MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


Foreign Languages and Literatures (FLL) 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 an MIT education. During the Academic Year (AY) 1998—99, FLL 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 excellence in education within the Institute. Several members of the section were recognized by colleagues in their fields and educational institutions. Assistant Professor of Spanish Nicolás Wey-Gómez was promoted to Associate Professor without tenure in October 1998. Professor Wey-Gómez was also awarded the Class of 1954 Career Development Professorship, and spent AY 1998—99 on leave as a Senior Fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology. Associate Professor of Spanish Margery Resnick was elected President of the International Institute of Spain in 1998. Director of FLL's Language and Learning Resource Center Ruth Trometer received the International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALL) 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award. And Senior Lecturer in Chinese Julian Wheatley was elected Secretary of the Burma Studies Foundation, and Vice-Chair of the Council of Southeast Asian Language Teachers. Professor of French and Film Studies Edward Baron Turk was on leave during the Spring 1999 semester.

FLL faculty and lecturers have, for the past several years, been actively developing materials and new technology to enhance the teaching of foreign languages and culture. This year saw the completion of the four-year JP-NET project (Project Director and Professor of Linguistics and Japanese Shigeru Miyagawa), a system of Japanese online curriculum materials, sponsored by Canon Information Systems, Canon Business Machines, and the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning. Other interactive multimedia projects continue to be developed and expanded, including No recuerdo, an interactive narrative documentary for the Spanish language (Principal Investigator (PI) and Senior Lecturer in Spanish Douglas Morgenstern); Berliner sehen, an interactive documentary for German language learning (Lecturer in German Ellen Crocker and Research Associate Kurt Fendt, co-PI's); the FORMA project, a virtual forum on the world wide web for the review of learning and teaching materials for Spanish; and Cultura, a Multimedia/Hypermedia Cross-Cultural Project for CD-ROM and the Web, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (PI and Senior Lecturer in French Gilberte Furstenberg). The Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning remains a strong supporter of various FLL projects, having provided new funding to Lecturer Crocker for second phase development of the hypermedia documentary Berliner sehen, and additional funding for Módulos Culturales: dos Historias Relevantes Para México Y España (Cultural Modules: Two Relevant Stories for México and Spain), a system of web-based study units focusing on the situation of indigenous people in México and on current lifestyles in Spain. The Consortium also provided a grant for "Ateliei Culturel", a culture-oriented web site for beginning French classes, directed by Lecturer in French Sabine Levet. In addition, the Nippon Foundation provided strong support for Professor Miyagawa's StarNetwork, which will make the interactive CD-ROM Star Festival (completed last year) accessible via the web. Assistant Professor of Chinese Emma Teng received a grant from the Class of '51'55'72 funds for development of a bilingual curriculum for teaching Chinese literature. And in 1998 FLL unveiled the new HyperStudio/Center for Bilingual and Bicultural Studies (CBBS), a complete new space in MIT's renovated Building 16 for the development of computerized interactive language projects and bilingual/bicultural programs. Partial funding for the computer equipment needed in the HyperStudio/CBBS was secured through an Academic Computing/New Media Center Grant by Research Assistant Fendt.

