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From September 15th thru October 15th, the United States celebrates Hispanic American / Latinx Heritage Month. Read below to find out how some of the people at Midd engage with these identities. Also come by the Davis Family Library September 18th-29th to see the display. Many sincere thanks to Marlena Evans :) for her committed work in developing banner designs.
Names of Respondents; Hometowns; Roles on Campus:
ZZ: Zarai Zaragoza; Chicago, Illinois; Studio Art Major with Education Studies Minor – Part of Alianza, WOC [Women of Color], DMC [Distinguished Men of Color], Anderson Freeman Center Fellow, and so much more.
MRM: Marcos Rohena-Madrazo; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Assistant Professor of Spanish / Linguistics.
KS: Katrina Spencer; Los Angeles, California; Literatures & Cultures Librarian.
XM: Ximena Mejía; Salisbury, Vermont; Middlebury College Counseling Director.
Time at Midd:
ZZ: 3 years, going on the 4th.
MRM: 6 years.
KS: 7.5 months.
XM: 9 years.
What do you know about Hispanic American/Latinx Heritage Month?
ZZ: Hispanic Heritage month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. It is a time to show the love one has for their culture, traditions, and the many identities that make up the Hispanic community.
MRM: I don’t know a lot about the month, per se, but I know that it’s important in the United States context and I’ve been learning more about it since I’ve lived “here” [on the mainland and not the island of Puerto Rico]. When I was living in Puerto Rico, there wasn’t a need to actively identify with either of those labels. Only recently have I started to engage with them.
KS: Unlike many other commemorative months, this one starts in the middle of September and ends in the middle of October. These dates were chosen in remembrance of a variety of Latin American countries winning their independence from colonial powers.
XM: It commemorates the diversity of the identities that encompass “Hispanic” and Latinx.
How do you pronounce “Latinx” and what does it mean?
MRM: In English, [lə.ˈthi.ˌnɛks]. In Spanish, I’m not sure because grammatical gender is much more complex. I’m still figuring it out. For me, it means a person of Latin American descent in/from a U.S. context.
KS: La-teen-x. Three syllables. You pronounce the “x” just like the letter “x.” To my understanding, the “x” is meant to draw attention away from gender specificity. In Spanish, grammatically speaking, the default term is “Latino,” an adjective that inherently prioritizes the masculine and invisibilizes the feminine. The “x” is an attempt to acknowledge the ways in which language, depending upon how we use it, can be inclusive or exclusive.
XM: Well said Katrina! Breaking down the gender binary.
ZZ: Laa-Tee-Nex. I love the way Katrina describes it. It is meant to be more inclusive since the Spanish language is structured to be more gendered.
How do you identify ethnically?
ZZ: Both of my parents are from Guerrero, Mexico. I was born in the U.S, but am very connected to the traditions of my cultural. I am Mexican-American → Latina.
MRM: Puerto Rican. If there is one identity that I can unproblematically claim, it is Puerto Rican. Where were my ancestors “from”? On my mom’s side from Cantabria and Mallorca and on my dad’s side general Caribbean Afro-Euro combo.
KS: My mother is African American and Creole; my father is Afro-Costa Rican. So. . . I’m black. ;) With some cultural, historical and social connections to both Central America and the Caribbean, broadly defined. Not one of these, however, for me, is an “ethnicity.” (Or are they?)
XM: Multiethnic / Mestiza a combination of North Ecuadorean indigenous people and European (German and French from maternal side and Spanish from paternal side).
Why is it important to have a display to commemorate this month?
ZZ: It’s a beautiful thing to take pride in your culture, your family’s culture, and how these traditions, stories, and art impact your interests and your sense of self. It’s very important to give identities that are sometimes overlooked, ignored, or marginalized, some space of confidence, openness, and growth. Speaking from experience, it is not always easy to take pride in one’s apparent (sometimes not apparent) identity, and it can often be thrown in your face that you’re different. I am hoping that this display will show differences but will shine it in a positive, wholesome light.
