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Faculty Symposium

Some Activities to Get Your Language Students Talking!
Celeste Flowers & Lisa Mommsen
Thursday, November 16, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all

Are you a language teacher who wishes your students’
conversations sounded more authentic? Do you want to be an
ESL or foreign language teacher one day?

Symposium Flyer

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Dr. Horst Lange
Tuesday, Sept 19, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all

German Politics on the Eve of its Federal Elections (2017)

Dr. Horst Lange will give us an overview of some of the most important political issues currently being debated in Germany, and how they might impact the German Federal election, which will take place on September 24. He will also explain how Germany’s electoral system works in ways that make it quite different than US elections.
Ultimately, his talk promises to offer new insight into not only how elections (and governmental structures) can work differently from ours, but also how those issues at the fore of our 2016 presidential elections are playing out around the world.

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carmackLisa Carmack
Thursday, November 10, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all

A frustration that practically all instructors face—the fact that while students had, ostensibly “learned” vocabulary during one term, but demonstrated low retention rates of this vocabulary in subsequent terms—drove Lisa Carmack, lecturer in UCA’s Intensive English Program (IEP), to reevaluate what she had been taught about how students acquire and retain vocabulary in a second language. In her talk, Ms. Carmack will first outline how language acquisition theorists answer seminal questions regarding vocabulary acquisition, including how and when vocabulary should be taught to best facilitate retention, why students should expand their vocabulary (including benchmarks for acquisition), and how instructors can best facilitate this expansion. Then, she will offer concrete pedagogical examples she uses in her own courses. Ms. Carmack’s talk promises to be of interest to students interested in increasing their fluency and native-like speech (especially those hoping to study in immersive settings), and faculty. The insights she will offer will no doubt spark urgent pedagogical and programmatic conversations between all of the LLLC faculty and students.

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¿Por qué no los dos? Or, Is it possible to grow up bilingual in the US?

mouthlengua

Dr. Lauren Miller
Thursday, October 20, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all

What is the state of heritage speakers of Spanish when they arrive in university classrooms? How have their elementary school experiences—where their families are largely discouraged from using Spanish, which causes them to fail to maintain their Spanish and to cultivate negative attitudes towards Spanish—and those in high school—where they suddenly discover that their lost language skills are now valuable—shape their relationship to this language? What does the existing research say about maintaining bilingualism in children, and what interventions can or should be carried out in K-12 settings? Join us on Thursday, October 20 during X-period when Dr. Lauren Miller will raise all of these issues. Drawing from a number of studies she has conducted on heritage speakers of Spanish, Dr. Miller’s research talk promises to spark urgent pedagogical conversations—both within and beyond the language classroom. Her talk will bear on how best to address heritage language speakers’ linguistic and affective needs in the university and K-12 classrooms. This talk will be of interest to those planning to teach in a K-12 setting, as well as those interested in how legislative educational decisions (such as Arkansas’s “English Only” education law) impact children.

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Dr. Lynn Burley

Tuesday, September 27, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305

Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium

Open to all

At the time, Dr. Lynn Burley had no idea that her arrival at UCA would come with a gold mine of uncollected data. To date, the few studies that have sought to analyze the Arkansas dialect; the few that do draw their conclusions based on paltry and woefully under-demographized data. As a result, linguists tend to lump Arkansas into the US’s “Midland South” dialect, without any further nuance. Dr. Burley, however, remains skeptical. Does Arkansas have its own dialect? If so, what characterizes it? What factors (age, race, socioeconomic status, etc.) might further influence the way Arkansans speak? Join us on Tuesday, September 27 at X-period, when Dr. Burley will share some of the conclusions she has drawn based on the data she collected during her Fall 2015 sabbatical. Focusing primarily on the way age impacts Arkansans’ vocabulary, Dr. Burley’s presentation will not only give you insight into whether Arkansas has its own dialect, but it also promises to introduce you to a few new words (“tump”) and expressions (“hug his/her neck”) you might have heard but never understood. A fascinating example of what we can find when we study the language in our own back yard, Dr. Burley’s talk is a must-attend for all those curious about languages!

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Dr. Travis Sorenson
Thursday, April 21, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all

The Impact of an Intermediate Spanish Phonetics Course on L2 Pronunciation Acquisition

Most language teachers and students share a common goal: for language learners to be able to use the language in authentic settings. As a result, foreign language pedagogy now prefers the communicative method, which places students in those situations they will encounter “in the wild,” and equips them with the vocabulary and grammar to navigate them successfully. But what should we do with skills such as pronunciation that cannot easily be taught communicatively, yet, which, if not mastered, can have significant communicative consequences? For instance, even if students have mastered the necessary grammar and vocabulary, but cannot produce certain sounds and words correctly, they may still fail to make themselves understood. Similarly, if they rarely hear accents other than their professors’, they will likely struggle to comprehend the range of accents they will encounter in authentic dialectal settings. Join us on Thursday, April 21 at X-period, when Dr. Travis Sorenson will propose a curricular solution to this problem: a dedicated phonetics course taken at the intermediate level. Dr. Sorenson’s presentation promises to spark fruitful discussions about contemporary debates in language pedagogy and about how best to achieve to students’ and teachers’ common goal: preparing language learners to use the language in authentic settings.

