Message From the Chair
Dear Romance, German, and Slavic Languages and Literatures Alumni,
This year has been challenging like no other, with the pandemic continuing to upend the way we go about teaching and conducting research. Yet RGSLL continues to be a vibrant community of scholars, teachers and students deeply committed to a better understanding of French and Francophone, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Latin American languages, literatures and cultures. Whether in-person or virtually, RGSLL faculty have been actively engaged in a wide variety of scholarly activities: publishing books and articles; hosting conferences, events and workshops; and, of course, teaching and mentoring students. RGSLL faculty continue to create a rigorous and nurturing learning environment for our students. We are very pleased to share with you some of the highlights in this newsletter.
In the past year, our department organized several highly successful workshops for students and faculty. In April 2021, we invited RGSLL alumni for a Virtual Career Panel. In the fall, we hosted both Career Pathways Through Languages, a workshop on how to market skills acquired through our majors and minors, and a separate workshop on how to successfully write a resumé. For the third year in a row, we also hosted an exciting virtual faculty seminar series, [email protected], featuring work in progress or recent publications of literature faculty from across GW.
Thank you for your continued support and engagement. We are so grateful to all of you who made donations to the department, participated in workshops, gave guest lectures and stayed involved in a myriad of ways. We would love to hear from you! Please stay connected and share your news with our RGSLL community.
With warm wishes,
A panel of Columbian College professors hosted by the GW Humanities Center analyzed how the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection was seeded by factors such as white supremacy, truth distortion, anti-Semitism and antagonism to immigrants and people of color. The virtual event was covered by GWToday.
Alumni Class Notes
- Cathy Alsop, BA ’71, lives in Connecticut after retiring from many years in the international investment world. She remarried this summer and spends her time gardening and keeping up with her grandchildren.
- C. Joel Block, BA ’68, sells exotic high-end watches. He is proud to say that his daughter, Marcelline Block, has a PhD from Princeton and teaches at the prestigious Bronx High School of Science.
- Yvonne Durbin, BA ’13, returned to D.C. after working for One Acre Fund in Rwanda for three years. She runs the Strategic Investments Capital Innovation Lab at Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a community development finance institution.
- Andrew Hesbacher, BA ’20 won the Fulbright ETAs and is studying in Germany for the year.
- Jesse Juarez, BA ’05, taught ESL in Japan for four years, worked for the Institute of International Education for seven years in Washington, D.C., and now lives in San Francisco. He is grateful for all of his French language and literature training.
- Sarah Moga, BA ’13, continues her fundraising career at Saint Peter's Church, a 150-year-old German Lutheran church located in Manhattan. She is also working towards her C1 diploma from the NYC Goethe Institute.
- Jake Neuberger, BA ’22 published a bilingual interview with Mexican author Fernanda Melchor in Latin American Literature Today, a project that originated in Professor Cuellar's Queer Latin America class as a creative assignment, addressing issues of violence, disability, gender and sexuality among other topics.
- Nancy Rogers, MA ’70, PhD ’74, is happily retired from the National Endowment for the Humanities, where she was the director of the division of public programs. She is currently translating a novel by French writer George Sand, on whose work she wrote her doctoral dissertation.
- Simon Saliby, BA ‘22 was awarded a Luther-Rice Undergraduate Research Award and is currently completing the research project for his honors thesis “Examining the Culture of Citizen Activism and Renewable Energy Cooperatives in Germany’s Energy Transition” with faculty mentor Dr. Gonglewski.
- Mikeala Sparks, BA ‘17 won the Fulbright ETAs and is studying in Germany for the year.
- Jennifer Vitek, BA ’13, resides in the Denver-metro area and is the director of conferences and events for the Kidney Cancer Association.
- Catherine Adoyo was featured in the PBS documentary Dante.
- Masha Belenky published Popular Literature from Nineteenth-Century France. In June, she gave a lecture on her recent book, Engine of Modernity, at the Cambridge Seminar for Nineteenth-Century Studies. In October, she co-hosted The 46th Colloquium on Nineteenth-century French Studies on the theme of POWER. Professor Belenky continues to serve as a co-convener of a monthly virtual dialogue series about new books in 19th century French studies called NCFS Unbound, and is co-editor of the journal Dix-Neuf.
- Yvonne Captain was interviewed for the documentary Black Love.
- Manuel R. Cuellar participated in the 2021 Latin American Studies Association and the American Society for Ethnohistory Conferences, where he presented on queer Indigenous and Afro-Mexican performances and cultural production. He participated in the Mexican Cultural Institute’s symposium "Age of Revolutions: Rethinking Mexico's Independence from a Hemispheric Perspective" and "The Shared Language of Poetry: Mexico and the United States." He helped launch the GW "LatinXpression Series," co-organized with the Cisneros Institute. Professor Cuellar also published the article “Prácticas discursivas y espaciales gayas en El vampiro de la colonia Roma de Luis Zapata.”
- María J. de la Fuente published an edited Education for Sustainable Development in Foreign Language Learning. She also authored Content-Based Instruction in College-Level Curricula and a chapter for Problem-Based Pedagogy for the Advanced College Language Curriculum: Becoming a Multicompetent Language User through Sustainability Education.
- In fall 2021, Margaret Gonglewski taught her new CCAS Dean’s Seminar titled Green Germany: Sustainability Meister or Myth? She also published the chapter "Cross-Disciplinarily at the Core: Teaching Sustainability in a Business German Course" with GW School of Business Professor Anna Helm in the volume Education for Sustainable Development in Foreign Language Learning.
- Pauline Goul organized the student workshop “Careers Pathway through Languages” with Professor Ashley Voeks from Texas Tech University.
- Sarah-Kay Hurst received a 2021 Bender award.
- Peter Rollberg published The Cinema of Soviet Kazakhstan 1925–1991, a monograph tracing the history of Kazakh filmmaking from its conception as a Soviet cultural construction project to its peak as fully-fledged national cinema to its eventual re-imagining as an art-house phenomenon.
- Abdourahman Waberi received the French Academy’s Grand Médaille de la Francophonie (the Grand Medal of Francophonie), which is awarded to the current top francophone writer.
- Lynn Westwater continues to co-direct the GW Humanities Center with American Studies Professor Jamie Cohen-Cole. The center was featured in CCAS Spotlight.
It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Dr. Richard Rogan, professional lecturer in German literature, who worked in RGSLL’s German Literature program since 2008. Dr. Rogan held a PhD from UCLA in Germanic languages and literatures with a specialization in German literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. He previously taught German languages and literatures at Concordia College, Northern Illinois University, Gettysburg College, Georgetown University and Gonzaga College High School. Beginning in 1980, Dr. Rogan was a member of the faculty of the American Institute of Musical Studies, where he taught German to American classical singers and instrumentalists in Graz, Austria. For several years, he also served on the Examination Development Committee for the AP Exam in German.