Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
Brock community members speak about how they incorporate the Spanish language and its cultures into their studies, research, teaching, administrative or other endeavours.
Karen Bordonaro, Ph.D.
Liaison Librarian for Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Everyone should learn Spanish! It is a beautiful language. It captures a different way of looking at the world for English speakers. Spanish has opened many doors for me. I used my undergraduate degree in Spanish and German as a basis for a graduate degree in librarianship. As a practicing librarian, I make use of Spanish continuously when ordering library materials, reading reviews, offering workshops, building research guides, and tracking down information for students and faculty. It is a perfect language for la biblioteca. It connects me to people both inside and outside the library. Beyond saying hola to the international students from Spanish-speaking countries who live and study here, I can also help the university Spanish majors in their library research. I can also connect with other librarians who work with Spanish language material both in North America and beyond. Spanish is a gateway to the world for librarians.
Donna Pearce, M.A. Applied Linguistics/Teaching English as a Subsequent Language 2012
As a Linguistics major, the knowledge that I have gained about other languages, in particular Spanish and Italian, through my studies at Brock is invaluable. I recently completed my Master's degree in and I am now employed as an ESL teacher in Brock's Intensive English Program. Our program does have some students from Latin America, especially during the summer term, and my knowledge of Spanish allows me to better address their needs as English language learners because I am able to understand and explain the source of some of their difficulties and how to correct them. In addition, my own subsequent language learning experiences have made me cognizant of the challenging task that these students face and empathetic to their struggles. I would strongly encourage all students to study another language (or more than one!) if they are able. In my opinion, it is one of the best investments in time and effort that you can make.
Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History
I was born in Venezuela to Spanish-Colombian parents, and raised in Colombia. Spanish is my mother tongue. Most of my research and dissemination activities involve reading and conveying ideas in Spanish. In my courses, students have lots of fun learning new vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, and practicing speaking with an accent in playful ways. My work also involves volunteering with the Canadian government (CIC) and not-for-profit organizations (CALACS), as well as partaking in events organized by Canadian Hispanics. Oftentimes, in all these activities Spanish is a plus! In June 2013 I will take students to Bogotá, Colombia for an intensive 4-week course so that they may experience the past while listening to the language that brings it to life. Yes: Spanish is central to my work at Brock. After almost 22 years living in Canada, do I speak English and French with an accent? But of course! It’s a choice!
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
My current research focuses on North American governance issues. In Canada, it is very easy to conflate Canada-U.S. relations with North American politics. Ignoring Mexico, however, paints an incomplete picture of the political, social and economic dynamics that drive continental politics. Because you can't understand regional politics without understanding domestic politics and culture, my research emphasizes the need to understand the Mexican political regime and the intersection between domestic Mexican politics and regional and international relations. My most recent project involves interviews - conducted in English and Spanish - with Mexican officials, experts and activists on how Mexican domestic institutions and interests have shaped their implement of international commitments around copyright policy.
Ana Sanchez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences
My research work focuses on infectious disease issues and research development gaps mostly found in the developing world and consequently, I partner with academics and decision makers at the international level, particularly in Latin America. Having been born and raised in Honduras, Spanish is my mother tongue. But of course, it is not just the language capabilities that prove useful: the in-depth knowledge of the societal context -including culture and politics- is essential to understanding the challenges and opportunities and to proposing innovative solutions. Ironically perhaps, while working at the largest Honduran University, English proficiency was a crucial asset that afforded me many opportunities including doing graduate studies. These took me around the world and finally to Canada and Brock, some 12 years ago. Once in Canada, Spanish has become a major asset that enables me continue building on my research and expand my networks even further.
Ian Wood, M.A. Geography 2011
Spanish has been useful for my research, which highlights the consequences of global economic restructuring on public spaces in Lima, Peru. My research work has incorporated Geography literatures and Spanish-language policy documents from Lima's municipalities to highlight the changes experienced by Lima's street vendors in public spaces. Speaking and reading in Spanish allows me to ask questions about the effects of economic restructuring in the Latin American context by following local media on the eradication of street vendors, performing access to information requests in the field, and analyzing policy documents. My ability to perform field work in Spanish in Latin America has allowed me to cross linguistic divisions and contribute to a still small English-language debate on street vending and marginality.
Edith Roy, B.A. year 3, Applied Linguistics and Iberian and Latin American Studies
At Brock I have learned to appreciate and develop my Spanish language skills to better serve the student community, by tutoring fellow students and teaching Spanish to Brock community members. As a native speaker of Spanish, the Iberian and Latin American Studies program provides me with the necessary tools to improve and consolidate language skills through which I can embrace, appreciate, and communicate the richness of my cultural heritage. My studies have also given me the knowledge and confidence to go out into the community and help develop programs and events for the Hispanic community in the Niagara region. Our Brock community is diverse and culturally rich, and having the opportunity to speak Spanish and connect with local and international students makes me feel proud of sharing the Spanish language and culture with others.
Jason Dyck, Sessional Lecturer, History Department
I am a historian of Latin America with a special interest in the colonial period. My research concentrates on the multiethnic nature of the larger Spanish world through an analysis of sacred histories. In particular, I am currently working on two projects on the life and writings of the novohispano Jesuit and historian Francisco de Florencia. (1620–1695). The first is a book exploring Florencia’s creole vision of New Spain and the second is a transcription of the third volume of his provincial chronicle. In my teaching at Brock I also explore the multiethnic nature of Latin America, stressing that people of all socioracial backgrounds participated in the formation of both colonial societies and modern nation-states. Not only this, but I emphasize that Latin America does not begin south of the Mexico-US border; we transport Latin Americans and hence the Spanish language to Canada every year as a result of transnational labour.