This issue of Canal, our fourth, arrives at the end of a semester in which students, faculty, and staff have been challenged to find new forms of working, teaching, and supporting one another. COVID-19 has affected the members of our community in very different ways and we, as a department, have been focused on serving our students with compassion, flexibility, and an understanding of the profound value of their education. It is a privilege to introduce this year’s selection of essays, poetry, and projects—all of which have emerged from the dedication and brilliance of our students and the carefully designed courses of our faculty members.
In the first section of Issue IV, you will find a set of essays and creative texts that respond to literary texts with research, analysis, and personal reflection. In “El miedo a las rutinas,” Montana Heise creatively investigates her own relationship with routines—before and after the emergence of COVID-19—alongside her reading of Julio Cortázar’s “Casa tomada.” Ashley Inirio’s essay “‘Sensemayá’ y el valor de la fe” takes a poem by Nicholás Guillén as an occasion to explore an early memory of a religious ceremony in the Dominican Republic. “A Patricia Inirio” is a homage to Julia de Burgos’s “A Julia de Burgos” by Patricia Inirio published together with a short writer’s statement. Each was written within Assistant Teaching Prof. Ubelaker Andrade’s Introduction to Literary Analysis course.
The second section presents three essays written within Ubelaker Andrade’s Advanced Spanish Composition course. The first, by Franchesca Arias, is an exploration of the significance of La Virgen de la Altagracia within the Dominican Republic that draws from both research and family interviews. It is followed by Jenna Millette’s paper examining the psycholinguistic research on bilingualism and early language acquisition—a topic that she will be returning to within her Honors Thesis in the coming year. The final text, by Valeria Cruz, is an essay describing the complexities of homelessness within the context of New York City.
The third section in our issue features a set of projects developed within our department’s language courses. In Assistant Teaching Prof. Po DeLisle’s “Advanced Italian Conversation and Composition” course, students were asked to create their own fairy tales—our issue features the original stories of Allison Rittweger, Andreas George, Vincenzo Coppola, Michael Collins, Joseph Eluszkiewicz, and Kaylin Ridge. Elise Labadini’s story about a challenging moment in her family was part of Visiting Lecturer Gomes-Simoes’s “Portuguese III & Culture” course. The final text, from Christopher McNeil, is a creative example of language building from Visiting Lecturer Martinho Ferreira’s “Portuguese II & Culture” course, in which students were asked to develop their own alphabets in Portuguese, with brief definitions or thoughts to accompany each word.
The final offering in this year’s issue is a selection of Kylie Morin’s poetry, which she wrote in French with the editorial assistance of Instructor Boutwell.
As faculty members of the Department of World Languages & Cultures, and as the editors of Canal, we are grateful for the hard work of this year’s contributors and for the mentorship and guidance offered by their professors.
Max Ubelaker AndradeGiulia Po DeLisle