See recent news from the University newscenter for more stories featuring MLC faculty and students.
July 27, 2020
MLC's new major in Italian has been officially approved by the College and the New York State Board of Education. See the Italian program page for a listing of the core, elective, and foundation courses as well as links to semester and summer abroad options in Tuscany and on the island of Procida.
May 15, 2020
Check out the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures diploma ceremony for the class of 2020.
October 25, 2019
Learn more about spending a month in France including 4-5 days in Paris and 3 1/2 weeks in Rennes.
October 18, 2019
“We should give students the input and tools to be able to produce knowledge on their own,” says Ryan Prendergast, an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.
October 18, 2019
Three University educators are being recognized as the recipients of the 2019 Goergen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Matthew BaileyShea, Ryan Prendergast, and Katherine Schaefer.
MLC Professors Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández and Claudia Schaefer Co-author Study of the Supernatural Sublime
October 17, 2019
Deploying the overarching concepts of the supernatural and the sublime, Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández and Claudia Schaefer detail the dovetailing of the unnatural and the experience of limitlessness associated with the sublime.
September 26, 2019
On September 20, 2019, Sadae Kasaoka turned 87. The next day, she gave a testimony on the bomb that killed her parents. When Kasaoka was 12, a plane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing tens of thousands.
September 18, 2019
Matthew BaileyShea, in the College’s Department of Music and the Eastman School of Music; Ryan Prendergast, in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures; and Katherine Schaefer, in the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program are this year’s teaching honorees.
May 7, 2019
To begin, I’d like to say that Dr. Prendergast is the most enthusiastic lecturer I’ve had the chance to take a class from here at UR. His passion in the field of Spanish, and the unique classes that he offers are second to none. These courses range from Medieval Spanish literature to debates in societal issues we face today. I’ll be the first to say, it takes a special person to get a group of young adults excited to read and study 16th century Spanish literature. You could compare it to reading Shakespeare, but in another language.
March 24, 2019
Let me start with a brief meditation on the phrase to “tilt at windmills” from my title. This idea, of course, is based on the famous episode where Don Quixote perceives the windmills in front of him to be giants and tilts at—or attacks them. As you might imagine, if you didn’t know already, he is not the victor in this battle. The text describes him as “broken and beaten” (I, 2). “Tilting at windmills” in contemporary parlance is typically understood as “attacking imaginary enemies or evils.” The expression and the iconic windmills are often seen in a variety of political cartoons and contexts.
March 5, 2019
Congratulations to French major Carrie Heusinkveld who has received an Undergraduate Research Initiative Award as well as a Barth-Crapsey Undergraduate Research Award for her Honors Thesis, "Vivons, si vers la vie on peut me ramener”: The Afterlife of Tragedy in Racine’s Phèdre and Garnier’s Hippolyte." Heusinkveld will present her research at the MLC Undergraduate Conference on March 22. She has also been selected to present at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research at Kennesaw State University in April.
December 5, 2018
John Givens and John Michael are Rochester scholars whose work explores how sweeping cultural and technological changes influenced the works of iconic writers. And while their latest books focus separately on the giants of Russian and American literature—Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edgar Allen Poe, Mikhail Bulgakov, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Leo Tolstoy—they both ask what religious belief might look like in an age of science and secularism.
November 12, 2018
Co-taught by William Bridges (a scholar of Japanese literature) and Keiko Nishioka (a professionally-trained Japanese calligrapher), "Poetry and Japanese Calligraphy" focuses on the artistic practices of Japanese calligraphy and the poetic content of calligraphic art.
French photo contest and exhibit Rennes-Rochester: 60 ans d'amitié franco-américaine / 60 years of French-American friendship
November 8, 2018
The French photo contest and exhibit Rennes-Rochester: 60 ans d'amitié franco-américaine, organized by the French Program of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures and co-sponsored by Education Abroad, the Language Center, and the River Campus Libraries will open on Thursday, November 8, 4-6pm at the Humanities Center Exhibit Hall and Lounge. The French student photo exhibit will run until December 15, 2018 in celebration of 60 years of friendship, collaboration, and exchange between the two sister cities, Rochester, NY and Rennes, Britany, France. Along with an archival exhibit sponsored by the River Campus libraries and Rare Books, and Special Collections and Preservation, it will highlight the long-standing academic exchange between Rennes and the University of Rochester, as well as experiences of students in French as learners of the French language and culture and participants in the Rennes Summer Study Abroad program.
