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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Languages & Literatures


News & Events




May, 2020

As an amputee, Paralympian, and advocate, former French and Spanish student Lacey Henderson has used her unique public presence to speak out for those with disabilities. With interviewer, Lorne Fultonberg, Lacey shares her newest passion project: a podcast showing the similarity between all people, even those with disabilities. Check out the full story in the DU Newsroom


April 21, 2020

The key to learning any new language is an openness to new and exciting adventures, even if it requires you to step out of your comfort zone. Kathleen Burns was more than willing to step out of her comfort zone to make the most of her study abroad at Beijing University. Check out the full story in the DU Newsroom


April 3, 2020

Even with three majors, including French, Robin Kuebler doesn't think his time at the University of Denver will be defined by what he learned in the classroom. College changed Robin's priorities but deepened his love of learning. Check out the full story in the DU Newsroom


L&L STUDENT Spotlight

July 30, 2019

Russian and international studies double major Annabel Husak secured a summer internship with a national intelligence agency in Washington, D.C. Check out the full story in the CAHSS Newsroom


L&L Alumni Spotlight

April 11, 2019

DU alumna Abigail Negley graduated last year with a double major in French and Francophone studies and socio-legal studies and was one of the 2018 recipients of our Award for Excellence in French and Francophone Studies. One year after her graduation, she is putting her range of skills to good use as public policy and advocacy coordinator for the Arc of Colorado. Check out the full story in the CAHSS Newsroom.

Spanish for heritage speakers program

April 4, 2019

Our new Spanish for Heritage Speakers program was launched in Winter 2019 with a new class taught by Dr. Lina Reznicek-Parrado and it is the first language class for heritage speakers ever to be offered at DU.  Check out the full story from the CAHSS Newsroom here.

The Denver Film Festival at DU: on-campus screening of Italian film Ark of Disperata with director Edoardo Winspeare

November 6, 2018

The Anna-Maglione-Sie Endowment in Italian Culture and the Department of Languages and Literatures are proud to have been among the sponsors of the Italian Showcase at the 41st Denver Film Festival!
The showcase featured ten films by contemporary Italian filmmakers, including director Edoardo Winspeare's Ark of Disperata (La vita in comune). Winspeare, who was in Denver as a Visiting Scholar of the Anna Maglione-Sie Endowment in Italian Culture, presented his film on the DU campus in a special festival screening on November 6th. Italian speakers and film lovers from across campus and throughout the Denver area attended a reception before the free screening and engaged with the director during a Q&A session following the film. Another noted Italian filmmaker and distributor, Antonio Falduto, introduced the film and spoke to the audience about Mr. Winspeare's previous work.
Both Mr. Winspeare and Mr. Falduto took time out of their film festival schedule to visit classes and engage with DU students in the departments of Media, Film and Journalism Studies, Anthropology, and Languages and Literatures.
Edoardo Winspeare Q&ADirector Edoardo Winspeare during the Q&A session


Winspeare and Prof. WaldbaumEdoardo Winspeare and Prof. Roberta Waldbaum, Anna Maglione-Sie Endowed Chair in Italian Culture


Antonio Falduto and Prof. Roberta WaldbaumAntonio Falduto and Prof. Waldbaum


Italian Instructors at Film ScreeningDU Italian instructors Eleonora Miller and Silvia Comuzzi-Sexton


ReceptionFood and fun at the reception before the film screening


Japanese Culture day Celebraton

November 3, 2018

Japanese Culture Day - Bunka no hi 文化の日
Culture Day (文化の日 Bunka no Hi) is a a national Japanese holiday for the purpose of promoting culture, the arts, and academic endeavors.

The Department of Languages and Literatures partnered with Denver Sister Cities International, Denver-Takayama Committee, to organize a Japanese Culture Day Celebration on campus.  More than 125 people attended, including about 50 current DU students in the Japanese program. Notable guests included a representative from the Japanese Consulate and noted author and frequent guest on National Public Radio T.R. Reid. Over a dozen separate community organizations from all over the Front Range came together at the event to showcase different facets of Japanese culture. A number of DU Alumni also participated in Japanese Culture Day. A current student at DU in the Japanese program wrote about the event:

"I thought that this was a really cool event and I am glad that I could make it. Not only were the lectures fascinating but the food was fantastic . . . All in all, I got to do a lot of really cool things - especially getting to meet and talk to Nodoka who was a master calligrapher . . . I loved all the talks, I learned a lot and I can't wait to go again next year!"

Activity Tables

Japanese Culture Day


Yosakoi Dance demonstration

Yokasoi Dance Demonstration

Yosakoi Dance Demonstration

Naruko Clappers


Tea Ceremony table and presentation by Aislynn Van Clief

Tea Ceremony


Calligraphy activities table and demonstration with Nodoka Epel

Calligraphy Demo Table

 Calligraphy Demo Table


Judo demonstration with Serge-Patrick Kabongo

Judo Demonstration


Influence of Buddhism to Japanese Art by Thomas DeZauche

Influence of Buddhism to Japanese Art by Thomas DeZauche (photo of him in his robes checking his cellphone before his presentation)


Ikebana table and presentation by Jaishree Shunmugaraj

Ikebana demo


Woodcarving demonstration and Shaving Bonito presentation by "Tak" Kida Takayuki

Woodcarving demo


Japanese Hand tools table and presentation by Tom Harvey

Handtools demo


Also Featured:

Poetry with Yumino Kimura

Japanese Films table and presentation with DU Japanese Program Alumni Jason Suzuki

Early Religion presentation given by Tina Procter

Music: Koto, Shakuhachi and Shamisen by the group Rocky Mountain Sankyoku

Promotions: Celebrating faculty achievements

October 8, 2018

Congratulations to Victor Castellani, Paula Adamo, Lydia Gil Keff and Sari Havis on their promotions. Read more about the promotion process and see the full list of CAHSS promotions in the Newsroom article.

