NEWS & EVENTS
Modern Languages, 2009
  • Modern Languages, 2009

     

     

    An Ambassador for the Invisible (Una Embajadora por las Invisibles)
    Rachel Adkins
    Mentor: Maria Jose Delgado

    Rosario Castellanos was a revolutionary female writer for the world of the oppressed, underappreciated, and inferior members of our society. Castellanos was a Mexican writer of the 20th century whose unique work fought to bring about a better consciousness of the unjust treatment of women. Her poem Kinsey Report speaks directly about women’s oppressed sexuality, a socially taboo theme for her time period, and openly discusses the marginalization of women without censoring the problem. Her poem is a response to the scientific conclusions about the sexual conduct of women by Alfred Kinsey in his book, The Kinsey Report. His findings argue that they are a true representation of the sexuality of women, but Castellanos responds with her own Kinsey Report to expose the truth about the subjugated women of Mexico and affirms that Kinsey’s findings are not the reality for them. In truth, these women do no exist socially; they do not have their own identity or life outside of the role that society has given them. Her poem follows the same model as that of Kinsey, focusing on six different women, each who experiences unjust treatment because of society’s standards: the wife, the whore, the divorced woman, the nun, the lesbian, and the single woman. Through my investigation of this poem, I have analyzed each woman and the discrimination she has received as a female in a patriarchal Mexican society.

     

     

    Le Clezio- Nobel Prize
    Jessica Althouse
    Mentor: Marie-Madeleine Stey

    I have recently read and discussed a work by the French author Le Clezio, Onitsha. The book explains the life of a boy who has recently moved with his mother to the town of Onitsha in Africa. There are many happenings in Onitsha that the boy, Fintan, is unfamiliar with. The story demonstrates the moral and ethical growth of Fintan as he is taught by his mother. Onitsha displays the colonialization of Africa by the Europeans, and one very strong woman who does not agree with what is happening, and shares her feelings with her son. It is a powerful story of identity, growth, and power. By analyzing the works of Le Clezio I have found many similarities that resemble his own life, which make his stories very captivating for a reader. I share the reasons why Le Clezio, an author unknown by many, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008.

     

     

    A Disquieting, Unsettling Hope of Liberation: How Liberation Theology has Inspired COMI to Fight for Social Change
    Megan Baxter
    Mentor: Maria Jose Delgado

    As an organization that has been responsible for both oppression and liberation in Latin America, the Catholic Church has served many different roles to its followers. Out of the repression and inequality (some of which was created by the church), a theology of liberation was established to place the church on the side of the poor, the people who most needed the support of the church. This theology of liberation has been a catalyst of social change in many Latin American communities. The values of liberation theology seem to resonate with the humanitarian outreach to migrants (one of the most vulnerable and abused groups of people). In Mexico, the Catholic Church has made a commitment to be in solidarity with the struggles of the migrants. Last semester, I worked with COMI (Center for Orientation for Migrants of Oaxaca), an organization that provides a safe place for Central American migrants to stay while they are traveling through Oaxaca. This organization is working to provide pastoral care to migrants as well as support their human rights. While addressing systemic inequality, COMI represents an organization whose foundation and mission exemplify the liberation theologies of praxis and hope. Through my investigation, I discuss how COMI could be characterized as an example of a Christian base community; a community of people that serves as a catalyst for social change.

     

     

    Etoile Errant: Resume et Analyse d’un ouvre de M. Jean-Marie Le Clezio
    John Jakmides
    Mentor: Marie-Madeleine Stey

    My project is a summary and critical analysis of the novel Etoile Errante (Wandering Star) by M. Jean-Marie Le Clezio. It is presented in French. I provide a resume of the novel, some discussion of the major themes of the novel and an analysis of Le Clezio’s writing style, touching on his winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008.

     

     

    Fight Club and the American Male
    Darrell L. Lowery
    Mentor: Barbara G. Keller, Susan Nash

    The book Fight Club, addresses many issues relevant to men in contemporary society. I discuss the plights facing American males, the society in which we live, and how one could remedy the situations. I have used many sources which looked in depth into the psychology behind the characters and the sociological issues presented in the book. I shine light upon a topic that is often overlooked.

     

     

    A Literary Analysis of J. M. G. Le Clezio’s Poisson D’or (The Golden Fish)
    Stephanie Shipley
    Mentor: Marie-Madeleine Stey

    The presentation, a literary analysis of the Poisson D’or, looks in-depth at the novel written by J. M. G. Le Clezio. The presentation explains the life of the narrator, a young girl, La’la. The text of the novel is poetic and tells a story of a young girl that can connect with a large audience. The presentation explains how the elements of La’la’s life demonstrate worldly concepts of humanity and struggle. The story is set in various locations through out the word including North Africa, France and various cities in the United States. Though the eye’s of La’la, Le Clezio is able to show hardships tied to racism, drug use, and abuse. The presentation explains how Le Clezio’s works aided him in receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008. The novel, essay, and presentation are in French.

     

     

    Kuna: Native language of the Central American tropical tribes or developed dialect of the Spanish conquistadors?
    Sarah Wills
    Mentors: Maria Jose Delgado, Kerry L. Cheesman

    There is an ongoing dispute between Panamanians and the Kuna Indians over whether the Kuna language is a Spanish dialect or its own original language. To explore this question, the researcher traveled to the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama live with the Kuna Indians on the island of Ustupu. While there, the researcher studied the language and discovered several significant differences between Spanish and Kuna that clearly sets Kuna apart as its own language. There are differences in pronunciation, grammar, usage of the //y//, //w//, // //, and //k//, syllabic endings, and sound flow. In addition, the fact that the Kuna language existed prior to the Kuna Indian’s exposure to Spanish culture and language during the Spanish conquest of the Panamanian isthmus of the 16th Century as well the inability of Spanish speakers to communicate with Kuna speakers clearly marks distinction between the Kuna and Spanish languages.

     

     

    Jean-Marie Le Clezio, Prix Nobel de Literature 2008
    Nikki Tournoux
    Mentor: Marie-Madeleine Stey

    Jean-Marie Le Clezio won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008 for being an “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.” For my presentation, I examine a work of Le Clezio, Printemps et Autres Saisons (Springtime and Other Seasons), a collection of five short stories, each one about a different woman. I summarize each story, analyze them using different methods of literary criticism, and draw conclusions of why I believe Le Clezio deserved to be the recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature. The presentation will be done in French.