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, and to contributing to the internationalization of their MIT education. During the academic year 2001-2002, 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 of Spanish and Latin American Studies Elizabeth Garrels will serve as section head starting July 2002, succeeding Professor of French Studies Isabelle de Courtivron. Also in July 2002, Assistant Professor of Chinese Emma Teng will be promoted to associate professor of Chinese, and will hold the Class of 1956 Career Development Professorship; Lecturer in Spanish Margarita Ribas-Groeger will become director of Spanish language studies; and Lecturer in Japanese Yoshimi Nagaya will be appointed director of Japanese language studies. FL&L will also welcome two new members to the section: Ian Condry will be appointed assistant professor of Japanese cultural studies, and Charity Scribner will be appointed assistant professor of European cultural studies, both starting in July 2002. Lecturer in German and MIT-Germany Program Director Bernd Widdig was named associate director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) in November 2001. Two faculty members, Professors Garrels and Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Margery Resnick, were on leave during AY2002, and Research Associate Fendt spent two months as a visiting scientist at the German National Research Center for Information Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute in St. Augustin, Germany.

In June, Professor Resnick was elected an honorary member of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT. She was cited at length for her wonderful women's oral history project, and also for the numerous other contributions she has made to the education of MIT students over the years. Director of English Language Studies (ELS) Jane Dunphy and Lecturers Ribas-Groeger and Nagaya were recognized for their outstanding contributions to teaching and service to the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences with 2002 SHASS Infinite Mile Awards. In addition, FL&L received a generous gift of $725,000 for the French language curriculum from an alumnus in April. The funds will be used to increase the presence, visibility, and importance of French language, culture, and society on the MIT campus. Plans for a two-week immersion of cultural life in Paris during MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP), and for transferring to CD-ROM the language-learning application A la Rencontre de Philippe, by Senior Lecturer in French Gilberte Furstenberg, have already begun.

During AY2002, FL&L brought to MIT acclaimed author Eva Hoffman as a visiting professor, José F. A. Oliver as a Max Kade Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, and Arundhati Tuli Banerjee as a Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies (CBBS) Fellow and FL&L lecturer. Visiting Professor Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation and Shtetl, taught "Where East Meets West: Contemporary Literatures of Exile" and presented her work in a talk entitled "Memory and History," co-sponsored with the Writing Program. Writer-in-Residence Oliver taught "The New Spain: 1977–Present" and "Twentieth Century German Literature," and performed "Concert of Poetry in Spanish, German and English" with poet, singer, and guitarist Niño de Pantaleon. Lecturer Banerjee served as coordinator of Studies in International Literatures and Cultures (SILC) and organized both a lecture by well-known author Amitav Ghosh and an Indian Film Series.

Special events for the year included talks by noted authors Claude Hagège, Richard Rodriguez, and Ilan Stavans, all hosted by FL&L; as well as other talks by José Carvajal, Ambroise Kom, Leïla Sebbar, Genevieve Sellier, Ahdaf Soueif, and Ibrahim Ward, co-sponsored by FL&L.

Outside MIT, members of FL&L served in various leadership capacities involving the study of foreign languages and literatures. Professor de Courtivron was a member of the Jury du Prix Yourcenar, Boston. Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies Jing Wang was a proposal reader for the National Humanities Center, as well as an external examiner for the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong and the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. Associate Director and Professor of Comparative Media Studies William Uricchio was an organizer of the Media and European Identity conference in Brussels. Senior Lecturer in Spanish Douglas Morgenstern served as MIT's representative on the governing board of the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning. Professor Resnick continued as president of the International Institute in Spain. Lecturer Widdig was co-chair of the German Study Group at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. Senior Lecturer in German Ellen Crocker served on the executive board of the American Association of Teachers of German. Lecturer Nagaya was on the advisory board of the New England Association of Teachers of Japanese.

Finally, beginning in the fall semester, 2002, FL&L will offer students the opportunity to minor in Chinese language studies. The HASS Chinese Language Minor is designed for students who have completed an initial year of Chinese language study and would like to pursue advanced work in Chinese literature, history, and culture.

