Susan Polansky-Center for the Arts in Society - Carnegie Mellon University

Susan Polansky

Head, Modern Languages & Teaching Professor of Hispanic Studies

Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: Baker Hall 168
Phone: 412.268.2868


During my time here at Carnegie Mellon, I have taught courses at all levels of the Hispanic Studies program. Most recently and regularly I have taught a variety of topics courses focusing on Peninsular Studies and I have served as faculty liaison for the Department's Tutoring for Community Outreach course. The integration of foreign language learning with service-learning has continued as a growing trend through the 1990's into the Twenty-first Century. I have given presentations and published work to share the activities of the tutoring course, a flexible curriculum-based model. This course involving collaboration between an institution of higher learning and local schools allows undergraduate students with diverse languages and competencies and a wide variety of academic and career interests to work with pupils from grades one through twelve.

Two important parts of my professional life that connect with and support my teaching activities are my research in Peninsular Spanish literature and the development of curricular materials. My book, The Poet as Hero: Pedro Salinas and His Theater is a study of the achievements of the senior member of the Spanish Generation of 1927 and his turn to writing plays in exile from Spain. Pedro Salinas (1891-1951) wrote fourteen plays during the last fifteen years of his life, and all but one of these plays he composed in exile. His dramatic works continue the themes of his poetry, yet his exile forcefully focuses on him and his own separation from Spain and the widespread social disruption caused by the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Dramatic works permit him to introduce poet protagonists seeking to overcome the social estrangement that Salinas finds all around him.