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Posts under tag: Spanish

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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.

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)

January 31, 2018

Professor Gladhart brings Latin American novels to an English-speaking audience

UO Spanish professor Amalia Gladhart has several book recommendations she wants to share to help deepen people’s understanding of world literature — if only they weren’t written in Spanish.

But some of Gladhart’s favorite texts are written in that romance language. So about a decade ago she started translating published writing from Spanish to English because she wants to make those books and other written work more accessible to a broader audience.

Her newest project is to translate Argentine writer Angélica Gorodischer’s “Jaguar’s Tomb,” a 218-page novel that explores the difficulty of representing loss and grief in literature. Gladhart was awarded a prestigious 2018 National Endowment for the Arts literature translation fellowship to complete the work.

“I think it’s important to translate books like ‘Jaguar’s Tomb’ because I want to broaden and complicate people’s ideas about Latin American literature,” Gladhart said. “In some ways, this novel will meet reader’s expectations of Argentine literature. But in other ways, it will interrupt and challenge their expectations.”

The National Endowment for the Arts funds translation projects like Gladhart’s because the organization shares her desire to make more fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry available to an English-speaking audience.

“Jaguar’s Tomb” will be the second novel of Gorodischer’s that Gladhart has translated. She first met the author while she was teaching at a study abroad program in Argentina and searching for a new translation project. The site director facilitated an introduction with Gorodischer and Gladhart was immediately captivated by the author and her writing, which she lauds as being thought-provoking, funny and engaging.

“Angélica Gorodischer is such an interesting author to translate because she pushes the edge of many genres,” Gladhart said.

She describes Gorodischer as a prolific writer who has published a diverse body of work, including short stories, science fiction, novels, feminist commentary and a regular newspaper column that covers the gamut from politics to culture. The author is pushing 90 years of age and is still actively writing and offering support to emerging female authors.

Gladhart was drawn to “Jaguar’s Tomb” because she’s interested in probing the central problem of the book: the expression of absence. Gorodischer uses a trio of different narrators to explore the difficulty of representing absence, including absences related to the abductions and disappearances that occurred during the military dictatorship in Argentina’s “dirty war” of 1976-83.

To read the novel as a citizen of Argentina in 2005 would be a very different experience from reading the translation in the United States in 2018, Gladhart points out. This contextual difference is one of many considerations that she will take into account as she translates the book and aims to uphold the intricacies of the story and the questions it raises.

The English words that she selects for the translation are obviously another factor Gladhart will need to consider — one that is not as simple as just exchanging Spanish words for their English counterparts.

“Every single word is different in translation,” Gladhart said. “Each Spanish word has a constellation of words it might connect to. And while an English word might share its definition in the dictionary, it has an entirely different constellation of words attached to it.”

Gladhart finds that dichotomy adds an enjoyable complexity to translation work. She sees an appealing challenge in trying to remake the story using different tools and word connotations. She’s discovered that she’s drawn to work that involves a generous amount of word play and puzzles to solve.

Historical details and literary devices and contextual clues also must be taken into account. She explains that she spends hours researching references that might contain a deeper meaning: Is there a reason the author incorporated a specific type of food or plant or location? If so, Gladhart tries to honor that symbolism in her translation.

“I aim to present my fullest expression of my understanding of the text through my translation,” she said. “There are so many different ways that one can read and understand something. Translating stories is really a mix of the scholarly and creative.”

The fellowship will give Gladhart more time to fully immerse herself in the work and word play of translating “Jaguar’s Tomb.” Once the project is complete in 2019, it probably won’t be long before she finds another text to tackle so she can share even more writing with a larger audience.

“There are so many exciting and odd and interesting stories in the world that we wouldn’t get to read without translations,” she said.

By Emily Halnon, University Communications


January 27, 2018

Homage to Nicanor Parra: Poetry Readings by Jesús Sepúlveda, from Cartagena to Santiago and Wallmapu

RL Spanish Creative Writing Instructor Jesús Sepúlveda did not have a chance to say goodbye to his mentor Nicanor Parra who just passed away on January 23, but his legacy was very much present when Sepúlveda gave a poetry reading at the Sociedad de Escritores de Chile (SECH) in Santiago, Chile on December 21, 2017. Organized and led by SECH president Carmen Berenguer, the reading began with five contemporary Chilean poets, then featured Sepúlveda’s forthcoming poetry collection, Espejo de los detalles, coming out in fall 2018 with Cuarto Propio. In her introduction, Carmen Berenguer drew the arc of Sepúlveda’s poetic evolution from his first collection, Lugar de origen (1987), which began the lifelong friendship with Parra, to the current volume. The reading was particularly moving and a great honor for Sepúlveda, whose last reading at the SECH dated from 1988, the year of the Chilean national plebiscite that marked the end of the dictatorship.


