Dear Friends, Students, and Colleagues:
The 2007-08 academic year was an eventful and exciting one in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Our faculty continued its record of extraordinary scholarly productivity, and our students, graduate and undergraduate, continued to prosper in courses at the cutting-edge of instruction in language, literature, and culture. Ours is a truly collegial academic community.
This year we are delighted to welcome Dr. Verónica Loureiro-Rodríguez, Assistant Professor,
to the Spanish section of MFLL. An accomplished sociolinguist, Dr. Loureiro-Rodríguez completed her Ph.D in Spanish linguistics with emphasis on Second Language Acquisition at the University of California-Davis in summer 2008. Her research focuses on sociolinguistics, bilingual communities, language ideologies, bilingual education, and second language
acquisition in Galicia and the United States. Dr. Loureiro-Rodríguez will apply her administrative and pedagogical talents
to the first-year Spanish program, which she has already re-shaped in important ways, while she pursues an ambitious research agenda. We are most fortunate to have recruited such a talented colleague.
It is also a pleasure to report that members of MFLL continue to receive broad recognition
within the university. Ms. Beth Cole, Accounting Specialist II, was honored at the Chancellor’s
Banquet with the 2007 Outstanding Customer Service Award, and Ms. Ingrid McMillen, Administrative
Specialist II, received the 2008 Mary Lynn Glustoff Award for the outstanding staff member in the
College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Michael Handelsman received the prestigious Jefferson Award
(2007), the highest academic honor at the university, for his remarkable research accomplishments. He
was also reappointed as Distinguished Professor in the Humanities (2008). Professor Greg Kaplan
received a well merited promotion to the rank of full professor. Our faculty continues to receive grants
that support their original, important, and cutting-edge research. Of note is the Project Rite grant (2007)
awarded to Professor Dolly Young and Doug Canfield, Language Resource Center Coordinator, who
are exploring highly creative uses of Second Life simulation in foreign language instruction. MFLL
colleagues are widely recognized beyond the walls of UTK for their expertise: Professor Michael
Handelsman was selected to serve as President of the Andean Commission for Evaluation and
Accreditation of Higher Education (2008), and Professor Chris Holmlund served on the Social Sciences
and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2007). Doug Canfield has been appointed co-editor of the
IALLT Journal. Our students fared equally impressively. Among graduate students, Kodjo Adabra
(GTA French) published two novels last year, L’Exilé and Identité, and Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz was
awarded a GTA@itc grant (2007). Stephen Ellis, an undergraduate major in Spanish and Political
Science, was recognized as the top graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences at 2008 commencement.
Theresa Diroff, top College Scholar for the 2008 graduating class, was co-mentored by Professor Millie Gimmel.
The MFLL faculty continues its impressive record of research and publication, placing over 30
peer-reviewed journal articles during the past academic year, a truly impressive total. Those colleagues
have also given 58 scholarly papers at major conferences in the United States and abroad. We also had
a number of new books published in the 2007-08 academic year: Nuria Cruz-Camara, El laberinto
intertextual de Carmen Martín Gaite; Michael Handelsman, Benjamín Carrión: estudio introductorio,
selección y notas; Gregory Kaplan, El culto a San Millan en Valderredible, Cantabria; and Erec R.
Koch, The Aesthetic Body: Passion, Sensibility, and Corporeality in Seventeenth-Century France. All
are important contributions, but Professor Kaplan’s has already garnered significant critical attention:
his study has been nominated for the prestigious "La corónica" Book Award, an annual international
prize for the best monograph published on medieval Iberian language, literature, and cultural studies.
MFLL continues to provide a vibrant environment for all of its students, undergraduate and
graduate. This year the Department hosted a number of important events. The History and Philosophy of
Science and Technology Research Seminar and Colloquy, headed by Professor Millie Gimmel last
academic year, hosted two notable historians of science during the 2007-08 academic year: Professor Peter
Dear from Cornell University and Professor Carolyn Merchant from UC Berkeley. Both spent two days on
campus; they interacted with faculty and gave public lectures. Austrian writer Lilian Faschinger, winner of
the prestigious Glauser Prize for her recent crime novel Stadt der Verlierer (Town of Losers), spoke and
read from her works during a well-attended campus visit last year organized by Professors Stefanie
Ohnesorg and Maria Stehle. Professor Dawn Duke organized an important colloquium on “Women
Writers from Brazil” (2007), which featured Miriam Alves, who has the distinction of being the leading
Afro-Brazilian female poet of today, and Maria da Conceiçã Evaristo, who is recognized as the leading
female Afro-Brazilian writer of consciousness. Professor Chris Holmlund helped organize the
"Citizenship, Literacy, Media" Film and Speaker Series, with such celebrated documentary film makers as
PBS’s Tamara Rosenberg. Professor Óscar Rivera-Rodas organized the 16th annual “Jornadas
Internacionales de Teatro Latinoamericano” and the third annual “Jornadas Internacionales de Poesía
Latinoamericana” in Puebla, Mexico, this summer. Those events honored and were attended by,
respectively, dramatist Marcela del Río and poet Dolores Castro Varela. Our exciting annual Japanese
Speech Contest, organized by Professor Jon LaCure and Mahagi LaCure, drew 60 competitors at all
language levels and a crowd of over 100 spectators. These events supplemented our regularly running film
series and language tables for the Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and
Defying national trends, our undergraduate and graduate programs continue to grow at impressive
rates. Our undergraduate study abroad programs in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France are
thriving and reached new peaks in enrollment last academic year. We are fostering similar opportunities
for our graduate students at major universities in Germany as well as with the Universidad Andina Simón
Bolívar, Ecuador. Our innovative course offerings for undergraduate and graduate students prepare them
for a globalizing world. Again last May, we recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of our students
at our fourth annual honors assembly. We list those award recipients in the table below.
Finally, I ask our alumni and friends to update us on their news. As you can see, we have a
growing section dedicated to former students and friends of MFLL. We urge all of you to send us updates
for future newsletters. I would welcome your email: firstname.lastname@example.org.