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Dr. Ramon Escamilla
Thursday, March 17, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all

We can easily imagine a myriad of situations the child above might be reacting to, but his face conveys one essential bit of information: what he sees is not what he expects. He’s surprised (and perhaps troubled, too). English speakers can convey this surprise through interjections (“Whoa!”), intonation (“You did whaaaaaat?!”), gestures, or expressions; however, English has no grammaticalized structure that allows us to convey whether information is shocking or new, nor the source of our information. Join us on Thursday, March 17 at X-period, when Dr. Ramon Escamilla will explain how Hupa, an indigenous language spoken in California, encodes both mirativity (whether information is novel or surprising) and evidentiality (evidence a speaker has for his/her statement), and how these phenomena are functionally distinct. Part on an ongoing research project funded by UCA’s University Research Council, Dr. Escamilla’s presentation will not only give you insight into how linguists conduct fieldwork on endangered languages and some of the field’s central debates, but it also promises to fundamentally alter how you see language itself.

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Dr. Jennifer Patterson Parrack
Tuesday, November 10, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all

Watching the television show Sherlock, Dr. Jennifer Parrack experienced a profound sense of déjà vu—or, more precisely, a sense of déjà lu: the sense of already having read something. The plot of a novel she regularly teaches, El Maestro de Esgrima [The Fencing Master] followed that of Sherlock Holmes almost exactly. The similarities piqued her interest: Why would Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s historical crime novel, set in mid-19th-century Spain, draw from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective series? What does reworking this story and setting it in the political turmoil of Spain’s Glorious Revolution do? Join us on Tuesday, November 10, when Dr. Parrack will consider how a seemingly “popular” genre, detective fiction, can be used to recast and work through moments of political upheaval. Her talk will not only illuminate the connections between the canonical (literature) and popular culture (television), but will also give insight into the political climate of 19th-century Spain, promises to be of interest to detective fiction and history lovers alike. It is sure to forever alter how you see detective fiction.

Jen Parrack Faculty Symposium Nov 10

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Fashioning Artistic Subjects: Pastoral Ataraxia in Cervantes
Dr. John Parrack
Thursday, October 29, 1:40-2:30pm, Burdick 305
Part of UCA LLLC Faculty Symposium
Open to all students and faculty
“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”
– Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying” (1889)
Are you seeking inner peace and tranquility?
Join us on Thursday, October 29 during X-period, when Dr. John Parrack will take us on a journey into the fiction of 16th- and 17th-century Spanish author, Miguel de Cervantes, whose characters seek this same state, called ataraxia in philosophical terms. According to Dr. Parrack, Cervantes was nothing short of revolutionary: He turned literary conventions on their head and purposely manipulates his readers. During his talk, Dr. Parrack will take up one of the most central age-old debates through the lens of Cervantes’s fiction: Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Looking at a variety of characters who leave their comfortable lives to become shepherds, Dr. Parrack will show that answering this question is more complex than it outwardly seems. Dr. Parrack’s talk promises to challenge you to identify—and reevaluate—those fictional models you have fashioned your own life after—perhaps without even knowing it. Ultimately, his analysis will not only give you a new lens into Cervantes’s fiction, but it will also forever alter the role you see art and literature playing in your own quest for inner peace and tranquility.

John Parrack Faculty Symposium Oct 29

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Dr. Jaime Zambrano
Thursday, Sept 24th at X-Period, Irby 208
Open to all students and faculty

Laura Restrepo’s A Tale of the Dispossessed: A
Reflection on Violence and Displacement in Colombia

Laura Restrepo

Dr. Jaime Zambrano will give a talk entitled “Laura Restrepo’s A Tale of the Dispossessed: A reflection on Violence and Displacement in Colombia” as the first installment of the Languages Linguistices, Literatures and Cultures Faculty Symposium on Thursday, September 24 during X-period. His talk on Laura Restrepo, a novelist who is currently helping to negotiate a peace treaty between the Colombian government and the rebel forces (FARC) promises to be of interest for students curious about South American history and politics, international relations, and representations of violence and memory in literature. Dr. Zambrano’s presentation also promises to spark provocative discussions among faculty, particularly since many of us work on the intersection between literature and memory.

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Dr. Horst Lange

Tuesday, April 21, X-period (1:40-2:30 pm)
Irby 208

Open to all students and faculty

What happens when readers miss a text’s meaning? Worse still, what happens when these misreadings cause a text to become an emblem of the very movement it critiques? Join us on Tuesday, April 21 during X-period in Irby 208 as Dr. Horst Lange explores how J. W. von Goethe’s canonical epistolary novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, has fallen victim to just such a dynamic. Specifically, he will argue that to herald Goethe’s novel as Romantic depends on overlooking—and, in fact, directly contradicting—Goethe’s larger theories about passion. Rather, Lange will return to Spinoza’s critiques of passion articulated in the Ethics, a text which profoundly influenced Goethe, to show how these same critiques manifest themselves in The Sorrows. In so doing, Lange challenges us to reconsider how we classify this canonical text. In the second half of his presentation, Lange will turn to a cinematic remake of Goethe’s novel —the Taviani brothers’ Il Prato (1979)—which inverses the original novel’s dynamics, transforming the transgressive Werther into a conservative lawyer and recasting his lover’s husband, originally a pillar of the community, as a left-wing terrorist. Ultimately, the question arises how passion, which disrupts polite society and demands the right of the individual to be itself, can be reconciled with a responsible politics.