Winner of the 2018 staff innovator award: ingrid weyher

October 4, 2018

Congratulations to the Assistant to the Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures, Ingrid Weyher, for being the 2018 recipient of the Staff Innovator Award! This award is given to a University of Denver staff member who has demonstrated creativity and innovation in their work.

Ingrid Weyher Staff Innovator Award


Winner of the 2018 William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award: Orna Shaughnessy

May 16, 2018

Congratulations to Prof. Orna Shaughnessy, recipient of the 2018 William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award! The William T. Driscoll Master Educator award is given annually to a faculty or staff member
for excellence in teaching and mentoring. The award was presented at the 2018 Pioneer Awards on May 16th, 2018.

Orna Shaughnessy at 2018 Pioneer Awards


May 9, 2018

The Department of Languages and Literatures was proud to host an Ikebana Demonstration this Spring Quarter. Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arranging. Students, faculty, and staff joined a demonstration by Mrs. Midori Allmeyer, a teacher of the Sōgetsu School of Ikebana, Colorado Chapter.









Congratulations to the winners and participants of the 7th Denver Chinese Speech Contest

April 19, 2018

Eight DU students participated in the 7th Denver Chinese Speech Contest hosted by the Confucius Institute at the Community College of Denver. DU student Nina Petrovich won the first prize for beginner-level Chinese. DU students Abbey Dahlman and Yolanda Ortiz, were the second and the third prize winners of the intermediate level, respectively. Congrats to the winners and everyone who participated!

The following are photos from the event:

Chinese Speech Contest Winner 1

Photo of Chinese Speech Contest Winner 2

Photo of Chinese Speech Contest Winner 3

Photo of Chinese Speech Contest Participants


Chinese calligraphy 

February 23, 2018

The Department of Languages and Literatures' Chinese program was pleased to present Prof. Xu Gang from Jinan University in China to do a Chinese calligraphy workshop for DU students and faculty.

The following are photos from the event:

Chinese calligraphyProfessor Xu Gang (Right) demonstrates Chinese calligraphy

Chinese calligraphyProfessor Qui (Left) and Professor Wang (Right)

Chinese calligraphy


Congratulations to DU Languages & Literatures alumni Keegan Kienzle for his Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Berlin, Germany! Check out the full story at the AHSS Newsroom.


January 11, 2018
The Department of Languages & Literatures' Japanese Program and the student organization JBK (Japanese Culture Club) co-hosted a Kakizome (or the "First Calligraphy of the New Year") workshop. Not only students enrolling in Japanese classes but also other students and families from DU community participated in the workshop, and they enjoyed writing their names and favorite Japanese words with a traditional calligraphy brush.

The following are photos from the event:






Traditional Chinese painting hands-on workshop

October 31, 2017
The Department of Languages & Literatures' Chinese language program was glad to host a hands-on Traditional Chinese Painting workshop. Faculty and students learned from Master Zhang Xin. Master Xin worked as an art designer at the Beijing Interior Decorating and Design Research Institute prior to his departure from China.

The following are photos from the event:

Chinese Painting 

Chinese Painting 

Chinese Painting  

Russian Poetry Reading

October 27, 2017 
The Department of Languages & Literatures was proud to host a Russian poetry reading with contemporary Russian poet Sergey Gandlevsky
Gandlevevsky recited poems from A Kindred Orphanhood whose English translations by Philip Metres were recited  by two undergraduate students.

The following are photos from the event:







gandlevsky Russian Prof. Slivkin on left and Gandlevsky on right.



Japanese Rakugo Performance

October 17, 2017 
The Department of Languages & Literature's Japanese Program was glad to present Ofukuyose to perform
 'Rakugo' in English . Rakugo is a form of Japanese verbal entertainment. A lone storyteller (a rakugoka) sits on the stage and recounts a comical story using a paper fan and hand towel as props.

Here are some photos from the event:








7TH Annual Fall Forum

October 16-17, 2017
The 7th Annual Fall Forum featured award-winning author Álvaro Enrigue. Over a 2-day forum, students and faculty discussed Enrigue's latest novel Muerte súbita (Sudden Death). Go to the past events page, for more information on the event.

Here are some photographs from the event:

AlvaroE_event Álvaro  Enrigue discussing his latest novel.

AlvaroE_Event Students and faculty taking part in the forum.

AlvaroE_Event From left to right: Leonardo Bacarreza, Alison Krogel, Zulema Lopez, Gustavo Fierros Lopez, and Chad Leahy


Spring QUARTER 2017

2017 Commencement

June 10, 2017

More than 1,200 undergraduates celebrated their achievement at the 2017 DU Commencement on Saturday, June 10th.
Some of faculty members from the Language and Literatures attended the ceremony to congratulate our students.

Here are some pictures from the commencement.