Research in the areas of literary and cultural studies, linguistics and language pedagogy again continues to be of the highest caliber, with articles published in internationally respected journals. Head of FLL and Professor of Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition Suzanne Flynn had her paper "How Do We Know What Children Know? Problems and Advances in Establishing Scientific Methods for the Study of Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory" (with B.Lust, C.Foley and Y-C.Chien, co-authors) published in The Handbook of Child Language Acquisition. Professor Flynn has also continued as co-editor and founder of the electronic/print linguistics journal Syntax. Professor Turk's new book Hollywood Diva: A Biography of Jeanette McDonald was published by the University of California Press in November 1998. He also saw his article "Le Film Maudit d'Agnieszka Holland, Rimbaud Verlaine et sa recèption" published in the December 1998 issue of IRIS (Paris), and his article "Agnieszka Holland's Total Eclipse, A Contemporary Film Maudit", appeared in The French Review, v.72 n.2, pp.260-272, December 1998. Professor of French Studies Isabelle de Courtivron had her essay "On Bilingual Writers" appear in the New York Times "Book End", Dec. 20, 1998. Professor Wey-Gómez's "'Nuestro Padre el Sol': Scholastic Cosmology and the Cult of the Sun in Garcilaso de la Vega's Royal Commentaries of the Incas", was published in the Latin American Literary Review in 1999, and his "The Jealous and the Curious: Freud, Paranoia, and Homosexuality in Cervantes's Poetics", appeared in Hispanic Issues. Additionally, Professor Wey-Gómez's "Anselmo's Eating Disorder in Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quijote" was included in 1999's Norton Critical Editions, and his paper "From Scholastic Theory of Place to a Moral Philosophy of the Americas: Bartolome de las Casas's Apologetica Historia (1559)" was presented at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology. Professor Miyagawa published "Sase as an Elsewhere Causative and the Syntactic Nature of Words" in the Journal of Japanese Linguistics (16:67-110). Professor Teng's article "An Island of Women: Gender and Ethnicity in Qing Travel Writing about Taiwan", appeared in The International History Review, vol.20•2, June 1998.

This year a distinguished writer came to FLL as part of the Max Kade Distinguished Visitor in German Studies at MIT program: Yoko Tawada. Lecturer in German Monika Totten organized a speaking tour for Professor Tawada which included stops at Mt. Holyoke College, Bard College, the Goethe-Institut Boston, Cornell University, Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, Wellesley College, and the Japan Society, all between February and May of 1999.

FLL faculty were invited to numerous national and international conferences. Professor Flynn was an organizer and member of the panel "Linguistics: Year 2K" at the Linguistic Society of America's annual meeting in Los Angeles. She was also an invited speaker at PRTESOL, San Juan, PR. Professor de Courtivron served as Panel Chair/Moderator at the Harvard Conference in November 1998, and also presented her paper "Legacies of J'Accuse: The Public Intellectual in France." Professor Miyagawa was invited to linguistics colloquia at the University of Venice, the University of Connecticut, the University of Illinois, The State University of New York—Stonybrook, the City University of New York, the University of Hiroshima, Sophia University, and Keio University. Associate Professor of German Studies Bernd Widdig was invited to the Literaturwissenschaftliches Kolloquium, Universität Greifswald, Germany, where he gave a talk entitled "Germanistik–German Studies–German Cultural Studies: Perspektiven aus den U.S.A." He also presented "Educating for the Global Workplace: The MIT-Germany Program" to the International Engineering Education Colloquium, University of Rhode Island (invited) and was a moderator of panels titled "Aspects of Recent German Cinema" and "The Hero in German Film" at the German Studies Association 22nd Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, UT. Senior Lecturer Morgenstern presented"Destinos a distancia" at Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, and "Diseñar al usuario y usar el diseño: programas multimedia de MIT para el uprendizaje de los idiomas" at Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, also in Madrid, Spain. Senior Lecturer Wheatley was a moderator for a panel on language and religion at the Burma Studies Conference, and was Program Chair for the Conference of the Chinese Language Teachers Association in Chicago as well as presenter on the panel "Less Commonly Taught Languages." Lecturer Crocker and Research Assistant Fendt presented Berliner sehen at "Dynamic Content–A New Model for Collaborative Learning Environments for Language & Culture Studies" ED-MEDIA and ED-TELECOM 10th World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia in Freiburg, Germany, and at Schnittstellen: Daf Lehrwerke zwishcen alten und neuen Medien (German as a Foreign Language Teaching Materials at the Juncture of Old and New Media), Goethe-Institut, Munich, Germany. They were joined by Senior Lecturer Furstenberg to present "Berliner sehen. Immersive Learning Environment for Language and Culture Studies" at "Multimedia in Language Learning and Teaching–State-of-the-Art Research and Development Perspectives" hosted by the Centre for Intercultural Language Studies at the University of British Columbia. Research Assistant Fendt also gave a talk entitled "Digitale Medien in den Geisteswissenschaften: Paradigmenwechsel oder Kontinuum?" at Ludwig-Maximilans-University, Munich, Germany, and was Co-Leader (with Senior Lecturer Furstenberg) of the Multimedia in Language/Culture Learning Workshop at Rice University in Houston, TX, and they also collaborated on a workshop at Northwestern University called "From Interactivity to Interaction: New Modes of Learning and New Pedagogical Approaches: The Unique Role of Multimedia." Senior Lecturer Furstenberg also presented Dans un Quartier de Paris at The Northeast Conference in New York City, and was invited to Brandeis University where she gave a talk titled "Integrating Multimedia in a Language/Culture Curriculum." Lecturers in Spanish Margarita Ribas Groeger and Adriana Gutiérrez-González presented multimedia projects Paradoja and Módulos Culturales at the MIT conference "Wiring the Classroom: Moving Beyond Access in K—12 Education." Lecturer in French Sabine Levet gave a presentation called "Dans un Quartier de Paris: Using Multimedia to Construct Meaning" for the IALL conference at the University of Maryland. Professor Teng was Chair of the "Gender in Taiwan Studies" panel at the 5th Annual Taiwan Studies Conference at Columbia University. She also attended the annual Association of Asian Studies Convention, and the Association of Asian American Studies Convention, and presented papers at Harvard University, Academia Sinica in Taipei, and the Taiwan National University. Lecturer in ESL Jane Dunphy presented "Designing Successful Pre-MBA Activities" at TESOL 1999. Faculty members also gave talks at the University of Maryland, Boston College, the University of Southern California, and the Daimler-Chrysler Corporation in Berlin, among other institutions.

