To be announced Fall 2013
The MA in Hispanic Studies Lecture Series brings renowned scholars in Hispanic Studies to Concordia.
On March 7, 2013, Dr. María Inés Martínez, Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, discussed the establishment of the principle of collective rights of black communities in Colombia.
This lecture will focus on black communities in Colombia, with particular emphasis on the adoption of Law 70 in 1993, which established the principle of collective rights of black communities. In spite of this law, the extreme violence of the 1990s disrupted communal territories, and left black communities vulnerable and at the mercy of paramilitary groups. This has effectively blocked the implementation of Law 70 and demonstrates that Colombia remains a deeply divided country, and racism and the exclusion of black communities lie at the centre of this division. Prof. María Inés Martínez will show how the leadership of black communities remains mobilized, capable of challenging the Colombian state in the name of collective rights, while they remind us all of the necessity of building an inclusive democracy.
María Inés Martínez is an expert in testimony and human rights in Colombia. She is the author of El despertar de las comunidades afrocolombianas [The Awakening of Afro-Colombian Communities] (LACASA University of Houston and Centro de Investigaciones Sociales [Centre for Research on Social Sciences] of the University of Puerto Rico, 2012), a ground-breaking book which features five testimonies of Afro-Colombian leaders. Anthropologist Arturo Escobar considers the book to be “an impressively vivid and profound portrayal of the emergence of collective black identities, one of the most important developments in Latin American social movements of the past decades”. The book was 5th on the Best Seller List in Colombia during the week of July 30, 2012. Dr. María Inés Martínez currently teaches 20th-century Latin American literature, literary theory, popular culture, oral literature and testimony. She is already preparing a second major research project based on interviews with Fabiola Lalinde, one of the most prominent Colombian human rights activists.
On March 29, 2012, Dr. Laura Colantoni, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, discussed what can be learned about the first language by studying second language (L2) speech.
What can we learn about the first language by studying second language (L2) speech? The goal of this talk is to explore this question by analyzing data on the acquisition of segmental and prosodic features. Professor Colantoni will discuss experimental data on the acquisition of French and Spanish consonant clusters by native English speakers (Colantoni & Steele, 2006, 2008, 2009), in order to determine why some structures are particularly difficult to acquire. She will then present data from an on-going study on the acquisition of English intonation by Spanish and Mandarin speakers (Colantoni et al. 2011; Ortega-Llebaria et al. 2011), which seeks to determine the relative role of meaning vs. form in the acquisition of intonation.
Laura Colantoni is Associate Professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Toronto, where she is also an Associate Faculty Member in the Department of Linguistics. She received her BA in Linguistics from the University of Buenos Aires and her PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on sound change and categorization and the second language acquisition of variable phonetic parameters. She is currently preparing two books: Second Language Speech: An Introduction (with P. Escudero, & J. Steele), forthcoming in Cambridge University Press; and Perspectivas teóricas y experimentales sobre el español de la Argentina (edited with C. Rodríguez Louro), forthcoming in Iberoamericana. In recent years, she has been working on several research projects, such as "Gestural Origins of Speech Errors" (SSHRC Standard Research Grant; with Pascal van Lieshout, Jeffrey Steele and Kevin Munhall; 2009-2013), "Quantitative and Laboratory Approaches to the Study of Micro and Macro Sound Variation and Change in Spanish" (SSHRC Standard Research Grant; 2005-2009), and an experimental study on the phonetics, phonology and acquisition of obstruents-liquid clusters in French and Spanish, in collaboration with Jeffrey Steele.
On November 24, 2011, Dr. William Childers, Associate Professor of Spanish at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, discussed the roots of modern racism in 16th century Spain.
Moriscos - as the descendants of Spanish Muslims were known after their forced conversion to Christianity - looked like everybody else in early modern Iberia. As far as we can tell without photographic records, their range of hair and skin color were similar to that of their neighbors. Unless they were dressed in their traditional garb, physical appearance alone did not distinguish them. Yet state policy toward the minority combined genealogy with ethno-religious difference to form them into a racial group. Belonging to this legal category assigned one a distinct set of privileges and restrictions. Still absent was any discernible visible sign of their belonging to a distinct “race.” But racial thinking supplies such signs even where they are lacking, imagining that darker skin, particular facial features, or even a naturally shorter foreskin can serve as indicators of exclusion from the dominant Old Christian majority, which increasingly came to define the Spanish nation. Thus racial formation existed prior to biologically-based theories associating genotype with phenotype; the pseudo-scientific theory of race arose subsequently, in order to justify racist political and social structures.
Dr. William Childers is Associate Professor of Spanish at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Transnational Cervantes (University of Toronto Press, 2006), which won the MLA’s Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, awarded annually to one book in Spanish and Latin American literature and culture. He has published numerous articles on Cervantes and other aspects of early modern Spanish literature and culture. His current book project is Morisco Questions: State Power and Cultural Identity in Castile, 1570-1610.
Watch the full lecture on YouTube (1:47:22)
In the inaugural lecture on March 21, 2011, Dr. Keith Ellis, Emeritus Professor at the University of Toronto, discussed postcolonial studies of freedom and self-expression in the Caribbean.
The surge of optimism that was prominent in the initial critical work that appeared under the postcolonial rubric has to be tempered in light of the cultural, political and economic consequences of the reaction of imperialism to the supposed new freedoms. New assessments have to be made of the status of the freedoms won by people who were previously formally colonized and of the ways being sought by them to preserve or achieve their authentic self-expression, taking into account such institutions as the media, the church, and the creative arts in specific national contexts, particularly in the Caribbean.
Dr. Keith Ellis is Emeritus Professor at the University of Toronto, where he taught Latin American Literature and Culture from 1963 to 2000. He is considered one of the world's authorities on the Caribbean poet Nicolás Guillén. He has published more than 100 scholarly articles and 18 books. In 2010, he received the Andrés Bello Medal, the Dulce María Loynaz International Prize, and the Medal of the University of Havana, where in 1998 he became one of the few scholars to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate in its 270-year-old history. His work has also been recognized with the Nicolás Guillén Medal (2002) and his membership in the Royal Society of Canada since 1988, among other distinctions.