For more information, please click here.
November 7, 2018
An essay by Robert Parent (Russian 2017)
(To read this in Russian, click here.)
My freshman year of high school I began taking Spanish to satisfy the US language requirement for applying to college. By the end of my sophomore year of high school I was spending up to 3 hours each day studying Spanish, as I had developed a love for the language and was addicted to the thrill of being able to translate a text from Spanish to English or have a conversation with one of our Spanish exchange students in Spanish. I also found the grammar itself, being distinctly different from English with gender and various new tenses, to be completely fascinating.
September 25, 2018
This semester, Professor David Holloway is teaching at Five Points Correctional Facility a course on modern Japanese literature in translation. This course – “Fictions of Interiority: Modern Japanese Literature in Translation” – offers a chronological look at modern Japanese literature, beginning with the late 19th century and proceeding to present day. The course is a combination of lecture and discussion, and explores not only literary texts, but also issues of gender, race, psychology, morality, and history as they relate to the Japanese literary corpus. Class is held on Friday afternoons.
September 18, 2018
When Johann Wolfgang von Goethe rewrote his 1776 play, Stella: A Play for Lovers, most scholars contented that the only major change was to the original’s polygamous ending. Now, in a new English translation—the first time the original has been translated in its entirety—Susan Gustafson, the Karl F. and Bertha A. Fuchs Professor of German Studies, and Kristina Becker Malett, an assistant professor of instruction in German, reveal there were greater differences in gender relations throughout the text.
September 4, 2018
The Digital Scholarship Lab recently collaborated with Modern Languages and Cultures Professor Joanne Bernardi, The George Eastman Museum, and the Toy Film Museum (Kyoto, Japan) to create a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) of a partially lost 1929 film by Japanese legend Yasujiro Ozu titled Tokkan Kozo (A Straightforward Boy). DCP has become the standard for film distribution since the industry has moved away from 35mm film projection. The DSL worked to create subtitles for the film’s Japanese intertitles (translated by Bernardi), improve image stability and sharpness, and author / format the Digital Cinema Package (DCP).
August 31, 2018
Professor Joanne Bernardi (Professor of Japanese and Film and Media Studies, and Head of the Japanese Program in MLC) joined a panel discussion of the hit comedy Crazy Rich Asians on WXXI Connections with Evan Dawson. Also participating in the panel was Eleanor Lenoe, a UR sophomore.
August 29, 2018
Lucy Farnham ’22 took her first Spanish class in seventh grade, and it was love at first syllable. The Rochester native joins the Class of 2022 as a Spanish major, is thinking of adding Japanese, and is considering a career in the US Foreign Service.
August 17, 2018
Congratulations to Susan Gustafson, Karl F. and Bertha A. Fuchs Professor of German Studies, and Kristina Becker, Assistant Professor of Instruction in German, for their newly published translation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's controversial play, Stella: A Play for Lovers (1776), which caused so much turmoil in Germany that it was retracted from the stage.
August 15, 2018
Congratulations to Khamai Simpson (German major, Class of 2017), who was just accepted into the prestigious Masters of Science Public Health Program at Charite Medical University in Berlin to study for her Masters degree.
June 23, 2018
Gabrielle Cornish (Russian Studies, 2013; currently finishing a Ph.D. in musicology at Eastman School of Music focusing on the Soviet period) was interviewed by NBC Nightly News for this June 23, 2018 segment on how Russia is dealing with its controversial past monuments.
May 11, 2018
Rochester native Cherish Blackman has always had a knack for languages. “I wanted to study languages that weren’t very close to English,” she recalls. The double major in Russian and East Asian studies is heading to China next year, but is bringing her Spanish books with her.
May 2, 2018
December 20, 2017
Professor Robert Doran focuses on iconic 20th-century philosophers like Michel Foucault, Hayden White, Gayatri Spivak, and Richard Rorty, and explores critical theory’s pivot away from a narrowly focused investigation of meaning and text.
May 16, 2017
John Givens, associate professor of Russian and chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, won the Students’ Association Government’s Professor of the Year in the Humanities field. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Washington in 1993 and joined the Rochester faculty the same year. The Baker City, Oregon native focuses on Russian literature and cinema and recently completed a book titled The Image of Christ in Russian Literature.