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Awards and Grants

Outside MIT

Professor Wang is the principal investigator (with A. Saich at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government) of a three-year grant from Harvard University's Asia Center for an inter-university research program entitled "Policy Culture in Contemporary China."

Professor Uricchio is the director of "Changing Media, Changing Europe," a Media and Cultural Identity Project funded by the European Science Foundation.

Professor of Japanese and Linguistics Shigeru Miyagawa continued his work on the course "Media, Education, and the Market Place" with funds awarded by Fuji Xerox.

The Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning remains a strong supporter of FL&L multimedia projects. Consortium support was given for Lecturer in Chinese Tong Chen's web-based project "Life and History in a Tianjin Restaurant." Senior Lecturer Crocker and Research Associate Kurt Fendt advanced their work on "Berliner Sehen" and "Berliner Sehen Exchange," two web-based teaching projects funded by the consortium. Progress was also made this year on several other consortium-funded projects: Lecturer Ribas-Groeger and Lecturer in Spanish Adrianna Gutiérrez-Gonzalez's "Immigrant Voices: Stories from Hispanic Communities in Boston," a collection of video interviews with Hispanic immigrants in the Boston area; Senior Lecturer in Chinese Julian Wheatley's book "Learning Chinese: A Beginning Course in Chinese"; Lecturer Nagaya's book "Kawariyuku Nihon no Syakai: Advanced Japanese Textbook"; and Lecturer in French Johann Sadock's web project "Au-dela regard: rencontres multiethniques."

Within MIT

A number of projects by FL&L members have received support from MIT. Professor Miyagawa received funds, in collaboration with Comparative Media Studies (CMS), from the Campus Committee on Race Relations for research on the Young Historian Project. Professor Wang's research has led to the establishment of an international committee on critical policy studies of China at the Center for International Studies. Committee participants include the University of Technology and Science in Sydney, Australia; the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Center for Oral History at Tsinghua University; the Center for Cultural Studies at Shanghai University; the Center for Popular Culture Studies at Peking University; the Transcultural China Project at Rice University; and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Professor Uricchio is head of Global Media and Cultures, an MIT-CMS research consortium project. Lecturers Ribas-Groeger and Gutiérrez-Gonzalez received funding from MIT's dean of undergraduate studies, dean of humanities, CBBS, and FL&L for the "Latina Interview Project," a collection of MIT graduate and undergraduate video interviews documenting the history and experience of Latina women at the Institute. Lecturer in German Dagmar Jaeger received a travel grant from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation for a multimedia project examining how physical and fictional sites come to embody the reconstruction of past events and experiences in contemporary German culture. Visiting Associate Professor Odile Cazenave received a dean's award for the translation of her forthcoming book Nouvelle Afrique sur Seine. Research Associate Fendt and Senior Lecturer Morgenstern continued work on the MITUPV Exhange, a web project with the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain, supported by the MIT Alumni Fund and the consortium. Lecturer Ribas-Groeger continued work on "Módulos culturales: España de cerca," a multimedia web-based study unit on life and culture in contemporary Spain as part of the MetaMedia project directed by Research Associate Fendt and funded by the MIT D'Arbeloff Fund.

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Research and Publications

Professor of French Studies and Film Edward Baron Turk's book Marcel Carné et l'âge d'or du cinéma français was published in Paris by L'Harmattan in May 2002.

Professor Miyagawa's chapter "The EPP, Scrambling, and Wh-in-siu" appeared in M. Kenstowitcz's book Ken Hale: A Life in Language.

Professor Teng's chapter entitled "A Brief Record of the Eastern Ocean by Ding Saoyi" was published in Susan Mann's book Under Confucian Eyes: Texts on Gender in Chinese History.

Professor Uricchio published a number of papers: "Cultural Studies: una visione d'insieme," in Storia del cinema mondiale: Theorie, strumenti, memorie; "Medien des übergangs und ihre Historisierung," in Archiv für Mediageschichte—MedialeHistoriographien; "TeleVisionen. Historiografien des Fernsehens," in Oesterreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften; "Celluloid Shakespeare and the Complexities of Cultural Meaning," (with Pearson) in Kulturstudier nr. 19: The Aesthetics of Popular Art; and he wrote Cultuurveranderingen in een digitaliserend tijdperk; een geesteswetenschappelijk perspectief, a commission final report to the Dutch Minister of Higher Education and the Royal Dutch Academy of Science.

