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Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures

MFLL Monthly Newsletter


Stephen Blackwell (Russian) published his article “Nabokov’s Butterflies,” in Pierre’s: The Magazine of the Artist's Institute, Issue One (New York, 2016) — a publication celebrating renowned French artist Pierre Huyghe and his work, which currently includes an exploration of Nabokov’s butterfly science.

Fine Lines

Blackwell also is the lead editor of a new book, Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov's Scientific Art, co-edited with Kurt Johnson, just released by Yale University Press. This volume reproduces 154 of Nabokov's drawings, few of which have ever been seen in public, and presents essays by ten leading scientists and Nabokov specialists (including one by Blackwell). The contributors underscore the significance of Nabokov’s drawings as scientific documents, evaluate his visionary contributions to evolutionary biology and systematics, and offer insights into his artistic perception and creativity. According to Publishers Weekly, “This detailed and gorgeous volume of Nabokov's scientific achievements inspires both artistic and aesthetic appreciation for readers, historians, and scientists alike.”

Stephen Blackwell
Millie Gimmel

Millie Gimmel (Hispanic Studies) will be director of the UT Study Abroad Program in Swansea Wales during the Spring 2017 semester. She will be teaching a course on the conquest of the Americas for the American Studies department at the University of Swansea.
Yen-Chen Hao (Chinese) published an article with her research collaborator: Hao, Y. C., & de Jong, K. (2016). “Imitation of second language sounds in relation to L2 perception and production.Journal of Phonetics, 54, 151-168.
Yen-Chen Hao
Gregory Kaplan
Gregory Kaplan (Hispanic Studies), after completing (in December, 2015) his NEH project book (“Arguments Against the Christian Religion in Amsterdam”), which is now in press with Amsterdam University Press, has signed a contract with AUP for a second book, “Spinoza's Rabbi,” on which he is currently working.
Nicole Wallenbrock’s (French and Francophone Studies) article, “Almost But Not Quite Eating Pork: Culinary Nationalism and Islamic Difference in Millennial French Comedies,” has been published in Performing Islam, Intellect, January 2016, 107-128. She has also published, “Clandestine Boat Immigration in French Film: The Homo Sacer on the Norman Coast Welcome (2009) and Le Havre (2011),” in Global Humanities: Studies in Histories, Cultures, and Societies, (Volume on Migration and State Power), Neofelis verlag, February 2016, pp.123-139.

MFLL Talent Show

Fifteen Minutes of Fame
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The MFLL Talent Show, “Fifteen Minutes of Fame,” will feature student performances from all language departments. Types of performances will include recitation of poems, songs, dances, skits, and more, that illustrate cultural associations of the languages studied. Performances will be evaluated on the quality of the performance itself and its value as a representation of language and culture, and there will be three winners awarded with prizes, and chosen by eight student judges and three faculty judges. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 1 at 6:30 PM in the Cox Auditorium of the Alumni Memorial Building. Please send your questions to Masha Kamyshkova.

MFLL Soccer Tournament

The idea of a soccer tournament started with the Italian program. Rene D'Elia Zunino and Annachiara Mariani organized the first tournament in 2013. The second tournament was organized by the French program, under Laurent Zunino's supervision; the organizer of the third tournament was Alejandra Galindo, from the Spanish program.  The year 2016 is the fourth edition of the tournament, and it is being organized by the Portuguese program. Every year we try to improve something, as we learn from experience. We hope our new Facebook page will help us learn more, as we start to document all the tournaments.

The Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures offers nine beautiful languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. And, with these languages, come amazing opportunities to experience different cultures through music, dance, food, and sports - soccer is just one of the many activities we provide for our students to develop an appreciation for different cultures, different languages, different people. For further information, please see the MFLL Soccer Tournament Facebook page.

Undergraduate Showcase

Longwood Undergraduate Medieval Conference
Matthew Blair, senior in French, will be presenting a paper, “Joan of Arc's Cross-dressing, Politics, and Gender Norms in 1431 France,” at the Undergraduate Medieval Conference, Longwood University, in April.

Matthew is also in competition for the Abels-Johnson Award for Excellence (best student paper). The presentation is part of his current research for his Chancellor's Honors Thesis, “Identité, genre, et proto-nationalisme chez Christine de Pizan et Alain Chartier,” which he is writing with Anne–Hélène Miller.

