Foreign Languages and Literatures

Foreign Languages and Literatures (FL&L) is dedicated to providing MIT students with the tools for a sensitive and successful involvement in the global community by contributing to the internationalization of their MIT education. During the academic year 2000-2001, FL&L faculty continued to provide national and international leadership in the fields of foreign language pedagogy, technology in the humanities, and literary and cultural studies, while demonstrating their commitment to educational excellence within the Institute.

Highlights of the Year

Professor Jing Wang, formerly Director for the Center for East Asian Institutional and Cultural Studies at Duke University, has been appointed the S.C. Fang Professor in Chinese Language and Culture in FL&L beginning July 2001; Lecturer in English Language Studies (ELS) Jane Dunphy is being named Director of ELS beginning July 2001, and Professor of French Studies Isabelle de Courtivron continues as Section Head. Several members of the section were recognized in their fields: Professor of Japanese and Linguistics Shigeru Miyagawa was invited to participate on the committee which launched the MIT Open Courseware Initiative; Professor of French Studies and Film, Edward Baron Turk was Film Editor for The French Review; Visiting Associate Professor of French Odile Cazenave received the Choice Outstanding Academic Award for her book entitled Rebellious Women: The New Generation of Female African Novelists; Assistant Professor of Chinese Emma Teng received the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship Award for 2000–2001; Senior Lecturer in Spanish Douglas Morgenstern served as an MIT Representative to the Governing Board for the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning and presided over the Open Forum on Distance Learning at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.; Lecturer in French Sabine Levet was named President of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Special Interest Group on the Teaching and Learning of Culture for 2000–2001. Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Margery Resnick continued as President of the International Institute in Spain and has also just completed her third year as Chair of the Program in Women's Studies. Professor Miyagawa was on leave during the Fall 2000 semester; Professor of Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition Suzanne Flynn was on leave during the Academic Year 2000–2001.

Awards and Grants

FL&L faculty and lecturers continue to receive awards, grants, and funding with which to develop materials and new technology to enhance the teaching of foreign languages, literatures, and culture. Professor de Courtivron and the Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies received the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation award to fund Short Term Residencies for International Writers. She was also awarded the Provost Fund for compiling and co-editing Contemporary French Feminisms, a collection of essays on contemporary French Women. Professor of Comparative Media Studies William Uricchio received a grant from the European Science Foundation for his book Changing Media, Changing European Identity. Professor Miyagawa received funding from Fuji-Xerox for his research on issues concerning Japanese document structure, the Distinguished Award from Multimedia Grandprix 2000 (Japan) for his StarFestival Network, the highest rating from the International Society of Technology Educators for StarFestival Multimedia Curriculum, and a grant from the Institute of Turkish Studies for an international conference on Altaic Linguistics. Professor Miyagawa and Senior Lecturer Morgenstern both received class awards from Class of 51/55/57; Professor Miyagawa for his Moon Festival project and Professor Morgenstern for his Valencia project. Research Associate Kurt Fendt (with Professor of Literature Henry Jenkins, CMS) received the MIT d'Arbeloff Fund for MetaMedia, a multimedia framework for enhancing media literacy and communication skills. He also was awarded a Research Fellowship from the German National Research Center for Information Technology (GMD), in St. Augustin, Germany, for research on multimedia learning environments. Senior Lecturer in German Ellen Crocker, Senior Lecturer in French Gilberte Furstenberg, Lecturer Dunphy, and Research Associate Fendt received funding from DaimlerChrysler to develop a prototype for training modules for cross-cultural corporate communication.

The Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning remains a strong supporter of FL&L multimedia projects. The Consortium provides annual funding to each member institution (campus-based projects) and awards funding on a competitive basis for its members (consortial projects). This year's sole recipient of the consortial-project funding was Berliner sehen Exchange, a shared on-line teachers manual, student workbook and educators forum (co-PIs, Research Associate Fendt and Senior Lecture Crocker). In addition to funding from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, Senior Lecturer Furstenberg received campus-based Consortium funding for further development of "Cultura," a web-based tool for developing cross-cultural understanding. Consortium support was also given for Lecturers in Japanese Keiko Iijima's and Yoshimi Nagaya's project entitled "Advanced Readings and Communication in Japanese," Lecturer in French Johann Sadock's second phase of his project "Au-delà du regard: recontres multiethniques," a web-based module that focuses on the changing face of French society as a result of an increasingly racially and ethnically diverse youth, and Lecturers in Spanish Adriana Gutiérrez-González's and Margarita Ribas Groeger's project, "Immigrant Voices: Stories from Hispanic Communities in Boston."

