Month: May 2016

LCL Fêtes its Graduate Students at 2016 Annual Awards Soirée

Award1The Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages held its Graduate Student Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 21st, welcoming students, staff, and faculty – along with friends and family – to honor some of the standout graduate students of the 2015-16 academic year. Department Head Gustavo Nanclares delivered some brief remarks and introduced the various award presenters, while Professor and recent Co-Head appointee Jennifer Terni oversaw the crowd’s enjoyment of her spectacularly orchestrated spread of food and drink. The Department is pleased congratulate the following award recipients:

Excellence in Teaching

Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies

Simone Puleo


Ryan Evelyn


Britta Meredith

Italian Literary and Cultural Studies

Silvia DeAngelis


Charles LeBel

Excellence in Research

Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies

Arnab Dutta Roy


Elisabeth Herbst Buzay


Niko Tracksdorf

Italian Literary and Cultural StudiesPicture3

Denis Forasacci


William Stark

The Borys and Lida S. Bilokur Award

Rafael Jaros



LCL Faculty Lecture Series presents Professor Daniel Hershenzon

Lectureseries1On Wednesday, April 20th, Professor Daniel Hershenzon delivered a presentation titled “Redemption and Contentious Objects in the Early Modern Mediterranean” as part of LCL’s Faculty Lecture Series. Hershenzon talked about the distribution and redistribution of religious images across the early modern Mediterranean as partly engendered by the circulation of Christian and Muslim captives in the same place and time. Focusing on paintings and sculptures of Jesus, Mary, and the saints, Hershenzon spoke about the mobility and economy of religious items trafficked between North Africa and the Iberian peninsula, highlighting instances of iconoclasm, objectification, and Lectureseries2commodification of such articles as they were repurposed outside of the cultural sphere in which they were created. The talk began with a demonstrative example from – of all places – contemporary Mexico, where a a sculpture of Baby Jesus attributed to the Sevillan artist Juan Martínez Montañez has resided since the early 17th century. This sculpture, an icon of salvation for addicts and kidnapping victims in recent times, was captured en route to Mexico from Spain and held for 6 years in Algiers, before finally being ransomed and arriving safely at its destination. Hershenzon explained that he chose to frame the presentation using this example because it exemplifies the dynamic history of similarly captured images, and “demonstrates the unique long-term reciprocal relation and continuous reversal of roles between god and believers, redeemeers and captives.”

LCL Celebrates Outstanding Students at 2016 Undergraduate Award Ceremony

AwardceremonyThe Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages was pleased to host a large crowd on April 27th at the annual LCL Undergraduate Award Ceremony. Among those present to congratulate this year’s crop of outstanding students was Guest of Honor Justice William P. Robinson III, Supreme Court Justice of the State of Rhode Island and UConn Alumnus (PhD French). LCL is proud to acknowledge the achievements of the following recipients:



Excellence in Arabic Language:

John Thomas Ciurylo



Excellence in Chinese:

