By Clara Sotelo
“Entre nos,” a spinoff of the former “Entre nous” (RLL, UF from 1997 to 2003), is now the Lecture Series of the DSPS, since 2012. If we took it seriously and look at it critically—and critical thinking calls for “self-guidance, self-discipline thinking, attempting to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way,” it could literary be a rainbow. I’m likening this exercise of fellowship to a positive element, one that sheds light, and not just any light—a colorful one. There is so much talent, great minds and good disposition; many interesting projects—of research, teaching methodology, service learning and more, … yet so little time, especially to make many of us available to attend at the same time, even if it’s just for an hour monthly. I still think is worth promoting and fighting for this space to present, pronounce and entertain our plans, concerns and dreams.
“Entre nos,” a spinoff of the former “Entre nous” (RLL from 1997 to 2003), is now the Lecture Series of the DSPS, since 2012. If we took it seriously and look at it critically—and critical thinking calls for “self-guidance, self-discipline thinking, attempting to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way,” it could literary be a rainbow. I’m likening this exercise of fellowship to a positive element, one that sheds light, and not just any light—a colorful one. There is so much talent, great minds and good disposition; many interesting projects—of research, teaching methodology, service learning and more, … yet so little time, especially to make many of us available to attend at the same time, even if it’s just for an hour monthly. I still think is worth promoting and fighting for this space to present, pronounce and entertain our plans, concerns and dreams.
The playful recreation of the literary pen guided by its critic, has taken us through the corners of time and space to bring to us the excitement, the speculation, and even the–at times, seemingly exact observations of the literary text. The paradigmatic, ideological and/or contextual dis/connections between the work of art, the author, and the society and times of its production are observed from many angles. As in the case of El Scholastic, this illustrates an emerging affinity among Spanish humanist writers for the dialogic treatment of academic topics rather than the more “monologic” one. The once Classical tradition of “Dialogue and the Community of Ideas;” is in transition “from weapons to letters” in Renaissance, while presenting a “new humanistic conception of man which anticipates the modern individual” (Michel). Other historic narratives—whether factual or fictionalized, standing up against the incursions of Napoleonic power in the Iberian Peninsula … tell us of heroes, villains and victims; hundreds of characters that came about, populating the creative minds and the collective imagination of the region (Morales). We also heard inter-textual dialogs around classical topics. Numancia comes to mind as it helped bring about modernity to Spain (Morales) and it was recreated as a “Spectacle of War” in Cervantes’ pen (Armon). We were exposed, in “The Ideology of Memory from 1812 to 2012, going through 1936,” to the intersection between ideology and memory and its relevance in todays’ Spanish society (Alvarez-Castro). And we traveled back in time to the monstrosity in the Baroque of Hispanic America with “multifaceted books that communicated diverse cultural, historic, and philosophical perspectives” (Vasquez). Including the most recent adventures of the creative imagination expressed via the pages of “science fiction and the detective fiction genres, with crime and punishment, and the cooperation between science and power.” (Infantino).
The sharp calculation of the scientific mind–in the form of observations of language formation, history, contact, use and change, among others, shed light on the functioning of the human mind, and the processes it undergoes when it deals with the linguistics realm and its many contextual realizations. The possibilities are endless. In this area, graduate students in our department have had a visible and indelible mark. From “The use of the “vos” form for equals as well as for others of inferior social conditions,” and the “Pronouns of Courtesy,” focused on the transition of the pronoun vos, from plural to singular” in the 4th Century,” (Diaz-Collazos) to the most recent proposal of observing English-Spanish in contact among “Islanders” of San Andrés, Colombia and the eye-tracking experiment on “the effect of Spanish diminutives in gender processing of non-canonical nouns.” (Restrepo). We got enlightened by two graduate students on “whether heritage speakers have more ability to process noun-adjective agreement when they appear separated and in the context of ideas presented in a mix English—Spanish.” (Mayans-Ramon & Johns). As far as faculty, the multiple fields some of them engage in—bilingualism, second language acquisition, code switching, and more—have allowed for their students to explore and engage in so many diverse yet complementary fields. Not only “navigating two languages in one mind,” but several processes in many minds; observing “the cognitive perspective on code-switching,” (Valdes-Kroff) as to include the braking and/or setting up of new rules in “Subject Expression Variation in Spanish L2 Learners,” or in “Gender assignment of English nouns in Spanish-English Code-switching,” and even “Subject-Verb Inversion in Relative Clauses: Evidence from L2 learners and Heritage Speakers.” (Restrepo, Denbaum, Dean)
Second Language Acquisition, from both perspectives–teaching and learning, has not been absent in our sessions: “Objective, data-based assessment of the Rosetta Stone Spanish program and its potential to enhance or even replace classroom-based language instruction,” was a topic of exploration and discussion (Lord) along with “Tasks, technology and Language development in third year writing courses (Gleason),” and aspects of a more existential nature as in “The Fear of Learning: Do I venture to do it or do I fly away” and “Beyond ‘It’s sunny today:’ How to prepare students for uncomfortable cultural encounters, as in those of Service Learning abroad.” (Navajas)
Creative and artistic veins have run through our rooms. Professor Barradas delighted us with his “De Cataño a Río Piedras pasando por París: recuerdo y relectura de un libro de viaje.” Academic commentary, memoire, autobiography. Dr. Alvarez-Castro. Worked hard to put together, “’The Academic Job Market: Skype Interviews and Other Tips on Online Presence.’ Practical matters for Graduate students.” V. Jordán and A. López read their poems, and we have been visited by three special guests from the Latina Women’s League of Gainesville, directors and actors; for that, Dr. Hind’s work was important, too. I apologize if I forget anyone or omit their names—I’ve space constraints, and I can’t say it all. ¡Thanks to all who have helped! It’s been worth the effort so far. The gains have outweighed the costs. Nothing compares to the adventure of learning and seeing others learning, no matter how long or hard the journey may be, or how high a price we pay for it.