Carnegie Mellon University

Spring 2016 Events

On Friday, February 5, the Modern Languages Student Advisory Council (MLSAC) is hosting “Time to Taste the World,” an annual film and food event. This year’s event will celebrate Chinese culture through the screening of a Chinese martial arts film called Brotherhood of Blades (2014). Prior to the film, guests will have an opportunity to mingle with friends as they sample foods from around the world. The event will be held in conjunction with the celebration of Chinese New Year.

Date: February 5, 2016
Time: 5:00–8:00 p.m.
Location: Porter Hall 100

In 2007, three Department of Modern Languages professors of Hispanic origin established El Círculo Juvenil de Cultura, a biannual workshop that aims to create an environment where children gain exposure to Spanish language and Latino culture by participating in various activities alongside their peers. This semester, El Círculo will collaborate with Coro Latinoamericano to teach children about carnival traditions in Spain and Latin America. Participants will wear masks, sing, dance, and perform skits during the grand finale event: a carnival celebration right here in Pittsburgh!

Date: February 21 to May 1
Time: Sundays, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Carnegie Mellon University

For more information, please contact Mariana Achugar, Kenya Dworkin or Felipe Gómez, or visit the El Círculo blog.

Rick Kern, Professor of French and Director of the Berkeley Language Center at the University of California at Berkeley, will visit Carnegie Mellon on February 23 to give a talk titled “Mediation, Technology, and Language Learning: Why the Medium Matters.”

This talk will illustrate the point that how people communicate is related to material factors as well as to social and individual factors. Globalization and technology have made it possible for the world to come to us on our desktop, but it is easy to lose sight of the fact that what we see is a highly mediated and filtered version of the world. Focusing on the crucial, yet often invisible, role that mediation plays in online language learning, I will outline both significant opportunities and potential pitfalls for language and culture learning.

Bio: Rick Kern (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is Professor of French and Director of the Berkeley Language Center at the University of California at Berkeley. He teaches courses in French linguistics, applied linguistics, language and technology, second language acquisition, and foreign language pedagogy. His research interests include language acquisition, literacy, and relationships between language and technology. He is the author of Language, Literacy, and Technology (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Literacy and Language Teaching (Oxford University Press, 2000). He is also co-editor of Décrire la conversation en ligne (Éditions ENS, 2011) and Network-based Language Teaching (Cambridge University Press, 2000). He is Associate Editor of the journal Language Learning & Technology and has published many articles and chapters on language and technology. He is currently working on a book with Christine Develotte entitled Screens and Scenes: Visual Communication Online and Intercultural Encounters in a Globalized World.

Date: February 23, 2016
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: BH 235A

Postcards from Socialist Germany and Cuba: Yesterday and Today

East Germany and Cuba represent two different versions of a socialist state. Stephen Brockmann has studied the development of socialism in East Germany and will talk about what made socialism there distinctive. Kenya Dworkin studies socialism in Cuba after 1959 and will discuss Cuba's own version of Soviet-style socialism, the repercussions of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the recent rapprochement with the U.S.

Stephen Brockmann is Professor of German at Carnegie Mellon University and was, in 2011-12, the president of the German Studies Association. Since 2013 he has served as president of the International Brecht Society. He is the author of The Writers’ State: Constructing East German Literature 1945-59 (2015); A Critical History of German Film (2010); Nuremberg: The Imaginary Capital (2006); German Literary Culture at the Zero Hour (2004); and Literature and German Reunification (1999). In 1985-86 he spent ten months living in Leipzig, GDR, where he worked on his doctoral dissertation at what was then called the Karl-Marx-Universität and the Deutsche Bücherei.

Kenya C. Dworkin is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. She has published four books—including Spanish and Empire (2007) and Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, Volume V (2006)—as well as numerous articles on Cuban, Latino, and Sephardic studies. She is currently working on completing Before Latino: How Cuban Cigar Worker Theater in Tampa Shaped an American Immigrant Society. Dworkin is also associate editor and translator for the journal IDENTIDADES (formerly ISLAS), a vehicle for articles from Cuba focused on Cuban independent civil society’s efforts towards democratization and constitutional change, all activities with which she has been directly involved since 2007.

Date: February 24, 2016
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Baker Hall 154R

Have you ever thought about taking a course in the Department of Modern Languages, but couldn’t decide which one to sign up for? Do you have questions about the department’s courses or degree programs? On March 28, faculty from the Department of Modern Languages will be on hand in Baker Hall to share information about courses and to answer any questions you might have. We invite you to stop by any time between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. to chat about Modern Languages while enjoying light snacks. We hope to see you there!

Date: March 28, 2016
Place: Baker Hall (outside of BH 160)
Time: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Vedran Dronjic, A.W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities, will discuss how Serbo-Croatian, a language of former Yugoslavia, came to be considered four separate languages by most of its speakers. Using this case as an example, he will show how the popular idea of what counts as a language is mainly a consequence of cultural, political, and economic realities rather than linguistic facts.

Emanuela Grama, Assistant Professor of History, will focus on the case of the Old Town, a historic area in the center of Bucharest, Romania, to examine how architectural restoration is intrinsically a project of political and social change. She will explore how ideas of community and practices of dwelling underpin projects of urban regeneration of less habitable historic districts.

Date: April 13, 2016
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Baker Hall 154R

On April 20, outstanding students from the Department of Modern Languages will participate in an initiation ceremony to become official members of Phi Sigma Iota, a prestigious international honors society that recognizes the achievements of top students in academic fields related to foreign languages, literatures and cultures. The ceremony, which is taking place in the Cohon University Center at Carnegie Mellon, will be followed by a reception.

Date: April 20, 2016
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Cohon University Center, Peter-McKenna-Wright

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Music and the Department of Modern Languages are co-sponsoring an event to celebrate the nineteenth-century musician and composer Clara Schumann, and her husband Robert Schumann. Faculty and students will sing and read love letters (in German) exchanged between Clara and Robert. Molly Whittaker, who is majoring in Civil & Environmental Engineering and German Studies, is participating in the event. She will read excerpts of letters sent from Clara to Robert.

This event is free and open to the public.

Date: April 24, 2016
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Mellon Institute (enter from S Bellefield Ave.)

The Modern Languages Student Advisory Council is teaming up with Stephen Brockmann, Professor of German, to host a debate on immigration and the refugee crisis in Europe. The influx of refugees in Europe has forced many countries to think on their feet as the crisis unfolds. Leaders and citizens alike are divided on how to respond. On April 26, students from the Dietrich College will weigh in, sharing thoughts and opinions about the crisis and the best way to proceed.

Professors Timothy Haggerty, Ricky Law, and Katherine Lynch will serve as judges. Refreshments will be provided.

Date: April 26, 2016
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Wean 4625

Students taking the course Chinese Calligraphy: Culture and Skills will share calligraphy work at a showcase taking place on Tuesday, April 26. Refreshments will be provided. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Date: April 26, 2016
Time: 4:30 to 5:20 p.m.
Location: Baker Hall 154R (Dean’s Conference Room)