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The Department of Modern and Classical Languages presents two short documentary films depicting life in Crimea today

Film titles: "Romance of Nadir" and "Enjoy".
Date: October 26, 207
Time: 6 - 8 pm
Location: MH 180
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Winners of the Internationally Prestigious Scholarship and Competition:

Three students from the Chinese Studies Program in Modern and Classical Languages, Tyler Hayward, Joshua Roorda and Daniel Scott, have been awarded the prestigious Chinese Government Scholarship (Full Scholarship) from the Chinese Ministry of Education via the Consulate General of PRC in Houston. This “Full Scholarship” covers all expenses from tuition to room and board as well as medical insurance, initial settlement allowance, and monthly living allowances for a full year in China. It is a highly competitive scholarship awarded to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievements in Chinese language studies in addition to their excellence in overall education. Furthermore, these three students have all been admitted to Peking University, the most prestigious university in China! Read more

Michael Lyn – PURS 2017

Michael Lyn, a junior majoring in Biology and minoring in French, was one of only two students in the humanities to win a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship in 2017. Read more

MCL faculty receive Awards (2017)

Dr. Richard Armstrong (Classical Studies and Honors) is the recipient of the 2017 Teaching Excellence Career Award. The highly competitive award is given to faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching over the course of their career at the University of Houston.

Dr. Xiahong Wen (Chinese Studies) was recognized for her demonstrated excellence in the promotion of globalization of teaching, research, and service with the Global Award.
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Congratulations Dr. Julie Françoise Tolliver

Dr. Julie Françoise Tolliver, Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies in MCL, has been selected for a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for the 2016/17 acamdemic year to conduct research on her project A Poetics of Solidarity in Francophone Independence Literatures . Her project investigates the cultural production (essays, manifestos, novels, short stories, plays, films) of francophone writers during the period of the independences, the 1950s through 70s. As intellectuals in French (post)colonies imagined alternatives to colonialism and neocolonialism, their texts became blueprints for thinkers in other parts of the world. I focus on the affective bond that made this process possible: a poetics of solidarity, which, like the gradient that determines the slope of a road, orients texts and the political imaginaries they represent, and which is also determined by the language in which it exists. The “tongue ties” of francophone anticolonial intellectuals bound them together (they were connected through the French language) but also offered a set of linguistic and ideological constraints (their imaginaries were determined by the French language as it was, itself, shaped by francophone history and culture).

Professor links Bob Dylan to hearts, minds of Italians

By Iqraa Bukhari, The Cougar

Dr. Carrera

Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize is a source of immense pride for many Americans, but particularly for the University of Houston—because Dylan’s translator is a professor here.

Alessandro Carrera, social sciences professor and director of Italian Studies, has never met Bob Dylan in person. He, however, has translated almost all of the singer’s poetry, songs and prose into Italian.

“To be engaged with a demanding text is the best thing that can happen to a translator,” Carrera said. “You go through the frustration of not being able to reproduce the original texture in another language, but occasionally you feel elated because you finally ‘get’ the line that has eluded you so far.”


Film Screening

Save My Speech Forever

(Russia 2015) Director: Roma Liberov

The story of the poet Osip Mandelstam, remade at the intersection of different arts and genres: puppet theatre, design, computer graphics, and documentary. The revolutionary soul of Mandelstam’s poetry rang out as a challenge to power, and the machine of state reduced their author to nothing — and let him perish in the Gulag.

Introduction: Dr. Elena McGee, MCL
Discussion with director of photography Roman Sivozhelezov following the screening


Public Lecture

Public lecture by Alice Kaplan, author of French Lessons: A Memoir, The Collaborator, The Interpreter, and Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis. Her books have been twice finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, once for the National Book Award, and she is a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She holds the John M. Musser chair in French literature at Yale.

OCTOBER 25 | 2:30-4:30 | Honors Commons, M. D. Anderson Library

Four MCL faculty members attended the 2nd International Conference on Spoken Chinese Corpora

Four Faculty members attende 2nd International Conference of Spoken Chinese Corpora

On August 10-11, 2016, four MCL faculty members – Edie Furniss, Cristina Giliberti, Marshall McArthur, and Jing Zhang – attended the 2nd International Conference on Spoken Chinese Corpora at Rice University. Edie Furniss and Marshall McArthur were invited to chair two of the sessions, given their expertise in corpus linguistics and Chinese language, respectively. The conference gave MCL faculty an opportunity to connect with their colleagues from Rice and beyond, and to learn about the applications of cutting edge corpus research to teaching Chinese.

Sincere Condolences

Luisetta E. Chomel

Dr. Chomel

Luisetta E. Chomel, Emeritus Professor of Italian at the University of Houston, began her teaching career at Liceo-Ginnasio Italiano in Mogadishu, Somalia where she taught Italian from 1955 to 1959. She earned a B.A. in French from the University of St. Thomas in 1969, after which she held a teaching fellowship in French at Rice University until 1972 when she joined the University of Houston as an Italian language instructor. A dedicated classroom teacher and researcher, Chomel completed her Doctorate of Philosophy in French in 1975 at Rice while continuing her course instruction work at UH. read more

22nd Annual Award Ceremony (April 2016)

At the 22nd Annual Award Ceremony of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages on April 2016, awards and scholarships were presented to outstanding students in German, Russian, Middle Eastern Studies, Japanese, Italian, French and Chinese.

