Carnegie Mellon University

Susan Polansky

Susan G. Polansky

Teaching Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies

341 Posner Hall
Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Education: Ph.D. Boston College, Romance Languages and Literatures, MA Boston College, Spanish Literature, BA Simmons College, Spanish Literature and Education


My teaching and research have always been closely connected and invigorate each other. I have taught Tutoring for Community Outreach, the Senior Capstone Seminar, Translation Workshop III in the MA in Global Communication and Applied Translation program, and courses at all levels in the Hispanic Studies program. In Tutoring for Community Outreach, undergraduate students with a wide variety of interests and MA students in the Applied SLA program work with pupils and teachers of world languages in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Colleagues, students, and I have presented and published work to share experiences of this collaborative course model. My research in Hispanic literary and cultural studies focuses primarily on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish writers and cross-cultural currents between Spain and the Americas. The Poet as Hero: Pedro Salinas and His Theater is a study of the senior member of the Spanish Generation of 1927 and his turn to writing plays in exile. My books Tristana by Benito Pérez Galdós and Abel Sánchez by Miguel de Unamuno are unabridged editions designed to promote students’ reading and critical thinking abilities in Spanish. Tristana explores attitudes and norms related to marriage in nineteenth-century Spain. Abel Sánchez centers on the passion of envy in the context of Spanish history. Another area of my research focuses on translation and the case of cacao and its introduction and dissemination through Europe via Spain.

  • Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Spanish Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Community-based Learning and Second Language Learning
  • Language Teaching Methodology and Materials Development 
  • Culinary Cultural Studies of the Spanish-Speaking World
  • Translation Studies
  • 82-580 Modern Languages Senior Capstone Seminar
  • 82-706 Translation Workshop III
  • 82-281 Tutoring for Community Outreach
  • 82-342 Spain Language and Culture
  • 82-455/456 Topics in Hispanic Studies: Spanish Poets and Playwrights of Exile, Visions of Family Life in Twentieth-Century Spain; Knights, Rogues, and Saints, Family Life and Strife in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Spain; Political Drama of Spain
  • PSMLA (Pennsylvania Modern Language Association) Merit Award, 2018
  • National Football Association and Fidelity Investments Award for Faculty Athletic Representative, Carnegie Mellon University, 2017-2018
  • Barbara Lazarus Award for Culture and Climate. (Carnegie Mellon University), 2006
  • Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service. (Dietrich College, Carnegie Mellon University), 2004
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, 1990
  • Head, Department of Modern Languages, 2007-2020
  • Carnegie Mellon Faculty Athletic Representative, 2017-present
  • Consultant, ADFL-MLA Language Consultancy Service (Association of Departments of Foreign Languages-Modern Language Association), 2015-present
  • Member, Board of Directors, Board of Directors, Asociación Hispánica de Humanidades (AHH), 2007-2016
  • Member, Executive Board, Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL), 2011-2014
  • Polansky, S. (2020)."Community Bridges and Interdisciplinary Language Learning Projects: Stepping Out of Comfort Zones and Building Ways to Grow.” In Project-Based Learning in Second Language Acquisition: Building Communities of Practice in Higher Education. Editor Adrián Gras-Velázquez. ESL and Professional Linguistics Professional Series. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Polansky, S. (2018). “Modern Languages Majors in the 21st Century: Broadening Disciplinary Frames of Reference and Global Awareness.” With G. Richard Tucker. ADE-ADFL Bulletin. Literary Studies and Globalization. 45.1.
  • Polansky, S. (2016). "Tristana." Newark, Delaware: European Masterpieces/Lingua Text, Ltd.
  • Polansky, S. (2008). "Abel Sánchez." Newark, Delaware: European Masterpieces/Lingua Text, Ltd.
  • Polansky, S. (2005). "The Poet as Hero: Pedro Salinas and His Theater." Newark, Delaware: Juan de La Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs.

Department Member Since 1986