Classical and modern languages faculty updates 2018

Many languages faculty members were active in conducting research, editorial work and sustaining campus life.

Spanglish: The Hybrid Voice of Latinos in the United States

Professor Eugenia Casielles-Suárez published an article titled "Spanglish: The Hybrid Voice of Latinos in the United States" in Atlantis. Journal of the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies. Her article examines sociolinguistic attitudes towards the hybrid language variety known as "Spanglish," as well as the complex political, social and cultural issues underlying its use.

German Studies Go Global

German faculty members, Professors Lisabeth Hock and Nicole Coleman conducted a three-day seminar entitled "German Studies Go Global" at the German Studies Association (GSA) conference Sept. 27 through 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This AATG-sponsored seminar considered how to embed the teaching of German Studies in a global context. Day one addressed the theoretical and pragmatic justifications for and implications of such a turn in German programs, curricula and syllabi. Day two addressed the globalization of undergraduate programs. Day three addressed the globalization of German Studies at the graduate level, especially with regard to preparing M.A. and Ph.D. students to find both academic and non-academic jobs.

Research on migration and exile

In October, Professor Emerita Jorgelina Corbatta presented a talk for the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute's Clinical Moment Program. Her talk addressed timely questions of migration, exile, what it means to be a foreigner, borders, xenophobia and minorities. She examined these topics through the lens of psychoanalysis and encouraged the audience to share their own personal experiences on these matters.

The growing field of Qur'anic studies

Professor Vanessa DeGifis completed her second year as editor of The Journal of the International Qur'anic Studies Association (JIQSA). The journal, founded and edited by Professor De Gifis (with Michael E. Pregill, Boston University), is set to publish its second volume in November 2018. JIQSA is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to publishing historical and literary scholarship of high technical quality on the Qur'anic text, cultivating Qur'anic studies as a growing field and connecting diverse scholarly communities from around the world on issues of common concern in the study of the Qur'an.

Once Upon a Time: The Magic of Reading in the Foreign Language Classroom

Dr. Silvia Giorgini-Althoen
Dr. Silvia Giorgini-Althoen

At the Professional Development Poster Fair during the College Board's Advanced Placement Languages and Cultures Reading, Dr. Silvia Giorgini-Althoen presented a poster titled "Once Upon a Time: The Magic of Reading in the Foreign Language Classroom." The poster was based on her research on how fairy tales can deepen students' understanding of the vocabulary, culture and structures of a foreign language.

Academic of Teachers

Professor Jenni Sheridan Moss was selected as one of five members of Wayne State's inaugural Academy of Teachers. This elite group was "designed to create and sustain a culture of teaching excellence based on the diffusion and implementation of evidence-driven, inclusive and student-centered pedagogical and curricular practices across the university." Professor Moss was also recently named Chief Reader for the Advanced Placement Latin Reading Exam. Her four-year term in this prestigious position begins in June 2019.

Italy and the Environmental Humanities: Landscapes, Natures, Ecologies

Professor Elena Past worked with colleagues Serenella Iovino (University of Torino) and Enrico Cesaretti (University of Virginia) to edit a collection of essays titled "Italy and the Environmental Humanities: Landscapes, Natures, Ecologies," which was published in 2018 by the University of Virginia Press. The book, which includes essays by artists, philosophers, editors, environmental historians and ecocritics, examines Italy through the lens of the environmental humanities.

Black Classicists Exhibit
Black Classicists Exhibit

Professor Michele Valerie Ronnick was featured in an article in the Guardian newspaper, when her photo exhibit of Black Classicists was on exhibit at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. This is just one version of an exhibit that, as the Guardian explains, "has undergone almost 50 iterations in 15 years, traveling across the country to tell the story of African American classicists during the 19th and early 20th century."


The Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures is proud to recognize two faculty members in the Spanish area who were promoted in the 2017-18 academic year: Victor Figueroa was promoted from associate to full professor and Hernán Garcia was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor.

We are also pleased to welcome Yunshuang Zhan, visiting assistant professor of Chinese, to the department. Professor Zhan's research considers the literature and culture of Middle Period China.

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