Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Archives: 2004 News

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Old Fountain in front of Wright Auditorium



Sylvie Debevec Henning


Several years ago, Mme. Marie Gorsline, the wife of the late American artist and illustrator Douglas Gorsline, first proposed to give her properties in France, including an apartment in Paris and a farm in Burgundy, to East Carolina University. Dean W. Keats Sparrow, Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, and Dean Michael Dorsey, College of Fine Arts and Communications, spearheaded the negotiations. The French faculty of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures were enthusiastic about the study and research abroad possibilities that the acquisition of these properties offered. Now after many months, the negotiations have finally been successfully concluded.

The Foundation of Renewal for Eastern North Carolina (FoR ENC) recently announced that it had received a major gift from Mme. Marie Gorsline...


Peter Standish in Santander

This fall Dr. Peter Standish is teaching for the North Carolina Consortium for Study Abroad, at the Universidad de Cantabria in Santander Spain. He sends us the following postcard:

"Santander, on Spain's northern coast, has long been an important port and holiday resort. It is a traditional refuge for people trying to escape the summer rigors of Castile. Add to those people the flocks of tourists who come by boat (from England) or by car across the Pyrenees, and in mid August (the time I arrived here) you have a town bursting at the seams. Now that we are entering October things have calmed down, but the climate is still good enough to attract people to the many beaches, and at strategic times of the day, especially in the early evening, the seafront is teeming with people who are out for a stroll or having a drink in one of the cafés.

UNC's program has been bringing students for a semester at the local university for nearly fifteen years now. This year there are 24 of them. They arrived in Madrid in early September, and there I met them with a bus to bring them north. Most of the students are from NC campuses and most are juniors. Most had no prior experience of foreign travel, but they are quickly growing accustomed to a very different lifestyle, learning that there are other things beside KFC, the NY Yankees and rap. Some, naturally enough, are slower than others to open up to what is different. Even young people can be very set in their ways.

Study Abroad Students in Santander

The program provides for them to take classes with Spanish professors and also to go on several excursions, some local, some further afield, such as to Barcelona. By now, three weeks in, we all know who is likely to miss the bus, but so far we haven't lost anyone. There have been no fights on the bus, but we have suffered occasional outbreaks of singing out of tune. As for me, I have basically given up thinking of myself as an academic, but have become pretty adept at advice on travel sickness and whether to pop blisters. I explain what goes into sausages, what cloisters are, why Spaniards walk so slowly (some suggest that it is because Spaniards tend to be shorter than North Americans. This is generally true, but there is a more interesting cultural explanation, one that anyone familiar with basketball can grasp. The etiquette of walking in Spain requires that every few paces one stop, gesticulate and remonstrate, before carrying on walking), and how it is possible to say venga ("come") and adiós in the same breath. I enthuse a lot, and hope that my enthusiasm will be catching. And I remember what a transforming experience foreign travel can be, how it helps us see our home country and our habits in a new light."

Sylvie Henning 2
Dr. Sylvie Henning announced in April that she is stepping down as Department Chair on August 1. She will remain on the faculty, and head up the MAIS and International Studies programs for the College.
Dr. Henning served the department tirelessly for seven years, leaving it a larger, more organized, and more successful department. Her competence and good cheer in the task will be greatly missed. Dean Sparrow appointed Dr. John Stevens to serve as Interim Chair during 2004-2005.

John Stevens
Brian Harris

Brian Harris

In 2004, the Department of Foreign Languages wished a very well earned happy retirement to its poet, playwright, translator, photographer, professor of Nietzsche, Goethe and DaDa, friend of 21 years on the German faculty, and most kindred spirit, Dr. Brian Harris.

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Svetoslav Lalov




On New Year's Eve 2003, our beloved friend and colleague was killed in a car accident along with his son Kiril. A memorial service, attended by a large number of friends and colleagues, was held as part of the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Grimesland on January 10.

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Prof. Luis Acévez


Luis Acévez, who taught in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures from 1969 to his retirement in 1992, died unexpectedly on April 16 of meningitis. In December, 1987, Pieces of Eight featured a profile of Mr. Acévez reprinted here.


For many years, members of Phi Beta Kappa in the Greenville area have honored seniors in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University with outstanding academic records who have majored in areas recognized by Phi Beta Kappa. Interim Chancellor William Shelton and the Eastern Carolina Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa hosted a reception on Thursday, April 1, 2004 at the Chancellor's home.

Patrice CrumpRachel HardyLeanne Smith

Sixteen students were recognized; all have a GPA over 3.9, and eleven have perfect 4.0 averages. Three of the students honored were from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures: Patrice Crump, Hispanic Studies Education; Rachel Hardy, French; and Leanne Smith, French minor.


Paul Fallon

Assistant Prof. Paul Fallon joined the faculty in Spanish this fall. He writes, "I arrive in East Carolina after a nomadic upbringing that showed me much of the country. My graduate studies took me to the Midwest, where I taught in Kansas and Wisconsin, and I learned to appreciate once again the comforts of temperate weather. I focus my research on 20th century Latin American literatures and cultures, particularly those of the U.S.-Mexico border region. My interest in borders also led me to work on Galician literature and I have an article published on the figure of the body (politic) in Suso de Toro's novel Tic-tac. I'm finishing a study of how temporal representations in narratives produced along the northern Mexican border present the negotiations of values in the region. I'm also attempting to learn basic home repair skills through the challenging trial-and-error method, although I keep hoping for a 'tear-free' formula."

