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Modern Languages & Literatures SYE Presentations

4/30/13 3:30pm to 5:00pm


The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures cordially invites you to the following SYE presentations at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 in Carnegie 10:

Margaret R. Fellows               Naguib Mahfouz & Al Karnak

The project focused on the Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, his novel Al-Karnak, and the historical, political, and cultural background of the novel in Egypt . The novel is set in Cairo in the 1960s and in general it is about the arrests of three university students by the secret police.  The three are tortured and abused by the government.  The Karnak Café is the meeting place that the students went regularly.  The political and social history of Egypt is illustrated by the stories of the three students, Hilmi, Ismail, and Zaynab. 

Ariel Gould                              Conflicts of Religions in the Middle East

My inspiration for the project was a Lebanese film, "Where Do We Go Now?" This film is a satire that establishes the everyday lives of people living during the sectarian war in Lebanon. From this film, I decided to conduct my research on that conflict, but in a broader sense. I examined the conflicts between Arab Muslims and Arab Christians throughout the Middle East with concentrations in five countries: Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Palestinian Territories, and Syria. I explored the relations with Arab Muslims and Arab Christians within these countries and how these relations were strained or improved. The major influences that are outlined in my research include authoritarian leaders, the Arab spring and Western Influence. 

Margaret R. Fellows               Food and Food Culture in China (SYE in Chinese)

The presentation will focus on the cultural food traditions of China. More specifically, it will include information on rice, fish and duck farming (polycultures), Sichuan pepper and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Chinese cooking techniques and cookware. Lastly I will present my translation of the story of Shennong, the legendary “culture hero” of China credited with inventing Chinese herbal medicine by tasting “100 herbs”.

Richelle Davis             Culture of Consumption: The Value Shift of Modern China as Seen in Ming Dynasty Folktale

The culture of consumption in China has been changing from a conservative one to one that is more about spending, which has caused a growth in material waste and excess.  In this paper, I will be using both folktales from the Ming dynasty and scholarly works of modern times to draw a clear picture of its evolution over time. The traditional Chinese values promoted thriftiness and saw material wealth as sinful. But the changing of time is causing a blending of the old values with the modern concept of consumption, extravagance. This new consuming spirit, combined with the advances made in the Ming dynasty at the time, were the origin of capitalism in China. 

Sara Boardman           O espanhol como segunda língua no Brasil: la nueva ley brasileña

This semester, I have been working on my independent study with Dr. Steven White. Having already studied Spanish, French and Chinese as a Multi-language major, I decided to take it upon myself to learn Brazilian Portuguese, as Brazil is quickly becoming an economic superpower. For ten weeks I studied from textbooks, music, films, magazines and news articles. On a weekly basis, I practiced pronunciation and listening comprehension with Dr. White. I applied the self-taught understanding of Portuguese to gather and use sources to write my research paper on the effects of Spanish becoming the official second language of Brazil.  My research paper will be written in Spanish in order to meet the requirements of the course.

Elizabeth Geer                        Comparison of racism in Denmark and Spain through the use of film

For my independent study with Professor Marc Reid, I have chosen to compare racism in Denmark and Spain through the use of film. These two countries in particular were chosen because I studied abroad in both locations, and noticed racist tendencies in both countries. Through my research, I have looked at the history of each nation, modern cultural values, and legal proceedings regarding immigration. I decided to use the method of film to examine racism because I had previously taken a Latin American film course with Marc and enjoyed it immensely, and found it to be an interesting way of conveying cultural values. In using three movies from each country, I was able to compare the differences in racism between Spain and Denmark and use my research to deduct why certain stereotypes and prejudices exist. Through both film study and examining past research, I was able to observe differences between the Danes’ traditional closed society and the historic openness of the Spanish society. These overarching feelings were useful in relating historical immigration in both countries with modern day sentiments and biases towards racial tendencies.

Suncica Habul              Building cultural relationships through flamenco music and dance in the case of Spanish gypsies.

My interest in the Gypsy origin comes from the time I was a student at the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of my extracurricular activities in this school was a voluntary work with Roma [gypsy] children from community located outside of the city of Mostar. I always wondered why gypsies in Bosnia and elsewhere in Europe are not considered citizens of these countries. When I studied abroad in Spain in the Spring of 2011, I realized that not all gypsies in Europe share the same reality. After my first trip to Andalusia, to three beautiful cities of Seville, Granada and Córdoba I realized that Spanish gypsies are much more integrated than those of other European countries. This was the time when I decided to study the reasons behind the integration of the Spanish gypsies. My senior research project provides an overview of the gypsy origin, following their journey from India to Spain. It also provides an analysis of three important factors (climate, the legacy of “Convivencia” and the restrictive laws) which, in my opinion, were the reasons why gypsies established better in Spain than elsewhere in Europe. The second part of my research focuses on flamenco and uses this hybrid artistic expression to analyze the effects it has had on the cultural and socioeconomic integration of gypsies in Spain."

Margaret R. Fellows                     El río y sus fronteras entre Nicaragua y Costa Rica

Costa Rica is often considered to be an environmentally friendly country, whereas its neighbor to the north, Nicaragua, is frequently construed as a country where poor people destroy the rainforests. These stereotypes hardly tell the whole story, however. Agriculture and tourism in Costa Rica have wreaked havoc on the environment, whereas Nicaragua has progressive legislation and a certain level of environmental consciousness.  On the other hand, Costa Rica has a well-developed national park system, and Nicaragua struggles with balancing the demands of development with protecting the environment. The two countries share a water basin for the San Juan River and this joint responsibility has generated tensions in the border region.  Regardless of stereotypes, I argue that both countries have a mixture of conservation movements and environmental issues that have not yet been resolved.  Perhaps Nicaragua and Costa Rica should treat nature as a force to unite them, through conservation efforts, instead of destroying the environment in order to demonstrate ownership and control.  I attempt to show that if the countries are in support of sustainability and environmental protection for future generations, their efforts should not stop at their own borders, because nature certainly does not recognize political boundaries.  In order to show this, I take a multi-disciplinary approach, using art, literature, and environmental studies to express this point of view. 

 Refreshments will be served