News from Language and World Business

Global Scholar Conference
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A selected group of LWB students participated in UT's First Global Scholar Conference on February 20, 2016. The presentation was titled “Practical Application of Study Abroad and Internships in Language and World Business”. They all did a superb job in presenting their experiences while studying abroad and conducting various internships. The students were well prepared and were able to share true challenges that became teaching moments for all of them.

Special thanks and kudos to the LWB panel comprised of the following students: David Mashburn – Perú, Michelle Johnson – France, Evan Bryan – Spain, Rebekah Spahr – Germany, Stephanie Cuel – Spain

News from the Arabic Program

Fatma ben Mahmoud
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Douja Mamelouk's third-year students from her Arabic 332 class skyped with Tunisian poet Fatma ben Mahmoud on January 21. Four of them recited her poems to her, and she greatly appreciated it. Then each student asked her two questions in literary Arabic. She was very impressed with them, and talked about her students and Mamelouk on the radio. A journalist also wrote an article about the event.

News from the Chinese Program

Chinese Culture Club Lantern Festival

Confucious Institute Lantern Festival
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February 18th, the Chinese Culture Club celebrated this year’s Lantern Festival in Hodges library. They had a table arranged on the second floor with colored construction paper, scissors, tape, and invited students to come make a lantern in honor of this year’s Lantern Festival. This was a fun and exciting way to reach out the UT community to further build US–China relations.

In light of the Lantern Festival, the Confucius Institute also held a celebration in the International House. The Chinese Culture Club sang a modern Chinese song as a group to show our appreciation for the festival. Seeing the community come together to celebrate a holiday that takes place on the other side of the world shows just how unified and diverse the UT community is becoming.

News from the Portuguese Program

The way he looks
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Brazilian Film Series — The series continues this Tuesday, March 1, at 6:15 at Hodges auditorium with the screening of Hoje eu quero voltar sozinho (The way he looks). Dir. Daniel Ribeiro, 2014. Cast: Guilherme Lobo, Faio Audi. A heartwarming story about friendship, the complications of young love, independence, bullying, and sexuality. English Subtitles, 96 minutes. Free and open to the public.
Brazilian Culture Night
Brazilian Film Series — Join us at the I-House on March 10th at 6pm for a taste of Brazil: FEIJOADA! See details here.

News from the Russian Program

Midwest Slavic Conference
Two majors in Russian Studies were accepted as presenters at the 2016 Midwest Slavic Conference at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, April 8-10. Desiree Dube (Russian Studies and History, 2016) will present “War of Words: Definitions of Chechen Identity During and After the Second Chechen War,” and Erika Knowles (Russian Studies, 2017) will present “Silent Christ in The Grand Inquisitor: Praise without Praise.”

Upcoming Events @

VoiceThread Basics – upload, comment and share (Wed., March 2, 7PM - 8PM online) In this workshop, you will learn how to create asynchronous conversations around course content so students can continue to learn and grow even when the university is closed.. Click here to register
The LRC Gadget "Geek-Out" (Wed., March 9, 9:40 AM - 2:10 PM in AMB 13) We have a lot of gadgets for checkout to help you in your teaching and research. Come take the opportunity to drop in when you can to test drive what we have, and bring your own favorite gadgets or ideas for gadgets that you would like the LRC to buy!
VoiceThread Basics — Moderating comments, private and threaded replies, and copying (Wed., March 16, 7PM - 8PM online) In this interactive session, you will learn how to use comment moderation to formatively assess student work, give private feedback, use threaded commenting, and copy VoiceThreads for use with multiple groups. Click here to register
Snapchat:  In the MFLL Class? (Wed., March. 23, 1:25 PM - 2:15 PM in AMB 3) Is it possible to use Snapchat fruitfully in the classroom? Though the app. is hugely popular with students while simultaneously terrifying to teachers, the “Stories” function of the app. can be used for informal and formal classroon use. This workshop will explore the pros and cons of using Snapchat stories in your courses. Click here to register

Deadline for Submissions

The next MFLL Newsletter will appear Monday, March 28. Deadline for submissions will be 6:00 p.m., Sunday, March 27, and should be sent to jromeise@utk.edu.

Contact Us

Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures
701 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0470
P: 865-974-2311
F: 865-974-7096
E: mfll@utk.edu

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