Nicoleta BazganDr. Nicoleta Bazgan:  I hold a Ph.D. in French cinema from Ohio State University, where I also acquired an academic I background in international relations and political theory.  My interests include French contemporary cinema, cinema and the city, French female stardom, and national cinemas. 

My current research focuses on the French star system, more precisely, on how stardom discourses and filmic representations of women construct Frenchness and how such national gendered structures are perpetuated and experienced through different media texts.  I analyze a wide array of texts, not only films, but also multiple media discourses, including specialized film magazines and newspapers, critical reviews, (auto)biographies, as well as fanzines and women's magazines.  The critical tools I use are interdisciplinary, coming from diverse fields such as film studies, gender and cultural studies, nationalism and globalization theories, popular culture and feminist geography.  My research on French female stars and the screened city of Paris, “Female bodies in Paris: iconic urban femininity and Parisian journeys,” was most recently published in Studies in French Cinema 10.2 (2010).

I am also a passionate supporter of study abroad programs and international experiences.  During my time at Ohio State, I served as a Resident Director for Language Immersion Programs in Lyon and Dijon, as well as for a Business Program Exchange in Nantes.

At UMBC, I teach French film classes, such as MLL 215 (French Film Classics, a survey of French cinema) and FREN 430/630 (Stars of French Film) during Spring 2011, The Political Economy of Culture (MLL 603) during Fall 2010 as well as French language and culture classes.

kay yoonDr. Kyung-Eun Yoon:  In Fall 2009, I joined MLLI to expand the existing Korean classes to a minor program.  I received my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006.  I taught Korean language and culture courses at UIUC and the University of Florida before coming to UMBC.  I have always found language, culture, and interaction very fascinating, and so I have studied their dynamics, mainly using the conversation analytic methodology.   

I enjoy teaching and interacting with my students.  I am very excited to have this wonderful chance to expand the Korean program at UMBC.  Since Fall 2009, I have offered new courses such as KORE 301, 302 (Advanced Korean I & II), KORE 309 (Business Korean), and KORE 310 (Korean Language in Social and Cultural Context).  From Spring 2011, two more courses, MLL 311 (Introduction to Korean Culture) and MLL 315 (Images of Society in Contemporary Korean Films) will be added to the course offerings.

We will soon have in place a Korean minor program, which will provide students with substantial training in the Korean language and further cultural understanding.  Through this program, students will gain proficiency in Korean, become familiar with Korean society and culture, and thereby become well-prepared global citizens. 

I have felt very welcomed at MLLI, which I am always grateful for.  I hope the new Korean minor program will also be welcomed!

As you've undoubtedly noticed from the MLLetter banner, the name of our department is a bit longer now, with the addition of "Intercultural Communication."  The recent name change reflects an increased focus on intercultural communication as a unifying element in our language, major, MA, and PhD programs, and points to a clear direction for the department's future.

german area

The German Area is sponsoring a major film event in collaboration with the Dresher Center, the CLI, and the Department of History. The film Latest from the DA-DA-R satirizes East German life in its final days and the arrival of new times after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Jörg Foth, the director of the film, will introduce it and lead a discussion after the screening. The event will take place on Tuesday, November 16, at 7:30 pm in LH 7 (ITE building) and is free of charge.  The film is subtitled and the discussion will be in English. Everyone is invited.

The German Club is sponsoring a German Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) on December 6.  Details to be announced. 

Sprachfest, a celebration of German language and culture, is scheduled for the middle of March 2011. German students from regional middle and high schools will be invited to come to UMBC to present their accomplishments in German.  Details to follow.

Brigitte May and Susanne Sutton presented a workshop on German games and  popular leisure time activities at the German-American Day at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. 

Susanne Sutton was chosen as MEAD Fellow by the North East Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Her presentation at NECTFL 2010 on her MEAD project "Reaching out into the Community: German Immigrants' Stories" was a finalist for 'Best of NECTFL.'

The French Club organized its first event this semester. Students and faculty members were invited to attend and help prepare a fondue. Many thanks to Ross Weiner, Pegah Attarpour, Macy Bokhari, Jason Kelly and many others who were present, including Judith Schneider, Zakaria Fatih, and Donna Wecker. The Club is planning more events in the near future.


The MLLI French Area presents . . .

Sept. 30, 2010: Faat Kiné, a film, in French and Wolof, by Sénégalese director
Ousmane Sembene (Sénégal, 2000)
MLLI Faculty Presenters:  Dr. Omar Ka, Dr. Judith Schneider

Oct. 14, 2010: Adieu Mères, a film in French and Arabic, by Moroccan director
Mohamed Ismail (Morocco, 2007)
MLLI Faculty Presenter: Dr. Zakaria Fatih

Nov. 4, 2010: C.R.A.Z.Y., a film in French by Canadian/Québecois director
Jean-Marc Vallée (Canada, 2005)
MLLI Faculty Presenter: Dr. Denis Provencher
—Presented in support of National French Week.—

Movie Snacks Will Be Served

Two co-authored papers by recently-graduated Applied Linguistics major Ariana Uffman and her advisor Germán Westphal are scheduled for presentation at international linguistics conferences. 