Professor Resnick's paper "Gender Differences in Career Progress and Satisfaction in an Academic Medical Center" appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association.

Lecturer Widdig's paper "Dr, Mabuse, der Spieler und die deutsche Inflation" was published in Der Deutschunterricht.

Research Associate Fendt's paper "Leser auf Abwegen–Hypertext und seine literarischen Vorbilder" was published in "Text & Kritik," a special issue of Digitale Literatur.

Visiting Professor Cazenave had the following articles published: "Leaving the Islands: New Routes, New Destinations in Recent French Caribbean Literature by Women," in the Wellesley Colloquium on Caribbean Studies and "Francophone Women Writers in France in the Nineties," in Women in France.

Lecturer in Spanish José Ramos's paper "Naturalismo modernista y romántico en los cuentos de Baldomero Lillo, Javier de Viàna y August d'Halmar" was published in Excavatio.

Besides publishing their own research, FL&L faculty members continue to serve in key editorial positions on a number of publications.

Professor Wang edited "Chinese Popular Culture and the State," a special issue of Positions: east asia cultures critique. She is also on the advisory board for the journal Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, a consulting editor for the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture (Routledge), and a member of the editorial board for the book series Critiques/Culture Studies (Ju-Liu Publishing Co.) and the Cultural Studies Book Series (Hong Kong University Press).

Professor Miyagawa served as associate editor of Language, a journal of the Linguistic Society of America, as well as of the Journal of East Asian Linguistics, Journal of Japanese Linguistics, and Linguistic Inquiry, published by MIT Press.

Professor Turk continued his work as assistant film editor for The French Review, a journal of the American Association of Teachers of French.

Professor Uricchio served as an editor of TIC: Trends in Communication and "Early and Silent Film," in the Annotated Bibliography for English Studies (CD-ROM); a contributing editor for The International Journal of Cultural Studies, Routledge Encyclopedia of Early Cinema, British Film Institute New Media Series, and CineGraph Dokumenta; a member of the editorial board for E-View: een elekrtronisch magazine over theater, film televisie and digitale media, Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, and Mediawissenschaft: Rezensionen; and on the advisory board for the Routledge Dictionary of Cultural Studies.

Visiting Professor Cazenave was the guest editor of Présence Francophone 58, Ecritures Francophones et Immigration and wrote its introduction.

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Conferences and Presentations

Professor de Courtivron presented "Plus ça change: de l'écriture féminine à la parité" at the 20th Century French Studies colloquium at the University of Connecticut.

Professor Resnick was the chair of the international colloquium on "Women and the Future of Religion" at the International Institute in Spain, presented "Fantasy and the Corporation" at a Harvard University colloquium, and was part of a forum on "Women Writers in Spain" at the Universidad de Complutense, Madrid.

Professor Miyagawa presented talks on "Learning on the Internet: MIT's Open Courseware" and "Media, Education, and the Marketplace" at the International Conference on E-learning, and "Some Consequences of the EPP Approach to Scrambling" and "Uses of the Internet for Teaching Japanese" at Georgetown University.

Professor Wang was invited to Harvard University's Fairbanks Center to give the talk "Advertising in Contemporary China: A Cultural Industry in Transition."

Professor Uriccho was the keynote speaker at Input 2002, a meeting of the International Association of Television Producers, where he presented "Digital Frontiers;" at the European Science Foundation in Copenhagen,where he presented "Cyber-citizenship: Political Identity, On-Line Games and Virtual Worlds"; and at the Media and European Identity conference in Brussels, where he presented "Conceptualising Identity: Strategies for a Global Era." He also presented "Television's Provocation to Media History" at Universitaet Paderborn and "Re-defining Television Studies" at Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum.

Professor Teng served as chair and discussant for the "Chinatown Conference" at the Asian Cultural Studies Humanities Center, Harvard University.

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Nicolas Wey-Gomez presented "The Natural Magic of Prayer in Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca's Naufragios" at a Modern Language Association conference.