Alberto Moreno, Sepúlveda, & Berenguer at the SECH in Santiago 12/21/2018

Sepúlveda also visited a coastal Mapuche community or lafkenche, in Wallmapu on the shore of Lago Budi, some 500 miles south of Santiago. As the largest saltwater lake in South America, the site boasts a rich ecosystem and deep cultural and agricultural practices. He shared his poems during a trawün (assembly) that took place inside a ruka, the traditional thatched dwelling. The community listened without applauding, sometimes commenting between poems. At the very end, an enthusiastic afafán resonated—the traditional vocal crescendo of approval. The head of the community (el werkén del lof) shared two sung poems or ül in Mapudungun. The trip also included visits to the community-run school; a greenhouse propagating native plants; an organic farm; and a women-run handicraft workshop. The visit took place under the auspices of Maple, a micro-development organization based in Eugene, whose Chilean delegates (Viviana Calfuqueo Canuinir, Fernando Quilaqueo, UO alumnus Ignacio A Krell, and Alison Guzman) came to the UO in fall 2017.

Sepúlveda in front of the rukas of the Mapuche-Lafkenche community of Llaguepulli 12/2018

Prior to his visit to his native Santiago, Sepúlveda was invited to the 21st International Poetry Festival of Cartagena, Colombia, on December 1-4, 2017. Festival organizer Martín Salas brought the participants to a wonderful array of venues and in front of receptive audiences across the city: Sepúlveda and fellow poets from Spain and Uruguay read to the faculty and students/performers of a philharmonic orchestra in a suburban high school, the Escuela de Música de Comfenalco; they, in turn, gave a spirited and memorable performance of Duke Ellington’s greatest hits. The following morning, readings took place in the library of the Universidad de Cartagena. Next came “transpoesía:” during rush hour the travelling poets read in a crowded commuter bus to the surprise and amusement of passengers. The closing grand gala took place in the historic Teatro Adolfo Mejía.

Escuela de Música de Comfenalco Cartagena 12/1/2018

Back in the classroom, Sepúlveda shares with his UO students a practice of writing (academic and creative Spanish) rooted in these poetic experiences and encounters, often tapping his network of international fellow poets for skype sessions or to recount personal memories. This quarter, Nicanor Para passed away the very day that his poems had been assigned reading in SPAN 410 and SPAN 311.

January 17, 2018

Professor Amalia Gladhart co-edits a special issue of Latin American Theatre Review

Professor Amalia Gladhart co-edited, with Professor Priscilla Meléndez (Trinity College) a special issue of Latin American Theatre Review (51.1) in honor of distinguished scholar Sandra Messinger Cypress. The issue includes, in addition to a brief editors’ introduction, essays by thirteen prominent scholars of Latin American theatre.
Gladhart’s article  “Translation Plays: La Malinche y otros intérpretes,” examines by playwrights Sabina Berman, Roberto Cossa, Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda, and Griselda Gambaro, that place translators on stage in complex ways. Performed in front of an audience or on the spectators’ behalf, translation may serve either to include or to exclude spectators or characters in the action of a given scene as well as highlight and question many of the constitutive elements of theatre. Interpretation ultimately ties translation and theatre together, as a translation is always an interpretation, just as interpretation is always part of theatre.
November 21, 2017

Chile in Conversation: Lectura de Poesía – Poetry Reading

Jesús Sepúlveda reads from his most recent poetry book Espejo de detalles. November 21, 4:30-6:00 – Mills International Lounge (EMU). 

Latin American Studies Book Presentation Series: Chile in Conversation.

November 20, 2017

The National Endowment for the Arts announced that Amalia Gladhart will receive an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship

The National Endowment for the Arts announced that Amalia Gladhart will receive an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship of $12,500. Gladhart is one of 22 Literature Translation Fellows for fiscal year 2018. In total, the NEA is recommending $300,000 in grants this round to support the new translation of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry from 15 different languages into English.


The author of 30 novels, short story collections, and essays, Angélica Gorodischer (b. 1928) is known for her science fiction, fantasy, crime, and feminist writing. She is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement previously won by such writers as Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Stephen King. Published in 2005, Jaguars’ Tomb is a 218-page novel of 3 distinct parts that addresses the difficulty of representing absence, including those absences left by the abductions and disappearances that occurred during the military dictatorship in Argentina’s “Dirty War” of 1976-83. Each of the sections repeats images from the others and circles a central space that, though it serves different functions in each section, always has a sense of loss at its center.


 Amalia Gladhart is a translator and professor of Spanish at the University of Oregon and Head of the Department of Romance Languages. She has written widely on contemporary Latin American literature and performance. Her translations include The Potbellied Virgin and Beyond the Islands, both by Alicia Yánez Cossío; and Trafalgar, by Angélica Gorodischer. Her collection of prose poems, Detours, was published by Burnside Review Press. Her short fiction appears in Saranac ReviewThe FantasistAtticus ReviewEleven Eleven, and elsewhere.

October 22, 2017

H. Ní Aódagaín (Spanish MA 2000) writes about “The Ultimate Teaching Tool: Reaching Out to Students Through Spanish Classes, and Love”

Essay originally published in Oregon Quarterly.

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

Illustration by Sonia Pulido


October 19, 2017

Toño Martorell, Puerto Rican Artist Visits UO

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 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


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.

October 17, 2017

Professor García-Pabón publishes a book on short stories of the Romantic period from Bolivia

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.


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