Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics

Conference on Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World.

FSU is hosting the second international conference on Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone world (BHL), January 27-29, 2017.

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Conference Date: January 27-29, 2017. The goal of the BHL conference is to bring together researchers working on different aspects of bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone world. Hence, the BHL is dedicated to research in any area related to bilingualism, including theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics, language contact, second language and bilingual acquisition, heritage languages, communication, education, and psycholinguistics. By bringing together researchers from different perspectives we are able to share new insights regarding methodology and get a better understanding of bilingualism. The invited speakers for BHL 2017 are:

  1. Teresa Bajo (University of Granada): Language activation and control in Spanish/English bilinguals and L2 learners
  2. Ana Carvalho (University of Arizona): Assessing the permeability of cognate systems in Portuguese-Spanish bilingual communities: A variationist approach
  3. Luis López (University of Illinois at Chicago): Code-switching and linguistic theory
  4. Virginia Mueller Gathercole (Florida International University): Bilingualism, semantics, words, and assessment
  5. Armin Schwegler (University of California Irvine): Population genetics (DNA) in conversation with historical linguistics: Opportunities and challenges
  6. Gretchen Sunderman (Florida State University): Understanding bilingual lexical processing

For more information about the conference and to register for this event, please visit our website:

Christopher L. Schwenk receives Bess H. Ward Honors Thesis Award

Christopher Schwenk.jpg

Christopher L. Schwenk has received the Bess H. Ward Honors Thesis Award for his project titled “Notions of Nature and Society in Waiãpi Cosmology.” Chris is completing a double major in Religious Studies and Spanish with a minor in Portuguese. His thesis committee includes two faculty members in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, Peggy Sharpe and Juan Carlos Galeano, and Joseph Helweg from the Department of Religion. 

Chris studied at the University of Brasília during Fall 2016, where he took classes in Portuguese language, Guarani Indigenous Languages, and Brazilian Cultural Studies while carrying out preliminary research for his thesis. In early December, he visited the city of Macapá in the far north of the country’s Amazonian region before making the trip into a remote area of the state to spend two weeks with the Waiãpi community in the Waiãpi Indigenous Reserve. He was joined by a member of the Waiãpi community, who speaks Portuguese and was able to serve as his translator while he conducted his research. 

Schwenk’s thesis examines the internal organization and external interactions of the Waiãpi with greater Brazil in an attempt to account for the Waiãpi people’s ideas of personhood, marriage patterns, housing arrangements, political organization, and familial activity, among other patterns. Through face-to-face interviews with the Waiãpi, Chris examined interactions among the Waiãpi and between the Waiãpi and other external indigenous cultures to analyze the ways in which fractal interactions or “subjectivities” enlightened Waiãpi conceptions of modernity.

Chris plans to complete his undergraduate studies in May 2017 and hopes to attend graduate school immediately thereafter to earn a Master’s degree in Theology with an emphasis on ethics and culture.

Dr. Robert Romanchuk Receives Teaching Through Transformation Teaching Award


Dr. Robert Romanchuk, Associate Professor of Slavic and Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies, was one of the fourteen Florida State University faculty members honored by the Transformation Through Teaching program for their transformative influence in the lives of their students inside and outside of the classroom. The Transformation Through Teaching program is an initiative established by FSU’s Spiritual Life Project, which seeks to foster integrative relationships that provide support for students in their lifelong search for meaning and self-realization. The Teaching Award recognizes faculty members whose contributions in the lives of their students go beyond conventional academic instruction and help students find their authentic selves and pursue their dreams. Dr. Romanchuk was nominated by Thuy-Linh Pham for helping her achieve extraordinary success as an undergraduate researcher: “As I prepare myself to graduate from Florida State University, I would attribute my experiences with Dr. Romanchuk as the very reasons that I am leaving with more than just a degree. The lifelong skills and instruction that I obtained from Dr. Romanchuk have enriched my academic development so much that he led me to pursue my own independent research project.” — Thuy-Linh Pham

Screening of "Francofonia"

FSU is hosting a screening of "Francofonia" by Aleksandr Sokurov at the Student Life Cinema on Monday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m.

Francofonia is Alexander Sokurov's portrait of the real-life collaboration that saved the Louvre Museum under the Nazi Occupation. Two remarkable men - enemies then collaborators - share an alliance which would become the driving force behind the preservation of the museum treasures. In its exploration of the Louvre Museum as a living example of civilization, Francofonia is a stunning and urgently relevant meditation on the essential relationship between art, culture, and history.

The following day, October 11 at 3:00 p.m., there will be a screening of "Selfie with Sokurov," an interview with the director of Francofonia, followed by a roundtable discussion with Dr. Laurent Dubreuil (Cornell), Dr. Dragan Kujundzic (University of Florida), Dr. Sergey Toymentsev (FSU) and Dr. Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya (FSU). The screening and roundtable will take place at Student Life Cinema.

Both events are free and open to the public.