Director Dunphy presented "Teaching the Impromptu" at the ABC West Conference in Seattle, and was invited to speak at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on "Keys to Effective Professional Presentations."

Research Associate Fendt gave talks on "Forget the Technology!— Considerations for Developing Interactive Media Applications for Foreign Languages" at Brown University, "Komplexe Inhalte, Hypertext und Metadaten–Exploratives Lernen mit hypermedialen Medien" at the RWTH Aachen (Technical University), Germany, and "Berliner sehen–eine hypermediale Lernumgebung für Deutsch als Fremdsprache" at the University of Potsdam, Germany. He was also invited to give a workshop on "Visible Knowledge" at Georgetown University.

Senior Lecturer Furstenberg was invited to be the keynote speaker at both the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) 2002 Conference at the University of California, Davis, where she presented "Creating Virtual (and Real) Communities: Some Reflections," and at the Michigan Foreign Language Association, where she presented "Technology: How Does It Change our Teaching? Some Lessons Learned." She also gave talks on the Cultura Project, a web-based approach for constructing in-depth understanding of a foreign culture, at the University of New Hampshire, Middlebury College, Southern Conference on Language Teaching, and National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, she led workshops on "Developing Cross-cultural Understanding in the Foreign Language Class" at the Premier Forum Annuel sur L'enseignement et L'apprentissage in Ottawa, Canada, and "Technology and Culture: New Connections, Insights and Approaches" at the Michigan Foreign Language Association.

Lecturers in ELS Patricia Brennecke and Mary Christie attended the Second Annual Linguistics Colloquium at the University of Havana and presented "Avoiding Plagiarism: Teaching Summary and Paraphrase" and "The Art of Clarifying," respectively.

Lecturer Chen was the roundtable chair of "Issues in the Use of Multimedia in Chinese Language Teaching" at the NEAAS at Williams College.

Visiting Professor Cazenave was the moderator of roundtable discussions on "Écrire depuis l'Afrique" at the Fest'Africa festival of African literature in Lille, France, and "Caribbean Women Artists: Expressing/Resisting Globalization," held at MIT. She also presented "Boubacar Boris Diop's Murambi, le Livre des Ossements and Ken Bugul's La Folie et La Mort: Rethinking Memory and Engagement" at the annual conference of the African Studies Association; organized "Youth and the City, A Conversation with Writers and Filmmakers from Africa and the Caribbean," a film projection and discussion of Jean Marie Teno's work; presented "De La Grande Dévoreause d'Isabelle Boni-Claverie a La Folie et La Mort de Ken Bugul: Nouveaux Regards sur La Jeunesse et La Ville" at the Conseil International d'Études Francophones; and presented "La jeunesse et La Ville dans Le Cinéma African" at the African Literature Association convention.

Senior Lecturer Morgenstern presided over a session on "Teaching Language and Literature Online" at the Annual MLA Convention.

Senior Lecturer Wheatley presented "Language Teaching and Area Studies" at the Association of Asian Studies annual meeting.

Lecturer Widdig gave talks on "Building an Internship Program" at the International Engineering Education Conference, University of Rhode Island; "Globalization and the Study of German" at the University of York, Ontario; and "Inflation and Intellectuals in Weimar Germany" at the international conference on "Rethinking Weimar" at the University of Michigan.He also gave a workshop on "Collaborations in the Field of Foreign Languages and Literatures" at Cambridge University.

Lecturer Sadock presented the paper "Anti-Arab Anti-French Tendencies in Post-1948 Oriental Jewish Literature Written in French" at the 35th Annual Texas Tech University Comparative Literature Symposium on Transnational Cultures, Diasporas, and Immigrant Identities in France and the Francophone World.

Lecturer Ramos presented several papers during the year: "Visiones paralelas de Nueva York: José Martí y Frederico García Lorcas" at the Quest for Meaning Through the Coexistence of Ideologies International Graduate Conference at Boston College; "Surrealist and Naturalist Schizophrenia: Federico García Lorca's Poet in New York" and "Revenge of the Vampire: The Mad Scientist's Creation of the Femme Fatale in a Short Story by Horacio Auiroga" at the Emile Zola and Naturalism international conference at the University of Jaén; and "Morel's Invention and the 13th Floor: Existence through Technology" at the 26th Annual Colloquium on Literature and Film at West Virginia University.