Hans Rutgers Massaquoi

Michael Cala

Caitlyn Durfee

Harrison Hall

Laura Madeline Jones

Maya Munstermann

Emily Prue



The Allen M. Ward Prize in Ancient Greek

Alyssa Luis



The Gene J. Barberet and B. June Gilliam Scholarship

Justine Plourde

The Fannie Hatheway Boss Prizes

Lucas Bladen

Betty Noe

 The Marie Naudin Award

Carmen Hatchell

The Paul and Joan Meyer Award

Jane Eklund

The Dr. Gene J. Barberet Award

Daniela Doncel



The Marlis Zeller Cambon Scholarship

Jessica Rehaag

The Lederer Prize

Alison Hosey

Excellence in German in the Eurotech Program

Brian Sheehan

State of Baden-Wuerttemberg Study Abroad Scholarships

Siena Biales

Nikita Noskov

Hubert Bis

Donald O’Boyle III

Travis Braisted

Nicholas Oliveira

Josiah Butler

Paige Orlofsky

Hayden Clarkin

Carolynn Pahner

Justin Claspell

Chanhyun Park

John Galligan

Maria Rozman

Conor Glettenberg

Kyle Sanford

Alison Hosey

Sydney Smith-Romanski

Dustin Kaiser

Christian Schirmer

Amber Levasseur

Katherine Stone

Thomas McMorrow

Philip Syrrist

Owen Wilcox



Sylvia and Leo Dashefsky Award fo

r Excellence in Hebrew Studies

Lea Anne Toubiana

The Cohen‐Henes Award

Kerry Carnahan

Seliger Holocaust Studies Award

Lorraine Gordon



The Friends of Franco Masciandaro Award

Danielle Ullo

The Glauco Cambon Memorial Scholarship

Jacqueline Bodnar



Excellence in Spanish Prizes

Allison Battista

Carly Bernheimer

Christiana Field

Ryan Kauer

Matthew Kosior

Alexandra Leonelli

Andrew Lutz

Diana C. Macklem

Michael Mcguigan

Ariana Scurti

Emily Socha

John Sullivan

Jeffrey Tamucci

Jessica Tosti



Outstanding Senior Scholars


Sean Lee

Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies

Andrew Harnedy


Michael Roy


Nicole Henry

Italian Literary & Cultural Studies

Larisa Virvo


Paulina Rowe

The Chester Obuchowski Memorial Scholarship

Melissa Scarbrough (French)

Peri Stevens (Spanish)

Professor Maha Darawsha’s Nazareth Discovery

NazareneDiscovery1LCL’s very own Maha Darawsha, Professor of Arabic Language, Culture  and archaeologist, spoke on March 23rd about her groundbreaking work – in both the literal and figurative sense – uncovering what is beleived to be a lost Byzantine  church behind the  existence Greek Orthodox  church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel. This was the first season of excavations at the site, which had been surveyed in 2012 but was never excavated.

Her ongoing work on the surrounding area of the church, which began in 2003, has unearthed small sections of ornate mosaic flooring in several test pits that are most likely the remnants of a Byzantine-era structure destroyed by Persian invaders sometime in 614 CE. This discovery is especially salient in that all indications point to this church as the one which early Christian and Muslim texts identify as having been constructed on the sight of the Virgin Mary’s water well. The church’s proximity to the Spring of the Virgin, a water source that continued to serve the local Nazareene community until the late 19th century, serves to support Professor Darawsha’s claims. Some of the mosaics that she has found 1.5 meters below the courtyad surface have suffered damage from recent building projects, but the evidence that remains is sufficient to surmise that Darawsha has encountered the Narthex of the Greek  Orthodox church that affiliated with the Annunciation mentioned in both the Gospel of Luke and the Qura’n.

According to Professor Darawsha,

It seems that we have revealed a fairly large public building whose main hall has a width of 6.5 to 7m. While its true length is unknown, it measures at least 11m on the east-west axis. The building is dated to the late Byzantine period (6-7 centuries AD). Either the structure itself, or at least this narthex pattern paved with a coarse mosaic floors, is typical of churches of the relevant period. The building underwent a phase of repairs close to the period of floor 135, and these floors belong to a later structure. Beneath the walls appears to be a magnificent building dating back to earlier period whose floors had not yet been discovered. This discovery is very similar to finding glass, glassware, and window panes typical of churches from the Byzantine period (the initial information was mentioned by Ms. Rachel Pollack). This findings are typical of public buildings and not of residential homes.

Therefore, it seems that we have at least two church buildings from the Byzantine period. The first one from end of the Byzantine period, and the second church that was rebuilt after the Persian conquest in 614 CE.

Professor Darawsha’s presentation drew a sizeable crowd.
Professor Darawsha’s presentation drew a sizeable crowd.

In future visits to the site, Professor Darawsha hopes to discover the remainder of the church – although she thinks it probable that the nave has already been destroyed by illegal excavation in 1980s – and to confirm beyond a doubt that this is in fact the church built on top the well of the Virgin Mary.

The 2015 excavations were sponsored by the University Hartford (CT) and the Greek Orthodox Council in Nazareth (Israel), and directed by Richard Freund (University of Hartford, CT), Maha Darawsha (University of Connecticut), and Shalom Yanklevitz (University of Haifa, Israel). Assisting staff members were geophysicists Harry M. Jol (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire) and Paul Bauman (Worley Parsons Company, Canada), surveyor Philip Reeder (Duquesne University, PA), field photographer Bennett Greenspan, and Michal Artzy (University of Haifa’s Hatter Laboratory, Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, Israel).


  • Nazarene Discovery
    Nazarene Discovery





Panel on Intercultural Literature Citizenship and Public Discourse

From left to right: Professors Coundouriotis, Hermes, Wagner, and Finger.
From left to right: Professors Coundouriotis, Hermes, Wagner, and Finger.

On March 23rd, LCL was pleased to host a panel on Intercultural Literature Citizenship and Public Discourse, including presentations by Professor Stefan Hermes of the University of Freiburg, Germany; Professor Eleni Coundouriotis of UConn’s English Department; and Professors Manuela Wagner and Anke Finger of LCL’s German section.