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Morality and Censorship in Franco’s Spain

Dr. Alana Reid

Thursday, February 26, X-period (1:40-2:30 pm), Burdick 305

Part of UCA WLAN Faculty Symposium

Open to all students and faculty

Conducting archival research in Spain in the summer of 2014, Dr. Alana Reid stumbled upon a curiosity. Because Francoist Spain had legislated morality (by criminalizing homosexuality and extramarital affairs, for instance) and severely regulated cultural works through censorship, she expected to find that Jaime Gil de Biedma’s Moralidades (1966), had been censored for promoting these very sexual behaviors. She found, however, that censors fell silent on the collection’s morality, and instead objected to its overt political messages. Join us on Thursday, February 26, 2015 during X-period in Irby 208 as Reid investigates how Moralidades’s censorship can complicate our current understandings of morality in Francoist Spain. Not only will her presentation raise some of the most provocative questions about censorship (such as, “to what extent was morality in Francoist Spain governed by economic interests?”), but it will also challenge us to consider how explicit and implicit censorship continue to inform our own lives today. Above all, Reid’s presentation promises to be of interest to both scholars and students curious about the late twentieth-century Spanish and Latin American publishing landscape and of Francoist Spain, as well as those interested in conducting archival research.

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On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at the first installment of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures’ Faculty Symposium for the spring semester, Dr. Katelyn Knox examined a performance art piece known as “Exhibit B” alongside three works produced by Francophone authors to consider how racial and ethnic minority authors and artists have sought to make themselves visible in contemporary France. Her analysis of the works—which included Ivorian artist Meiway’s “Je suis sans-papiers,” Cameroonian author Léonora Miano’s Blues pour Élise, and Z.E.P.’s “La gueuele du patrimoine”—illustrated, however, that this move is not without its own risks. In fact, the works themselves ask whether speaking out against discrimination and hardships paradoxically becomes a stereotypical narrative expected of racial and ethnic minority populations. In the end, Knox’s presentation, “Gazing on the Gaze: The Politics of Display and Institutional Exoticism in Contemporary France,” suggested that in order to critique racism, stereotypes, and essentialisms, we must also interrogate when and how we look on populations deemed “others.”

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What are your “blind spots”? That is, what do you unconsciously ignore as you go about your daily life? Can such a blind spot be useful? Is it even possible to avoid employing blind spots? Join us in Irby 208 during X-Period on Tuesday, November 18, as Dr. Robert Blankenship turns to one of the most well-known East German authors, Christa Wolf, to address such questions. Since the 1960s, scholars have critiqued Wolf for having an overly utopian vision of communism and, later, for not using her work to contest state surveillance. Still others have praised her as a feminist, a socialist, or a dissident. Despite these outward differences, however, Dr. Blankenship notes one thread that unites these disparate ways of reading Wolf’s work: they all deploy historical and biographical lenses. In his presentation, Blankenship parts ways with such biographical criticism, turning instead to Wolf’s often overlooked narratological theory of the blind spot. He highlights that, in Wolf’s fiction, it is the blind spot that ultimately allows us metaphorically to see. That is, ignorance is inevitably the mechanism that allows for the possibility of knowledge and thereby narration, a bitter realization for Wolf’s narrators. Dr. Blankenship’s presentation will no doubt challenge us to consider our own blind spots—those that mark our daily lives, as well as those that inform how we approach other times, other places, and other cultures.

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John Parrack Oct 2014

 

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, at the inaugural installment of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures’ Faculty Symposium, Associate Professor of Spanish Dr. John Parrack raised a provocative question: how can (and should) language teachers respond when students make astute observations about the language and ask “why”? Do they tell the truth? He argues that despite objections that giving a “truthful” answer takes away valuable class time better spent on activities in the target language, responding truthfully can, in fact, positively impact learner motivation, intuition, confidence, and interest. He presented some of the preliminary findings from a quantitative study he is conducting alongside UCA Assistant Professor of Spanish, Dr. Travis Sorenson to the audience of over thirty faculty and students. His study offers an intriguing suggestion: non-communicative historical linguistic activities, when incorporated in a structured and deliberate manner, can have communicative outcomes. Ultimately, Dr. Parrack’s presentation, “Telling the Truth: Historical Linguistics, Learner Motivation and Outcomes in Beginning Spanish,” sparked larger, fruitful discussions between students and faculty regarding both students’ and instructors’ considerations in the language classroom—discussions that will, no doubt, continue to shape how UCA faculty approach language teaching.