News FLL

Foreign Languages & Literatures Events Archive

Fall 2011 - Spring 2012

  • VISIONS OF WAR (a one-day symposium on war, feminist activism and visual culture)
  • On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we gather for talks by Marianne Hirsch and Andrea Geyer. Our speakers will address a set of interrelated questions: What is the role of art and the humanities in the work of social justice? What is the role of feminism? How does it provide a site of intervention? How do we critique what some critics are arguing is a permanent state of war or perpetual war? To address the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the symposium also asks how visuality has been instrumental in the conduct of war, and in critiques of it.

    Marianne Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She is second Vice-President of the Modern Language Association. Most recent, together with Leo Spitzer, she published Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory (2010). Among her publications, she is the author of Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory (1997), The Familial Gaze (1999), a special issue of Signs on "Gender and Cultural Memory" (2002), and Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust (2004). Her co-edited book Rites of Return is forthcoming in November, and her own book The Generation of Postmemory: Visual Culture After the Holocaust will be published next year.

    Andrea Geyer uses both fiction and documentary strategies in her image and text based works. She investigates historically evolved concepts such as national identity, gender and class in the context of the ongoing re-adjustment of cultural meanings and social memories in current politics. Recent works include Criminal Case 40/61: Reverb, a six-channel video engaging the historic trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in1961. The video raises questions about truth and justice and individuals’ responsibilities in relation to the nation-state. Among Geyer’s other recent projects is Spiral Lands, a photographic and textual historiography of the ongoing dispossession of indigenous people by colonization, governmentality, and capitalist development, a dispossession that is one of the longest struggles for social justice in North America. She has published two artist’s books: Audrey Munson, The Queen of the Artists’ Studios (Art In General/New York) and Spiral Lands/Chapter 1 (Koenig Books/London). Geyer’s visual works have been shown widely in the U.S. and Europe.

    Date: Friday September 9, 2011
    Time: 3:00 - 8:00 PM
    Location: W20-491

    Sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences; additional support from MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures, Women's and Gender Studies Program, and The Technology and Culture Forum.

  • Book and Valedictory Talk by Edward Baron Turk
  • Edward Baron Turk will give a talk to celebrate the publication of his latest book French Theatre Today: The View from New York, Paris, and Avignon and
    to mark his forthcoming retirement from the Institute with a talk entitled “Valedictory Thoughts of an MIT Humanist”

    A reception and book signing will immediately follow.

    Date: Friday October 21, 2011
    Time: 5:00 PM
    Location: E14-633 (New Media Lab)

    Sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences; additional support from MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures, Women's and Gender Studies Program, and The Technology and Culture Forum.

  • A Conversation with Award-Winning Portuguese Author, José Luís Peixoto
  • José Luis Peixoto is one of Portugal’s most acclaimed and bestselling young novelists. He was born in 1974 in Galveias, in the southern region of the Alentejo (Portugal). He studied Modern Languages and Literatures at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Since 2000, Peixoto has published ten works (novels, short-story and poetry collections). He is a three-time winner of the Young Creators Prize. His first novel “Nenhum Olhar” (published as “Blank Gaze” in the UK by Bloomsbury and as “The Implacable Order of Things” in the USA by Doubleday/ Anchor/Random House) was shortlisted in all major literary awards in Portugal and won the José Saramago Literary Award. The prestigious Saramago award is delivered every two years for the best novel written in all Portuguese-speaking countries. “The Implacable Order of Things” was selected by Financial Times as one of their best books of 2007. In the US, it was part of the “Discover Great New Writers” selection by Barnes & Noble. In Portugal, it was selected by the newspaper Expresso as one of the best books of the decade. In 2003, Peixoto wrote the shortstory collection “Antidote” in a joint project with the heavy metal band Moonspell, which attracted new readers from all around the world. In 2006, his novel ‘The Piano Cemetery” won the Calamo Award for the best translated novel published in Spain. A year later, Peixoto received the Daniel Faria Poetry Award. Peixoto’s work has appeared in a great number of anthologies and has been translated into 20 languages.

    Light dinner will be served.