The first paper titled "Ergatividad, léxico y sintaxis" will be presented at the XVI International Congress of the Latin American Association of Linguistics and Philology to be held in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, June 6-9, 2011. The second one titled "On the Null Causative Light Verb of Minimalist Syntax" will be delivered at the 4th Annual International Conference on Literature, Languages & Linguistics, July 11-14, 2011, in Athens, Greece. 

Both papers are expansions of Ariana's Honors Thesis "On Multiple Verb Complements: A Case for Case in English Grammar." Her undergraduate thesis was directed by Professor Germán Westphal and completed as part of the Honors Program directed by Professor Thomas Field.

Ariana graduated Magna cum Laude and with Departmental Honors in the Spring of 2010. After graduation, she has informally continued working in linguistics as a Research Associate, in collaboration with Dr. Germán Westphal. Ariana intends to pursue graduate studies in linguistics effective Fall of 2011.

Student Elizabeth Lynch writes:  As I began talking to Dr. Elaine Rusinko about her research on Carpatho-Rusyn literature, one book led to another and this summer I found myself in eastern Slovakia at the Studium Carpato-Ruthenorum, the first summer school of Rusyn language and culture, held at Prešov University.  At our first lecture at the Studium, twenty or so students found ourselves in a small third-floor classroom barely adequate to accommodate us. The professors stood before the blackboard at ramrod attention and with the gravest solemnity, while photographers darted in and out, seemingly oblivious to the importance of the event. 

Over the coming days, life fell into a predictably unpredictable routine: morning lectures in Carpatho-Rusyn history with Dr. Paul Magocsi, followed by lunch and a two-hour language class taught by Dr. Kvetoslava Koporová (in Rusyn) or Dr. Stefan Pugh (in English) by video link, with the able assistance of Dr. Anna Plišková.  In the afternoon or evening and on weekends we had field trips to culturally significant sites, ranging from monasteries and churches to the Andy Warhol museum and the radio and television stations that broadcast programs in Rusyn (we were even, reportedly, on TV). 

As usual, some of the best opportunities for learning were outside of the classroom, most notably wherever Valerij Pad'iak (who taught Carpatho-Rusyn history in Rusyn) was sitting.  Always charming, enthusiastic, and patient to a fault, Pan Pad'iak spoke—or claimed to speak—no English, so any communication with him had to be done in Russian or Rusyn. 

By the end of the course, I had learned not only a little Rusyn and a lot of Central European history, but also why such solemnity surrounded the whole undertaking.  Our professors were aware of what an accomplishment—thirty years in the making—it was for the language to have finally gained enough recognition to have a summer school.  Although the majority of students were heritage speakers (some of whom uttered the words “our culture” in the most hallowed of tones), the fact that those of us with little background in Rusyn were willing to travel from other countries to learn the language was a demonstration of the importance this ‘unknown tongue’ had achieved. 

And I finally understood why MLL 230—World Language Communities—is part of the MLLI core.  In this environment, what one chose to say—or didn’t—decided who were your friends and who were your enemies, determining where you stood and in which communities.  And I discovered that language standardization is a process requiring many years and the work of engaged people both within the community and outside.  

In January 2011 a group of ten UMBC students will travel to Montpellier, France for three weeks of intensive language study.  They will stay with local families and take advantage of the location of the city near the Mediterranean to explore some of the best known and most beautiful parts of France.  The oldest parts of the city of Montpellier were built 1000 years ago at a time when the city had one of the most important medical schools in Europe and was a cultural crossroads for Christian, Jewish, and Islamic culture.  From Montpellier students are able to visit the small fishing villages of the coast and the great port of Marseilles; Romanesque abbeys and Roman ruins; the Palace of the Popes in Avignon and the natural wonders of the Massif Central.  The group will be accompanied by Dr. Thomas Field. The Montpellier trip is offered every two years.

Bradley Knieriem (MLLI-Russian, B.A., May 2009) wrote for an earlier issue of the MLLetter:

My study abroad in Moscow during the fall 2008 semester was an unforgettable experience that greatly improved my Russian skills and allowed me to meet many wonderful, new people.

I studied and lived at the prestigious Moscow State University. This imposing Soviet-era school still bears the hammer and sickle and “CCCP” of the Soviet Union, which served as a daily reminder of Russia’s rich and varied past. Living in the dorms I was able to interact with native Russians on a daily basis—in the kitchens, doing laundry, in the dining hall, or just around campus—and get much closer to the language and culture than I could have ever hoped.