April 18, 2017
Two French majors, two German majors, and one Spanish minor are among the twelve University of Rochester students and recent alumni who have been offered 2017–18 grants in the prestigious Fulbright US Student Grant program, allowing them to pursue advanced studies, conduct research, and teach English language and U.S. culture abroad. Rochester's candidate pool consisted of 40 applicants, 19 of whom became semifinalists. The Fulbright US program awards approximately 900 grants for research and study, and 1,200 English teaching assistantship grants each year. Applicants are nominated by their college or university's Fulbright evaluation committee, which may also endorse alumni candidates.
December 8, 2016
Yesterday, Joanne Bernardi, associate professor of Japanese in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, appeared on WXXI's Connections with Evan Dawson to discuss the on-campus photography exhibit, "Internment: The Japanese-American Experience in World War II," as well as recent calls to establish a Muslim registry modeled on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Mr. Dawson and Professor Bernardi were also joined by Margaret Miyake and Notch Miyake (whose photographs and text, respectively, are featured in the exhibit) and Ken Warner (a descendent of an American who was interned).
December 7, 2016
"The exhibit ['Internment: The Japanese-American Experience in World War II'] was organized by Joanne Bernardi, associate professor of Japanese and film and media studies.... Included in the exhibit are postcards and button pins from World War II that are part of Bernardi's collection, such as the ones using words and phrases that are examples of the insensitive mindset of the time.... Bernardi was prompted to put together such an exhibit a year ago after hearing the then-mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, David Bowers, cite the use of internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II to justify suspending the relocation of Syrian refugees in his city. 'I was shocked because he didn't know his history of internment and what it signified. It was a knee-jerk reaction to an atmosphere of fear, xenophobia and racism, prompted by Pearl Harbor,' said Bernardi."
November 18, 2016
Angela Remus ’16, who graduated with a bachelor of arts with majors in international relations and Spanish, will interview this weekend in Chicago in the final selection round for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. A Renaissance & Global Scholar who graduated summa cum laude, Remus was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. She studied abroad in Spain and Malawi and currently is an immigration worker with the International Rescue Committee in Abilene, Texas. Her career interests involve research and policy regarding refugees and asylum seekers, and she hopes to pursue two master’s degrees at Oxford: refugee and forced migration studies followed by Latin American studies. The Des Plaines, Illinois native hopes to be among the 32 American candidates chosen for the international postgraduate award. Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.
November 17, 2016
Bloomsbury has just published The Ethics of Theory: Philosophy, History, Literature, the newest volume by Robert Doran, associate professor of French and comparative literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures!
November 10, 2016
In honor of the 400th anniversary of Cervantes's death, students and librarians are hosting an exhibit and a presentation examining how Cervantes and Don Quixote have inspired interpretations and representations across the centuries. The exhibit, "Beyond Windmills: Commemorating Cervantes, Representing Don Quixote," features images from the library's rare book holdings. The exhibit will be on view November 2 through December 11 in Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation at Rush Rhees Library. Students in the course "Don Quixote: The Book, the Myth, the Image"—taught by associate professor of Spanish Ryan Prendergast—will make presentations alongside faculty about the images and the influence of Don Quixote. The event will be held in the Humanities Center, on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library, on November 16 at 10:25 a.m.
November 1, 2016
The Spanish Program is now accepting applications for the Lynne R. Miller Study Abroad Scholarship for study in a Spanish-speaking country during Summer 2017 or Academic Year 2017–2018.
October 19, 2016
"Looking Like the Enemy: The WWII Japanese American Experience," is a Humanities Project exhibit and lecture organized by Joanne Bernardi, associate professor of Japanese, which will examine the experiences of interned Japanese-Americans – and the relevance of their experiences to current debates about terrorism, the refugee crisis, and illegal immigration.
October 3, 2016
Beth Jörgensen, professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, is among the 2016 recipients of the Goergen Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching! Professor Jörgensen has taught Spanish at Rochester for 30 years and in 2011 was named a professor in MLC. The Goergen Awards recognize the distinctive teaching accomplishments of faculty in Arts, Science, and Engineering. They were established in 1997 and are named for and sponsored by University Trustee and Board Chairman Emeritus Robert Goergen ’60 and his wife, Pamela. Professor Jörgensen and the other recipients will be honored Wednesday, October 5, in a 4 p.m. ceremony in the Hawkins Carlson Room in Rush Rhees Library.
