Newsletter of the
Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Cultures, Spring 2006
The Department of Foreign Languages, now officially the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Cultures, welcomes readers of the Spring 2006 edition of its on-line newsletter. Accomplishing much more than a name change over the last academic year, the department continues to play an active role both on campus and within the community while its faculty members remain engaged in a number of diverse activites. Should you have questions or comments concerning our department, please contact the Chair of the department, Professor Dona Kercher.
Professor George F. Aubin - Although George F. Aubin, Professor of French & Linguistics, will retire at the end of this academic year after 43 years of full-time teaching at Assumption College, he intends to continue to be involved in his research, which, for the last several years, has included, among several other things, the study and analysis of a number of the very early Algonquin manuscripts housed in the Archives des Prêtres de Saint-Sulpice de Montréal. The following are some of Professor Aubin’s recent research activities. First, his paper, ‘ASSM Manuscript 103 by Anonyme IV (1669?)’, an overview of a 17th-century manuscript in Algonquin, French, and Latin, presumably written by an unknown Jesuit missionary, was recently published in the Papers of the 36th Algonquian Conference, edited by H.C. Wolfart (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2005). Then, in October of 2005, he attended the 37th Algonquian Conference in Ottawa, Ontario, where he presented a paper, ‘ASSM Manuscript 103: Some Grammatical Comments’, in which he discusses the evidence for several grammatical features of 17th century Algonquin found in the same manuscript. Finally, in February of 2006, he attended a conference organized by the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center in Mashantucket, Connecticut, entitled ‘Revitalizing Algonquian Languages: Preservation and Reclamation of Indigenous Languages.’
Professor Richard Bonanno continues to bolster Assumption's program in Italian Studies. Enrollment numbers have increased in Italian, and he happily advises four self-determined Italian Studies majors: Cristina Beccarelli, Angela Martano, Brianna Moro, and Lindsay Piccioli. However, there will no longer be a need to undertake a self-determined major in Italian, as Italian Studies has recently been approved as an official major. Professor Bonanno has been active in the Assumption community as a member of the Faculty Senate and representative to the Student Goverment Association. He has also participated as Faculty in Residence and Project Advisor in the Living Learning Center and will take on the role of Faculty Mentor during the 2006-2007 academic year in the reconfigured LLC. He was recently featured in the magazine Pulse. In the way of scholarship, Professor Bonanno presented a paper entitled "New Orleans' Sicilians and their Contribution to the Development of Jazz" at the 2005 meeting of the Mediterranean Studies Association in Messina, Italy. He is presently reworking his paper topic into an essay while also organizing a talk entitled "Frank Capra and Sicily," to be delivered to at the 2006 meeting of the Mediterranean Studies Association in Genova, Italy.
Professor Bonnie Catto has just published a book entitled Latina Mythica with Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. It is a reader for students who have had one year of high school Latin or one semester of college-level Latin. It retells some of the great Greco-Roman myths in simplified Latin of gradually increasing difficulty. The passages are each based upon the style of the original author, such as Ovid, Vergil, etc. The myths range from creation and the five ages of man up until the beginning of the Trojan war. A planned second volume will include the Trojan War and its aftermath (particularly the voyage of Odysseus) as well as the myths of Perseus, Orpheus, etc. As part of each chapter there is a section entitled Cultural Influences which traces the influence of the particular myth on art, literature, music, and dance. Professor Catto attended the Classical Association of New England Annual Meeting at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst on March 16-18. As a past President of the organization she was delighted to participate in this centennial celebration of association. It was also gratifying to see her new book as well as her book on Lucretius on prominent display! On the musical front she continues to perform as a cellist in the Thayer Symphony Orchestra based in Fitchburg and very much enjoyed an all-Beethoven concert on April 2. On February 26 she and her 92-year old mother performed three solo pieces for cello and piano at a fundraising concert for The Golden Tones, a senior citizen chorale. With her sister, a soprano, and another pianist she also performed Leonard Bernstein's piece "Dream with Me" which has a fabulous but very difficult cello part. On a visit to relatives in England over spring break Prof. Catto visited a number of Roman ruins. She was astonished to find displays of Roman antiquities prominently displayed by the rest rooms at the rest stop off the M-25 motorway! Truly Roman ruins are everywhere in the south of England. The City of Winchester Museum has a particularly fine display that includes mosaics, pottery, columns, coins, etc.
