MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


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 1997-98, FLL faculty continued to provide national and international leadership in the fields of foreign language pedagogy, technology in the humanities, language acquisition, 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 by other educational institutions. Nicolas Wey-GÛmez, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies, was named both a Senior Fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology (1998-1999), and an NEH Fellow at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, RI for 1998-1999 (declined), as well as an Old Dominion Fellowship, also for 1998-1999. Margery Resnick, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, was elected President of the International Institute in Spain. Takako Aikawa, Assistant Professor of Japanese, received an Old Dominion Fellowship for Fall 1997. Shigeru Miyagawa, Professor of Linguistics and Japanese, was given the International Cultural Award from the Foundation for Promotion of Traditional Costumes. Gilberte Furstenberg, Senior Lecturer in French, and Shoggy Waryn, Lecturer in French, received the Prix Special du Jury, Concours Innovalangues for Dans un quartier de Paris at Expolangues in Paris in January of 1998. Lecturer Waryn was also awarded the L'Ordre des Palmes AcadÈmiques (Chevalier) by the French Ministry of National Education and Culture.

FLL faculty and lecturers have, over the last few years, been actively developing and refining materials and new technology to enhance the teaching of foreign languages and culture, as well as pioneering in the fields of theoretical linguistics and acquisition. Suzanne Flynn, Professor of Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition and head of FLL, launched a new online and print journal, Syntax: Theoretical, Experimental, and Interdisciplinary Approaches, (S. Epstein, co-editor). Senior Lecturer Furstenberg and Lecturer Shoggy Waryn, (co-Principal Investigators (PI)), and Sabine Levet, Lecturer in French, have been working on Cultura, a multimedia/hypermedia cross-cultural project for CD-ROM and Web, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Douglas Morgenstern, Senior Lecturer in Spanish (editor), Margarita Ribas Groeger, Lecturer in Spanish, and Adriana GutiÈrrez, Lecturer in Spanish, continue their work on the nearly-completed FORMA electronic journal. Ellen Crocker, Lecturer in German, and Kurt Fendt, Research Associate, have been refining the Berliner sehen interactive CD-ROM, funded by NEH and the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning, including its incorporation and testing with "Web Lingua." Senior Lecturer Morgenstern and Lecturer Groeger are nearing completion of No recuerdo, a CD-ROM simulation for third-semester Spanish students funded by NEH. Monika Totten, Lecturer in German, is developing a new CD version of Survivors of the Holocaust: Conversations with German-Jewish Women Writers that is linked to a web site via CD-Link. And, Assistant Professor Aikawa, Senior Lecturer Furstenberg, Lecturer Groeger, Lecturer Levet, and Lecturer in Japanese Yoshimi Nagaya have all been creating online coursework for students at MIT and other institutions of higher education.

Professor Miyagawa secured additional funding from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for StarNet; substantial funding for JP-NET from Canon Information Systems, Canon Business Machines and the Nippon Foundation; and funds from Fujitsu Corporation for the Lexicon Project. Associate Professor Resnick received funding from the Abby Mauze/Rockefeller Fund for an IAP project.

Research in the areas of literary and cultural studies, linguistics and language pedagogy continues to be of the highest caliber, with articles published in internationally respected journals. Professor Flynn published a print version of the electronic journal Syntax: Theoretical, Experimental, and Interdisciplinary Approaches in April 1998, and was co-editor (with G. Martohardjono and W. O'Neil) of Generative Studies in Second Language Acquisition, for which she also contributed the Introduction and co-wrote (with S. Epstein and G. Martohardjono) the chapter entitled "Full Access v. Partial Access in Adult L2 Acquisition." Isabelle de Courtivron, Professor of French Studies, has been working as a guest editor of a special edition of SITES: The Journal of 20th Century/Contemporary Women Writers, and has written book reviews for The New York Times and The Women's Review of Books. Associate Professor Resnick had her article "The Destruction of the Myth of Spanish Homogeneity: Marginal Characters in Carme Riera's Palabra de Majer" published in Proyecciones Sobre la Novela. And Hollywood Diva: A Biography of Jeannette McDonald by Edward Turk, Professor of French and Film Studies, is in press and will appear in the Fall of 1998 (University of California Press, Berkeley).