Javier Rivas

Assistant Prof. Javier Rivas also joined the faculty in Spanish this fall. He grew up in Galicia (Spain). He received his B.A. in English Language and Literature from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. He has an M.A. and a PH.D. in General Linguistics also from this university. Before coming to ECU, he taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Javier has interests in linguistic typology and language universals, comparative Spanish-English phonetics and grammar, and language ideologies. He has written a book called Ergativity and Transitive Gradients in the Accusative and Infinitive Construction, in which he relates the English and Latin accusative and infinitive construction to the phenomenon of ergativity. He has also published articles on several aspects of syntax. He is currently participating in two research projects: Language and Ideology: The Inventory of Linguo-Diversity and Spanish Syntax and Semantics: The Use and the Meaning of se.



De subventione pauperum

Charles E. Fantazzi and Constant Matheeussen. De Subventione Pauperum sive De Humanis Necessitatibus, Libri II. Selected works of Juan Luis Vives, 4. (Brill 2002).
This work by the Spanish humanist and philosopher, Juan Luis Vives, is the first tract of its kind in the Western world to treat the problem of urban poverty and propose concrete suggestions for a policy of social legislation. The treatise, published in 1526, is dedicated to the civil authorities of Bruges and deals specifically with the problems of that city, but with potential universal application. Vives calls upon the wealthy to share their blessings with those less fortunate, emphasizing that possessions are not given to us for our own use only but to share them with our neighbour. The reader will often find Vives' reflections and solutions surprisingly modern. The book includes an edition of the Latin text and an English translation.

Peter Lang

Dale Knickerbocker. Juan José Millás. The Obsessive-Compulsive Aesthetic. Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures. (Peter Lang 2003).
The five novels written by Juan José Millás between 1988 and 1998 (El desorden de tu nombre; La soledad era esto, Volver a casa; Tonto, muerto, bastardo e invisible; and El orden alfabético) display an increasing preoccupation with a limited number of themes, principally identity and social criticism. They also demonstrate the constant reiteration of a specific group of motifs, an increasing use of metafictional devices, and the use of bizarre or mentally disturbed protagonists. Millás presents writing as the compulsive expression of obsessive thought. This book explains Millás' literary signs as corresponding to the clinical symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Using Fredric Jameson's concept of the political unconscious, the obsessive-compulsive aesthetic is found to constitute Millás' individual manifestation or working-through of an anxiety present in the collective unconscious of Spain and provoked by the rapid political, social, economic, and cultural changes experienced during those years.

Greenwood Press

Marcela Ruiz-Funes. On Teaching Foreign Languages: Linking Theory to Practice (Greenwood Publishing Group 2002).
In this study Prof. Ruiz-Funes relates the knowledge of foreign language teaching, learning, and acquisition gained through research to the beliefs and experiences of expert foreign language teachers. The four participating teachers represent real teachers who distinguish themselves from their peers for their excellence in teaching foreign languages and their success in serving as clinical teachers. Four theoretical issues are discussed in detail: the proficiency movement; the role of input; teaching language in context; and class participation, motivation, and discipline. The major contribution of this study is the integration of the theoretical and practical dimensions. This integration provides foreign language teachers with a realistic view of foreign language education and establishes a dialogue between the university and the school communities. A significant number of excerpts from discussion-interview sessions conducted with the teachers are included.




Karen Carr (BS Hispanic Studies Education 2002) writes that she is now teaching and instructing classes at Community Christian Church Academy and Pitt Community College. "Thanks to dedicated professors that never gave up on me, I now give back to my community. Thanks Georganne, Puri and Dr. Knickerbocker for your encouragement, love and kindness."

Joanna Woods Sayblack (BS Hispanic Studies Education 2003) writes that she is now teaching Spanish at Jamesville High School and Bear Grass High School at E.B. Aycock Junior High in Greenville.

Jennifer Roberson McCollough (French 1999) writes that with the help of Dr. Fladenmuller, she was among several Ivy League students to receive an English Assistantship in France.

Rebeka Goode (Luther) (Spanish 2000) writes that she is teaching ESL with Rowan-Salisbury Schools, NC and working on an M.Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language at UNC Charlotte.

James O'Donnell (French 1984) writes that he is teaching French at S.H.A.P.E. American High School in Belgium near Mons for DoDDS.

Russell Spry (1992 BSP German) writes that he has been assigned as the Intelligence Officer for the 279th Signal Battalion, US Army. He is living in Alabama and also working on his Masters in English.

Congratulations to Ms. Kathy Demnicki Garner (BS French 1989) French teacher at Southern Nash High School, for being named Nash-Rocky Mount Teacher of the year, 2002

Susan Sanchez writes that she received her masters degree from NCSU in 2008 and "I am now married and live in Asheville, NC. I am currently working on my National Boards, and teach Spanish at McDowell High School. I also try to attend NCCAT as often as I can. They offer wonderful Professional Development for all NC teachers."


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