MALLT Colloquium 2009-2010

Spring 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2:00pm

Please join us for the final colloquium of the semester!
Presentations will be given by three MALLT Graduate Students:

Kris Knisely, “Still a Girl’s Game: Technology and Masculinity in the American Foreign Language Classroom”
Léa Cicchiello, “Celebration and Denial: The Poetry of Renée Vivien”
Priscilla Charrat, “The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller” by Flaubert: The Sources of the Legend”
Location: Curtin Hall, Room 321

Wednesday, May 5th, 2:00pm

Ruth Schwertfeger, Professor of German, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature
Narratives by German Jews of Exile, Flight and Internment During France's Dark Years
Location: Curtin Hall, Room 321

The focus of the talk will be on narratives written by German Jews about their experiences as refugees in France after 1933 and then as internees during the occupation of France¿the Dark Years when they were stigmatized on two fronts as Germans and as Jews. These narratives have traditionally been assigned to the field of Exile Studies, with little or no emphasis on their Jewish context. The result is that famous German Jews are barely visible in Exile Studies as Jews, and invisible as exiled Germans in the history books of the Vichy years. Their status has been 'in transit'. Yet all of these writers, whether famous or unknown were both Germans and Jews. The talk will address how identity was represented by four groups that can be broadly categorized: famous writers, political dissidents, ordinary people (die kleinen Leute) and adults who later wrote about their experiences as hidden children.

Thursday, April 15, 2:00pm

Anita Alkhas, Associate Professor of French, UW-Milwaukee
Mingyu Sun, Director, Language Resource Center, UW-Milwaukee
Putting the Zing Back Into Course Management Tools with Ning!
Curtin Hall, Room B84

As our students become increasingly comfortable in online learning environments, their expectations regarding technology also rise. In this presentation, we will look at how the social network platform Ning has been used this semester in place of D2L in two undergraduate language courses and a graduate course, as well as how Ning has been used for a UWM-sponsored outreach organization (Southeast Wisconsin Academic Alliance in French). We will discuss the advantages Ning offers - for example, ease of set-up, an engaging interface, greater flexibility and interactivity for instructors and students alike - as well as the capabilities that Ning does not (yet) offer.

Wednesday, March 31, 2:00pm

Geoffrey Skoll, Associate Professor, Buffalo State College
Modernism to Postmodernism and its Contribution to a Culture of Fear
Curtin Hall, Room 321

This presentation offers a look at the trajectory of modernism to postmodernism. Using two modernist literary works—Ulysses by James Joyce and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller—it explores the neurosis of the modern age that has transformed into a psychosis. The psychosis reflects a crisis in the world system of capitalism and elite efforts to keep their privileges and to control the masses. Some of the key analysts covered in this historical and cultural journey include Michel Foucault, David Harvey, Frederic Jameson, and Henri Lefebvre. This presentation is derived from a chapter in Skoll's forthcoming book, Social Theory of Fear: Terror, Torture, and Death in a Postcapitalist World to be published by Palgrave Macmillan, September 2010.

Wednesday, March 17, 2:00pm

Elena Mihas, Department of English
"Orthography development in the Ashéninka Perené (Arawak)"
Curtin Hall, Room 181

Ashéninka Perené [prq] is a poorly documented Amazonian Arawak language spoken in the Perené River valley in Chanchamayo and Perené Districts of Junin Province, Peru. The language is highly endangered due to the evident language transmission break. In the long-standing situation of intense language contact, older generations continue to speak the mother tongue while younger people in their 20s and 30s have only a passive knowledge of the ancestral language; children are essentially monolingual in Spanish, the language of wider communication. In the context of the language decline, the first step is to document the endangered indigenous language and revitalize its usage through native literacy. Importantly, the speakers have expressed a great deal of interest in the production and dissemination of reading materials in the language. The difficulty is that the language does not have its own writing system. Thus, the task of establishing native orthography has come to the forefront of my language documentation project. This study addresses the following questions: (1) What are the general principles of orthography development? (2) What is the phonological system of Ashéninka Perené? (3) Are there any existing orthographies of Ashéninka Perené? (4) What are the optimal decisions for the Ashéninka Perené orthography?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2:00pm

Patricia Lunn, Professor Emerita, Spanish and Portuguese, Michigan State University
"Catalan Literature / Literature Written in Catalan"
Curtin Hall, Room 839

The recent publication of Winter Journey, Patricia Lunn's translation of Viatge d'hivern, a collection of short stories written in Catalan by Jaume Cabré, brings up the question of what constitutes Catalan literature. Is Catalan literature limited to works written in Catalan? Or does it include works written in Spanish by authors who speak Catalan, but write in Spanish? Does the decision to write in Spanish imply lack of support for the defense of Catalan, a beleaguered minority language?