(Prof. Orna Shaughnessy and some of her Japanese students)
(Prof. Frédérique Chevillot and some of her French students)
(Prof. Alicia Barron-Lopez and some of her Spanish Students)
(Prof. Alicia Barron-Lopez and some of her Spanish Students)
(Prof. Frédérique Chevillot and one of her students)
(Prof. Salvador Mercado)
(Prof. Salvador Mercado and Prof. Alicia Barron-Lopez) 
(Prof. Frédérique Chevillot and one of her students)
(Prof. Frédérique Chevillot and Prof. Orna Shaughnessy)

Profiles of Excellence graduation celebration

June 8, 2017


The Center for Multicultural Excellence held its 15th Annual Profiles of Excellence Graduation Celebration. The tradition marks a momentous occasion for both offices as it commemorates the journey from student to alumn. Additionally, the celebration highlights student achievements toward a more inclusive DU.

Graduating FREN student, Annie Giang with Tracey Adams-Peters (CME) and Johanna Leyba (CME)

Graduation SPAN student, Asia Wesley and Lorely Sanchez

Graduating SPAN student, Lorely Sanchez with Tracey Adams-Peters (CME) and Johanna Leyba (CME)

Retirement Celebration for Dr.Oscar Somoza & Dr.Miriam Bornstein Gómez

June 2, 2017

Retirement Party

The University of Denver Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship (DULCCES) held a retirement celebration in honor of Dr. Oscar Somoza and Dr. Miriam Bornstein Gómez. Students, staff, faculty and community members celebrated their outstanding scholarship, their many advancements for the Latino community, and their numerous contribution to the university. 

Here are some pictures from the party.

Picture 1
(Prof. Oscar Somoza with Prof. Lydia Keff)
Picture 2
Picture 2
(Prof. Oscar Somoza and Prof. Will Reyes-Cubides)
Picture 3
(Prof. Oscar Somoza and Prof. Zulema Lopez)
Picture 4
(Prof. Miriam Bornstein Gómez and Prof. Oriol Casañas)

L&L End of the Year Party

May 31, 2017

L&L End of the Year Party

The Department of Languages and Literatures held its Year End Party on May 31, 2017. This party was a special one to see off some of our faculty members and to celebrate their dedication to the university, students and community.

Here are a list of faculty members who are departing from L&L:

- Retirement -
Ginni Ishimatsu (Department Chair)
Miriam Bornstein (Associate Professor of Spanish)
Oscar Somoza (Professor of Spanish)

- New Opportunities -
Isaac Joslin (Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor of French)
Jun Xu (Teaching Assistant Professor of Japanese)
Kara Traikoff (Teaching Assistant Professor of Spanish)
Kinsley Alexander (Adjunct Instructor of French)
Polina Rikoun (Assistant Professor of Russian)

Although we are happy for their new adventures, we will miss them dearly!

L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Polina Rikoun listening to a speech given for her)
L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Jun Xu giving a farewell speech to the department)
L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Kara Traikoff celebrating her new career with Prof. Orna Shaughnessy)
L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Isaac Joslin with Prof. Jennifer Pap)
L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Oscar Somoza and Prof. Miriam Bornstein)
L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Ginni Ishimatsu giving her farewell speech to the department)

L&L End of the Year Party L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Ping Qiu giving a speech about Prof. Xu, and Prof. Lydia Keff giving a speech about Prof. Bornstein)
L&L End of the Year Party
(Prof. Roberta Waldbaum gave a speech about Prof. Victor Castellani's long dedicated service to the department as a chair and an associate chair)
L&L End of the Year Party
(Some of faculty members from the Spanish Program)

Here are a few more pictures from the party.
L&L End of the Year Party L&L End of the Year Party
L&L End of the Year Party
L&L End of the Year Party
L&L End of the Year Party

Faculty Internationalization Grants

Congratulation to Prof. Terri-Jo Woellner, a Teaching Professor of French for receiving the Faculty Internationalization Grants! The French Program will officially become "French and Francophone Studies" in September 2017. The fund will supplement her project on "Francophone Cultural Studies in French Polynesia" to build a solid foundation in Francophone studies at the introductory and intermediate French courses.

The 2017 Pioneer Awards Ceremony

May 18, 2017


The 2017 Pioneer Awards Ceremony was held on Thursday May 18th to celebrate remarkable members of the University of Denver's student body, faculty and staff. This year, the Languages & Literatures recognized 20 students for their achievements. 

- Chinese Program - 
Excellence in Chinese
Excellence in Chinese is awarded to a student who has done excellent course work in Chinese , as well as actively engaged in activities related in the Chinese language and culture.


- French Program - 
Excellence in French
This Award is an acknowledgement that students have mastered, with distinction, conversational and written French as well as French culture and literature. It also recognizes achievement in research and critical thinking, all done in French.


- German Program - 
Excellence in German
This award is an acknowledgement that students have had superior achievement and dedication in German.


- Italian Program -
Excellence in Italian
Students receiving the Excellence in Italian Award are graduating seniors with a g.p.a. in Italian above 3.7 who are majoring in Italian and have demonstrated exceptional proficiency in his/her Italian linguistic, literary and cultural studies.


Anna-Maglione Sie Endowed Scholarship
The Anna Maglione-Sie Endowed scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students majoring in Italian with a g.p.a. in Italian above 3.7 who have demonstrated exceptional proficiency in his/her Italian linguistic, literary and cultural studies.


