Students in Saint Louis University’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures don’t just study language; beyond linguistic and intercultural competence, they gain an appreciation for art, politics, people and cultures around the world.
The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures has developed comprehensive curricula that fit easily into the study of humanities, as well as the social and natural sciences. And, if you pursue a double major in a modern or classical language, you will find you are better prepared for employment in a number of rewarding careers.
Why Study Languages?
Studying languages can help you gain a broader understanding both yourself and the customs of others, an exceedingly important virtue in today's increasingly globalized world. In addition, language study helps develop analytical and synthetic reasoning, and provides a better understanding of your first language and of language in general.
Stacey Vandas and Olivia Mikus received awards from the Robert Clive Roach Fellowship in French, and Ramiro Gutiérrez-León received an award from the Mazza Graduate Fellowship in Spanish. Congratulations to all!
Ramiro's award supported field research for his master's thesis on the invisibility and exclusion of Afro-Mexicans. He travelled to Guerrero, Mexico, where he worked with high school students and interviewed adults in three communities on the Costa Chica: Punta Maldonado, Cuajinicuilapa and Huehuetán. Below are some photos he shared with us from his trip.
On September 13, 2019, members of Pi Delta Phi (the French Honor Society) and the French department went to the Saint Louis Art Musem to see the exhibit Paul Gauguin: The Art of Invention.
The exhibit followed French artist Paul Gauguin's life and the evolution of his inventive artistic style, influenced by the people and cultures he encountered on his global travels.
The SPAN 1200 Accelerated Review of Spanish for the Health Professions class took a field trip to Casa de Salud, a non-profit health clinic that delivers services to new immigrants and refugees, on September 6, 2019.
The director Jorge Riopedre shared a powerful presentation of the current crisis in our health care system that fails to serve immigrants and refugees. He called for a shift in our cultural mindset that blames the working poor and foreign-born peoples for their own poor heath and chronic health needs. However, he pointed out that key issues such as: unsafe housing conditions, lack of transportation, the overwhelming paperwork and bureaucratic system, lack of interpretation, and living in or near food deserts all contribute to people’s inability to get access to meaningful health care. Instead of saying that immigrants and refugees are not motivated to take care of themselves, we need to look at our society and public health in order to improve conditions for all of us.
SPAN 1200 is a 4-credit hybrid class combines the first two semesters of Spanish into an in-depth experience that fast tracks learning and prepares students for internships abroad or working in the community. Beyond basic Spanish language skills, medical terminology and cultural topics are imbedded into this course designed for health professions.
The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures celebrates its spring 2019 Spanish M.A. graduates: Lillian Jones, Ulises Covarrubias and Angela Blash.
Angela Blash was named “Outstanding Spanish Student” while earning her bachelor’s
in Modern Languages from UMSL, and as a 2019 master’s candidate in Spanish, she serves
as the Graduate Student Association (GSA) Representative for the Department of Languages,
Literatures, and Cultures.
Blash has also served as graduate research assistant, working with diverse projects, publications and translations. Her own research interests center around underrepresented and discriminated populations: how the concept of “a people” was (re)presented in late nineteenth-century newspapers, periodicals, and journals in Argentina and Uruguay by both the white and black press. Recently, her first book translation, Manual de los Salmos y Literatura de Sabiduría, was published by Word Aflame Press in 2018. She began a Ph.D. program this fall, having been accepted with full funding into the University of Georgia.
A native of St. Louis, Blash engages in extensive community service, serving underprivileged inner-city youth in the area of academic assistance. She is an active advocate for mental health awareness among St. Louis’s African-American population, and has helped coordinate after-school programs and assisted ESL teachers working with Latin American migrants.
A native of Washington state, Lillian Jones attended the University of Washington.
After graduating in 2008, she worked at Texas State University-San Marcos in the Office
of Study Abroad. After teaching English at a public elementary school in Cadiz, Spain, Jones
returned to Texas to join the Sol Education Abroad team, where she worked as a study
abroad coordinator for three years.