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Outreach Programs

FL&L faculty and lecturers participated in two programs that reached out to the extensive educational and foreign language community outside MIT. In January, Professor de Courtivron, Senior Lecturers Furstenberg, Morgenstern and Wheatley, Lecturer Widdig, and Research Associate Fendt participated in a workshop entitled "Language and Culture: Teaching with Technology" at Selwyn College in Cambridge, England, as part of the Cambridge-MIT Institute. The workshop explored possibilities for collaboration while investigating relevant curriculum development for MIT students wishing to study languages at Cambridge, and to transfer credits to MIT. In the spring, FL&L hosted teachers from the Phillips Exeter Academy for a one-day visit. Teachers attended classes and conversed with faculty to discuss their foreign language curriculum.

Programs at MIT

Faculty and lecturers also participated in several programs organized at MIT. Many in the section participated in the Media in Transition 2: Globalization and Convergence conference sponsored by CMS. Lecturer Banerjee gave one of the keynote speeches and presented her paper "The Goddess and the Demon: Contested Territories in Durga Puja." Professors Miyagawa, Turk, Wang, Uricchio, Visiting Associate Professor Cazaneve, and Research Associate Fendt were moderators. Professors de Courtivron and Resnick participated in the Teachers as Scholars Program funded by the Mellon Foundation. Professor Resnick continued to serve on the Faculty Committee on the Library System, which formulates policy for the administration of the libraries, and was director of the MacVicar/Oral Histories of MIT Women Graduates. Professor Wang was co-director of the research lab "Global Media Culture" for CMS. Professor de Courtivron and Visiting Professor Hoffman participated in the Women's League panel "Women and Writing." Senior Lecturer Furstenberg, Lecturer Banerjee, and Visiting Scholar Chiu-Mi Lai also participated on a panel hosted by the Women's League, "Four Generations of Women." Lecturer Widdig gave the presentation "Higher Education in the US: A Model for the German University Reform?" to a delegation from the State of Hesse, Germany, sponsored by the Industrial Liaison Program. Lecturer Ribas-Groeger was an advisor with Lynn Roberson from Counseling and Support Services for "Mujeres Latinas," and part of the MIT-Mexico organizing committee. Senior Lecturer Wheatley was housemaster of the East Campus residence and director of the China/Singapore Programs, MISTI.

MIT Service and Enrollments

FL&L faculty members further contribute to MIT through their service on a number of Institute-wide committees, including the Academic Computing Strategic Planning Committee, the Committee for Undergraduate Policy, the Burchard Scholars, the Women's Studies Steering Committee, Women's Studies Programming Committee, CMS Steering Committee, CMS Graduate Admissions Committee, the Life-Long Learning Committee, the Subcommittee on the Undergraduate Communication Requirement, the IS Server Discovery Project, the Transforming Humanities Education Research Group in CMS, the Pedagogy and Interactive Technology Forum, the Crosstalk Forum, Media in Transition Conference Committee, the Edgerton Prize Committee, the Institute Nomination Committee, International Film Club, and the CMS Graduate Student Orientation Committee.

To achieve diversity, FL&L has maintained its commitment to making full-time appointments and attracting qualified candidates from minority groups. To achieve these goals, FL&L has targeted historically black colleges and universities and has advertised in journals and association web sites reflecting minority community interests. We currently have several members of minority communities and women serving on our full-time faculty and full-time and part-time teaching staff.

There is one student majoring in FL&L. The number of minors is 21, and the number of concentrators is 418. Spanish continues to have the largest enrollments at 528, followed by English, 294; French, 271; Chinese, 240; Japanese, 237; German, 173; and Italian, 23 (only offered during IAP). Enrollments in Studies in International Literatures and Cultures (cross-cultural language and culture subjects taught in English) were 330.

Isabelle de Courtivron
Section Head
Professor of French Studies

More information about the Foreign Languages and Literatures Section can be found on the web at


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