Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hot off the presses! Dr. Rathbun releases new poetry translation!

Dr. Rathbun is pleased to announce the release of her most recent book-length poetry translation Santuarios   desierto mar/Sanctuaries   Desert Sea by Mexican author Juan Armando Rojas Joo. Artepoética Press, a bilingual, Hispanic publishing house based in New York City, published the work. It will officially launch the collection in the upcoming conference The Americas Poetry Festival of New York 2015 on October 14-16.

This is Dr. Rathbun’s ninth book and eighth full-length poetry translation. Editorial Ultramarina in Seville, Spain published two of her translations in 2013: Era hombre, era mito, era bestía/ Man Myth Beast by Ivan Vergara and Luz/ Light by Juan Armando Rojas Joo. The Bitter Oleander Press in New York released Dr. Rathbun’s translation of Tras el rayo/ Afterglow by Alberto Blanco in 2011. In 2009 Pecan Grove Press published her translation of Río vertebral/Vertebral River also by Rojas Joo. Ceremonial de viento/ Ceremonial of Wind, by Rojas Joo, was printed by La Cuadrilla de la Langosta in Mexico City in 2006. Additionally, Rathbun is coeditor of the anthologies of poetry Sangre mía / Blood of Mine: Poetry of Border Violence, Gender and Identity in Ciudad Juárez (2013) and Canto a una ciudad en el desierto (2004). Dr. Rathbun has published thirty-two of her poetic translations of Mexican authors in prestigious national and international journals.

Dr. Rathbun’ work as a translator forms part of a crucial component of intellectual exchange and development in our globalized world and it reflects her language proficiency, detailed knowledge of historical, sociopolitical and literary contexts and a poetic sense of style in both Spanish and English.


Advanced Praise for Santuarios   desierto mar/Sanctuaries   Desert Sea
Juan Armando Rojas Joo has created a stunning collection of poems in which he evokes in a panoramic fashion the mysterious and mythic beauty and inherent danger of the astonishing sweep of the great deserts that dominate the landscape of so much of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. While he includes references to the physical topography of the deserts and the flora and fauna that inhabit them, his intent is to chronicle the ancient civilizations such as that Paquimé in the state of Chihuahua that thrived as a vigorous religious, cultural, and commercial crossroads for centuries, and to draw on these civilizations for sustenance in a contemporary world. The reader catches glimpse of those peoples moving inexorably north in search of an illusory promised land all the while struggling to survive the indignities and cruelties of such a trek, but also finding shelter and sus­tenance in the sanctuaries that the deserts afford them just as they have for the millennia of human migrations. This is in keeping with the title, “Santuarios desierto mar,” that sets a tone for the seeming paradoxes, or at least the jarring contrasts, that form the backdrop for many of the poems. The translations by Jennifer Rathbun that are sensitively rendered succeed in capturing the spirit of the, sometimes opaque, imagery and nuanced language of the original Spanish. She reflects a deep familiarity with poetry in both languages.
Dr. Charles Tatum,

Professor of Latin American and U.S. Latino literature and popular culture, The University of Arizona

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Professor Schmidt-Rinehart publishes article!

The Department of Foreign Languages is proud to announce that Professor Schmidt-Rinehart just published the article "The Effectiveness of Courses Abroad as a Professional Development Model for Foreign Language Teachers,” in the NECTFL Review. You can find the September 2015 issue of the journal at http://www.nectfl.org/publications-nectfl-review

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dr. Rathbun shares her Teaching Statement with us!

Teaching Statement
Jennifer Rathbun

My teaching motivations arise from an incisive command of my discipline of the Spanish language and contemporary Latin American Literature and its contributions to the liberal arts education that values the free pursuit and exchange of ideas and knowledge. As a Spanish professor I firmly believe that foreign language and cultural proficiencies are sine qua non qualities for any individual in order to function in today’s global world. Moreover, the study of Spanish enhances all other areas of academic inquiry.

I view teaching as a performance art – if anything teaching resembles a happening and not a philosophy. Like most happenings my teaching has been traditionally interdisciplinary in nature; both scripted and unscripted; random and carefully orchestrated; spontaneous and meticulously planned; and, most importantly, entirely dependent on active participation from the audience, my students, in order to come to full fruition. Over the course of my academic career my education and scholarly work have informed my teaching as I have continuously integrated my research interests into my classroom where I have proven to be self-directed, resourceful and innovative.

Throughout my years of experience, I have discovered that the best way to actively engage my students is by connecting the subject matter at hand, whether for a service skill-oriented course or a major content-oriented course, to the students’ lived experience. I continuously strive to bring the Spanish language and its literatures to life for my students through creative approaches that require students to think critically about the subject matter while at the same time increasing their proficiency in the four skills of the language. I exemplify these principles in specific classroom goals and practices.

For example, in my advanced Spanish grammar course, students write a newsletter on a topic of their choosing related to Ashland University. The course work for the entire semester then is individualized and contextualized by the creation of the final newsletter. Frequently the programs that the students promote in their writings post the newsletter on their social media sites since the majority of them do not currently market themselves in Spanish in any other format. Since my students select their own topics they become more engaged with the material and strive to improve their command of the Spanish language. Additionally, they are committed to the real-life application of their work. Likewise, in my Latin American civilization course students create video trailers of a specialized topic in a country in Latin America of their choosing. Students investigate a broad range of topics varying from human rights issues in Mexico to the role of the gaucho in Argentine Literature. Assuredly, their vested interest in the research topic coupled with the creation of their video trailers greatly contributes to their depth and breadth of knowledge.  

To conclude, whether in language or literature classes, I am dedicated to bringing the insights of Spanish to students’ lived experiences.