Taglialavore Endowed Scholarship
Established in 2006 by Vincent and Gay Taglialavore, this scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in Italian with a g.p.a in Italian above 3.7 who has studied abroad in Italy and has demonstrated excellent proficiency in his/her Italian linguistic, literary and cultural studies.


- Russian Program -
Excellence in Russian
The Excellence in Russian Award is presented to an outstanding graduating senior who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to Russian studies and has exceeded the standards for excellence in their work. The award is designed to recognize not only past achievement, but also the student's potential to use their Russian linguistic and cultural skills meaningfully after graduation.


- Spanish Program -
Excellence in Spanish
This is a recognition awarded to our Spanish majors who have demonstrated academic excellence in the learning of the Spanish language as well as Latino and Hispanic cultures.


Congratulations to the recipients!

Pioneer Award
Pioneer Award
Pioneer Award
(Award recipients presented at the ceremony with the award presenters, Prof. Zulema Lopez, Prof. Roberta Waldbaum, Prof. Ginni Ishimatsu, Prof. James Gilroy)

Chinese Calligraphy Workshop

May 12, 2017

In the era of digital technology, to expose our students to some time-honored literary and artistic forms, such as Chinese calligraphy is most urgent and important. With the support of the department, the Chinese section has offered annual Chinese calligraphy workshops to enhance student's knowledge about the roots of Chinese scripts as well as to familiarize students with this unique artistic form. This year's workshops, held on May 12, were taught by visiting Chinese calligrapher Gang Xu from Jinan University, and coordinated by Chinese Visiting Teaching Assistant Professor Dr. Jing Wang.



L&L Student Thesis Celebration & Poster Session

May 12, 2017

The Department of Languages & Literatures held its Student Thesis Celebration & Poster Session. Eight students had participated and presented their projects.

student thesis1 
(Italian senior, Katheirne Bokenkamp with ITAL Prof. Rachel Walsh)

Student thesis2
(Italian senior, Laurel Gaeddert explaining her project to FREN Prof. Frédérique Chevillot)

student thesis3
(German senior, Nils Bergmann talking about his project with ITAL Prof. Angelo Castagnino)

student thesis4
student thesis9
(Top: Spanish senior, Asia Wesley with SPAN Prof. Oscar Somoza, Prof. Zulema Lopez, and Prof. Salvador Mercado)
(Bottom: Spanish Senior, Asia Wesley with her honor thesis advisors, SPAN Prof. Oscar Somoza and Prof. Miriam Bornstein)

student thesis5
(French senior, Annie Giang talking about her projects)

student thesis6
(German senior, Caroline Creidenberg with her project center on images of Hitler in Film and Literature)

student thesis7
(German senior, Larissa Gooden discussing about her project on Islamic Culsture in Germany with SPAN Prof. Paula Adamo)

student thesis7
(FREN Prof. Jennifer Pap reading German senior, Katlyn Maloney's work on German Terrorism)


May 10, 2017

Students, faculty and community members gathered to watch a short documentary film, "Clever" on Wednesday, 5/10. The movie was directed by our Spanish Program Alumnus, Alan Domínguez's. CLEVER is a short documentary details the life and work of Gerardo Lopez (a.k.a. Clever), a Denver-based gang interventionist. Formerly of the notorious MS13 from Los Angeles, Clever details his way out of gang life, his work in keeping youth from making the same mistakes (through his group Homies Unidos Denver), and his extraordinary tale of survival once he made the courageous decision to move his young family away from the negative influences of his youth.

clever 1
SPAN Prof. Miriam Bornstein introducing the filmmaker, Alan Domínguez and its subject, Gerardo Lopez.

clever 2
Mr. Domínguez and Mr. Lopez talk about the film to the audience.

clever 3
After the showing of the film, students were really engaged in a discussion. 

clever 4
Students from various student organizations, Latino Fraternities and Sororities, including SLB (Sigma Lambda Beta), PLC (PI Lambda Chi), Sigma Lambda Gamma (SLG) and the Latino Student Alliance (LSA) with the filmmaker, Alan Domínguez, Gerardo Lopez, SPAN Prof. Miriam Bornstein and Prof. Oscar Somoza.

clever 6
SPAN Prof. Miriam Bornstein and Prof. Oscar Somoza with some of Spanish majors, Gladys Juárez, Cristal Torres, and Asia Wesley.

Assessment Fellows Program

Our Arabic Faculty, Prof. Maha Foster, Italian Faculty, Prof. Rachel Walsh, and Spanish Faculty, Prof. Chad Leahy are three of the 10 faculty selected to participate in the Assessment Fellows Program this June. They will have following responsibilities during the next academic year.

  • Attend a two-day workshop in June where participants will (1) learn hands-on, practical knowledge about assessment, and (2) provide feedback on program assessment reports to supplement feedback offered by the Director of Academic Assessment;
  • Meet once as a group every quarter (approximately an hour each time) in the 2017-18 academic year to provide feedback about how to strengthen assessment processes; and,
  • Serve as assessment consultants (up to 10 hours per year) who can advise colleagues across DU about crafting assessment plans, writing assessment reports, and making assessment as meaningful and as useful as possible.

Arabic Conversation & Composition and cuisine

April 17th, 2017

What is a better way to immerse  oneself in another culture than with good food and even better company? In Prof.  Maha Foster's  Arabic Conversation & Composition course (ARAB 2100), students fired up their stoves to prepare Arab cuisine. From falafels, lentil soups, kabobs to maqlubas, aromatic and savory smells filled the classroom. 