MRM: It’s important in order to counter hegemonic discourses of who the people living in the United States are.
KS: I want more students of diverse and non-dominant/non-hegemonic backgrounds to know what materials we have in our collections that mirror their experiences, lives, and struggles. If we don’t highlight them, they may never know that they’re there. The library is theirs, too.
XM: Make visible to our larger community that there are students, faculty and staff who identify with this heritage.
What are some of the challenges in preparing a display such as this?
ZZ: Often times there can be an misrepresentation of a group of people. What I hope this display will do is bring together a true, multifaceted array of stories, backgrounds, and talents that make up the Hispanic community at Midd.
MRM: Choosing who and what to represent. It’s by no means a unified and easily portrayable group.
KS: “Who is Hispanic?” “Who is Latinx?” “Who is not?” For example, do we include Brazil and Brazilians? And how? How do we include works that represent all of them? Are all my choices generational and based on what I liked growing up? Will students even recognize these items I’ve chosen?
What readings/music CDs/DVDs might you recommend that your peers check out to commemorate this month?
KS: All things Junot Díaz. Contemporarily, he’s likely the most famous writer who represents the Hispanophone world transnationally. Also Achy Obejas, writes on themes touching the queer Latina world. I’ve been wanting to see Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) for quite some time. We have it in the library on Bluray. I believe it studies hair straightening, a practice that often favors western European features, a discourse that continues to be relevant in the Afro-Latinx world today.
Books: Umami by Laia Jufresa; Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera; Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra; Bruja by Wendy C. Ortiz; Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera; Among Strange Victims by Daniel Saldaña Paris, and more.
MRM: The more we talk about what “Latinx” is and what it isn’t, the more we understand ourselves and each other.
KS: There’s an Afro-Dominican actress and filmmaker, Julissa Calderón, regularly featured on Pero Like and a comedian and filmmaker who’s black and Honduran who produces content on “Callme Choko.” Aside from being hilarious dramatists, they both give greater representation to minority populations that too often go unseen.
ZZ: Thank you for providing the space… <3
If there’s a work you’re interested in seeing and feel the library should own, visit go.middlebury.edu/requests to let us know!
The Spanish School, one of Middlebury’s 11 Language Schools, celebrates its 100th year. Here are a few words from current affiliated staff who have witnessed some of its evolutions.
JC: Joseph Casillas
LC: Laura Cabrera
KS: Katrina Spencer
JC: Phoenix, Arizona
LC: Salamanca, Spain
KS: Los Angeles, California
LC: I’m a bilingual assistant in the Spanish School.
KS: Library liaison.
When did you first encounter the Spanish School?
JC: My first experience in Middlebury was in 2007 as an MA student in the Spanish school.
LC: I arrived to Middlebury in 1998 when I was a little girl because my dad [Carlos Cabrera] was a teacher in the Spanish School.
KS: I arrived to Middlebury in 2009 and graduated from the master program in 2010. I’d been looking for a school that would allow me to complete my degree overseas and this was one of the two I found.
Has your role always been the same?
JC: No. I spent two summers in the Spanish school finishing my MA. Afterwards I spent two consecutive summers in the French school, as a pure beginner in level 1 and the following summer in level 4. The following two years I returned to the Spanish school to work as a bilingual assistant, and the past 3 years I have worked as a professor in the undergraduate 7-week program.
LC: First I came as a dependent with my parents but since 2007 I’ve been working as a bilingual assistant at the Spanish School.
KS: No. At first I was a master student, then a non-degree seeking student in the Portuguese program and now I’m a librarian.
Tell us about the diversity of the program.
JC: The Spanish school program is rather diverse. In any given summer there are professors and students from most of the Spanish speaking countries in the world. The students are particularly diverse in many different ways. In terms of age, in my classes I have had students that just finished high school, all the way up to retirees that decided to learn Spanish for fun. But the student body at Middlebury is diverse in other ways as well. For example, I have had students that work as government agents, and other military special forces, as well as high school teachers of other languages.