This year FLL sponsored a distinguished visiting scholar: Professor Widdig organized the visit of German writer Katja Lange-M[cedilla]ller, the second Max Kade Distinguished Visitor in German Studies at MIT.

FLL faculty were invited to several national and international conferences. Among them, Professor Flynn presented "Redefining the Initial State in L2 Acquisition" at the European Second Language Society (EUROSLA) in Barcelona, Spain, "L1 and L2 Acquisition: What We Mean by End State Competence" at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) annual meeting in New York, and two papers at LSA Puerto Rico, "The Multi-Culture Classroom" with Lecturer in ESL Jane Dunphy, and "Interactive Video Programs for ESL" with G. Martohardjono. In addition, Professor Flynn was an invited colloquium speaker at Pennsylvania State University and at Vittorio University in Balbao, Spain, as well as visiting the Ortega Y Gasset Institute in Madrid as an invited professor and serving as Chair of the Program Committee at the LSA annual meeting. Professor Turk delivered a presentation on Henieszka Holland's film Total Eclipse at the French Library in Boston. Bernd Widdig, Associate Professor of German and Head of the MITGermany Program was an invited panelist at Brandeis University's "German LiteratureóJewish Critics: An International Symposium" and a commentator at the 21st Annual Conference of the German Studies Association in Washington, DC, as well as being an invited lecturer at Deutsches Haus at Columbia University in New York City. Assistant Professor Aikawa presented "Interface Between Language Pedagogy and Computer Technology" at the 12th New England Japanese Pedagogy Workshop in Wesleyan, CT. Assistant Professor Wey-GÛmez visited New York University to present The Procession of Our Lady of Carmel: Trauma, Repetition, and Religious Performance in Contemporary Peru and delivered Nuestro Padre el Sol: Scholastic Cosmology and the Cult of the Sun in Inca Garcilaso's "Royal Commentaries of the Incas" at John's Hopkins University and at Georgetown University. He also served as Session Chair at the Third Biannual Conference of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry in Rochester, NY. Associate Professor Resnick gave her papers Models for Mentoring Women at the LSA annual meeting in New York City, New Paradigms for Women in the World of post-Franco Spain at Northeastern University, and Teachers as Scholars: Partnership Between Public School Teachers and University Professors at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Senior Lecturer Furstenberg's From Interactivity to Interaction or The Role of the Teacher was presented at the conference of the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in Nashville. She also collaborated with Research Associate Fendt on a paper entitled "Multimedia in Foreign Language and Culture Education" given at Rice University. Professor Miyagawa, Senior Lecturer Morgenstern, Lecturer Ellen Crocker and Research Associate Fendt collaborated on Multimedia as an Interactive Narrative Environment for Learning, also given at ACTFL in Nashville. Senior Lecturers Morgenstern and Furstenberg, Lecturer Crocker and Research Associate Fendt all contributed to a presentation at the University of Wisconsin called Expanding the Learning Experience: Design, Development and Use of Interactive Multimedia for Foreign Languages at MIT. Lecturers Groeger and GutiÈrrez gave a talk at a meeting of Sine Nomine (a regional organization of professionals dedicated to foreign language teaching) at Merrimack College, entitled "The WEB as Tool and Resource: Some Ideas for the Foreign Language Classroom." Lecturer GutiÈrrez also gave a presentation at Bentley College on El nuevo zapatismo (The New Zapatismo) centered on recent political and social developments in Chiapas, Mexico. Shoggy Waryn, Lecturer in French, presented Satellites in the Wrong Orbit at a conference of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). Research Associate Fendt was invited to speak at a University of Bern, Switzerland workshop called "TextóHypertextóCybertext" and was an invited presenter at a workshop conducted by the American Association for Teachers of German named "Project-Oriented Learning: Skills, Content, Media" in Bar Harbor, ME, and also presented two talks as an invited speaker at Fairfield University, Dynamic Content: Reconfiguring Texts in Print and Multimedia and Expanding the Learning Experience: Narrative Models for Interactive Media in Foreign Languages. He also was an invited speaker at the Goethe Institut in Munich, at a seminar entitled "Interactivit%t = Interaktion?"