Students of Conversations & Composition taste their savory creations. Students trying their tasty creations.


This savory counter part to a pineapple upside down cake is a maqluba, layers consisting of rice, spices, and vegetables.

Fall QUARTER 2016


November 10th, 2016

Department of Languages & Literatures had the honor to invite Mr. Sandro Del Rosario to screen his film "The Italian Gaze (Lo Sguardo Italiano)." 

Sandro Del Rossario

Sandro Del Rossario

Italian professor, Dr. Roberta Waldbaum opened the event to introduce Mr. Del Rosario.

Sandro Del Rossario

Sandro Del Rossario

The room was full with students, faculty and other guests. We all enjoyed Mr. Del Rosario's energetic talk about how he came to create the film and what it meant for him. 

Sandro Del Rossario Sandro Del Rossario

Mr. Del Rosario brought some of his original arts. The film was made with 7000 hand-drawn images.

Sandro Del Rossario

Our Italian program team (left; Silvia Comuzzi-SextonRachel A. WalshAngelo Castagnino, Emily Sposeto, Roberta Waldbaum, not shown: Eleonora Grandi-Miller) and Mr. Del Rosario. 

Partners in Scholarship (PinS)

Congratulations to our Italian major student, Laurel Gaeddert for receiving Partners in Scholarship (PinS)!! The review committee described her project, "Reflections of Psychological Identity in the Literary Works of Luigi Pirandello" as a unique, interesting interdisciplinary project combining psychology and art in writing/theater.

Laurel Gaeddert

 "As a dual Italian and Psychology major, I am honored and quite eager to have the opportunity to conduct research in Rome. My project centralizes on a variety of psychological representations found in the literary work of Luigi Pirandello, making it an ideal capstone to both of my academic areas of interest. While I am in Rome I will have the opportunity to examine documents and artifacts in the Pirandello archives at the Istiuto di Studi Pirandelliani e sul Teatro Contemporanea, as well as explore the historic city. I cannot imagine a better way to spend my last winter break here at DU!"




November 8th, 2016

Students of Languages and Literatures got together and read poetry in their targeted languages. Four languages were being represented at the poetry reading: French, Russian, Spanish and Italian.

Student Poetry Reading

This quarter's theme was perfect for the Election Day - politics.

Poetry Reading: Politics

Here are poems that were read at the event.

Pourquoi ont-ils tué Jaurès? (Why Did They Kill Jaurès? ) by Jacques Brel for his last album, Les Marquises
Discours sur la Paix (The Discourse on Peace) by Jacques Prévert

Клеветникам России (To the Slanderers of Russia) by Alexander Pushkin
Прощание (Parting) by Boris Slоutsky

Explico algunas cosas (I'm Explaining a Few Things) by Pablo Neruda
Decres (Things They Say) by Pablo Neruda

Inferno, Canto VIII, vs. 31-57 by Dante Alighieri
Alla mia nazione (To My Nation) by Pier Paolo Pasolini
intro Spanish professor, Dr. Javier Torre opened the event. students
Seven students read poetry in their targeted languages.
attendees Chad Spanish professor, Dr. Chad Leathy closed the event with his singing.

Faculty and Staff Awards

faculty and staff awards 2016Congratulations to our French faculty, Helene Grall-Johnson for receiving Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award!

University of Denver hosted its annual Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, October 26. This year's luncheon honored nine faculty and staff members and one department. A lot of colleagues attended the luncheon to support and honor Helen. DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp introduced Helen as "dependable, driven, motivated for 20 years." 

You can watch the short video of the luncheon below!


Co-edited volume

Kathöfer, Gabi (with Anke Finger and Christopher Larkosh).    “KulturConfusão:  On German-Brazilian Hybridities and Intercultural Hermeneutics.” In KulturConfusão:  On German-Brazilian Interculturalities. Ed. Anke Finger, Gabi Kathöfer, and Christopher Larkosh.  Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2015.  1-20.


Castagnino, Angelo. "Problematic Identities in the Novels of Alessandro Perissinotto." Forum Italicum 49, no. 3, 14 pages.

Castagnino, Angelo. "Il treno ha fischiato: un viaggio di lucida follia." Pirandelliana 8, pp. 37-44.

Chevillot, Frédérique. "Les puissantes petites filles de papier d’Amélie Nothomb." In Girls/Les Petites Filles: French Literature Series (FLS) vol. XL, Amsterdam: Rodopi (2015). 161-76.

Chevillot, Frédérique. "Les délires solidaires de Virginie Despentes." In Solitaires, solidaires : Solidarity and Solitude in Women’s Writings in French. Eds. Hugheny-Léger, Elise & Caroline Verdier. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars (2015). 229-244.

Kathöfer, Gabi. "Devouring Cultures: Antropofagia, Cultural Identity, and German Colonization in Nineteenth-Century German-Brazil History”. In KulturConfusão:  On German-Brazilian Interculturalities. Ed. Anke Finger, Gabi Kathöfer, and Christopher Larkosh. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2015.  71-94.

Walter, Susan. “Images of the femme fatale in Two Short Stories by Emilia Pardo Bazán.” Romance Notes 55, no. 2 (Summer 2015): 177-189.


Yevgeniy Slivkin:

9 new poems in the leading Russian literary magazine Novyj Mir 8 (August 2015).

6 new poems in the St. Petersburg literary journal Zvezda 9 (September 2015).

