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romance languages and literatures


Three 2016 Nguyen Prizes Awarded
The 2016 Sue L. Nguyen Travel Research Prize was shared this year by Mario Lorenzo, MA Italian (far left) and Regina Pieck, MA Hispanic Studies (far right), seen here with two sisters of the late Sue Nguyen, Mrs. Nancy Lee, Ms. Bich Thi Nguyen and Ms. Glenda Lee (daughter of Nancy Lee), together with Kaitlyn Quaranta (second from left), winner of the 2016 Sue L. Nguyen Prize for Excellence (photo: BC Office of Marketing Communications).

Second Language Key to Success
"Mounting evidence suggests that learning a second language can be the key to a student's success, supporting everything from increased cognitive function to higher rates of success in school and in the careers that come afterward," reports The Huffington Post, based on statistics gathered by Middlebury Interactive Languages.

Foreign language skills provide sharp edge in the job market
The International Business Times reported that job seekers with bilingual skills could look forward to a profusion of opportunities in the coming year.

BC/University of Parma Partnership celebration

Celebrating the 20th Anniverary of the BC/University of Parma Partnership
A delegation from BC (including Profs. Franco Mormando, Brian O'Connor, and Mattia Acetoso) traveled to Parma, Italy for a two-day celebration of the 20th anniversary of the BC/University of Parma partnership. Among the speakers at the inaugural press conference was Prof. Brian O'Connor (seen in the photo) who helped found the very successful program and Dr. Nick Gozik, Director of the BC Office of International Programs (to Prof. O'Connor's left in the photo). (photo: Franco Mormando)

Registration Open for Summer Courses
RLL Professors Andrea Javel, Esther Gimeno Ugalde and Kevin Newmark are offering summer courses in (respectively) Bordeaux, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Venice, Italy. Registration now open (under "Humanities & Language" menu).

Harry Rosser

Prof. Rosser Honored with "Emeritus" Status
Prof. Harry Rosser, who retired last spring after many years in our department, has been granted "Emeritus" status by University President Fr. William Leahy. As Fr. Leahy noted, "During your 30 years of teaching and service at Boston College, you have made an immense contribution to the education of so many students, and also enhanced the academic culture of our University. I am delighted to be able to formally recognize all you have done for the University and to indicate in this special way the respect and gratitude BC has for you."

Roland Barthes

"Language is Never Innocent: Roland Barthes at BC"
The RLL graduate students organized an interdisciplinary graduate conference to mark the centennial of French literary theorist philosopher, Roland Barthes (1915-80). Keynote speaker was prominent Barthes scholar, Jonathan Culler, professor of English and Comp. Lit. at Cornell and featured papers by grad students from BC, Harvard, Cornell, Brown and other universities.

MIguel Brascó

Inauguration of New Documentary Film
Prof. Ernesto Livon-Grosman's new documentary, Brascó, a survey of Argentinian cultural and political life of the past 50 years through the eyes of poet and "public intellectual," MIguel Brascó, had its world debut at the National Library of Argentina in Buenos Aires.

"Romance Review" Returns
"Romance Review," the RLL graduate student scholarly journal, founded in 1989 and temporarily suspended in 2007, has returned to life in a new online form, entitled "The Romance E-Review."

Teaching Excellence
We extend hearty Congratulations to our graduate students, Meredith Finch, Mieka Phillips, Núria Murciego Rico, and Chiara Girardi, who were all among this year's recipients of The Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award.

Harry Rosser

Prof. Rosser Retires
After many years at Boston College, esteemed colleague and beloved teacher, Harry Rosser has retired. Our warmest best wishes to him in this new chapter in his life. Happily, he has agreed to return every so often to teach one of his popular courses in modern Latin American literature.

As of July 1, 2015, Prof. Ourida Mostefai has left Boston College and assumed a faculty position at Brown University. She can be reached there by email at We wish her all the best in this new role.

New RLL/Core Course
Prof. Laurie Shepard's new, interdisciplinary CORE Curriculum course, "Literature and Business" (RL314 x EN 084.05) is featured in the Boston College Magazine (Fall 2014, pp. 10-11).

Daniel Cuenca and Franco Mormando

First Recipient of Sue L. Nguyen (MA ’73) Prize
Graduating Masters student in Hispanic Studies, Daniel Cuenca, has been awarded the Sue L. Nguyen Prize for Academic Excellence in Graduate Studies. The prize was established this year by the family of the late Sue Nguyen, a 1973 graduate of the BC Masters program.

Spanish Pedagogy Workshop
The first "Jornada de Didáctica del Español" took place on Nov. 15, 2014 in Lyons Hall, organized by Prof. Esther Gimeno Ugalde, Assist. Prof. of the Practice in Hispanic Studies. For more information about this workshop, please download the program or email

Matta: Making the Invisible Visible

The new exhibition of Cuban art at BC's McMullen Museum, Wilfredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds, curated by RLL PT Lecturer in Hispanic Studies, Elizabeth Goizueta, has opened to rave reviews.