    Date: Thursday November 3, 2011
    Time: 5:30 PM
    Location: 14E-304

    Sponsored by MIT Foreign Languages & Literatures with the support of Instituto Camões, Portugal.

  • FL&L Spring 2012 Registration Day Luncheon
  • Date: Monday February 6, 2012
    Time: 12:00 - 1:30 PM
    Location: 14N-304

    This is a private event for the MIT Foreign Languages & Literatures section.

  • Talk: "War and Landscape Photography: Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq"
  • Chuong-Dai Vo will present a talk entitled "War and Landscape Photography: Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq" as part of the Women's and Gender Studies/Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies Forum.

    Starting with New York-based artist An-My Le's works that combine war photography and landscape photography, this talk will use photography sites of "sedimentation" to theorize the concept of diaspora, and to problematize the conventional binary of diaspora and nation. This chapter is part of my current book project, An Assemblage of Fragments: Transnational Vietnamese Culture and Post-War Returns, which examines how the rapid globalization of Vietnam, the return of the Vietnam War in the discourses on the War on Terror, and artistic excavations of the past have converged to shape a transnational Vietnamese culture and to lead to new assemblages of cultural representations.

    Date: Friday February 17, 2012
    Time: 12:00-1:30 PM
    Location: 14E-304

    Sponsored by MIT Women's and Gender Studies, MIT Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies, and MIT Foreign Languages & Literatures.

  • Film Screening: "From Brazil to Japan"
  • From Brazil to Japan

    Film screening (Portuguese and Japanese, with English subtitles). Q&A and discussion with directors to follow.

    Since 1990 more than 300,000 Brazilians have gone from Brazil to Japan to work, forming a wave of migration that has had a profound social and economic impact on both countries. The transnational documentary "From Brazil to Japan" closely follows five families of Brazilian migrants over the course of three years, from their preparation for departure in Brazil to their adaptation to life and work in Japan. The documentary, produced and directed by Aaron Litvin and Ana Paula Hirano Litvin, was filmed from May 2006 to May 2009. 104 minutes.

    Date: Thursday February 23, 2012
    Time: 6:00-9:00 PM
    Location: 56-114

    Sponsored by the MIT Portuguese and Japanese sections of Foreign Languages & Literatures.

  • Cool Japan: J-Horror Performance
  • The Japan Foundation is organizing a tour of the remarkable production of Hoichi the Earless, which will feature a Biwa player, a Butoh dancer, and a Saz (Baglama) player. The group will perform the ghost story of the same name, which first appeared in the book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek born Irish writer who later became a Japanese citizen.

    Both Biwa and Saz have been used for storytelling for centuries. Biwa player Akiko Sakurai and saz player Kiyoshi Ohira weave the checkered life of Hoichi and the Tale of the Heike. Butoh dancer Kumotarou Mukai adds vivid accent to the stage with his ethereal body movements portraying Hoichi and ghosts. Biwa, saz and butoh – this multidisciplinary collaboration will explore dynamic interactions between East and West, traversing from the mundane to the spiritual.

    A character of Japanese mythology, Hoichi the Earless was a blind minstrel with amazing gifts of Biwa (Japanese lute) that later lead him to be bewitched by ghosts of Taira clan. The priest painted Hoichi’s body with the Heart Sutra to protect him from the evil spirit, but forgot to paint Hoichi’s ears, which left them unprotected. When the ghost came to get Hoichi to take him to the other side, he could only see the two ears still vulnerable to evil. The ghost tore off Hoichi’s ears and returned to the spirit world.

    At a time when vulnerability, loss, and transformation are reshaping ideas of Japan in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, the Japan Foundation is proud to present the artists of Hoichi the Earless to illustrate the talent and diversity of Japanese performing arts.

    Don't miss this opportunity to witness this rare and unique performance. The artists are also performing in New York City, but this will be their only performance in the Boston area.

    This event is also part of the Japan-US Cherry Blossom Centennial, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Japan's gift of sakura trees to the U.S. The MIT/Harvard Cool Japan research project is co-sponsoring the events in Cambridge, and would like to acknowledge the support of MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures, Harvard's Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies, the MIT-Japan Program, and MIT Comparative Media Studies.

