Research Colloquia Program (2021-2022)

Every academic year the CFLLC holds a Research Colloquium, at which a colleague presents current research in an informal setting, with ample opportunity for discussion, feedback, and questions. This year’s colloquia will begin with the following discussion. Please RSVP to [email protected].

The Right to One’s Own Language: A Case of Indigenous Language Revitalization in Costa Rica

Thursday, November 18 – 4:00 pm
Aroline E. Seibert Hanson, Visiting Lecturer of Spanish

Aroline HansonIn the land that is now Costa Rica, six Indigenous languages still remain, but are severely threatened. Boruca or Brunca is in the gravest danger of extinction with only 5.6% of the community inhabitants claiming they speak the language (Costa Rica, X Censo Nacional de Población y IV de Vivienda, 2011). The Brunca people’s values and history are embedded within the Brunca language, an essential part of the community’s identity. There is great urgency in preserving Brunca, and although supportive in rhetoric, the Costa Rican government has not provided the financial nor pedagogical resources to do so. One effort to bring back the Brunca language involves Brunca classes taught in the villages’ elementary schools, but these classes are under-supported and offered on a limited basis. The present research consists of: (1) a Brunca classroom needs analysis through observation and interviews, and based on this, (2) the development and creation of didactic materials in collaboration with classroom instructors. With the lack of Indigenous political power and representation in Costa Rica, maintaining the Brunca language in the education system and community is a way to ensure cultural autonomy (Díaz-Azofeifa, 2012). Through the creation of new language materials in Brunca specifically for the Boruca community, students in Boruca may be able to keep their language alive, boosting their self-confidence and aiding in their future pursuits.

Soviet Tableau: A Cinematic Re-vision of Socialist Modernity

Thursday, October 28 – 4:15 pm
Olga Kim, Assistant Professor of Russian

Olga KimThis paper focuses on the cinematic trend that emerged in the Soviet periphery in the 1960s-70s. The films of Sergei Parajanov, Tengiz Abuladze and the Ukrainian Poetic School are among the best-known representatives of the trend. I call this trend “tableau cinema,” due to the dominance of its static painterly qualities and the invocation of the non-perspectival painterly tradition. In this paper, I interpret the key stylistic features of tableau cinema in the context of the crisis of both spectatorship and narratives of (Socialist) modernity.

“A Journey of Curious Comparisons”: Arabic Travel Writing from Japan

Monday, May 9 – 4:00 pm
Nicholas Mangialardi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies

Nicholas MangialardiStarting in the nineteenth century, dozens of travel accounts were penned and published by Arab travelers visiting Europe for work, education, and tourism. Prominent in this new literature were descriptions of the industrial and scientific “progress” of the West, which the authors framed as a model for emulation in Arab society. While travelogues like these remained popular, a new kind of writing emerged in the twentieth century that chronicled the journeys of Arab travelers in Japan. In these accounts, Japan often embodied an alternative framework for Arab modernization, one in which an “Eastern spirit” could be harmonized with foreign science and technology. This talk explores Arabic travelogues from Japan, examining common themes and structures as well as the “curious comparisons” they drew between the two cultures. As I show, in these publications, Japan came to serve as a lens through which readers looked, at once, outwards onto an exotic other and inwards onto Arab society. An investigation of the rihla yabaniyya, or “Japanese journey,” sheds light on a little-known thread of literary works, bringing cultural flows between East Asia and the Arab world into new focus.