Language, Literature and Culture

Greek Tablet

News and Events

Lisa Musumba’s Clark education crosses cultures

Clark University undergraduate Lisa Musumba ’19 of Nairobi, Kenya, has found a way to apply her multicultural experience and interdisciplinary education to help Spanish-speaking children in Worcester celebrate their heritage.

Read More

The 2017-2018 Seniors Awards go to:

Maggie Foster - The Theodore and Phyllis Barbera Award for Excellence in Spanish

Nikolas Wagner - The J. Fannin King Prize for Excellence in Comparative Literature

Khali Maden and Melanie Rotax - The J. Fannin King Award for Excellence in French

German Studies and Economics major Nikolas Wagner was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Austria. The following is a piece written by Robert Tobin about Nik and the Fulbright. Learn more...

Nik Wagner received a US Teaching Assistantship in Austria, which is administered through the Austrian Fulbright Program. A double major in German Studies and Economics, Nik received a summer stipend to work on a LEEP project on translation. His senior thesis was on the meanings of the “Volk” in East Germany – when did the word refer to the working classes and the common people, and when did it refer to ethnic Germans?

The 2016-2017 Seniors' awards go to:

Dexel Sagoe-Moses --- The J. Fannin King Prize for Excellence in French

John Hite, Digby Kalert, & Julia Lewitt---  The Theodore and Phyllis Barbera Award for Excellence in Spanish
(with Professors Dio Costa Curras, Juan Pablo Rivera, Belen Atienza, & Dolores Juan-Moreno)

Aviv Hilbig-Bokaer & Madeline PhillipsThe J. Fannin King Prize for Excellence in Comparative Literature (with Professor Bob Tobin)

First Ramiro Lagos Poetry Prize Winner!-

Julia Lewitt, was awarded the first Ramiro Lagos Poetry Prize, a new poetry award for Spanish students that has been established to recognize Dr.  Lagos’ longstanding work in the field. The award is sponsored by the Department of World Languages at Worcester State University, along with the College of the Holy Cross, Trinity College, Clark University, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It aims to encourage,support, promote and publicize the creation of high-quality poetic works by Spanish students of these six institutions. The award includes publication and a stipend. Julia wrote a powerful poem linking her own body to the landscape of Chile, where she did her study abroad. Congratulations Julia!

Max Kade Prize Winner-

Aviv Hilbig-Bokaer (class of '17), who majored in Comparative Literature with a German focus, won the Max Kade prize for best paper at the Undergraduate Research conference for German Studies hosted by Moravian College and Lafayette University. The selection committee wrote, "We were very impressed with your excellent presentation, your thorough research and solid theoretical underpinnings and eloquent and intellectually stimulating discussions with the audience and as a member of the audience with the other presenters. You made strong contributions to the conference as a whole."

Versailles Lectureship-

Melanie DeFilippo (class of 17'), a double major in French and Francophone Studies and Psychology, will be heading to Versailles, France this fall [2017]. Each year a graduating senior is selected to spend the year teaching English at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, located just outside of Paris. The lecteur/lectrice (teaching assistant), teaches a variety of English language classes, holds office hours, and facilitates cultural exchange. Spending a year at Versailles offers an exciting opportunity to gain teaching experience and to further accrue French language and culture competencies, especially for Clarkies interested in pursuing graduate studies. Congratulations Melanie!
(with Professors Allison Fong and Beth Gale)

2017 Department Scholars Win International Awards:

Maia Moore, a Spanish major, was awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Argentina for the 2017-2018 school year.

Madeline Phillips, a German Studies major, has been awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Germany for the 2017-2018 school year.

Aviv Hilbig-Bokaer, a Comparative Literature major with a focus in German, will be a US Teaching Assistant in Austria, through a program administered by Fulbright.

Cassidy To (double major Asian Studies and Psychology), Keane Gately (double major Asian Studies and English), and Sam Spinner  studied abroad in Japan, and have been accepted into the JET Program
to teach English in Japan. The JET Program is a very competitive program run by the Japanese Government that awards college graduates grants to live and work in Japan representing the USA as cultural ambassadors. Most recipients of JET awards teach in public and private schools throughout Japan, and some work as interpreters/translators.