External grants

In July, Chad Leahy was awarded a competitive international HISPANEX Grant for Cultural Cooperation from the Ministry of Culture of Spain in support of his scholarly edition of the 17th century Triunfos divinos, con otras rimas sacras by Lope de Vega.


Lydia Gil Keff’s bilingual middle-grade novel, Letters From Heaven, was awarded an International Latino Book Award for “Best Youth Latino Focused Chapter Book." (It also previously won the 2015 Colorado Authors’ League Award in the Children’s category and a 2015 Skipping Stones Honor Award.)


Sari Havis chaired the SAT Hebrew Test Development Committee in Princeton (Aug 13-16, 2015) as part of a year-long position and work.

In July Victor Castellani gave seven lectures at New Zealand universities—one each at Otago, Victoria-Wellington, and Canterbury; and one at Auckland.




April 11th, 2015

The 2015 Japan Cup Competition was held on the DU campus. This is an annual event in which students studying Japanese compete against teams of other schools in the areas of Japanese language, current events, history, and culture. Participants came from from different middle schools, high schools, and colleges throughout Colorado and Wyoming. This year, the 2nd-year Japanese team from DU won second place in this competition. There were nine teams from various universities in Colorado participating in the college level.



March 30th, 2105

DU had the honor of hosting a film screening attended by Italian director Edoardo Guicciardi Winspeare. Students, faculty, and other guests met in Davis Hall for the screening of Mr. Winspeare's award nominated film, Quiet Bliss. A reception before the screening let guests get a taste of Italy and special Q&A with Mr. Winspeare followed the film.






February 26th, 2015

Students came together to express themselves through poetry that was written in many of the languages taught at DU.

Four languages are being represented at the poetry reading: Russian, Spanish, Hebrew, German and French.

The theme of the poetry reading was "Portrait: Self or Others."

french picture 

Below are pictures taken during the poetry reading.

Poetry Reading Poetry Reading 2





January 5th, 2015

Join Lydia Gil this Saturday, January 10th, 2015 at 2:00 at Denver's Tattered Cover Bookstore (Colfax) for a release of her new book! 

 "HOUSTON, TX— A tender story of family and friendship, LETTERS FROM HEAVEN / CARTAS DEL CIELO, by Lydia Gil celebrates Latino traditions, especially those of the Spanish Caribbean. Celeste is heartbroken when her grandmother dies, and nothing can make her feel better. But everything changes when a letter mysteriously comes in the mail—from Grandma! “I know you miss me as much as I miss you. Don’t be sad. Where there is love, there is no sadness.” As letters continue to arrive from the beyond, each with a recipe of a favorite food she used to prepare, Celeste follows her grandmother’s advice and consoles herself by learning how to cook the dishes.

With Grandma gone, so is her Social Security check. Celeste's mom needs to get a second job to make ends meet, and Celeste has to quit her favorite activity, dance lessons. At school, Amanda the bully gloats over the fact that Celeste won’t participate in the upcoming recital. And her friends think that she's gone crazy; dead people can’t send letters!

When a final letter arrives, Celeste realizes that all the recipes combined make an entire meal: café con leche, guava and cheese croissants, congrí, plantain chips, ropa vieja and flan. Can she really make a Cuban feast to celebrate her cherished grandmother's life? This entertaining novel is written in ten brief chapters for children ages 8-12 and includes six traditional Cuban recipes with easy-to-follow instructions. Gil’s bilingual book pays tribute to family and it deals with contemporary issues like trouble with friends and the death of a grandparent.

Lydia Gil

 LYDIA GIL was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, of Cuban parents. She is the author of the bilingual children’s picture book, Mimí’s Parranda / La parranda de Mimí (Piñata Books, 2007). She teaches at the University of Denver and writes for EFE, the leading Spanish-language news agency. She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo."

ARTE PÚBLICO PRESS (2014). Those Who Are Loved Are Never Lost [Press release]. Retrieved from


Click here for a trailer of Letters From Heaven/Cartas del cielo:

For more information on Lydia Gil and her books, see below: 

28th Colorado/Wyoming Japanese Speech Contest

November 8th, 2014

Japanese Speech Contestant Youjia ZhouCongratulations DU student Youjia Zhou, second-year Japanese language student, for winning second place for her     inspiring and impressively delivered speech 見えないかべを超える (“Overcoming invisible barriers.”)

The 28th annual Japanese Speech Contest took place on Saturday, Nov. 8th, 2014. Students participating in the skit and speech contests this year represented eleven schools (elementary school through university and graduate levels) from Colorado and Wyoming. Youjia Zhou was one of more than a dozen students competing in the 2nd year College Level Speech Contest!

japanese contest flyer



One of the units for the Hebrew 2001 class is clothing, which the students have been focusing on the past two weeks. As part of the unit, two active-learning lessons were included in the syllabus. The first of these were tie-dying shirts in class in the traditional method. The second activity was to take a class ‘trip’ to the campus bookstore where students were given $100 and had to haggle in Hebrew over the prices of the various clothing items to see what they could purchase. Students enjoyed both activities, and it was a  great way to put the work they have learned into practice.

Hebrew Haggling Hebrew Class Tie Dying Activity


November 7th, 2014

Dr. Helen Weetman, a video game translator and localization specialist for Nintendo in Europe, gave a presentation on video games and translation. The presentation was followed by a gaming marathon of mainstream and weird Japanese games.