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Research and Publications

Research in the areas of literary and cultural studies, linguistics and language pedagogy continues to be of the highest caliber and is regularly published in internationally respected journals. Professor Turk's Book, Child of Paradise (Harvard University Press, 1989) is being translated into French for publication in Paris next winter. Professor Miyagawa wrote "The EPP, Scrambling, and Wh-in-situ," which appeared in Ken Hale: Life in Language. Professor Uricchio completed Televisuality...In Particular German Developments, 1928-1945 for Cambridge University Press and Early Cinema and Social Space for the University of California Press. He also had his work included in two books: "La formazione dei pubblici" appeared in Storio del Cinema 1., "Filmvoführer in New York, 1906-1913," co-authored with R. E. Pearson which was included in KINtop: Jahrbuch zur Erforschung des frühen Films 9. Professor Teng wrote "Miscegenation and the Critique of Patriarchy in Turn-of-the-Century Fiction," which appeared as a chapter in Asian American Studies: A Reader. Visiting Associate Professor Cazenave's chapter "Writing New Identities: the African Diaspora in France" was included in Literature of Immigration In France and "Vingt ans après Mariama Bâ, nouvelles écritures au féminin" appeared in the Journal, Africultures 34 and 35. Lecturer in German Bernd Widdig's book Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany was published by the University of California Press. Research Associate Fendt wrote "Die koh renz des Nicht-Linearen: ber den Erwerb Komplexen Wissens in Hypertextsystemen," which appeared in Medien, Texte und Maschinen. Angewandte Mediensemiotik, and "Contextualizing Content: The Potential of Hypermedia for Interdisciplinary Language Learning," which appeared in Language Across the Curriculum: Interdisciplinary Structures and Internationalized Education. Senior Lecturer Furstenberg and Lecturer Levet (along with Katherine Maillet and Kathryn English) wrote an electronic article for the January 2001 Language Learning and Technology Journal entitled "Giving a Virtual Voice to the Silent Language of Culture, or Developing Cross-Cultural Literacy Via the Web: the Cultura Project"

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Section Highlights

This year, FL&L's Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies (CBBS) in association with the Program in Women's Studies brought distinguished filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga to MIT as a Visiting Lecturer in residence for a semester. She taught the class entitled Topics in Global Culture and helped Professors Cazenave and Resnick host a successful three-day conference on African women writers and filmmakers, co-sponsored with the Program in Women's Studies. Her works include the film "Everyone's Child" as well as the book Nervous Conditions: A Novel. FL&L also sponsored talks by noted authors Holger Teschke, José F. A. Oliver, André Aciman, Eric Fassin, and Dr. Guy de Teramond, Minister of Science and Technology for Costa Rica.

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Conferences and Presentations