Visiting Spanish Professor Dolores Juan-Moreno Creates Connection between Clark students and
Elementary Spanish speaking students

"The idea is to celebrate our diversity because some of them are from Peru, some are from Colombia, I'm fom Spain and some of my Clark students are from Venezuela and Peru, " says Juan-Moreno, who began teaching in Clark's Language, Literature and Culture Department in 2005. "We can speak the same language even though we're from different countries and that's wonderful." Read More

Letters from Professor Michael Spingler

Three days after the attacks, here are some random thoughts and observations, not, I fear terribly well organized. More in the way of an anecdotal diary than “expert” analysis; I will leave that to the media, the journalists, pundits and politicians. First of all, a response to a headline I saw today on the Huffpost — “Paris stricken by panic.” Read More

The Candles and Flowers of the Place de la République: The homeless are shivering under their tattered blankets on the sidewalks, old women are begging on the street, the unemployed musicians, of varied talent, are back busking in the metro, and Joe Long, my friend from Dublin, had his pocket picked Saturday while grocery shopping in a local Franprix. So we could say that life in Paris is getting back to normal. Read More

The 2015-2016 Seniors' awards go to:

Jane Kennery --- The J. Fannin King Prize for Excellence in French

Daniel Padilla and Kayla Landis---  The Theodore and Phyllis Barbera Award for Excellence in Spanish

Maia Moore's Video Essay

Maia Moore, class of 2016, created this video essay about her experiences with cultural adaptation through dance during her semester abroad in Buenos Aires

The 2014-2015 Seniors' awards go to:

Danielle JacquesThe J. Fannin King Prize for Excellence in French
(with Professor Alllison Fong)

Molly Burns & John OliverasThe Theodore and Phyllis Barbera Award for Excellence in Spanish
(with Professors Maria Acosta Cruz & Constance Montross)

Jennifer ManglassThe J. Fannin King Prize for Excellence in Comparative Literature
(with Professors Alice Valenine & Maria Acosta Cruz)

Latin Pulse interview with Prof. María Acosta Cruz

Latin Pulse interview with Professor María Acosta Cruz (starts at the 6:26 mark). Latin Pulse is an online radio program that goes out to more than 130,000 subscribers weekly. To listen to this online radio program, please follow this link:

Latin Pulse Acosta Cruz interview

Professor Belen Atienza gives talk about Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, Mesico's first Baroque dramatist.

Professor Belen Atienza gave a talk about Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, Mexico's first Baroque dramatist. El Sur, a Mexican newspaper from the state of Guerrero, wrote an article about it. The talk was entitled "La locura en tiempos de Juan Ruiz de Alarcon" (or "Madness in Juan Ruiz de Alarcon's time". She spoke at a conference in Taxco Guerrero, the XXVIII Jornadas Alarconianas on Tuesday May 26th. You can read the article (in Spanish) at the link here.

Life and Hope Beyond AIDS : A bilingual poetry reading by Latino poet Norberto Stuart

Belen Atienza organized a bilingual poetry reading by Puerto Rican and Latino poet Norberto A. Stuart: "Life and Hope Beyond AIDS" March 30th from 10 to 10:50 am. This event was co-sponsored by the Language, Literature, and Culture Department and the Henry J. Leir Chair for Comparative Literature.

Dream Nation: Puerto Rican Culture and the Fictions of Independence

Author Event
September 23, 2014 at 7 pm Free Event
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Over the past fifty years, Puerto Rican voters have roundly rejectd any calls for national independence. Yet the rhetoric and iconography of indepenendence have been defining features of Puerto Rican literature and ulture. In the provocative new book Dream Nation, María Acosta Cruz investigates the roots and effects of this profound disconnect bretween cultural fantasy and political reality.

"No other book weaves together so beautifully and comfletely the political, historical, social, economic, and cultural threads which make up the tapestry of Puerto Rican nationalism. Graceful, thought provoking, and deeply learned, Dream Nation will certainly have a lasting impact." -Frederick Luis Aldama, author of a Concise History of Latino/a Literature.
Co-presented with Mark Twain House & Museum
Reservations: or 860-522-9258 ext 317
Buy the book at the Stowe Museum Store and save 10% ( 15% for Stowe Center members)

Prof. Atienza celbrates Julia de Burgos' 100th Birthday

Belen Atienza organized a celebration of Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos' 100th Birthday on Friday, Feb. 28th, from 7 to 9pm. This bilingual Spanish/English poetry reading and concert was sponsored by the Language, Literature and Culture Department and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and hosted by Stone Soup (4 King St. Worcester).

Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) is considered by many as one of the greatest female poets of Latin America. She was an ardent civil rights activist for women and African/Afro-Caribbean writers both in Puerto Rico and in the United States. She migrated to New York in 1940 where she struggled to earn a living as a writer because of racial, ethnic and linguistic discrimination and died in Harlem in 1953.
Today she has become a cultural icon and a role model for contemporary feminist writers and visual artists.

Prof. Tobin introduces Poet Laureate Richard Blanco to Clark community

Richard Blanco with statue of Freud at Clark University Robert Tobin, the Henry J. Leir Chair in Language Literature, and Culture, organized Clark's celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 20. As part of the day's events, Tobin introduced Poet Laureate Richard Blanco who read aloud the same poem he had written and read at President Obama's inauguration in 2013. Tobin, in his opening remarks, reflected that "Blanco's poetry, as it slips between Spanish and English, invites us to scrutinize how we speak and how we think about such concepts as freedom, civil rights and America." Read more
(Above left: Richard Blanco with statue of Freud in Red Square)