivia: Plural Ediciones, 2017). This book is a 400 pages anthology of short stories of the romantic period in Bolivia (19th century). The anthology is preceded by an extensive introductory study (100 pages) that analyses the articulations of love, nation building, and narratives in the short stories. This anthology recuperates six representative short stories of the so-called sentimental romantic mode, which had been thus far overlooked by scholars and historians. These texts were originally published in journals, magazines, and newspapers in Bolivia and Peru, and this is their first modern edition.
In the introduction, Professor García-Pabón proposes a new classification of Bolivian narrative of the 19th century, separating short stories from novels (and other narratives). Moreover, his study examines each one of the six short stories in the anthology, showing the historical shift from romantic idealism predominant in the middle of the century to social realism being prevalent at the end of the century. His reading also highlights the different notions of nation, gender, love, and subjectivities that appear in these texts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
RAÚL ZURITA (1950) is one of Latin America’s most celebrated poets. His works include Purgatorio (1979), Anteparaíso (1982), Canto a su amor desaparecido (1985), La Vida Nueva (1994), INRI (2003) and Zurita (2011). Through his writings, Zurita chronicles the violent history of Chile’s military dictatorship as well as that of the Americas since the conquest. In 1979, along with other artists, he founded CADA, Colectivo de Acciones de Arte, an art action group dedicated to the creation of political art that would resist the military regime. In 1982, he composed a poem in the sky over New York, and in 1993 he bulldozed “ni pena ni miedo” (no pain no fear) into the coarse sands of the Desert of Atacama. Due to its dimensions, this line is only visible from the sky. Zurita was awarded the Chilean National Prize of Literature and a scholarship from the Guggenheim Foundation. He has been conferred two Doctor honoris causa degrees and is Professor emeritus at the Universidad Diego Portales.
Lunch Brown Bag Conversation in Spanish with the Poet
TUESDAY SEPT 26 at 12:00pm to 1:30am
Erb Memorial Union (EMU), Lease Crutcher Lewis Room 023
1395 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403
POETRY Reading (in SPANISH)
WEDNESDAY SEPT 27 4pm-5:30pm
Browsing Room, Knight Library
(Q/A in Spanish and English)
The generous support of the College of Arts and Sciences Program Grant, the Oregon Humanities Center, the Translation Studies Working Group, Romance Languages, Comparative Literature, Latin American Studies, and the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS) makes this event possible. These events are free and open to the public.
Contact Prof. Cecilia Enjuto Rangel (email@example.com) for a reservatiofor the Q/A session. We will meet at noon, so if you want to bring a brown bag lunch, you can.
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: https://www.festivaldepoesiademedellin.org/es/Intro/index.htm]
Briauna Jones (B.A. Spanish and Comparative Literature, with Latin American Studies minor, 2017) will travel to Peru after graduation in June to work in the youth development sector of the Peace Corps. After three months of training in Lima, her job will focus on healthy lifestyles and vocational skills for youth aged 14 to 22.
“I look forward to using my Spanish in a meaningful way in order to communicate with youth about well-rounded diets, safe sex practices, and exercise plans, as well as interviewing skills and resume building,” says Jones, a native of Sunriver, Oregon. Her assignment runs from August 2017 to December 2019.
Investigate why Frida Kahlo’s paintings are so enduringly popular. Dive into the world of Latin American soccer. Separate fact from fiction in the biography of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Sample popular dishes in countries across Latin America. The Latin American Studies Program offers an in-depth look at the richness and diversity of a vast area and its people. Whether pre–Columbian art, the striking wonder of the Amazon rainforest, or the history of colonialism tugs at your heartstrings, you’ll be forever changed by your newfound knowledge.
Take advantage of study abroad programs where you’ll travel to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, or other exciting places to sharpen your language skills and become familiar with new cultures. In Eugene, you can volunteer for a variety of organizations such as Centro Latino Americano, a local bilingual multicultural agency dedicated to helping the Latino community, or become politically active with the Latin American Solidarity Committee. UO students have also worked with the local school districts to mentor youth. Others have volunteered at Siempre Amigos, which provides health services to survivors of torture and political violence.
You’ll delve into politics, literature, science, ecology, and other engaging topics in courses such as Caribbean Migrants in the Literary Imagination or The Cold War in Latin America. Learn from top-notch scholars who offer encouragement in a supportive atmosphere.
Due to its inherently interdisciplinary training, our undergraduate major in Latin American Studies provides a thorough grounding in the languages, history, geography, and some of the central cultural and socio-economic issues at stake in the region. Career opportunities for students completing a degree in Latin American studies are available through such avenues as research centers, private foundations working in the area, international businesses, international nongovernmental organizations (including human-rights and environmental organizations), the Peace Corps, the United States Foreign Service, international aid programs, the United Nations and other international organizations.
It is an apocalyptic take on modern-day Mexico: Conquering angels rule the nation, indigenous groups stage a vicious revolt, widespread bloodshed ensues and no clear victor emerges.
This is Edgar Clément’s Operación Bolívar, a graphic novel with themes of conquest and foreign influence that resonate just as well now as when the book was published in 1990.
Amy Poeschl first came across Clément’s highly political project in a class on Latin American comic books last year. Long a fan of graphic novels, she instantly fell for Bolívar.
So for her, it was a no-brainer to use the book as the basis for a research project in senior lecturer Amanda Powell’s class on literary translation. Students were assigned to translate a Spanish text, such as a poem or part of a book, into English.
Never mind that none of Powell’s students had ever tried to translate a graphic novel before. Or that Bolívar is filled with complicated subtexts referring to the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the United States’ presence in Latin America. Or that Poeschl was committing not just to the translation of text, but making her new English-language version align with the original book’s visually lavish and often pointedly satirical images.