Verdi anniversary celebration

Verdi Anniversary Celebration
The Italian Section celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Italian opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi, with an interdisciplinary round-table discussion by Mattia Acetoso (Italian), Jeremiah McGrann (Music) and Francesco Castellano (PT instructor of Italian and director emeritus, Dante Alighieri Society, Cambridge), followed by musical performances by professional singers, among them, Cindy Bravo, director of the BC Language Lab and Italian MA student David Lara. A full video of the program is available on YouTube.

Debbir Rusch

Prof. Rusch Retires After 24 Years
Retiring at the end of calendar year 2013 is our long-term coordinator of Elementary Spanish, after 24 years of what she describes as the "pure fun of teaching," the inimitable Prof. Debbie Rusch, co-author of the popular textbooks, Claro que sí (now in its 7th edition) and Fuentes: Conversación y gramática (now in its 4th edition). We will miss Debbie; but, happily, the search for her successor is now well underway. She is here pictured with her mom, Norma Rusch.
(photo: F. Mormando)


New French Program
Professor Emeritus Rebecca Valette and her husband Jean-Paul have just released a new three-level secondary school program entitled Discovering French Today: Bleu, Blanc and Rouge.

Régine Jean-Charles

Featured Feminist
Prof. Régine Jean-Charles is the "Featured Feminist" on the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) web page.


Dante's Paradiso

The Italian section's popular "Lectura Dantis" series (public readings of Dante's Divine Comedy), begun in February 2000 and organized by Prof. Laurie Shepard, reached its goal this past semester, with the final canto of Paradise. Video compilation of reading samples from Dante's Paradiso.

Emilio and Marilena Locilento and Serafina Spink

New Italian prize awarded
Italian major, Serafina Spink '13. The prize was established by the proprietors of the Italian gourmet food emporium, "Tutto Italiano" of Hyde Park, Emilio Locilento (BC, M.A., Class of 2003) and his sister, Marilena Locilento, in honor of their parents Angelo and Maria, "for their love of education and free enterprise, a spirit that shall endure into the 21st century and beyond." Emilio, Marilena, and their parents were present at the ceremony to make the award, following an inspiring brief address by Emilio on the value of a liberal arts education even for those, such as he, whose life career is in the world of business.

4 RLL faculty retire
At its annual end-of-the-year party, on Friday, May 3, the RLL Dept. honored its four retiring faculty, Norman Araujo, Matilda Bruckner, Dwayne Carpenter, and Rena Lamparska, who together have served BC for over 130 years.

Mostefai Presentation
Professor Ourida Mostefai presented a paper at the Boston College Symposium on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s 300th anniversary organized by Christopher Kelly (Political Science) and the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy.

Jeff Flagg

Award recipient
Professor Jeff Flagg is the winner of the Boston College Reverend John R. Trzaska, S.J. Award, given to the faculty member who expanded the horizons, skills, and value systems of BC students by providing support and guidance outside of the classroom.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Featured feminist
Professor Elizabeth Rhodes is the featured feminist on the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) web page.


Professor Franco Mormando gave a lecture on “Bernini’s Models in Clay: What the biographical sources reveal” at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University.

Manos Logo

Project participation
Ph.D. candidates Leticia Mercado and Esteban Mayorga are participants in the “Manos Teatrales” project, an initiative organized by Professor Margaret Greer at Duke in collaboration with the Spanish National Library. The project's objective is to advance technologies to aid in the identification of authors and copyists of dramatic manuscripts in Spanish around the world.

J. Enrique Ojeda

Professor Emeritus, J. Enrique Ojeda—who has been quite productive in his retirement with his scholarly pursuits—was recently inducted into the Academia Ecuatoriana de la Lengua in his native country of Ecuador. The Academia is closely related to the Real Academia de la Lengua of Spain, so this honor has international resonance as well. For his inaugural address to the Academia, Prof. Ojeda lectured on the works of Gonzalo Zaldumbide, an Ecuadorian essayist who gained international reputation for his books on D’Annunzio, Barbusse, Rodó, Montalvo and others. Under the sponsorship of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Prof. Ojeda is now preparing the national edition of Zaldumbide's complete works. We extend our warmest congratulations to Prof. Oejda!

Shaping Courtliness in Medieval France: Essays

Honoring Matilda Bruckner
A festschrift honoring Professor Matilda Bruckner’s career, Shaping Courtliness in Medieval France: Essays in Honor of Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner, has been published by Boydell & Brewer, 2013. This collection of essays was co-edited by Professor Laurie Shepard and Professor Daniel E. O’ Sullivan, (Ph.D. French, 2000), Associate Professor of French, University of Mississippi.

The 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 9-12, 2013) will feature three sessions in honor of Professor Bruckner’s outstanding contribution to the field of medieval studies: our warmest congratulations to Matilda on her professional honors and recognition!

Professor Mormando and students

Sottile Legacy Lives On at BC
Professor of Italian Franco Mormando shares his passion for the language with (from left) Kate Mirino '12, Sottile Family Scholar Rachel Vitale '12, and Michael Vigorito '13.