Fall 2009

Friday, December 4, 12:00pm-1:30pm

Simonetta Milli Konewko, Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature
"L'Agnese va a morire and models of compassion"
Curtin Hall, Room 221

L'Agnese va a morire, a neorealist novel of 1949 by Renata Viganó, is inspired by the life of an Italian woman who joined the partisan movement and performed operations of reconnaissance, communications, and weapons transport. My examination centers on the representations of compassionate responses characterizing Agnese's interaction with the fellow partisans and other individuals in order to highlight ways used by women, to support the partisan's fight, to affirm their commitment outside the family and consequently to assume responsibilities in a more public sphere. More precisely, Agnese is represented as an agent capable of generating compassionate answers through her caring behavior, as well as an object of compassionate reactions because of her past experiences. But particularly, how does Agnese use compassion and for which purposes? What attributes of compassion are illustrated in her concern toward other individuals? Who are the subjects worth of compassion and why? How does Viganó use compassion in order to create, as many neorealist writers affirm, a post war Italian national identity opposed to Fascism? In order to examine these questions my paper takes into account the theoretical discourse on compassion developed by scholars of the emotions such as Alison M. Jaggar, Richard Wollheim, and Catherine Lutz.

Friday, November 20, 12:00pm-1:30pm

Elena Mihas, Department of English
"Nominal classification in Asheninka"
Curtin Hall, Room 118

The talk focuses on the classifying morphemes in Ashéninka Perené, of the Kampan subgrouping of Arawak. It discusses the inventory of classifiers in Ashéninka, their morphosyntactic loci, semantics, functions, and origin, and presents the preliminary results from the fieldwork data collected in Ashéninka communities of eastern Peru. The results show that Ashéninka has an elaborate set of classifiers optionally assigned to nominal and verbal hosts. Noun classifiers categorize inanimate nouns in terms of their shape, dimensionality, consistency, and amount while the categorization of verbal classifiers is based on the semantic parameters of function, arrangement and amount.

Wednesday, November 11, 2:00pm

Demetrius Williams, Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature
"Not Getting What You Expected: An Intertextual Reading of Act's Pentecost Paradigm (Acts 2)
Curtin Hall, Room 766

Employing the contemporary literary theory of intertextuality for analyzing the author's use of the prophecy of Joel in the Acts of the Apostles (Hebrew Bible/OT 2:28-32 [-3:21]//parallel, New/Christian Testament Acts 2:1-42), this talk explores the authorial use of a previous literary text for addressing a new context. Intertexuality as such, it must be noted, has less to do with a narrow or restrictive concept of "literary influence," than with ways of accounting for the complex relationship of texts to texts, to interpretive traditions, to writers and readers, and to institutional contexts. In addition, intertextuality, cutting across different methodological and theoretical borders (including formalism, semiotics, narratology, poststructuralism, deconstruction, and other postmodern approaches, and disciplinary fields—such as, literature, film, architecture, ethnography, etc.), serves as a critical lens through which to view matters of ideology, subjectivity, the material production of meaning, and accountability. What such an approach to Acts 2 exposes for critical examination is that the New Testament author creates certain expectations for the reader in the narrative (for example, an openness for the elimination of ethnic, status, and gender barriers) that in the end remain unresolved and "unfulfilled" in the remaining narrative exposition. It is just such a tension in the text as this that provides fertile soil for evaluating the usefulness of "secular literary criticism" for biblical interpretation.

Thursday, October 29, 3:30pm

William C. Calin, Graduate Research Professor of French, University of Florida
The French Tradition and Earlier Scots Literature: Problems of Mediocrity and Misogyny.
Curtin Hall, Room 939

An internationally-known medieval scholar, Professor William Calin has authored eleven books and over a hundred articles and chapters in books. His areas of expertise include medieval literature (epic, romance, allegory); French poetry (Renaissance to the present); Occitan (Provençal), Anglo-Norman, and modern Breton literature; and Franco-British literary relations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. His book, The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval England received the American Library Association Outstanding Academic Book of the Year award in 1995. His most recent volumes include Minority Literatures and Modernism: Scots, Breton, and Occitan, 1920-1990 and The Twentieth-Century Humanist Critics: From Spitzer to Frye. His current project is The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval and Renaissance Scotland.

Friday, October 9, 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Elena Mihas, Department of English
Documentary linguistics: A fieldtrip to Amazonia
Curtin Hall, Room 118

In the last fifteen years we've seen the rise of a branch of linguistics called documentary linguistics. The emergence of this discipline which is concerned with making and keeping records of the world's small languages coincided with the major changes in the technology of linguistic data representation and maintenance, alongisde with the growing awareness that linguistic documentation has stakeholders both in the endangered language communities and the academic community. This talk aims to discuss the agenda, methods, and tools of linguistic documentation, using by way of example the researcher's summer fieldtrip to the Peruvian Amazon.