After some introductory comments by Professor Finger, Professor Hermes spoke about the recognition of blackness and race in German public discourse, presenting three examples from (popular) German media, including a black facing incident, a debate on the n-word and censorship in children books, and the media coverage of the mass sexual assaults which may have led to a shift in public opinion regarding both incoming refugees and certain “problematic cultural differences.” He stated that the majority of the German population considers Germany to be a “white” country, being that “white” is the norm, and that as white people tend to argue that, since they are not racists, their actions cannot be categorized as racist.

panel2Professor Coundouriotis then spoke from a literature and human rights perspective, focusing on the term “realism,” and the different qualities of testimony and witnessing and the implications of visual media. The message appeared to be that people demand authenticity and realist descriptions, for this is what they understand to be the truth. There is no truth, Coundouriotis declared, but however the “truth” is what results most persuasive. She explained that literature fictionalizes and individualizes, thus giving mediated access to events. While testimony does constitute first-hand reportage, it often may be influenced by trauma. Condouriotis said that giving witness is important as a secondary form of talking about what happened, and all the more so because it implies an interruption of the atrocities.

Professor Wagner later talked about the concept of intercultural citizenship as the key goal in coping with globalization. She pointed to the recent terror attacks in Brussels as yet another sad example of how important critical cultural awareness and intercultural competences are in an evermore pluralistic world. Wagner further commented on the topic of intercultural citizenship from the teaching perspective, presenting projects from the foreign language classroom, as well as international, and interdisciplinary projects.

Finally, Professor Finger shared a video clip in which people of Indian extraction spoke about the representation of Indian people in popular culture in the United States. Drawing attention to the vast quantity of comments that the video had garnered on YouTube, Finger emphasized the importance of including digital media in public discourse on pressing topics. She argued that people in today’s world are no longer mere consumers of media, but are rather active contributors and participants of public debates taking place via social media.

The discussion that followed the panelist’s four presentations included some pointed concerns on strategies for disrupting mainstream discourse surrounding topics of interculturality and global citizenship, and possibilities for including marginalized voices and opinions in public debates. Questions were also raised on the topic of radical and offensive opinions, such as if and how these are to be dealt with, and what would be the repercussions of policing public discourse by silencing “unpleasant” voices or seeking to teach “correct” attitudes for the sake of public engagement.

Special thanks to Maria Reger for making this piece possible.

Narrator Daniel Alarcón Delivers the 2016 Eyzaguirre Lecture

Narrator Daniel AlarcónUConn was proud to welcome narrator and podcast producer Daniel Alarcón to deliver this year’s Luis B. Eyzaguirre lecture on March 22nd in the Student Union. Alarcón’s has risen to notoriety in recent years for his literary successes – including the novels Lost City Radio (Harper 2007) and At Night We Walk in Circles (Riverhead Books 2013) and short story collections War by Candlelight (HarperCollins 2005) and El rey siempre está por encima del pueblo (Sexto Piso 2009) – as well as his role in founding the popular Spanish-language podcast Radio Ambulante (2012). The talk dealt with the narrator’s philosophy on storytelling, according to which he views the act of journalistic and fictional narration as essentially the same. Alarcón spoke about the interrelation of his journalistic and narrative experience specifically in the case of his writings relating to prisons and prisoners, including pieces researched during visits to Riker’s Island in New York City and the infamous Lurigancho prison in Perú. The author read aloud from his novel At Night We Walk in Circles as well as his Harper’s Magazine article titled “All Politics is Local” (2012) to draw attention to the ways in which these two narrative Narrator Daniel Alarcón2projects bleed together. He then played for the audience an audio story that he had recently completed called “El Indio”, told in the voice of a long-time Mexican prison gang member-turned-PhD specialist in gang issues. Alarcón highlighted the impact of added audio production elements, including music and side effects, which serve to emphasize the comical tone of the speaker’s tale. He pointed out that what he liked best about this particular piece was that it “takes the aesthetics of well-done literature and combines them with journalism, and puts it in sound.” He summarized his talk as a retracing the steps of his journey as an artist, journalist, and storyteller, explaining that he considers himself above all as narrator, that is, a person who tells stories across all genres.