FL&L faculty were invited to numerous national and international conferences. Professor de Courtivron was an invited speaker at University of California at Berkeley on "Colette and the Art of Paradox," and at Georgetown on "Language Policy, Poletics, and Polemies in Contemporary France." The Sarasota Institute of Life-Long Learning invited her to speak on "The Impact of Globalization on Language, Culture and Identity." Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies Elizabeth Garrels presented the paper "La necrofilia bolitica, o la lucha por el cuerpo muerto de Facundo" at the conference of the 23rd International Congress of Iberamerican Literature, University of Salamanca, Spain. Professor Miyagawa was an invited speaker at the Japan-America Institute of Management Science on "Jazz, Race, and Identity." He presented the StarFestival Network to the National Cable Industry Representatives (CNN, Time-Warner, Disney, AT&T, Fox, Discovery, Comcast, Cable in the Classroom) in Washington, D.C. At Bhosphorus University in Istanbul he gave two workshops on Word Order and Altaic Languages. He was on the organizing committee for the conference entitled "Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics 3," and presented a paper on "Japanese, Korean, and Turkish," at the Workshop on Altaic Languages here at MIT. In addition, he gave a talk entitled, "Technology and Education in the 21st Century" in Saga Japan. Professor Turk presented a paper called "Boy Bands and Girl Singers," at the MIT Communications Forum on Performance and Theatricality. Professor Uricchio was organizer for two European Science Foundation research group meetings, in Palermo and Paris. Professor Teng was the invited speaker at several conferences: the International Conference on the Plains Aborigines in Taiwan, "The Raw and the Cooked: Images of Taiwan's Indigenous People in Literature and Illustrations," "Beardless Men and Big-Footed Women: Visualizing Gender and Ethnicity in Representations of Frontier Peoples in the Qing Imperial Tribute Illustrations," at the New Directions in Chinese Women's and Gender History Conference at Columbia University. She also spoke at the International Crossroads for Cultural Studies Conference in Birmingham England, the International Conference on Art, Literature and Travel in Taiwan, and the Association for Asian American Studies Conference in Arizona. At the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Senior Lecturer Morgenstern co-presented with Lecturers in Spanish Gutiérrez-Gonzélez and Groeger "Experiential Learning: Designing Classroom and Computer-Assisted Activities For Spanish," Senior Lecture Julian Wheatley was a discussant (in Chinese) on a panel on "Literacy Instruction in China" at the Chinese Language Teachers Association Conference (CLTA/ACTFL), and Senior Lecturer Crocker, Lecturer Gutiérrez-González and Lecturer Groeger gave a joint panel presentation called "The Internet, National Standards and Cultural Diversity: Understanding Other Cultures." Senior Lecturer Furstenberg presented a paper entitled "From the Blackboard to the World Wide Web and Back: Methodological Connections, Transformations and Reflections," and with Lecturer Levet presented a paper entitled "Developing Students' Understanding of a Foreign Culture: a priority for the 21st Century." Senior Lecturer Furstenberg also gave a presentation of the Cultura project at UCLA, The University of California at Santa Barbara, The University of California at San Diego, Princeton University, Harvard University as well as to the MISTI group here at MIT, and presented papers to CALICO (Computer Aided Language Instruction Consortium), and the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) at the Modern Language Association Meeting in Washington, D.C. Senior Lecturer Wheatley was on the panel "Advanced Beginners" at a Conference at Brown, spoke on "Ritual Language" at a Burma Studies Conference, conducted a workshop on language teaching at Princeton University, and was a panelist on "Professionalization of Southeast Asian Language Teaching" at the Association of Asian Studies Conference in Chicago. Senior Lecturer Crocker presented "Exploring Cultures-The Potential of Multimedia for Collaborative Learning" and held a workshop entitled "Integrating Interactive Media into the Foreign Language and Culture Curriculum: French, German, Spanish" at the Vassar-Williams Mellon Consortium at Williams College. Lecturer Dunphy conducted a Seminar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on "The Art of Writing a Scientific Abstract," at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University on "Interacting Across Cultures: Considerations in Using English in the European Union," and at International Tesol, St. Louis on "Weaving Authenticity Into the Pre-MBA Program." Visiting Associate Professor Cazenave conducted several panel sessions of which she was Chair and Moderator: Two sessions at the African Literature Association Conference in Richmond Virginia in April; four literary cafés with African writers, and a session with filmmakers. She was a panelist at Brown University for "Lumumba and Mobutu: African Cinema" and gave a talk at Harvard University entitled "Vingt ans après Mariama Bâ nouvelles écritures postcoloniales en France." Lecturer Levet was invited to conduct two workshops on "Bringing Culture to the Forefront of the Foreign Language Class: the Role of Technology" at Emory University and Bard College. She also presented at the CALICO conference: "Instructional Design of Classroom Strategies for Web-based Cross-Cultural Learning" (with Katherine Maillet, INT France), "The Cultura Project: In the Language Class and Beyond" at (CAES) the Center for Advanced Educational Technology and Athenium at MIT, and "Integrating Pedagogy and Technology" at NERALLD Conference of Language Lab Directors at MIT on how to help faculty integrate technology in their teaching. Lecturer Groeger conducted a workshop called "Tacit Assumptions and the Potential of Language Instruction" at the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning Governing Board Annual Meeting at Harvard University. Lecturer in Chinese Tong Chen presented a paper at the International Conference on Teaching Chinese to Foreigners in Wuhan, China. Lecturer in ELS Patricia Brennecke conducted a workshop called "Culture and Teaching" at The American School in Switzerland. Lecturer Sadock presented a paper "Beyond Fiction in Film and in Documentaries: the Impact of the Internet on the Teaching of French Cultural Diversity" at the International Conference at La Sorbonne in Paris. Lecturer in ELS Mary Christie presented a paper entitled, "Increasing Comprehensibility Among Non-Native Speakers When English Is The Lingua Franca," at the Association For Business Communication European Convention 2001. Lecturer Widdig was invited to speak at Universitæt Müchen in Munich, the Third International Colloquium on International Engineering Education at the University of Rhode Island, and the Consortium on Financing Higher Education Assembly Meeting at Wesleyan University where his talk was entitled "Internationalizing Education at MIT."