“I knew it was a big challenge because I had to deal with graphics as well as the words,” said Poeschl, who graduated from the UO earlier this year with a degree in Spanish. “But I adored the graphic novel so much that it was worth it.”
In Latin America, authors have used graphic novels to tackle serious subjects for decades. Through sharp writing and detailed imagery, they’ve pushed for economic and cultural reform, provided alternate views of the region’s history and pointedly criticized authoritarianism in government.
In Mexico, officials have distributed graphic novels widely to promote literacy among the nation’s citizens, particularly the poor, and to teach the country’s history. These trends laid the groundwork for the medium’s acceptance as a legitimate form of literature by a large swath of young people; they have carried that respect and love of graphic novels into adulthood and broadened the appeal of the medium.
Putting a Puzzle Together
Poeschl translated 20 pages of the 164-page novel. She started her project with comparatively strong chops in Spanish—she’s been studying the language since middle school and her family hails from Puerto Rico.
She pored over the 20 pages she translated roughly 100 times. It was like putting a puzzle together—one that helped Poeschl realize that translation is what she loves most about Spanish. “If I could do nothing but this for the rest of my life,” she said, “I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
First, Poeschl did a rough translation of a section, then she refined it over and over. She researched each word’s meaning in English and Spanish, referring to translation dictionaries and then repeating the process panel by panel. She spent days analyzing even a single image of an angel’s body before she began writing an interpretation.
“Researching words and their etymologies was fascinating,” Poeschl said.
Given Clément’s penchant for playing with words, Poeschl felt an obligation to be meticulous even with seemingly obvious translations.
Consider the phrase “la recuperación de la conciencia.” It could be interpreted as “coming to awareness” or “reawakening,” but Poeschl ultimately translated it as “the recovery of the conscience.” That might seem to be the most logical, literal choice, but it was one that Poeschl arrived at only after revisiting the important phrase repeatedly with her classmates and Powell.
Poeschl’s solution, Powell said, subtly drew attention to how Clément skewers the corporate commercialization of basic human activities like making art, healing the sick and seeking spiritual consolation. Thus the need for a recovered conscience.
Along with weighing possible word choices, Poeschl sought to craft each English sentence to match the author’s tone—which presented another layer of challenge. In Bolívar, Clément switches freely between a colloquial voice and a professorial style of the kind you’d find in a history book.
Poeschl also decoded and translated metaphors and puns that have no English equivalent, while ensuring that the translation accurately reflected the accompanying illustrations.
In one passage, Clément, in describing angels, uses a word—“ligeros”—that means both feathery and light, but also trivial or frivolous. There is no single word in English that even comes close to all these shades of meaning, Poeschl said—but the metaphor “light as a feather” fit perfectly.
“That was one that I worked on for weeks before I finally went, ‘Oh, that’s so obvious,’” she said. “You want so much to find that perfect word and you know it’s out there.”
Shades of Meaning
Powell praised Poeschl for skillfully navigating an exceedingly complex and multifaceted novel. Bolívar interweaves allusions to indigenous, Mexican, American and European cultures with Biblical references and political satire.
Translation is more than pulling out a dictionary and plugging in a word that fits, Powell said. For Poeschl’s project, it required looking at the translation within the theme of the novel, while taking into account the particularities of the Spanish language.
“Even within a language, we have instances where no two synonyms denote or connote exactly the same thing,” Powell said. “Each has a shade of meaning, and the history of usage implies a certain thing. That’s all the more true between languages.”
For her part, Poeschl hopes her research will resonate with a larger audience than simply her teacher and classmates. She wants to reach US Latinos and Hispanics who are losing their Spanish fluency, which includes some of her friends.
She chose to translate Bolívar in part because it is filled with important ideas about Mexican history and politics that, she hopes, her friends will more easily grasp in English than Spanish.
“Part of the motivation for me to do this was I had so many friends whose Spanish wasn’t great,” Poeschl said. “I wanted to make it available to them because I knew it was going to be right up their alley.”
Literary translation is valuable as more than just a research exercise, Powell said. It can serve as ideal training for a wide range of careers, including the legal, medical and diplomatic professions.
“It is one of best preparations for any field where the language is nuanced,” Powell said.
Beyond translation, undergraduates in Romance languages have pursued many other avenues of research. Some have studied French- and Spanish-speaking communities in the US, looking at questions such as bilingualism; they have investigated how language shapes communities and how communities that share a language change over time. They have delved into topics as diverse as medieval romance and postmodern performance.
Research in Romance languages also exposes students to often-overlooked parts of the French-speaking world such as Africa, areas of the Caribbean and the Middle East and regions of Africa and South Asia that speak Portuguese.
“When you learn about Africa in high school, you may learn about French-speaking Africa, but rarely do you learn about Portuguese-speaking Africa,” said Amalia Gladhart, department head. “Undergraduate research in Romance languages exposes you to new worlds you never knew existed.”
Photo caption: In Operación Bolívar, indigenous people in Mexico wage an all-out war against a ruling class of angels. The book is filled with subtexts referring to the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the United States’ presence in Latin America.
This article appears in CASCADE http://cascade.uoregon.edu/fall2016/humanities/light-as-a-feather/
College of Arts and Sciences
1245 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1245
MORE ARTICLES IN HUMANITIES
The Dark Side
Loud and Proud
Professor Emeritus of Spanish Juan Epple has just published the article “El microcuento en los Estados Unidos” (microfiction in the United States) in the journal Quimera 386, Barcelona, January 2016. This article describes the evolution of US microfiction from nineteenth century writers Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Kate Chopin to modern and contemporary authors Ernest Hemingway, Patricia Highsmith and Lydia Davis