The event was sponsored by the DU Anime Club, DU ESports Club, and DU Board Games Club, the Japanese program, the Department of Languages & Literatures and the Marisco Visiting Scholars Program.

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates on this event!

Video Games Event Flyer


November 5th, 2014

Rachel Walsh with new book

When Associate Professor of Italian Rachel A. Walsh began her career at the University of Denver in 2007, she knew she was going to write books. Her first book, Ugo Foscolo’s Tragic Vision in Italy and England , just appeared with the authoritative University of Toronto Press.

One of the most celebrated Italian writers, Ugo Foscolo (1778–1827) is known primarily as a novelist, a poet, and a nationalist. Following the Napoleonic Wars, he lived in self-exile in England during the last decade of his life. Walsh’s book examines an underexplored aspect of Foscolo’s literary career: his tragic plays and critical essays on that genre. She argues that for Foscolo tragedy was the medium for an elaborate life-long process of self-examination and engagement with political and literary conflict. By analyzing Foscolo’s tragic struggles on and off the stage, Walsh sheds new light on his prolific career.

Writing a book requires discipline and strategic decision-making, according to Walsh, who earned her PhD from the University of Chicago. “I wanted to contribute a major work in English on this cornerstone-figure of Italian history. Italians are very familiar with Foscolo, yet Anglo-American audiences have not had enough opportunity to explore the exile’s important contributions to the literary-cultural history of Italy. I tried to craft a narrative that was both intellectually rigorous and written in a readable and unimposing style. I traveled to Milan and Venice in 2009 and 2011 to uncover original reviews of Foscolo’s tragedies and numerous historical documents detailing Foscolo’s participation in political and literary conflicts. Several DU sources supported this archival research, and I am most grateful to the Anna Maglione-Sie endowment for Italian culture, which also covered all publication costs.”

Walsh elected to submit the complete manuscript for review to UTP’s well-regarded Italian Studies series in fall 2011. From then until fall 2014, the book traveled the internal networks of the university press system. “While it was a long process, the end result reflects the meticulous scholarly review of four blind-external reviewers, two editors, and the press’ manuscript review board,” says Walsh. “I shared with my students this distinctive part of a professor’s life at each point in the publication process. I especially enjoyed using my own research in the classroom as an example of the never-ending task of writing, reading and rewriting one’s own work. DU’s Italian students and alumni are thrilled – as am I – now that my work finally has appeared. Now, for book two…”


October 30, 2014

Spanish Class Hosts Mayan Poet

On Thursday, October 30th, students in Manya Wubbold's Spanish Conversation & Composition class had the opportunity to Skype conference with poet Donny Limber Brito May. Manya Wubbold is a Spanish lecturer with a focus in contemporary Mayan poetry. The poet the class spoke with, Mr. Brito May, is from Yucatán, México, and Skyped in from the University of Quintano Roo, México. Throughout the quarter, the class has been discussing perspectives of authors, narrators, characters, readers, and cultural and historic context.

Mr. Brito May spoke to the students about the various Mayan languages and about the symbolism in his poetry. The class was able to listen to him read three of his poems out loud in the original Mayan versions, giving them a sense of the sounds and rhythms of his poetry in their original language. Mr. Brito May chose those specific three poems as they focused on emotions, such as love, that are very applicable to the students’ stage of life. The students participated by asking questions and even trying to read the poems in Maya with the poet.


October 28, 2014

Italy Study Abroad Event

On Tuesday, October 28th, a group of Italian students gathered in order to watch a presentation of DU’s study abroad programs in Italy. DU’s Club Italia, an club that allows for students interested in Italian opportunities to study the language and Italian culture, partnered with the DU Office of Internationalization in order to put this event on. 


October 23, 2014

Mila Popovitch and Maestro TeraziOn October 23rd, the Department of Languages & Literatures hosted the fifth annual Arabic-Hebrew Culture Night. For the past four years, the Hebrew and Arabic language programs at DU have presented a cultural evening to their students and faculty. The event featured a belly dancing performance by Mila Popovitch accompanied by Qanun playing by Maestro Terazi. There was also a screening of Arab Labor, an Israeli TV sitcom. The thirty-some attendees enjoyed delicious Mid-Eastern cuisine and dancing.

In addition to belly dancing, Mila also gave a talk on cultural diplomacy, which reflected both diversity and internationalization, as well as an openness to multi-culturalism and ethnic interest.

The evening's high spirits were reflected in the students' raving testaments that ranged from "This is the BEST event we had" to "This was a hit”.


September 21, 2014

Dr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, a world-renowned scholar on Japanese language pedagogy from Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan) spoke on Saturday, September 21st, 2014 to an assembly of Japanese language educators from the tri-state Front Range area. His presentation, “Enliven Your Class: the Magic of Integrated Teaching! -文法・敬語・発音を同時進行で-” was the main focus of the 2014 Rocky Mountain Japanese Language Education Workshop.

Victor On Stage

The Department of Languages & Literatures' Japanese Program co-sponsored the event, along with the Colorado Japanese Language Education Association (CJLEA.) The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, and the Consulate General of Japan in Denver.

Dr. Victor Castellani opened the seminar with a welcome from DU and some remarks about the past and current success of the Japanese program at DU, remarking that the assembly enhanced our campus community and our sesquicentennial celebration. Dr. Kawaguchi’s presentation offered many concrete strategies for enhanced Japanese learning on topics ranging from grammar to pronunciation, and included a special focus on teaching kanji.

