Lee News

Lee's Language and Literature Dept Hosts LAS Conference

By Katelyn Tresh

Lee University’s Department of Language and Literature recently hosted an Interdisciplinary Conference on Latin American and Iberian Studies.

The purpose was to promote academic excellence among undergraduate students and to bring together students and professors from a wide variety of disciplines including languages, humanities, and history.

“The students have the opportunity to engage in academic discourse and learn how to approach other cultures and languages with a new and fresh perspective,” said Dr. Alexander Steffanell, director of the Latin American Studies Program at Lee. “In addition, as a Christian university we find it relevant to challenge our thought processes and participate in these complex discussions.”

Represented at the conference were 28 professors and undergraduate students from Lee University, along with delegates from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Vanderbilt University, Rhodes College, Morehouse College, New Mexico State University, East Tennessee State University, and Tennessee Wesleyan College.

Students and faculty from all fields and disciplines related to Latin America and Spain were asked to present on literature, humanities, language, and other topics that are related to the culture of Latin America and Iberia.

The Lee students presenting for the conference were Abby Attia, Denisse Barragan, Kayla Carlevato, Maria Casas, Taylor Davis, Zachary Greene, Emily Griggs, Devon Harden, Hannah Grace Johnson, Jessica Luzardo, Anne Martinie, Dolly S. Muñiz, Stephen Murray, Matthew Rafferty, Caleb Redick, Elizabeth Roebuck, Lauren Souter, Olivia Theodore, Guilherme Silva Von Streber, Rachael Ward, Rahnee Warzon, Darrin Woods, and Kelsie Wymore.

Specific panel topics were, “Exploring Argentine Politics, Culture and History,” “Transcultural Elements in Language and History,” “Discussing Mexico,” “Social Issues in Latin America,” “A Society in Motion,” “Hispanics in the United States,” “A look at Education and Psychology,” and “Analyzing Language and Literature.”

The presentation panel moderators, all from Lee University, were Dr. Ana Alves, Nicole Dyer, Greene, Dr. José Minay, Dr. Sara Ortega, Souter, Von Streber, and Hannah White.

Dr. James Wilkins, a professor of French at Lee, was the keynote speaker for the conference. His lecture was titled “O for a Thousand Tongues,” and highlighted the power of language and its ability to break down cultural barriers.

“Languages open doors not only to minds, but to hearts,” Wilkins said. “One never knows when a little language will mean much to someone.”

Wilkins is in his 18th year of teaching at Lee and teaches all levels of courses in the French language and its literature. He earned his doctorate from The Ohio State University in French Medieval literature, with subspecialties in 16th and 17th century literature, with an emphasis in theater. His current areas of research focus on foreign language pedagogy and assessment, especially oral proficiency testing and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

For more information on the conference, contact Steffanell at asteffanell@leeuniversity.edu or call (423) 614-8216.

For more information on Lee’s Department of Language and Literature, call (423) 614–8210.

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