    The presentation is free and open to public.

    Contacts: or

    Date: Tuesday February 28, 2012
    Time: 6:00 PM
    Location: Simmons Hall (MIT)

  • Tzveta Sofronieva: Words, Worlds, and the “In-Between” Prose and Poems
  • Tzveta Sofronieva will read short stories and poems in English and German at the Goethe-Institute in Boston (170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116) .

    Tzveta is interested in the ways in which languages, rhythms, images, styles of thinking, and narratives from different traditions influence each other and create new meaning. She writes in German, Bulgarian and English. She also holds a degree in Physics. As a title for the event on March 15th, she has chosen the topic of her course at MIT "Words, Worlds and the In-Between" and will read at the Goethe-Institute Boston from her own work, examining the relationship between literature and science and exploring the "in-between" space that is created by different languages and spheres of knowledge. She will as well present the literary installations Borrowed Pillows (Lille, 2011) and My Cyborg Identity (Boston, 2012), the second beeing a work in progress during this spring semester at MIT.

    Tzveta Sofronieva is the Max Kade Writer in Residence at MIT during the spring semester 2012 and teaches 20th/21st Century German Literature.

    The moderator of the discussion will be Kurt Fendt, Foreign Languages and Literatutes at MIT.

    Admission is free. More Information at:

    Date: Thursday March 15, 2012
    Time: 7:00 PM
    Room: Goethe-Institute Boston (170 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116)

  • Solta a Língua: Portuguese Speaking Practice
  • Solta a Língua

    Come practice your Portuguese speaking skills in a relaxed setting. Improve your pronunciation and vocabulary by reading short stories, poems and newspaper or magazine clippings. Enjoy one hour of fun and learn about Brazilian culture by reading IN PORTUGUESE!

    Thursday March 15, 2012
    Thursday April 12, 2012
    Thursday May 10, 2012

    5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
    Room 16-628

    Free and open to the community!

  • France, a Flawed Democracy: The 2012 Presidential and Parlimentary Elections
  • In December 2010, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded France from a 'full' to a 'flawed' democracy. One year later, the verdict was unchanged. In this talk, Helen Drake will draw on her recent book (Contemporary France) to offer her thoughts on the state of France today in the light of the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections that may - or may not - shake French democracy to its core.

    Helen Drake is "Associate Professor" in French and European Studies at Loughborough University.

    Date: Monday March 19, 2012
    Time: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Room: 14E-304

    Free and open to the community!

  • 2012 Award for Excellence in Foreign Languages
  • Award for Excellence

    FL&L is now accepting applications for the 2012 Award For Excellence in Foreign Languages. Awarded annually, the Award For Excellence in Foreign Languages is presented to an outstanding student of foreign language. The award includes a $1000 prize to be used for travel and cultural exchange.

    The application is available in two forms:
    Word Document

    The application deadline for the 2011 Award For Excellence in Foreign Languages is Friday March 9, 2012.

    To read about the travels of previous Award for Excellence in Foreign Languages recipients, please click here!

    Award for Excellence Ceremony:
    Date: Thursday April 12, 2012
    Time: 5:00 PM
    Location: 14E-304

  • Foreign Film Night: The Other Side of Immigration
  • Presentation and discussion with the film director, Roy Germano

    Based on over 700 Interviews with men and women living in the Mexican countryside, The Other Side of Immigration asks why so many Mexicans leave home to work in the United States and what happenes to the families and communities they leave behind. Through an approach that is both subtle and thought provoking, the film challenges audiences to imagine more crative and effective immigration policies.

    Date: Thursday April 19, 2012
    Time: 7:00 PM
    Location: 3-270

  • Patricia Brennecke Retirement Celebration
  • Date: Friday May 11, 2012
    Time: 5:00 - 7:00 PM
    Location: 14N-304

    This is a private event for the MIT Foreign Languages & Literatures section.

  • Check back soon for more Events!

  • FLL Overview | News & Events | People | Projects & Initiatives | Publications | Academics | Help | IAP | Contact | ©2011 MIT MIT | Last Updated: 1 February, 2013