French Lecture Series Upcoming Event:


Public Lecture by Professor Kathleen Long, Cornell University, Thursday, October 13, 5:00 PM, DIF 009

"From Monstrosity to Postnormality: Montaigne, Canguilhem, Foucault" (sponsored by the Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies)

Kathleen Long is Professor of French in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University, and Director of the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.  Her research focuses on concepts of gender, particularly transgender and intersex, in the early modern world, on early modern representations of the monstrous, and on religious violence. She is the author of two books, Another Reality:  Metamorphosis and the Imagination in the Poetry of Ovid, Petrarch, and Ronsard and Hermaphrodites  in Renaissance Europe, and editor of volumes on High Anxiety: Masculinity in Crisis in Early Modern France, Religious Differences in France, and Gender and Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Europe.  She has written numerous articles on the work of Théodore Agrippa d’Aubigné, on gender in early modern Europe, and on monsters.  She is preparing a book-length study on the relationship between early modern discourses of monstrosity and modern discourses of disability.

Jeremy Kasten published a book chapter:


Jeremy Kasten, who recently received his PhD in Spanish from our Department, published a book chapter "Representing a Trauma Space and Rendering the Real of the Spanish Civil War in Carlos Saura's La caza," in a collective volume, entitled Trauma and Meaning Making published by Interdisciplinary Press. In his essay, written while completing his PhD in our Department, Jeremy Kasten explores the relationship between a trauma and the space where that incomprehensible event took place by analyzing the Spanish film, La caza (1965). In the words of Dr. Kasten: "this film renders trauma through an unsettling representation of three veterans on a rabbit hunt that takes place at an actual Spanish Civil War battlefield, which may become the cause of anxiety and potential working through. The idea for this study came from a discussion with Dr. Enrique Álvarez about the concept of spatial theory and its implications in trauma studies. In preparation for presenting the topic at an inter-disciplinary trauma studies conference in Portugal, I further developed the project with Dr. Robert Romanchuk by using Lacanian psychoanalysis and Slavoj Zizek’s discussion of the concept of rendering a trauma. I am grateful to both professors for their constant support and willingness to help on this chapter as well as other projects throughout my graduate career."

Portuguese Students and Instructors Receive Visibility Worldwide

Two FSU students pursuing minors in Portuguese have been awarded scholarships to attend the prestigious Middlebury College Portuguese School during Summer 2016.


Mackenzie Teek is a rising Junior majoring in Sociology with minors in Portuguese and Public Administration. Mackenzie was the recipient of a Rotary Scholarship to spend an academic year in João Pessoa, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, when she was only fourteen years old. Determined to become a fluent Portuguese speaker and to one day pursue a Master's Degree in Sociology, her research interests target issues of race, identity, and demography as these subjects pertain to the African and Indigenous diaspora in Brazil.


Giovanna Da Silva is a rising senior majoring in History and International Affairs with a minor in Portuguese. She plans to write an Honor's thesis on the US involvement in the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964 - 1985) during the upcoming academic year and hopes to pursue the Master's in Brazilian history post-graduation.

The 7-week intensive-immersion course in Portuguese, held on the Middlebury, Vermont campus, allows students to develop reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in the target language 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Experienced faculty from around the country instruct in the summer program. Over the past several years, the Portuguese faculty has included two Ph.D. candidates in Spanish Linguistics from FSU: Jamile Forcelini Alan Parma. Alan Parma will be returning to Middlebury again this summer and Jamile Forcelini will be in Brazil carrying out dissertation research.

In addition, Carolina Echeverri, a recent graduate of FSU who pursued a degree in International Affairs and Latin American and Caribbean studies, and a


minor in Portuguese, has received a Fulbright award to teach English in Brazil. Carolina started studying Portuguese during her junior year on campus and with the assistance of a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship she spent a semester in Lisbon, Portugal as an intern in the Public Affairs office at the U.S. Embassy. Following that experience she spent a summer as a sports camp counselor in the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, and then studied abroad in Oldenburg, Germany. Still awaiting the particulars of her assignment, Carolina will be departing for Brazil in February 2017.

Kudos to our Portuguese students and their instructors who have encouraged these students to continue their study of the language and culture of the Portuguese-speaking world!

Elena Vogel Receives National Gabriela Mistral Award

On April 20, 2016, Elena Vogel (PhD, Spanish), Active Member of Florida State University's Alpha Delta Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, received the prestigious Gabriela Mistral Award for her academic achievements and noteworthy leadership and initiative in her chapter. The Gabriela Mistral Award is granted by Sigma Delta Pi's national Executive Committee and may be presented to only one person per chapter yearly; the honor is reserved for outstanding graduate or undergraduate students of Spanish who are active members of Sigma Delta Pi.

2016 Florida Statewide Graduate Research Symposium Winners

Congratulations to all of those who participated at the Graduate Student Research Symposium last Friday at UF especially Amy Bustin and Gareth Bryan Wilkinson who took home a first and second place respectively.


IDEA Grant Winner

Audrey Wheeler, a freshman and Presidential Scholar, is one of the winners of the prestigious IDEA grant ($4,000) for summer undergraduate research. Her winning project, Italy and Feminism: Caroline Crane Marsh's Account of Nineteenth Century Gender Roles, stems from research conducted during her experience working as a UROP student with Professor Irene Zanini-Cordi on Italian literary salons and social networks. The IDEA grant will allow Wheeler to carry out archival research at the University of Vermont and in Florence, Italy, under the direction of Professor Zanini-Cordi. This research will set the foundation for Wheeler's Honors in the Major Thesis on the subject of how gender roles are constructed in the media.