In 2015, Jones began the Spanish M.A. at SLU-Madrid, where she was awarded the Manresa Research and Teaching Assistantship. She returned to St. Louis to complete her Spanish M.A. on a year-long teaching assistantship, which culminated with the “Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Teaching Award” in spring 2018.
This year, Jones has worked as a graduate assistant in the Language Resource Center, having been accepted with full funding fellowships into the University of Arizona and University of California-Davis, where she will begin the doctoral program in fall 2019. Her passions include traveling, teaching, writing, speaking, Spanish, soccer, yoga, working out, coffee, wine, and laughing… and the topic of her newly-minted M.A. thesis, in Spanish, is on the impact of text messages on linguistic production.
Ulises Covarrubias was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles. As an immigrant, being bicultural and bilingual have always been an essential part of his identity. After his B.A. in International Development Studies at UCLA with a minor in Spanish, he continued his studies at the University of Southern California with a M.A. in Public Diplomacy, then pursued his dream of becoming a priest.
Covarrubias entered the Society of Jesus in 2014, drawn by the commitment to Gospel through education, social justice and Ignatian spirituality. After two years, Covarrubias professed first vows and began to study philosophy at SLU. There, due to his love of his heritage culture and language, he entered the Spanish M.A. as well. In addition to taking courses on the Madrid Campus, Covarrubias presented a paper in Spanish at LLC’s Mass Media, Power, and Democracy Symposium last year.
Covarrubias will begin teaching high school in fall 2019. He is particularly passionate about teaching Spanish to heritage speakers like himself, providing them with the necessary tools to develop confidence in their native language. Studying the richness and diversity of Hispanic literature fills him with pride in his culture and language.
The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures held its annual graduate and undergraduate symposium on April 6, 2019.
Each year this event provides students with the opportunity to present their own research in a variety of topics in languages, literatures, and cultures. Students shared projects regarding diverse themes in language and culture in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.
The seventeen panels ranged in topics such as experience with service learning and volunteering, translation, pedagogy, politics, history, immigration, and cultural comparisons in media, recycling, and religion.
The morning started with breakfast and opening remarks by associate professor of French, Pascale Perraudin, Ph.D., continued with morning panel sessions, followed with a break for lunch, and wrapped up with afternoon sessions.
The acrobatic salsa dance team Sazón kicked the afternoon off in spicy spirit. Much like the topics represented in the student presentations, this team of talented dancers represent cultures from around the world including Chile, Iraq, México, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, the United States, Venezuela. Complete with bright lights, and popular Latin jams, the dancers swirled across the floor, flipped and dipped, and created an unforgettable, savory experience which was just the perfect spice for a day celebrating culture.
In total, sixty-one students presented their research. This spring. the Languages, Literatures, and Cultures department congratulates 114 undergraduates graduating with a major or minor in language, and Latin American Studies, as well as three M.A. Spanish graduates. Congratulations!
Joan Hart-Hasler, Ph.D., has been chosen by a committee of faculty, students and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences for the 2019 Donald G. Brennan Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.
Since she became a full-time NTT assistant professor in our department, Hart-Hasler has taught a graduate course in Latin every semester: spring, summer, and fall. In this time, she has taught 12 different graduate-level Latin courses, including courses on Cicero, Lucretius, Livy, Gregory the Great, and the Church Fathers. She will be recognized for this honor at the annual Spring Faculty and Staff Assembly on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
On Saturday, March 2, 2019, the Language Resource Center held a professional development event open to the community called “New Trends in the Dynamic Language Classroom.”
Thirty-three attendees from 15 different area universities and high schools spent the day collaborating, networking, and gaining more insight into pedagogical practices in the language classroom. Presentations were given by SLU faculty members Sheri Anderson-Gutiérrez, Simone Bregni, Sydney Norton, Amy Wright, Jerry Edris, and Dan Nickolai. The presentations explored a wide range of topics, including titles such as "Corrective Feedback in the Language Classroom," "Creating a Foreign-Language Newspaper through Collaboration and Community-Based Learning," and "Hybrid Course Design: Flipping the Classroom in Content Courses."