When I embarked on my trip I was eager to have a real, “Russian” university experience, and I received just that, complete with infuriating bureaucracy, mice, and hot water problems. When I spoke to my Russian friends about these things, they would laugh and tell me to be careful what I wished for! Despite all of that, however, I would not trade my experiences at MSU for anything.

Moscow is a vibrant, metropolitan city which is absolutely nothing like I expected. It more closely resembles New York or London than what most Americans typically think of as being stereotypically “Russian”; there are upscale European boutiques, museums, fine-dining restaurants, an amazing metro system, and, of course, countless McDonalds. In addition, it is one of the cleanest, prettiest cities I have ever seen, especially the metro, which has trains running literally every 2 minutes and many stations that have more in common with art museums than train stations.

My study abroad program, offered through the University at Albany, included numerous excursions to the many museums and historical sites in and around Moscow, such as the Kremlin, the Tretyakov Gallery, Tolstoy’s estate, and even a multi-day trip to Saint Petersburg to see the world-famous Hermitage museum and Dostoyevsky’s home. In addition, my program allowed me plenty of free time in which to explore on my own; after school and on weekends I explored Moscow with friends and even traveled by train to other cities.

The faculty and staff in the foreign language department of MSU were wonderful and I looked forward to class everyday. Thanks to them my Russian skills improved exponentially through the course of my studies. They also took great personal interest in their students, with one even helping me find a place to buy mousetraps for the aforementioned pests!

Overall it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I strongly encourage anyone interested in languages or foreign affairs to study abroad and reap the benefits that it offers.

Café Tortoni, Buenos Aires

The Café Tortoni is the oldest coffee shop in Argentina. With a very rich history, it is visited at all times by intellectuals, politicians and artists. Left to right:  Jorge Luis Borges, writer; Carlos Gardel, tango singer/composer; Alfonsina Storni, poet; Judith Schneider, MLLI professor.

Dr. Zakaria Fatih's first book, L'Âge des lumières entre vérité et altérité, reconstitutes the relationship of truth and alterity in the Enlightenment. Those two notions have become the focal point for writers and thinkers, which helped revolutionized their meaning in a way never seen before. As revolutionary as the Enlightenment was, it could not envision alterity without truth, a practice that had repercussions on fiction and the relationship to the Other, i.e. the woman, the noble-savage, the passionate Oriental, in short the non-European.  The book is an attempt to examine the theoretical mechanisms that cimented the relationship of truth and alterity.  With examples from philosophy, critical and literary theories, and anthropology, I discuss the social and cultural antinomies that make of the literature of the Enlightenment an exceptional masterpiece of a great modernity.  

Dr. Fatih has also recently submitted a second book on which he has been working for 9 years: “Le Maghreb entre l'enjeu de la tradition et le défi de la modernité?”  A chapter of this book will be presented on MLLI Research Day. He will also present at the MLA convention in Los Angeles for the second year in a row with a paper titled: “The Cultural dynamics of Frenchness and Colonial Education” in a session titled: “Teaching Frenchness: The Classroom in Francophone Literature and Film.”


Dr. Denis Provencher recently gave a presentation at Bucknell University, titled "Queer-Arab-French: Sexuality, Islam and Citizenship in France," in which he explored the processes by which Maghrebi-French men have begun to construct alternative same-sex identities with the recovery of North African traditions. By combining modern constructs of gay sexuality and North African feminism with the repressed traditions of Maghrebi same-sex love, these intrepid pioneers have begun to forge a “hybrid” sexual identity, which they present with growing confidence to France’s gay urban culture, to their French-Maghrebi communities, and to the world at large.

Present at the talk were a number of students and professors from Dr. Provencher's alma mater, Penn State (photo, with Dr. Provencher). 

Dr. Elaine Rusinko will give a presentation on Andy Warhol, titled "'We Are All Warhol's Children': Andy's Afterlife as a Rusyn Icon," on Wednesday, December 1st at 4 PM in the AOK Library Gallery, following an introduction on Warhol's art by Visual Arts professor Dr. Preminda Jacobs.  There will also be a tour to the Warhol exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art for ILE residents and residents of the Visual and Performing Arts Living-Learning Community.

"Andy Warhol is the world's most famous American of Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry. The icons of the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church were his first exposure to art. His unexpected death in 1987 was followed by the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the rise of the Rusyn movement for identity, which embraced the flamboyant pop-artist, filmmaker, and jet setter as their iconic figurehead. From their own idiosyncratic perspective, the traditional, religious, provincial Rusyns have reconstructed our image of Andy Warhol, pointing up aspects of the artist that have gone largely unnoticed. In a reciprocal process, Andy has had a significant impact on the Rusyn movement and on the recognition of Rusyns worldwide."

The MLLetter is edited by Dr. Steven Young
The deadline for our Spring semester issue is Friday, March 11, 2011.
MLLI students and alumni are encouraged to submit items.