Faculty Publication: Jason Peck's "German Aesthetics: Fundamental Concepts from Baumgarten to Adorno"
September 27, 2016
We are excited to announce that Bloomsbury Academic has published German Aesthetics: Fundamental Concepts from Baumgarten to Adorno, co-edited by J. D. Mininger (associate professor of social and political theory at Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania) and Jason Peck (visiting assistant professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures)!
September 7, 2016
We are excited to introduce Anna Rosensweig (L) and Elizabeth E. Weber (R), the newest members of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures!
Faculty Publication: Jennifer L. Creech's "Mothers, Comrades, and Outcasts in East German Women's Film"
August 23, 2016
We are excited to announce that Indiana University Press has published Mothers, Comrades, and Outcasts in East German Women's Film by Jennifer L. Creech, associate professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures!
July 22, 2016
What forms can families take? Can a family be effective only if it consists of a biological pairing of a man and a woman who produce their own offspring? Or can other combinations—two women or two men raising children, or couples with adopted children—be just as loving and supportive? In his early 19th-century literary works, Johann Goethe pointedly raises such questions—still debated today—and concludes that what really matters is not the gender of spouses and partners, or the lineage of their children, writes Susan Gustafson, the Karl F. and Bertha A. Fuchs Professor of German Studies, in her recently published book, Goethe's Families of the Heart (Bloomsbury Academic).
July 1, 2016
Bloomsbury Academic has just published Goethe's Families of the Heart, the third book by Susan E. Gustafson, the Karl F. and Bertha A. Fuchs Professor of German Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures!
June 3, 2016
This spring, the University of the Pacific (UP) in Lima, Peru, conferred an honorary professorship on Donatella Stocchi-Perucchio, associate professor of Italian in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. The designation recognizes her scholarly contributions to the field of Italian studies and comparative literature as well as her efforts in fostering a dialogue among Italianists worldwide. Stocchi-Perucchio’s relationship with scholars of world and Italian literature at the University of the Pacific began in 2010 and grew around issues of mutual interest. These include the study of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, his minor works and his epic poem, the Divine Comedy, both in a comparative context and in relation to political philosophy, economics, and the arts.
May 2, 2016
Kirt Komocki, senior lecturer in Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, won the Students’ Association Government’s Professor of the Year in the Humanities field. He joined Rochester in 2013 as a visiting assistant professor and was appointed a senior lecturer in 2014. Komocki earned his Ph.D from The Ohio State University. He will be leading the Modern Language and Cultures’ education abroad program this summer in Granada, Spain.
February 26, 2016
In 2009, Beth Jörgensen, a professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, was preparing to teach a class on "coming of age" stories in Spanish America. She wanted to include a collaborative autobiography of Gabriela Brimmer, a Mexican woman who was profoundly disabled since birth with cerebral palsy, yet learned to communicate by manipulating an alphabet board with the toe of her left foot. Eventually Brimmer became a leading activist for the rights of disabled people in that nation. "I did not know that much about disability studies," Jörgensen confides. "So, in order to teach this in an informed way, I got busy reading as much background as I could about disability life writing." It was a revelation for her.
September 1, 2015
We are excited to announce the publication of Spectacle, co-edited by Jennifer L. Creech (associate professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures) and Thomas O. Haakenson (faculty of visual studies at California College of the Arts)!
August 20, 2015
In June, Alysha Alani ('15) received the "Best Student Presenter" award at the Second International Conference on Advances in Women's Studies at Ryerson University, Toronto. Entitled "Exploring Collegiate Perceptions of Feminism through Bem's Gender Schema Theory" and based on research conducted through UR's Susan B. Anthony Center, the paper was co-authored by Angela Clark-Taylor, MS; Adriana Rogachefsky, LMFT; and Catherine Cerulli, JD, PhD.
August 11, 2015
Yesterday, Joanne Bernardi, associate professor of Japanese in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, appeared on WXXI's Connections with Evan Dawson to discuss the seventieth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as ongoing questions of nuclear ethics. Mr. Dawson and Professor Bernardi were also joined by Richard Dees (associate professor of Philosophy; associate professor of Bioethics; director of program in Bioethics at the University of Rochester) and Eric Wheeler (Counseling Center and Veteran Services at Monroe Community College).
