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Three Lafayette foreign-language majors presented papers at a student symposium held Nov. 3 at Muhlenberg College, Allentown. Muhlenberg’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures hosted the event in celebration of 2005 as The Year of Languages.

Student participants represented schools from Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC). They gave 15-minute presentations with a five-minute question-and-answer period. Terry Osborn, associate professor of curriculum studies and world language education at University of Connecticut, ended the day with his keynote address, “Advocating Language Education in a Market Economy.”

Sara Jay ’06 (Oceanside, N.Y.), a double major in history and French, presented her paper “Shaping Feminine Identity in Marguerite de Navarre’s La Com�die des Quatre Femmes (1542).” Her presentation was based on a paper she wrote for the seminar course The Sword, The Rose, and The Pen: The Quest of the Hero in Medieval and Renaissance France under the guidance of Olga Anna Duhl, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures.

Jay’s paper examined how Marguerite de Navarre creates the four-part woman in her play La Com�die des Quatre Femmes. Each part is capable of understanding only one aspect of love. The play discusses the changing feminine identity in contemporary society, and the playwright ascribes the role of independent woman to that identity. Quotations were provided in French with English translations.

“All in all, the day was wonderful,” says Jay, a member of Phi Beta Kappa. “I liked that the spotlight was on the students and their presentations, and the professors took a back seat and let the students’ work speak for itself. It was an excellent opportunity for students, and I think that LVAIC should cooperate in holding more forums like this one (on a variety of topics).”

Duhl is the author of Folie et rh�torique dans la sottie, and she has written numerous book chapters, book reviews, articles, and translations. She is on the editorial board of Revue d’�tudes fran�aises. Most recently, one of the world’s leading publishers of French literature from the Middle Ages and Renaissance released her groundbreaking critical-edition book about a late medieval “fools’ play,” Sotise A Huit Personnaiges [Le Nouveau Monde]. She has presented her research at international and national conferences and received many awards and grants.

Economics and business major Lisa Lovallo ’07 (Hebron, Conn.) and double major in economics & business and Spanish Christine Haddad ’07 (Rumson, N.J.) collaborated on the presentation “Gods and Conquest: The Evolution of the Mexican Codices.” The paper was based on the final research project they completed for the course Early Spanish-American Civilization & Culture under the guidance of Denise Galarza-Sep�lveda, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures.

The presentation examined the Borgia Codex (1250-1521), Azoy� Codex (1421-1565), and Vatican Codex (1558-1609) to trace the representations of the god Quetzalcoatl, the role of Christianity, and the Conquest. The codices contain the history of the Aztec and Mixtec indigenous peoples, including human origin, power of the gods, calendar systems, rituals and celebrations, and images of the European conquest of Mesoamerica. The students examined the codices housed in Lafayette’s Special Collections and College Archives to observe changes in the perceptions of indigenous people. They created a PowerPoint presentation to display the codex images.

“I am glad I was able to revisit my final project from last semester,” says Lovallo. “It enabled me to take a more detailed approach to additional research as well as the process of refining the presentation for a diverse audience. I also was able to gain a deeper understanding of the evolution of the images presented in the codices. Overall, the symposium was an excellent and worthwhile opportunity to not only learn more about the Mesoamerican codices, but also about various other interesting topics throughout the day.”

“The experience of the symposium was excellent,” says Haddad. “The audience was captivated by our presentation because it was a topic that most people had never heard of before. We learned about codices briefly in class, and [Dr. Galarza-Sep�lveda] had a wealth of knowledge on the topic and was able to direct us in the right direction for our research. I met a lot of really nice people and staff from Muhlenberg and the other LVAIC colleges. Overall, it was a fabulous time.”

Galarza-Sep�lveda’s area of specialization is colonial Latin American literature. Her research interests include 18th century colonial literature, urban studies, cultural identity formation, and the intersection of historical and literary discourse. She is working on a book entitled Writing the Walls of the City: Immigrant Evils and Proto-Nationalist Strategies in Eighteenth-Century Peru. Like Duhl, she has collaborated with students in her research and mentored them in their own reearch projects.

Categorized in: Academic News