The 8th Annual RLL GSA Conference, “Onward! (R)Evolutions in the Humanities” took place April 26th - April 27th, 2019. The conference began with a tribute to Dr. Jeannette Ludwig, and was followed by a dramatic reading of one of the works of Mexican playwright Bárbara Colio, “Julieta tiene la culpa,” performed by members of the Buffalo-based Raíces Theatre Company and assisted by RLL Spanish PhD candidates Eva Santos García and Valentina Marulanda Ospina. Dr. William Egginton, Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. John Lipski, Pennsylvania State University, delivered the keynote addresses. The second day of the conference consisted of graduate student presentations covering a broad array of topics stemming from the conference title. The final event consisted a roundtable discussion with keynote speaker Dr. John Lipski and RLL Spanish faculty Justin Read and Margarita Vargas, with graduate student Fernando Simón Abad as moderator.
Joëlle Carota won a Sigma Delta Pi Research Grant for 2019. She used the $2000 award to support her dissertation research this past summer. Joëlle traveled to Pescara, Italy - a city located on the Adriatic coast of the Italian Abruzzi region, which also happens to be her hometown - to complete the second phase of the data collection that is part of her dissertation project. The latter consists in investigating language maintenance and the identity-building process in the linguistic contact situation within the (Italo) Venezuelan community in Pescara. She conducted sociolinguistic interviews with members of the local community to complement the data she has already collected.
Joëlle also won the 2019 UB Graduate School and RLL Excellence in Teaching Awards, and presented a paper entitled “The Semantics of a Migration: Nouns and their Patterns of Change” at the February 2019 DIÁLOGOS XVI - The graduate student research conference in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Literature and Culture.
Eva Santos García, attended the Annual MLA Convention January 3-5, 2019, and presented “Siglo de Oro, Siglo de Ahora: Rewriting the Classics for the Twenty-First Century.”
Nicole Sedor has been named NeMLA Award Fellow for 2019-2020. NeMLA Fellows participate in the organization and implementation of the annual convention and gain insight on the administration of NeMLa as a non-profit organization, with opportunities to establish professional connections across a spectrum of disciplines in the Humanities. Nicole was also an RLL nominee for Excellence in Teaching this past year!
Maria-Gratias Sinon presented a paper entitled “Performing Transnational Female Blackness: Institutions of In/Visibility in Calixthe Beyala’s Les honneurs perdus and Soyica Diggs Colbert’s Black movements” at the African Literature Association 45th Annual Conference and Meeting, Columbus OH 5/15-5/18/19.
Guillaume Yoboué, presented two papers, “Performing African Institutions: The Enchevêtrement of Futures and Faith in the Theater of Werewere Liking” at the African Literature Association 45th Annual Conference and Meeting, Columbus OH, and “Foi et drame; une étude de Dieu nous l’a donné…et Pension les Alizés de Maryse Condé” at the 50th Anniversary NeMLA Conference, March 21-24, Washington, DC.
The Italian Student Association (ISA) sponsored an Italian Cookie Craze in November 2018 and a look at Italian cinema in April 2019. The Cookie Craze was held in the Student Union Lobby and featured an assortment of Italian cookies from DiCamillo’s Bakery in Williamsville. “Italian Cinema: A Closer Look,” featured guest speaker Anthony Tamburri, Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian Institute of Queens College CUNY, and Distinguished Profess or European Languages and Literatures, with an in-depth look at Italian-American cinema of the 20th century. The ISA also won the UB Student Association’s International Council Perseverance Award in the International Associations category!
RLL celebrated the achievements of the graduating class of 2019 with a ceremony and brunch on May 17, 2019. Alumna Abigail LaPlaca, 2015 summa cum laude Spanish BA graduate, was invited commencement speaker. Graduate students Ashley Byczkowski, Joëlle Carota, and Nicole Sedor were also recognized, as were Dean’s Medalist for RLL Skylar Vitko-Woods and the high school winners of the Alliance Française Excellence in French competition: Corinne Miiller- Williams (The Park School), Jillian Myers Williamsville East High School), and Michael McClure (Nichols School). Congratulations to all on a job well done!
Ashley Byczkowksi reports that she has finished the first chapter of her dissertation! In addition, she won a NeMLA Graduate Assistantship for AY 19-20, and presented papers at three conferences: “A Feminine Revolution: The Mother-Daughter Relationship in the Life Writing of George Sand,” RLL GSA Conference, University at Buffalo, April 2019; “The Mother-Daughter Relationship in Marie-Célie Agnant’s Le Livre d’Emma,” LACKiii Conference at Clark University, Worcester, MA, May 2019; and “Feminine Genealogy and Identity Formation in Marie-Célie Agnant’s Le Livre d’Emma,” NeMLA Conference, Washington, D.C., March 2019.
Diana Cortés-Evans presented a paper entitled “The Mercantilization of Freedom and Dreams in the Film Sleep Dealer” at the (Re)Thinking Disciplinarity: Position, Direction, Application conference at Binghamton University, October 19, 2018. We also congratulate Diana on having officially become a US citizen in February 2019!
Elham Dehghanipour presented “The Possibility or the Impossibility of a Third Space between the Space of Male and Female Bodies in Women without Men by Shahrnush Parsipur” at the 22nd Annual Charles F. Fraker Graduate Conference: Complex Spaces: Navigating Text & Territory, February 15-16, 2019.
María Andrea Diaz Miranda presented “Paradigmas de revolución en El padre de Blancanieves y El enfermero de Lenin” at the 50th Anniversary NeMLA Conference, March 21-24, Washington, DC.
Felipe Hugueño was a panel member at the LASA2019 Conference Nuestra América: Justice and Inclusion May 24-27, 2019. He presented a paper entitled “Mario Bellatin’s in(con)clusive narrative into disability studies.”
María Loren Pérez Hernández presented “Sexual Spectacle: Placer visual en el cine contemporáneo partriarcal Me estás matando Susana” at the CUNY 24th annual graduate student conference, Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures PhD Program, April 18-19, 2019.
Over Winter Break 2019, Dijana Savija served as volunteer translator with a UB Law School team at the US-Mexican border in Dilley, Texas. She wrote: “I learned a lot about the immigration laws of our country, and a whole lot about the lives of Honduran, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan women and children. The whole experience was challenging but absolutely worthwhile. Being able to help some of those women and children that are seeking peace in our country was an opportunity for me to create a stronger and better world.”
Fernando Simón Abad attended the 50th Anniversary NeMLA Convention, March 21-24, 2019, in Washington, DC. His presentation was entitlted “Memoria, (des) memoria y olvido: la representación de una enfermedad crónica en la España del s.XX.”
Matt Skrzypczyk attended the African Literature Association 45th Annual Conference and Meeting, Columbus OH 5/15-5/18/19. With Naila Ansari, Mary Sullivan, and Diana Cortés-Evans, he presented“’[I]n the service of institutional memory’: Marie Chauvet and the Practice of Revolutionary Bodies.”
We congratulate this year’s new members for their scholastic achievements!