Professor Magda C. deMoor (Emerita) is continuing her research on Argentine women playwrights and their response to social and political change. She contributed a chapter, “Teatro de resistencia y transgresión: Eclipse de Beatriz Mosquera,” to La mujer en la literatura del mundo hispánico (vol.VI), edited by Juana A. Arancibia (Westminster, CA: Instituto Literario y Cultural Hispánico, 2005), which explores the author’s dramatic expression of the national trauma in the aftermath of the “dirty war”-- the violent period of state-terrorism that during the 70s resulted in the disappearance of 30,000 persons. In connection with this subject, during her recent travelling in Argentina, Magda also continued her research on the “theatre for identity.” This theatre reflects the struggles for the re-writing of history, and the tension between collective memory and oblivion. In the fall semester, she taught a course on Eva Peron and her time, which included issues on social justice, political power, and gender representation. She also gave a lecture last November, on life in contemporary Argentina to the students of Spanish at Milford High School. She was invited by our alumnus, Nick Pezzote ’05, double major in Foreign Languages (Spanish and Italian), and Latin American Studies, who is an instructor in that school. Of course, a few steps of tango and folklore dances on the screen contributed to the delight of the young audience. Magda has been re-elected to the Advisory Council of Teatro XXI and to the Editorial Committee of Cuadernos GETEA, both publications of the University of Buenos Aires. Her recent emerita status allows her now to pursue a new interest, grandmothering, between Boston and San Francisco.
Juan Carlos Grijalva has taught an upper-level seminar on Indianismo,
Indigenismo and Neo-Indigenismo in the Fall 2004 semester and a writing
emphasis seminar course on Latin American Literary Chronicles: Everyday
Life, Violence and Urban Modernity (Span 402W.01) in the Spring 2006 semester.
Juan Carlos has recently delivered the following papers and talks: “Utopia
as zone of cultural contact. The Inca Utopianism of José Carlos
Mariategui in Perú.” The Society for Utopian Studies, 30th
Annual Meeting. Memphis, Tennessee, October 27-30, 2005; “Lengua,
raza y mestizaje en La virgen del sol de Juan León Mera.”
Latin American Studies Association. LASA, Puerto Rico, March 18th, 2006;
indígena en Ecuador: una relación entre poesía y
política. Invited speaker. Department of Spanish, Wellesley
College. December 5th, 2005. In Fall 2005, Professor Grijalva was invited
to the Annual Honor Celebration Ceremony for faculty who have published
over the year. Emmanuel d’Alzon Library “Celebrates the Writer.”
In January 2006, he also carried out research in Mexico City on the project
“Painting Racial Utopias: Muralism, Nation and Identity in Revolutionary
Mexico,” sponsored by the Faculty Research Grant (National Endowment
for the Humanities) of Assumption. Currently, Professor Grijalva is working
on his next book, entitled "Latin American Utopias: From Independence
to Modern Revolutions," and two more articles based on talks and
Professor Arlene Guerrero-Watanabe is presenty on sabbatical leave after having been awarded tenure in the in the spring of 2005. Congratulations! She is missed by both colleagues and students.
Professor Dona Kercher is once again serving as Department Chair and has been active delivering talks at academic conferences both here and abroad. Professor Kercher has served as an organizer of the 11th Annual Latino Film Festival , sponsored by Centro Las Americas and colleges within the Worcester Consortium. Professor Kercher also contributed as organizer of the series “Envisioning the World of Women: Stories from the Middle East.” She appears in the photograph with Nadia El Fani, director of "Bedwin Hacker," which was shown as part of the series and introduced by Robert Lang, associate professor of cinema at the University of Hartford.
Professor Elisabeth Howe is devoting her sabbatical leave, 2005-06, to writing a book entitled Introduction to Close Reading: Explicating Literary Texts, under contract from Prentice Hall. She also gave papers at two conferences: one on "Teaching French Culture Through Film: Mondo" at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association conference at Sturbridge, MA, in October 2005; and a different paper on "Teaching French Language Through Film," plus a paper on the French poet Valéry entitled "Les Faces changeantes de la mer chez Valéry," at the International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, Hawaii, in January 2006. She has also traveled in France and has attended many French-related events in the Boston area, such as a lecture on the "Lettres d'une religieuse portugaise" at the Athenaeum and a lecture by the well-known philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy at the French Library, as well as French concerts and films. She will be back at Assumption in fall 2006 teaching language classes and Explication de texte, plus a Cinema course in Spring, 2007.