LC: Faculty and staff come from different places around the world: Spain, Mexico, Cuba, United States, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, etc. And we have some students that are from different parts of the United States and other countries like India and China, so the Spanish School is culturally diverse.
KS: In terms of the faculty, without having to do much mental exercise at all, I know that Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and the United States are all represented. In terms of the student body, you find students aged 19-50+. That’s always something that has quite impressed me. During my first summer, we had a nun in our program and at least one student completing the doctorate of modern languages. People come to Middlebury for a wide array of reasons and from a variety of backgrounds. This year they have a lawyer who’s engaged in immigration law.
Over the years, what changes within the school and what remains the same?
JC: There are many things that stay the same. Middlebury, itself doesn’t change much. In the ten years that I have been around, the faculty hasn’t changed too much. Certain aspects of the program that we do every year typically stay the same, but every summer is unique in its own way because of the students. Sometimes there are students who repeat, and the graduate students typically spend multiple summers in the program, but the majority of the undergraduate students are new. It is always fun to see how diverse and talented they are. I’ve also seen many of the professors children grow up over the course of several summers. It truly is a unique experience.
LC: In my opinion, almost everything is the same as my first time here. Some people come back and some people don’t, but the main spirit of the “Spanish school family” is the same, summer after summer. Middlebury is like a bubble, no matter how you spent the whole year, if you go back for another summer, you’ll feel the last summer was yesterday instead of a year ago.
KS: Much of the professoriate remains the same! The Spanish School attracts and retains excellent instructors. Some have been teaching in the program more than 15 years. Mariluz Gutiérrez Araus and Mercedes Fernández-Isla are two of them. One change that I’ve noted is that program now has a website where students can follow its activities. It’s very colorful and up-to-date, reflecting the technology use of our time. Also, I believe we have a school site in Argentina now. Formerly students were able to complete a summer of study in Mexico, which I did, and now you can do it in South America. Oh, and the Literary Analysis students join together and receive a library orientation session in Spanish!
How do you and your community within the Language Schools use the libraries and our resources?
JC: I used the library much more for research as an MA student. Since then, I mainly use the library for preparing classes and meeting with students.
LC: As an office manager at the Spanish School, I don’t use the library so often. We usually borrow some films to show and some tech devices we need for the events. I think the students use the library more often, like a studying place and using the resources: books, movies, etc.
KS: When I was a student, we graduate students used JSTOR quite heavily to find academic articles of literary criticism. This database is still popular among Language School students in general. The Spanish-language browsing collection that includes readings like Manolito Gafotas and music by flamenco-style singer Buika is also popular. In the instruction sessions I give, I really try to plug Lexis Nexis for finding news articles, Kanopy for online film streaming and our Alexander Street vendor for listening to music online. There are also special carrels/study spaces in the library assigned to each language school.
What do you envision for the Spanish School’s future?
JC: I think one of the big changes facing the program in the upcoming years is related to heritage speakers. Every summer we get more and more students with this profile, which makes sense because of the changing demographics in the US, and I hope to see explicit attention given to these students in the program’s curriculum moving forward.
LC: I don’t know what will will be the future of the Spanish School, but I’m sure it depends on the students because they are a different group every summer. So, like Joseph said, I think the heritage speakers will be a very important part of the program in the next years.
KS: Changes in the school will likely mirror changes in society, ¿no es cierto? Perhaps there will be more demand for courses representing Central America and indigenous populations as we have more people within the United States that represent that region. I imagine the school will become even more diverse as more people realize the importance of speaking Spanish merely as residents in the Western hemisphere. And I hope that more classes will request library instruction sessions so students can navigate our spaces with even greater confidence.