The event marked a new level of Japanese language pedagogy in the Front Range area, and DU’s Japanese program is proud to have hosted it.



June 17, 2014

The publishing house of Simon & Schuster will release The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher in July 2014. The middle grade novel was authored by Jessica (Aycock) Lawson, who obtained her undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Denver in 2002. 

Jessica recently reflected on her experiences with the Department of Languages and Literatures:

Jessica Lawson “When I think about my writing journey, I can trace my love of words, phrasing, stories, and language back to my college years.

DU’s Spanish major had so many courses of interest to choose from, from practical language study to culture and literature. I studied abroad in Sevilla my junior year, and even while living in Spain, I always felt supported by DU’s professors. Throughout my four years at DU, the entire faculty went out of their way to make the learning environment stimulating, accessible, and personalized. Oscar Somoza remains in my memory as one of the most kind-hearted, genuinely caring educators that I’ve ever had the privilege of being in a classroom with.

It’s been over ten years since I graduated from the University of Denver, but when I recently reached out to Italian professor Rachel Walsh for assistance translating a thank you note [the book's illustrator is Iacopo Bruno, a well-known Milan-based artist], she helped immediately and made me feel like family. And that’s what the department is—a big family that continues to be a resource for graduates long after they leave campus.

In hindsight, taking classes within DU’s Department of Languages and Literatures was probably one of the best things I could do for a career in writing children’s fiction, because the department is about so much more than learning how to speak foreign languages. It’s about connection, love of culture, and a passion for learning our world’s global story. Thank you, DU.”



Victor at Pioneer Awards CeremonyMay 12, 2014

The annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony recognizes the students who have made significant contributions to the DU community. This year, the Department of Languages and Literatures recognized 23 exemplary students.

Congratulations to these outstanding students:

Chinese Program

Christian Allen
Roy-Michael Harris

French Program

Alaina Oltrogge
Melanie Stowell

Karolyn Castaldo

German Program

Laura Hennings

Carolyn Neff

Italian Program

Andrea Campioni

Victoria Mogollón Montagne

Anton Kucera
Victoria Stevenson

Kristopher Harris

Kayla Henley

Japanese Program

Darrin Carvey
Matthew Farrell
Jiaxi Liu

Russian Program

Tyler Jones

Spanish Program

Dahisy Cano
Molly Clarke
Bailey Gearhart
Laura Hennings
Sara Neuder
Josh Wehe


Naomi OlsonMay 9, 2014

Naomi Olson, adjunct instructor of Russian, was recently recognized for her work with inmates.

In 2009, Naomi received a grant from the University of Wisconsin to establish and teach a course on Russian literature at the Oakhill Correctional Institute in Oregon, Wisconsin.

Since then, the program has grown and expanded. Volunteers now teach a variety of humanities courses every night of the week. The project has since been called the Oakhill Prison Humanities Project. Naomi has been named coordinator of the program.

In 2013, Naomi was interviewed for the documentary Dostoevsky Behind Bars, which won a Golden Badger Award at the Wisconsin Film Festival.

In early May, Naomi appeared on an episode of To the Best of Our Knowledge from Wisconsin Public Radio. The episode, “Does Fiction Make Us Good,” examines the relationship between empathy and fiction.


April 28, 2014

The Department of Languages and Literatures is excited to launch their brand new website. A new eye-catching visual layout, coupled with concise and relevant information, will ensure a much better experience for website users.

Some of the new features include an up-to-date events page, news page and FAQ page. The improved presentation of study abroad information will give students a chance to read about past students' experiences studying in a foreign country.

The department would love to hear your feedback on the new website. Send us an email and tell us what you think!


April 14, 2014

Letter from Sam Estenson, a DU Pioneer recently awarded the Congress-Bundestag Fellowship:

Sam Estenson, awarded the Congress-Bundestag Fellowship"Before I graduated from high school, I had studied Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Latin and Japanese. The chance to expand my language background was extremely important to me in choosing the University of Denver, as I already knew what incredible opportunities they could offer me. This Congress-Bundestag Fellowship is simply the latest example of such in my life.

The Congress-Bundestag Young Professionals Exchange is a fellowship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the German Bundestag (Congress). It is an annual exchange program for a select number of young U.S. and German citizens to spend one year in the others' country, gaining professional experience and perfecting their language skills.

I will be attending two months of intensive language courses in business German, followed by three months of business instruction, culminating in a professional internship for the last half of the year. The Congress-Bundestag Fellowship funds my travel, visa, tuition, insurance and housing, and grants me a monthly living stipend.

My goal is to complete this fellowship and use it to secure a job that fulfills my love of languages, culture and travel in conducting U.S.-Northern European trade.

All my best to DU's Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Center for World Languages and Cultures, for helping me achieve this honor. I couldn't have done it without their help." - Sam


Hebrew Arabic EventApril 4, 2014

On February 13, the University of Denver's Department of Languages and Literatures threw a party to celebrate Hebrew and Arabic culture. The Hebrew-Arabic cultural event, now in its fourth year, has become a tradition for the department.

This year, the program included a talk about the music and the art of belly dancing, as well as a performance by Mila Popovitch. The sixty attendees, mostly students and a number of professors, enjoyed an evening of delicious food and uplifting cultural experiences. The evening concluded with Debka dance instruction for the attendees, as well as a special screening of an episode of Arab Labor, an Israeli television show.