Professor Maryanne L. Leone has been continuing her research on the borders of identities in contemporary Spain and their representation in fiction. She recently published an article on tensions between national identity and globalization entitled “Going Global: Spain's Entrance into the European Union and National Anxiety in Cristina Fernández Cubas's El año de Gracia,” which appeared in Anales de la literatura española contemporánea (ALEC), Volume 31, Issue 1, 2006. Maryanne will consider the role of memory, transatlantic migration and race in conceptions of Spanish identity/ies in a paper at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference in April 2006. Related to her research, she taught an upper-level seminar course in Spring 2006 on Border Identities in Contemporary Spain. Professor Leone recently took students to see the group Ballet Flamenco perform in Worcester and organized Career Night to give current students the opportunity to hear alumnae of Foreign Languages talk about their experiences since graduation.
Elisabeth Solbakken has seen an increase in enrollments in German.
Fall 2005 saw the first ever German V class at Assumption College. Until
then, it had been taught only as an Independent Study. Her dynamic group
of students had reason to be proud: the class was the product of students
who decided they wanted to continue their German studies here at Assumption,
and therefore lobbied long and hard to make it happen. The tale of the
German V class is told in the March 22 issue of Le Provocateur, in an
article written by sophomore Eric Matthews, who is a German and History
double major, and a member of the inaugural German V class. Professor
Solbakken's passion and dedication have inspired her students and bolstered
the German program. For a more detailed account of the many German activities
from the past year, please follow the link ( more
on German )
Student Groups and Special Activities
Club and Eta Sigma Phi-
The Assumption chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national Classics Honor Society,
inducted seven new members on February 8, 2006. They are: Heather Brandi,
Holly Engvall, Patty Gratto, Samantha Krupski, Laura Robbins, Issa (John)
Shawki, and Laura Robbins. On March 31 through April 2 three chapter members
traveled to the national convention at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
They are Matt Bavone, Sierra Calla, and Alexandra Leonard. While at the
convention they participated in a certamen (quiz contest on classical
material), attended papers, and associated with other classics students
at a banquet and in other social settings. The students got along so well
with those attending from U.Mass, Amherst that the Chapter is planning
a joint event: a make-your-own Roman pizza night followed by a showing
of the Clash of the Titans movie depicting the myth of Perseus and Medusa.
The French Club organized a visit to the fabulous Boston Museum of Fine Arts to see the special "Degas to Picasso - Modern Masters" exhibition.
Language Day - On February 16 the Foreign Language Department
held its annual Foreign Language Day. Faculty members and students helped
staff the tables in order to raise awareness of our department. In the
afternoon Prof. Catto offered a special class "Learn (ancient) Greek
in 50 minutes" that was well-attended by the general student body
and was even featured on the college's website main page.
Kerry Sullivan was selected as the recipient of the 2005-2006 La Fédération Féminine Franco-Américaine French Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded under the auspices of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Educational Foundation whose offices are located in Woonsocket, RI. The award was presented in April at the French Honor Society Award Ceremony.
Bartolomeo and Kerry Sullivan were selected as recipients of
the 2005-2006 Raymond
J. Marion Award.
Ubi sunt? Donde están? Ou sont-ils? Dove Sono? Wo sind sie?
It is always a pleasure to hear from language graduates. If you are a former student, then please let us know what you have been doing!
Jared Becker, '02, was the first of Prof. Solbakken's students to attend JYM in Munich. Jared was also a German/Philosophy student, and liked life in the Bavarian capital so much that he stayed on another year. He recently returned from another stint in Germany and is currently in the process of applying for a grant for another stay in Europe. Jared and Lee Desrosiers were recently invited to the Professor Solbakken's house for an evening of conversation about study abroad.
Carrie DeBlois, '04, is currently enrolled in the MA program in Hispanic Literature and Culture at Boston College. She received a teaching fellowship with her acceptance into the program and teaches two elementary Spanish courses while working toward her degree. After a two-year break from academics, she is excited to be back in an academic environment.
Knight, '05, resides in Wallingford, Connecticut and began the
academic year filling in as Italian intructor at a local high school,
teaching Italian I. He has since become the school’s “building”
substitute also teaches Italian language to fourth- and fifth-grade students
in a program sponsored by the Italian American Committee for Education
and the Italian government.
E. Ulbrich, ’05, participated in the Summer Language Program
at Middlebury College
and then departed for Florence in pursuit of a Master of Arts in Italian
Studies with the same college. She will soon present her thesis dealing
with the Museum Stibbert in Florence. As part of her thesis she provides
a comparative analysis of this Florentine armory museum and the Higgins
Armory Museum in Worcester.
last edited April 10, 2006, rbonanno