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Programs at MIT

Faculty and lecturers also participated in programs organized at MIT. Professor Turk was a Faculty Advisor for the International Film Club. Professor Uricchio gave an MIT webcast lecture entitled, "Globalization and Media Convergence." Senior Lecturer Furstenberg gave presentations of her three French multimedia programs: "A la Rencontre de Phillippe," "Dans un Quartier de Paris" and "Cultura" for MacVicar Day, on the topic: "Can Technology Transform the Way You Learn Japanese and French?" Senior Lecturer Morgenstern organized a day-long session of Sine Nomine on Representation and Teaching of Culture in the Language Class at MIT with Professor Miyagawa and Lecturer Levet as panelists. Senior Lecturer Morgenstern was also project director for MITUPV Exchange Distance learning website in Spanish and English for students of MIT and Universidad Politècnica de Valencia, Spain; in collaboration with 6.916 Software Engineering of Innovative Web Services (Profs. Hal Abelson and Philip Greenspun). Senior Lecturer Wheatley was the Director of MISTI China, Senior Lecturer Furstenberg acted as liaison between the French group in FL&L and the MIT-France Program, Lecturer Widdig was Director of the MIT-Germany Program and acting Program Manager for the Global Venture Creation Network at the MIT-Entrepreneurship Center. Senior Lecturer Crocker organized an event, Fernlautmetz German-Spanish Poetry Reading and Musical Performance with German Poet José F.A. Oliver. Visiting Associate Professor Cazenave set the program for the MIT African Film Series in February 2000. She was also co-organizer for MIT African Week where she participated in the roundtable "Bilingual, Bi-Cultural Identity and Creativity In Contemporary Africa," translated for writers in the roundtable "Whose Human Rights?" and moderated the roundtable "Gender and Human Rights in Africa Through The Arts" with Véronique Tadjo (Ivory Coast), Monique Ilboudo (Burkina Faso), Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe) and Anne-Laure Folly (Togo) which was sponsored by FL&L and Women's Studies. Lecturer Dunphy was a consultant in ELS Curriculum Design for the Singapore MIT Alliance, (SMA).

MIT Service and Enrollments

Members of the FL&L faculty also contribute to MIT through their service on a number of Institute-wide committees: The Academic Computing Strategic Planning Committee, The Committee for Undergraduate Policy, the Burchard Scholars, the Women's Studies Steering Committee, CMS Steering Committee, CMS Graduate Admissions Committee, Life-Long Learning Committee, Subcommittee on the Undergraduate Communication Requirement among others. Associate Professor Resnick was particularly active on several MIT committees and projects this past year. She served on the committee on the Library System 2000-2001 which formulates policy for the administration of the libraries; ran the AMITA-funded "Women at MIT" program, headed the Burchard Scholars program, was Director of the MacVicar/Oral Histories of MIT Women Graduates, and ran the MIT/University of Muenster online course.

FL&L has maintained its commitment to making full-time appointments and to attracting qualified candidates from minority groups. In order to achieve these goals, FL&L has targeted historically black colleges and universities and has advertised in journals and association web sites focusing on the minority community. We currently have several members of our full-time faculty and full and part-time teaching staff who are under-represented minorities or women.

While the number of majors in FL&L remains low at three, the number of minors (68) and the number of concentrators (521) has remained relatively stable. Spanish continues to have the largest enrollments at 575; followed by English Language Studies, 360; French, 245; Chinese, 242; Japanese, 239, German, 181, and Italian, 80. Enrollments in Studies in International Literatures and Cultures (cross-cultural language and culture subjects taught in English) are subsumed under the language group to which the instructor belongs.

Isabelle de Courtivron

More information about the Foreign Languages and Literatures section can be found online at

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