News

Prof. Davidson awarded UC Multicampus Research Initiative Grant

Felicidades are in order for Professor Justin Davidson, who was just awarded a UC Multicampus Research Initiative Grant. The project, entitled “An interdisciplinary approach to the study of Spanish-English bilingualism in California,” lasts for at least two years and expands Professor Davidson’s Corpus of Bay Area Spanish to now include Spanish-English bilinguals in the Los Angeles and Santa Cruz areas of California.

The grant provides funding for the paid employment of several undergraduate and graduate research assistants at UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Santa Cruz, so stay tuned for calls for participation in the project this Spring 2023! By documenting and linguistically analyzing Spanish-English bilingualism in California, this project serves to legitimize the speech practices of diverse types of Spanish speakers in the United States, whose linguistic norms are unjustly scrutinized by prescriptive academies and often ignored in Hispanic Linguistics.

The sociolinguistic products of this research will be made available as a publicly accessible repository of Spanish-English bilingual speech, positioning the University of California as a leader in bilingualism research and attracting future scholars at all levels to carry out Spanish-English bilingualism research at UC-Berkeley.

A new book of poetry by Yairamarén Maldonado

Our alumni Yairamarén Maldonado has recently published a terrific book of poetry, Ciencia ficción en el mirador. Sci-fi at the mirador, a bilingual edition of 169 pages edited by Ediciones Del Flamboyan (San Juan, PR) with drawings by Lorraine Rodríguez. According to the Dominican poet Frank Báez, “In the face of colonial, historical, and heteropatriarchal traumas, Yairamaren’s verses embrace and connect us.”.

Yairamarén is also the author of the collection of poems Interfaces (Editora Educación Emergente, 2017), and her doctoral dissertation at UC Berkeley is entitled “Indebted Pasts, Alternative Futures: Caribbean Digital Imaginations in Twenty-First Century Literature” (2020). Congratulations, Yaira!

Gabriel Lesser awarded the FULLBRIGHT-HEYS Fellowship

Our Ph.D. Candidate Gabriel Lesser received a Fulbright-Hays grant to conduct research abroad for his dissertation. With affiliations to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Mario de Andrade Library, in Brazil, Gabriel will spend his Spring 2023 semester collecting

Mario de Andrade Library’s façade, in São Paulo

archival data for his comparative project about racial satire and caricatures in nineteenth-century Mexico and Brazil. In this work, Lesser argues that, in both countries, humoristic texts and images were a key aspect of lettered elite projects to educate urban populations on emerging scientific and political discourses about race. 

Congratulations, Gabriel !!

Congrats, Jesús Duarte!

Felicidades are in order for Jesús Duarte (Senior – Double Major in Hispanic Linguistics [Spanish and Portuguese] and Linguistics), whose Senior Honors Thesis (advised by Professor Justin Davidson) was just awarded the Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research! Jesús’s paper, entitled “Sociophonetic Differences in Queer Speech of Spanish Speakers,” explores both the acoustic production and auditory perception of select sound features of Queer Spanish. Jesús’s research incorporated library database materials, in addition to Berkeley Qualtrics and phonetics software, to ultimately record speech from various Spanish speakers of the Bay Area and additionally present select speech fragments to listeners for evaluative ratings. After graduating this Spring, Jesús will begin a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics at UCLA. Congratulations once more to Jesús for this honor!

Welcome, Sabrina Grohsebner!

The department of Spanish and Portuguese is thrilled to welcome Sabrina Grohsebner, a collaborator on the research project The Interpretation of Childbirth in Early Modern Spain at the University of Vienna and a Junior Fellow at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies (IFK). Her research on the role and representation of midwives in early modern Spain brings her to our department this spring semester until April 15, 2022. The associative systems that link childbirth and childrearing with other types of female work in the premodern era include the production of textiles. Earlier this year she contributed the article “Parteras profetisas” to the exhibit “Culturas del parto en España y Europa” at the Museo Virtual de Ecología Humana. and her article, “Threads of Life: The Golden Age Midwife Amidst Cloth, Tissue, and Antique Deities of Fate” appeared in Avisos de Viena 1 (2020).  Sabrina’s research on the role and representation of midwives in early modern Spanish culture reveals how these hands were sacralized and demonized, viewed as instruments of social practice, welcoming living beings and, at the same time, creating members of a community. Inspired by considerations of cultural anthropology and sociobiology, she examines medical treatises, literary works and hagiographic texts.

Congratulations to Ben!

Congratulations to Ben Papadopoulos. His short article, “A Brief History of Gender-Inclusive Spanish” was published in the Italian feminist journal Deportate, esuli, profughe ‘Deported, exiled, refugee (women)’. The article was written and published in English and gender-inclusive Spanish (the x gender). Good job, Ben!

Welcome, Ricardo Aleixo!

The department of Spanish and Portuguese is thrilled to welcome Ricardo Aleixo to our department as the 2022 artist-in-residence. Ricardo will spend two weeks as resident artist of our department: visiting classes, giving talks, performing, meeting students and faculty and working on his own creative production.

Ricardo Aleixo (Belo Horizonte, 1960) is an intermedia artist and researcher of literature, other arts and media. Since 1992, when he released Festim – Um disconcerto de música plastica, his debut book, he has released 14 other titles, among them, Modelos Vivos (Ed. Crisálida, 2010) and the most recent, Extraquadro (Ed. Minas/LIRA, 2021). His works mixes poetry, fictional prose, philosophy, ethnopoetics, anthropology, history, music, radio art, visual arts, video, dance, theater, performance and urban studies. His work was recently part of the exhibitions Praça da Língua e Falares (2021, Portuguese Language Museum/SP) and Carolina Maria de Jesus – A Brazil for Brazilians (2022, IMS/SP). In 2021, he was awarded the title of “Notório Saber em Letras: Estudos Literários” equivalent to the degree of doctor by the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

Welcome, Florencia Abbate!

Florencia Abbate (Buenos Aires, 1976) joins the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in her capacity as a Fulbright scholar and will be with us through late January 2022. In her native Argentina, she has earned a solid reputation as a creative writer (fiction and poetry) and cultural critic. She holds a doctorate in literature from Universidad de Buenos Aires and is currently a Professor of Philosophy of Gender at the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales. Her research and her teaching focus on literature and feminist studies within a comparative frame as well as the relations between aesthetics and politics. She was one of the founders of the ‘Ni Una Menos’ feminist movement in Argentina, and later became a member of the writers’ collective that collaborated with Argentina’s National Campaign for the Legalization of Abortion.

At Cal, we will welcome her to campus and celebrate her latest book, Biblioteca feminista (Planeta, 2020) on Wednesday, November 17, at noon with the participation of Francine Masiello, Tom McEnaney and Daylet Domínguez.

This event will be accessible on ZOOM: https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/96031375606

Please join us for an encuentro about Florencia’s book and the questions facing scholars as we represent otherness in our research and writing. Conversatorio en español.