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Spanish & Portuguese department celebrating 100 years

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

LAWRENCE — The Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Kansas will commemorate its 100-year anniversary this fall with the theme “One Hundred Years of Hispanism in Kansas and Beyond.” The celebration includes a two-day symposium and an exhibition visualizing its long, distinguished history.

The Centennial Symposium, set for Oct. 17-18, will feature about 50 presenters from other U.S. and international institutions of higher education. Panels will include KU alumni on professional trajectories and lived learning, peripheries of race and gender, a roundtable on Jayhawks in academic leadership and more. There will also be a film showing of “Nancy Morejón: Paisajes Célebres,” followed by a question-and-answer session and a hands-on workshop of the Cervantes Collection in the Spencer Research Library.

The symposium is free and open to KU faculty, students, researchers and staff. For more information and to view the dates, times, and locations for all presentations, visit https://spanport.ku.edu/centennial.

“Strong Foundations: 100 Years of Hispanism at the University of Kansas” opened last month at the Haricombe Gallery in Watson Library. The exhibition remains on view until January 2020.

Over the years, the Spanish & Portuguese department has expanded its curriculum, gathering national and international visibility with a renowned roster of scholars brought to KU over the century. Some highlights from the department’s history:

  • The department’s first chair, Arthur Owen, spearheaded a distance learning course by offering a weekly Spanish credit course over radio with complimentary correspondence work. He was also a founding member of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • The department has received as guests some of the most distinguished literary critics and authors of the Spanish-speaking world, including two Nobel Prize winners: Mario Vargas Llosa and Octavio Paz.
  • Spanish & Portuguese faculty members have an impressive record in national awards and fellowships, which has been noted by consistently high National Research Council rankings.
  • The department is home to Acceso, an open-access learning platform developed by Spanish graduate students and instructors. It is used at KU and other institutions for intermediate-level Spanish learning. This year Acceso is turning 10 and will feature a site redesign in fall 2019.

The 100-year celebration is co-sponsored by the Department of African and African-American Studies; Center for Global & International Studies; Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies; College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; Department of French, Francophone & Italian Studies; Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center; Hall Center for the Humanities; Humanities Program; International Affairs; Office of the Provost; Office of the Provost DEI; School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures; Spencer Research Library; Study Abroad & Global Engagement; and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

In commemoration of this important milestone, donations can be directed to the Department of Spanish & Portuguese’s KU Endowment funds at https://spanport.ku.edu/giving.


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