There have been a number of cultural and educational events that our faculty have planned and participated in at MIT and around the Boston area. Professor de Courtivron organized the CBBS Spring Series "Living in Two Languages", a group of readings and discussions by bilingual writers Eva Hoffman, Nuala Ní Dhomhnail, Esmeralda Santiago, and Yoko Tawada, sponsored by FLL and the Kelly-Douglas Fund. Lecturer Totten organized a tour of the Wu Wei Theater of Frankfurt, which included stops at Dartmouth, Trinity, and New York University, and a trilingual production of B.Brecht's The Good Woman of Szechuan at MIT in which the German and Chinese groups collaborated on a very well-received performance. Lecturers Dunphy and Groeger, and Research Assistant Fendt helped to organize the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning conference entitled "Transformations: Technology, Foreign Languages, and Undergraduate Education" at MIT in October 1998. Senior Lecturer Furstenberg gave a workshop on the use of multimedia in a language/culture course to the French Department at Wellesley College. Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Elizabeth Garrels organized and conducted a 2-day IAP workshop titled "Borges' El muerto: Short Story and Film." And Professor Miyagawa again worked to bring the Hakubi Kimono School to MIT for a show of Japanese Royal Court Kimono, featuring both experienced Kimono models and MIT students.

Members of the FLL faculty also contribute to MIT through their service on a number of Institute-wide committees: The Committee on Undergraduate Programs, the Equal Opportunity Committee, the Burchard Scholars, the Board of Directors of MIT Professional Programs, the Eloranta Committee, the Committee on Corporate Relations, the Arts Council Advisory Committee, the Campus Committee on Race Relations, the Committee on the Writing Requirement, the Women's Studies Steering Committee, the Phi Beta Kappa Selection Committee, the MacVicar Fellow Selection Committee, the Faculty Committee on the Library System, and the Committee on Curricula, among others.

FLL has maintained its commitment to making full-time appointments and to attracting qualified candidates from minority groups. In order to achieve these goals, FLL has targeted historically black colleges and universities and has advertised in journals focusing on the minority community.

While the number of majors in FLL remains low at two, the number of minors (88) has been steadily increasing and the number of concentrators (431) has remained relatively stable. Spanish continues to have the largest enrollments at 422; followed by English as a Second Language, 312; Japanese, 261; Chinese, 258; French, 253; German, 183, and Russian (Literature), 21. 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.

More information about FLL can be found on the World Wide Web at

Suzanne Flynn

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99