Letter from the Chair | Winter 2014

Chair, Tony Geist

Despite the recent snow and the rain pelting down outside my window as I write these lines, winter has been good to Spanish and Portuguese Studies. We learned that Ana Fernández Dobao, Language Program Coordinator and Professor of Spanish Linguistics, has been granted tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. AFD earned this honor through her brilliant reformulation of the first three years of Spanish language study, through her cutting edge scholarship on second language acquisition and her tireless service to the department.

We also have call to celebrate the promotion of our newest colleague, Ana Gómez Bravo, to the rank of Full Professor. AGB came to us in fall quarter 2012 from Purdue, bringing an impressive record of publications and teaching with her. Her latest book, Textual Agency: Writing, Culture and Social Networks in Fifteenth-Century Spain, just published by Toronto University Press, clinched the deal for her promotion.

¡Felicitaciones, Anas!

They join a bevy of Anas in the department, including lecturer Anna Witte and visiting assistant professor Ana Luengo. Now you understand why I refer to them by their initials!

We have added a new language to those we habitually teach in the department: Ladino. Ladino is the language spoken by Sephardic Jews, descendants of the Spanish Jews expelled from their homeland by Ferdinand and Isabel in 1492. Scattered throughout the Mediterranean, and later across the world, the Sefarditas have clung to their language – fifteenth century Spanish with admixtures of Turkish, Greek and Arabic – for five centuries. David Bunis, visiting professor from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is teaching an introduction to Ladino, cross-listed between Spanish and Jewish Studies. Next quarter he will offer the continuation.

Following on the heels of the stunning Perú exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in the fall, Miró: The Experience of Seeing, featuring over 50 works from the last 20 years of the great Catalan artist’s life, runs from February 13 to May 26. In collaboration with SAM and Luis Fernando Esteban, the Honorary Consul of Spain, Spanish and Portuguese is organizing a number of cultural activities in conjunction with the exhibit.  Don’t miss renowned musicologist and performer, Paco Díez’s, concert of traditional Spanish folk music on March 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the museum’s Plestcheeff Auditorium, followed by a lecture on Dona Gracia Nasi, “The Woman Who Defied Kings,” given by the acclaimed journalist and scholar Andrée Aelion Brooks, on March 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Nordstrom Lecture Hall at the Seattle Art Museum. Both events are free and open to the public. (For further information see http://spanport.washington.edu/events.)

And make sure to catch the student production of Lorca’s farcical play, Los Títeres de Cachiporra, directed by one of our talented cadre of Anas, Anna Witte, featured in this issue’s Faculty Rave. Performances March 13, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cabaret Theater (Hutchison Hall), on the UW campus. 

This and more will keep us warm through the winter. 

Tony Geist

Chair, Spanish and Portuguese Studies

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