The library has acquired some new resources over the last few months:
- Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics a systematic and comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the history and study of the Hebrew language from its earliest attested form to the present day and features advanced search options
- Japan Times Archive Full text of every issue of this English language newspaper based in Japan that was published from 1897 through 2015
- Digital Loeb Classical Library Important works of ancient Greek and Latin literature, presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each left-hand page, and a fairly literal translation on the facing page.
- American Indian Movement and Native American Radicalism, 1968—1979 – This collection of FBI files from 1968 to 1979 provides detailed information on the evolution of AIM as an organization of social protest and the development of Native American radicalism.
- Federal Response to Radicalism in the 1960s Another collection from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Library, this collection sheds light on internal organization, personnel, and activities of some of the most prominent American radical groups and their movements to change American government and society. Included are files on Cesar Chavez, the Black Panther Party, and Malcolm X, among many others.
- FIAF international index to film periodicals This database contains the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF)’s “Treasures from Film Archives”; a detailed index of the silent-era film holdings of archives from around the world, a selection of Reference volumes and the linked full-text of over 60 journals.
- JSTOR books Middlebury has purchased access to nearly 800 e-books on the JSTOR platform. Subjects include books published in 2015-2017 in the broad areas of languages and literatures, sociology, political science, and climate change. (You will find relevant content from any of these books by searching the JSTOR platform. In the near future, they will also be in the library’s catalog.)
Welcome (or, welcome back!) to the libraries! Whether you’re new to campus or returning from summer break, we’re looking forward to seeing you.
Want a virtual tour? Watch the video called Davis Family Library: 5 Quick Tips in the Midd Libraries Quick Guide. While you’re in the guide, take a look at all of the other advice we provide for navigating the libraries.
Want a deeper dive in our collections? Find your favorite research guide (there’s one for every subject) at go.middlebury.edu/guides:
Members of the Academic Technology Group, Librarians, and Media Services are hosting workshops to help faculty learn about and use various services for the teaching toolkit. We are hosting a number of workshops on Canvas and Panopto, as well as an introduction to new services. We have also set aside time for faculty to get specific technology for teaching questions answered.
Please be aware that you must be logged into Google with your Middlebury username and password to fill out and submit the form.
You may sign up for as many sessions as you would like to attend.
Please note that all sessions are about 60 minutes, and that they take place in the Wilson Media Lab.
The ACTT has been evaluating MIddlebury’s services for video streaming. This summer, Middlebury has adopted Panopto, a service to manage and distribute video in a private space, as part of the solution. Panopto provides Middlebury faculty, students, and staff with a space to upload and sort their media, and share with their colleagues and classes. Panopto not only provides flexibility for who can see a video, it also includes a variety of sharing options. Some of these options include the ability to sync with presentations and other media, and providing a space to discuss video.
Also a Recording Service
In addition to the media management features, Panopto also provides services for capturing media directly from your computer or mobile device, with a direct upload to your Panopto space. Panopto has features that allow you to record and sync presentations (PowerPoint, KeyNote), screen captures, video and audio. Some possible use cases include: students assigned to record themselves as they practice presentations with slides, then and sharing these recordings to a class-only folder for peer feedback; creating brief instructional or tutorial videos based on tasks using specialized software recorded directly from your screen to be shared with students and colleagues.
We have created a welcome page with links to curated Panopto resources, such as a quick start guide, at http://go.middlebury.edu/panoptohelp. Panopto also provides extensive documentation, with written instructions and video demonstrations.
On the Horizon
We have already implemented integrations between Panopto and the Course Hub, Canvas, WordPress and Drupal that allow for the embedding of single videos and playlists. Panopto has recently developed deeper integrations with Canvas that will allow students to submit Panopto media as an Assignment Submission, and allow you to provide feedback to students using the SpeedGrader. Look for announcements in Canvas as these features become available.
We will be moving away from a number of media hosting solutions, including MiddMedia and Muskrat, over the next few years. We will share more information as planning for the migration projects proceeds.