Prof. Julio Ramos on Literature, Drugs, and the State

ProfJulioRamosProfessor of Spanish and Portuguese of University of California Berkeley Julio Ramos visited UConn on February 25th to deliver a talk titled “Literatura, droga, y estado: Los encadenados de Josefina Guevara,” dealing with the relationship between drug addiction and individual freedoms in Puerto Rico as glimpsed in the 1966 novel by author Josefina Guevara. Professor Ramos, who is both an influential writer of cultural criticism and an award-winning director of documentary films, provided a social-historical context for considering Guevara’s novel, describing the ways in which drug addiction in Puerto Rico in the 1960s and thereafter has been treated by State authorities as a criminal status, rather than as a mental health or medical issue. He explained that such a scenario robs addicted persons of their right to self-determination with regard to their options for treatment, and that it exemplifies the problematic relation of biopolitical control between the State and its subjects. Ramos further spoke about various approaches to drug commentary in literature, remarking on observed differences between the sensationalizing tendencies of narcoliterature and other literatures in which narcotics may paradoxically be viewed as both a subject’s route of escape as well as her ticket to State custody. All of this was discussed in terms of the broader economic and political situation of Puerto Rico as both a center of pharmaceutical production and as an Associated Free State of the United States – conditions which have had formative influence on the relations between State sovereignty and the Puerto Rican populace.

Experimental Folk Theater in India – Dr. Dutta-Roy

folk3Dr. Sonjoy Dutta-Roy Presents on Folk Theater in India

On March 23rd Professor of English at the University of Allahabad – and father of PhD candidate Arnab Roy of LCL’s Comparitive Literature section – Dr. Sonjoy Dutta-Roy gave a presentation at Babbidge Library’s Class of 1947 Conference Room on the spirit of disruption in folk theater forms of India. The goal of Dr. Dutta-Roy’s talk was decidedly non-encyclopedic. The speaker chose to embrace a performative mode of expression, weaving a narrative of recent Indian folk theater using specific examples from the country’s ritual tradition and their links to experimental theatric forms of past decades. Dutta-Roy structured his discussion on metaphorical grounds borrowed from the Nāṭya Śāstra, the ancient Indian treatise on performative arts, in which he identified two folktheater1crucial disruptions in the development of theatrical production in India. Theater being the primary vehicle for the percolation of vedic knowledge from higher to lower classes, these disruptions are endowed with great significance. The first disruption occurred, Dr. Dutta-Roy explained, when upper-caste participants of traditional fertility festivities decided to banish lower-caste and tribal people – refferred to as “demons” – from the performative spaces where ritual theater was performed. These “demons” were blamed for subtle disturbances in the performances, such as causing actors to forget their lines, and were thus denied access to newly ordained protective spaces where the previously open-air productions would take place. The second disruption detailed by Dutta-Roy had the opposite effect, when the high castes determined that the theatrical arts contaminated the purity of their people and ejected performers from their midst. Theater was then cast back out into the public sphere of the lower classes, setting the stage for later social and political controversies still in play today. According to Dr. Dutta-Roy, contemporary experimental theater in India continues to enact the legacy of these two disruptions in new and thought provoking ways.

TQC, UConn’s first fully open access graduate journal

tqc1TQC, The University of Connecticut’s first fully open-access graduate journal, is born right here in LCL

The 2014-2015 academic year saw the foundation of The Quiet Corner Interdisciplinary Journal, the University of Connecticut’s first fully-digital, open-access graduate journal. With the help of LCL, LANGSA, El Instituto (Institute of Latino/a, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies), and Digital Commons@UConn, The Quiet Corner published its first issue this past May. Founders Carlos Gardeazábal Bravo, William Stark, and Charles LeBel – all Ph.D. candidates in LCL’s Spanish Studies section – launched the project as a means to gain insight into the online publishing industry and to create a space for graduate students to showcase their research. According to its mission statement:

The Quiet Corner Interdisciplinary Journal is an open-accessbi-annual research forum edited by graduate students of humanities, arts, and social sciences at the University of Connecticut (LCL, ELIN). The journal facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration towards cultural and social awareness, providing a locus for scholarly engagement across disciplines to promote critical thinking, research and creativity. The journal’s flexible focus centers on texts in a variety of languages, including but not limited to points of (dis)connection among worldwide literary, cultural and performance studies; digital, analogue and environmental humanities; translation and foreign language instruction.

tqc2The inaugural issue, titled “Translation Across the Arts, Culture, and Theory”, includes articles based on work presented at LANGSA’s 2014 “Found in Translation” conference by authors from the UConn graduate community and beyond. Issue 2 of The Quiet Corner, which will also be a collaboration with LANGSA, is expected to land in early Spring, 2016. Visit to view the current issue or contact for more information on TQC.