July 1, 2015
Cambridge University Press has just published The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant, the newest volume by Robert Doran, associate professor of French and comparative literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures!
March 13, 2015
Six French films on campus this month will provide University students and Rochester cinéphiles "a great basis to engage with, and research, contemporary French film," says Julie Papaioannou, senior lecturer in French and Francophone studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. The theme of the Tournées Film Festival, to be held March 18-20 and 25-27, is "French and Francophone Cinema, Global Perspectives." The selections "highlight French film production in connection with the cinematic world at large," Papaioannou explains. "Their main themes of personal inner struggles, familial ties and disruptions, and political life are brought to focus through a global lens with a political filter."
December 12, 2014
Joanne Bernardi, associate professor of Japanese in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, has assembled hundreds of early 20th-century postcards, films, brochures, advertisements and other objects now on display at an interactive online archive and research project developed with the help of the Digital Humanities Center. "Re-envisioning Japan: Japan as Destination in 20th Century Visual and Material Culture" uses travel, education, and the production and exchange of images and objects as a "lens to investigate changing representations of Japan and its place in the world in the first half of the 20th Century."
October 17, 2014
In her latest book, Lens, Laboratory, Landscape: Observing Modern Spain, Claudia Schaefer (Rush Rhees chair and professor of Spanish and comparative literature and of film and media studies) explores the uses of observation for the acquisition of knowledge about the world in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Spain, set within the context of the country's problematic road to modernization and its participation in the European scientific community. For Schaefer, the book represents "an intellectual labor of love and a personal challenge to find a language of intersecting interests between the humanities and sciences."
September 12, 2014
Robert Doran, associate professor of French and comparative literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, explores how and why the distinction between "beauty" and "the sublime" became important in his forthcoming book The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant (Cambridge University Press, 2015). "The concept of the sublime allows us to conceive of a certain kind of experience that normally would only be accessible using theological concepts," Doran explained in an interview. "It's a secularized version of religious experience. It's the experience of transcendence, but transcendence in the arts or in the aesthetic appreciation of nature."
October 15, 2013
The current issue of the esteemed Times Literary Supplement includes a glowing review of A Herzen Reader, edited and "admirably translated" by Kathleen Parthé, director of the Russian Studies Program. Featuring one hundred essays and editorials previously unavailable in English, A Herzen Reader reflects the diverse and complex positions articulated by the Russian radical thinker Alexander Herzen (1812–1870).
August 22, 2012
Beth Jörgensen, professor of Spanish-American literature in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, has won the 2011 book award in the humanities from the Mexico section of the Latin American Studies Association for her book Documents in Crisis: Nonfiction Literatures in Twentieth Century Mexico (SUNY Press). According to a citation from the association's selection committee, the book redefines scholarly understanding of modern Mexican literature by focusing on "nonfiction writing as a fundamental part of the landscape that has long been too heavily focused on poetry and fiction." The award is presented annually to a narrative or work of art published or produced between May 1 and December 31 of the previous year that reflects outstanding originality in its treatment of any aspect of Mexico.
November 1, 2010
There are many iconic images of the nuclear age, but among those spawned by pop culture, perhaps none is more familiar than a certain enormous lizard. "Atomic Creatures: Godzilla," a film and media studies course taught this fall by Joanne Bernardi, an associate professor of Japanese and a member of the film and media studies program faculty, takes a look at the phenomenon that generated and helped define the Japanese kaiju eiga, or monster film. "I think it's the most important course I teach—it's a matter of life and death," says Bernardi, who says the films bring together cultural and historical responses to nuclear issues.
March 30, 2009
Inspired by her experience at the Selznick program, Joanne Bernardi developed a new course offered this semester to River Campus students called "Film As Object," parented by the Department of Modern Languages and Culture and cross listed under the Film and Media Studies Program. "What Joanne Bernardi gained from her experience at the Selznick School was the technical knowledge of how film as an artifact and object work, while most film scholars rarely handle the object of their studies," says Jeff Stoiber, assistant curator at the Selznick School. "Combining her newfound knowledge from Selznick experts with her broad background of film history for her course, she is now a double threat!"