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. The entire French group participated in the planning and execution of "Francophone April at MIT," a month-long series of events that included visits by distinguished scholars including Assia Djebar, Alain Gresh, Genevieve Sellier, and Whitney Chadwick and a descriptive web site created by Lecturer Waryn, who also served as coordinator for Francophone April; Professor Turk coordinated the film events. Professor Miyagawa conducted an MIT workshop on the future of the Japanese language field, specifically addressing policy and funding issues. Associate Professor Widdig gave a lecture titled Daily Explosions: Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany for an MIT History and Literature Faculty Workshop. Associate Professor Resnick arranged a visit and talk by Cuban author Excilia SaldaÒa and participated in MIT Technology Day with a talk called Roofwalkers: MIT Women and the American Dream, as well as overseeing two MIT/UROP outreach programs that bring MIT students into closer contact with the local community, one in association with the Read America Literacy Campaign, the other with Boston Public Schools' Gifted and Talented Program. Lecturer Totten organized a theater workshop, public talk, and class visits by Holger Teschke (dramaturg at the Berliner Ensemble, Germany) on the occasion of Bertold Brecht's 100th birthday, as well as a reading tour for Max Kade Distinguished Visitor Katja Lange-M[cedilla]ller which included stops at Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Wellesley College, Brown University, and the Goethe Institute in Boston.

Members of the FLL faculty also contribute to MIT through their service on a number of Institute-wide committees: The MIT CrossTalk Forum, the BAS Degree Committee, the Presidential Nominations Committee, the Burchard Scholars Selection Committee, the Committee on the Writing Requirement, the Teaching and Learning Lab Advisory Committee, the Special Presidential Committee on Undergraduate Living, the Faculty Officers' Committee, the Faculty Library Systems Committee, the Phi Beta Kappa Selection Committee, the Committee on Corporate Relations, the Committee on Campus Race Relations, the IBM-MIT Partnership Committee, the Corporation Joint Advisory Committee on Institute-wide Affairs (CJAC), the MIT Professional Institute Board, the Selection Committee for the List Arts Fellowship, the Race 2000 Organizing Committee, the Committee on Academic Performance, the Committee for Undergraduate Programs 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 conducted national searches targeting historically black colleges and universities and has advertised in journals focusing on the minority community. This year, FLL conducted four national searches: one for an Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies, two for Lecturers in Chinese, and one for a Lecturer in Japanese. Emma Teng, accepting the Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies position, will teach two subjects for the History department as well. Tong Chen accepted one of the Lecturer in Chinese positions, and Nyan-Ping Bi accepted the other. Kasumi Yamamoto took the Lecturer in Japanese position. There was also a promotion within the section: Elizabeth Garrels was promoted to Professor of Hispanic and Latin American Studies, as of July 1, 1997.

While the number of majors in FLL remains low at two, the number of minors (89) has been steadily increasing and the number of concentrators (405) has remained stable. Spanish continues to have the largest enrollments at 501; followed by French, 326; Japanese, 254; English as a Second Language, 251; Chinese, 234; German, 185; and Russian (Literature), 7. 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. FLL subjects also make up an important component of the Regional Minors Program. The Academic Year 1997-1998 saw 24 students pursuing minors in one of the Regional Studies programs.

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

Suzanne Flynn

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98