Ourida Mostefai

Rousseau Scholars
Professor Ourida Mostefai is featured, along with other Rousseau Scholars, in the Swiss magazine "L'Hebdo" on the occasion of the tricentenial of Rousseau's birth.


Congratulations to Professor Franco Mormando and Professor Ourida Mostefai who were both promoted to Full Professor.

Professor Elizabeth Rhodes's critical edition of the poetry by Renaissance musician and poet Jorge de Montemayor has been published by Editorial Castalia (Barcelona). Her current research project, titled 'The Age of the Saints," which investigates how the lives of the certain saint change over time, is featured in the Boston College Magazine.

Franco Mormando will discuss his book, Bernini: His Life and His Rome.
Sunday, May 20, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
92nd St., Y/Tribeca Lecture Hall
200 Hudson St., New York

Harry Rosser

Professor Rosser named on Editorial Board of Hispania
Professor Harry Rosser has been named Associate Editor of Hispania, the Journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, for a three-year term beginning January, 2011.


Rebirth, Regeneration and Re-Emergence:
The XXth Annual Graduate Conference in Romance Studies hosted by the Boston College Romance Language Graduate Student Association (RLGSA) was held on March 16-17, 2012. Dr. Mary Baine Campbell, University Professor of Comparative Literature at Brandeis University, and a scholar of Medieval and Early Modern Literature and Culture, delivered the keynote address entitled The Lost Science of Dreams.”

Francesco Castellano

Paradiso 15
Lectura Dantis, an ongoing public reading of Dante's Divine Comedy, presents “Paradiso 15” with Francesco Castellano. The presentation of the text is in English, and the reading in Italian.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Research Incentive Grant
Professor Elizabeth Rhodes has won a Research Incentive Grant from the Institute on Aging, to support her research on Catholic hagiography, that examines the transformations in the ages of Catholic saints over the late medieval and early modern periods.

Global Humanities Lecture Series in Romance Languages and Literatures
Spring 2011 Schedule

Commitment to Spanish Language education
The Mario Vargas Llosa Chapter of the National Hispanic Honor Society is presenting a Certificate of recognition to Professor Debbie Rusch at Reading High School on March 29, in recognition for her dedication and contribution to Spanish Language education.

French Film Festival
February 11 - 25, 2011 Devlin 008 Free admission and open to the public.
View Flyer

Leticia Mercado (Ph.D. Candidate, Hispanic Studies) published “Traspasar el umbral: la vestimenta como identidad cultural en la Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España de Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1632)” in Lucero 20 (2010): 15-32.

Assigned Reading by Matilda T. Bruckner
Professor Matilda Bruckner’s Core Literature course on “Memory and Literature” was featured in the Winter 2010 issue of the BC Magazine.

A semester in Madrid
Michael Polark
, (2010, Economics and Hispanic studies major) spent five months at La Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spring 2009. He reflects on the experience in a Q&A with the Boston Globe.

Christ in the garden
Inspired by Lavinia Fontana's 'Noli Me Tangere,' Romance Languages Assoc. Prof. Franco Mormando reflects on Jesus as gardener.


Listening to Haiti's 'Other Voices'
The world knows all about Haiti's problems—but little else, says BC's Jean-Charles.



Dario Del Puppo

Paradiso 10
Dario Del Puppo, professor of Language and Culture Studies at Trinity College, leads this public reading of Dante's Divine Comedy.



Margaret Greer

A Virtual World of Spanish Golden Age Theater

Margaret Greer of Duke University discusses her work on interpreting and identifying the handwriting of many anonymously copied works of seventeenth-century theater stored in the Madrid National Library.


Jamie Crowley

Alumni Profile
Jamie Crowley
’91, MA ’96, a French major at Boston College, won one of the teaching profession’s highest honors. “It was at Boston College where I really learned how to think critically and become aware of my own learning.”


Leticia Mercado, a Hispanic studies doctoral candidate, published "'Postrer ruido': el homenaje de Blas de Otero a Francisco de Quevedo" in MLN 125. 2 (March 2010, Hispanic Issue): 391-405.

Rebecca Valette and Jean-Paul

Humanitarians honored
Boston College Romance Languages and Literatures Professor Emeritus Rebecca Valette and her husband Jean-Paul, were honored with an award for their humanitarian work by the Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation.


Ourida Mostefai

Order of the Palm
Professor Ourida Mostefai was inducted as Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques.



Franco Mormando

Lectura Dantis: "Purgatory XXXIII"
Lectura Dantis, a public reading of Dante's Divine Comedy, presents “Purgatorio XXXIII” with Franco Mormando, BC associate professor of Italian.


Un cuento violento bookcover

Esteban Mayorga (Ph.D. candidate, Hispanic Studies) published Un cuento violento. Quito, Ecuador: Editorial El Conejo, 2007.

Estefania Moralejo Santos

The "Esperia Ensemble," a group of professional musicians from Spain (which includes our own RLL PT instructor, Estefania Moralejo Santos) regaled the BC community in Gasson 100 on March 25 with a multi-media performance of splendid music and dramatic readings of celebrated texts from the Old and New Worlds. In attendance was the Consul General of Spain, and many other members of the Spanish community of Boston.


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