(Click image to the left to view photo gallery)

International Film Festival

Group photo - IFF

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages sponsored an International Film Festival organized by the UH International Students Organization (ISO) on March 21-23, 2016. 10 of the 12 films screened during the festival were provided by MCL. They represented a range of countries and languages, exposing UH students to new cultures and international perspectives. Language Acquisition Center Director Edie Furniss spoke at the opening reception for the festival. She is pictured here with Fahad Mohammed (President of ISO), Consul Sung Wook Jo (The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Houston), Dr. Jaime Ortiz (Vice Provost of Global Strategies and Studies), Anita Gaines (Director of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services), William Contreras (President of the Venezuelan Student Union), and Viviana Linares (Vice President of ISO).

MCL congratulates recipients of the 2016 Provost Teaching Excellence Awards:


Prof. Claudine Giacchetti (French), Instructional Assistant Professor Jing Zhang (Chinese), and Instructional Assistant Professor Julia Kleinheider (German and World Cultures and Literatures)

Music & Literature: Classical Elements in the Chinese Drama of “The Legend of Zhen Huan”

Legend of Zhen Huan

1:00-2:30pm Monday April 4th, 2016
University of Houston, AH 215 (Language Acquisition Lab)

Fulbright Visiting Scholar Dr. Qu Jingyi from Singapore will give a lecture on popular Chinese culture. The Legend of Zhen Huan, a hugely popular TV drama series, tells the story of a young royal consort who fought her way through many obstacles to the highest rank in the Qing dynasty Imperial Palace.

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Toward a 14 th Amendment in Italy?

A screening of Fred Kuwornu’s documentary, 18 Ius soli (2011). The director will be present for discussion.

FRIDAY, FEB. 26, 2016 @ 4:00PM, SEC 102

Fred Kudjo Kuwornu is an Italian-Ghanaian activist, producer, writer, and director based in Brooklyn, NY, and Rome. He has worked with the production crew of Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna (2008), and has produced and directed the award-winning documentary Inside Buffalo (2010), followed by 18 Ius Soli (2011).

In Italy, almost a million young men and women were born to or raised by immigrant parents, and 12.6% of children born in the country have non-Italian parents.

Unlike most neighboring countries and the US, these men and women are denied the right to acquire Italian citizenship by the Ius soli law, which results in 42% of them remaining “aliens” when they turn 18.

18 Ius soli addresses the issues of immigration, multi-ethnicity, and citizenship to discuss the challenges and opportunities of a globalized world.

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How Old is the Iliad?

Free Public Presentation

Casey Due Hackney
University of Houston

February 26, 2016
1:00 PM | Room 520 Agnes Arnold Hall

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Jewish Studies - Events

Dr. Ethan Katz - Assistant Professor of History, University of Cincinnati

TALK: “Muslims, Jews, Frenchmen:A History of Complex Encounters”

February 1, 2016
2-4 pm
Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, UH M.D. Anderson Library

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BOOK READING AND DISCUSSION: "France's Muslim-Jewish Crisis: What History Tells”

February 1, 2016
7:00 PM
Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet, Houston, TX

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Path to German Unity and the Fall of the Berlin Wall


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Opening reception: Sunday, November 15, 2015
5:00 PM Student Center South, room 237

The exhibit will be on display Nov. 16 - Dec. 18, 2015.
University of Houston, M.D. Anderson Library Gallery Space (3rd Floor)

Film Screeings

Double Feature and Lecture:
The Wall: A World Divided
After the Wall: A World United
Friday, November 20, 12-2:30
Farish Hall Kiva (first floor)

Startalk Texas Teacher Program Closing Ceremony

The Startalk Chinese Language Teacher Program at UH will present a public lecture by Professor Chaofen Sun from Stanford University in Room 2, Agnes Arnold Hall, UH, on Saturday, Oct. 31st, 10:30-12:00. The presentation is entitled: "The magic of the Chinese de-的: The differences between 我爸爸 and 我的爸爸".

Chinese particle de"的"is the single most frequently used Chinese character (approximately 4% of modern Chinese texts) and must be taught at the beginning level in any Chinese language class.  Although every Chinese teacher must somehow teach 的, most teachers do not have a clear idea of what it is. For example, why do 我的爸爸 and 我爸爸 refer to the same person but 中国的银行 and 中国银行 do not refer to the same thing? Is there any different meaning between 我的爸爸 and 我爸爸? Furthermore, we, as well as all the grammar notes in our textbooks, commonly equate 的 with the English OF, or 'S. However, in spite of the OF in the English proper noun THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 的 is not allowed in the Chinese proper noun for the same country, 美利坚(*的 )合众国. 加州大学 is a unique institute, whereas 加州的大学 can refer to any of the universities in California. Finally, why do we say 好朋友、老朋友、小朋友 but not in the same way*好的朋友、*老的朋友、*小的朋友? On the other hand 好的兆头 and 好兆头 are essentially equivalent. Other relevant examples are 其他的计划 and 其他计划. Also strangely, we say 别人/别的人 but not 别的事/*别事. Then, there are two meanings to 白纸 (empty, or white colored, paper), while there is only one possible meaning for the same adjective in 白的纸 (white color). What is going on? The presenter will provide an easy answer to all of the above and, following one of the big C's, talk about what 的 does in Chinese grammar in comparison to its English counter-parts, OF and 'S. It should be easy to understand. All Chinese teachers must know.

Learning Abroad Scholarships

Interested in studying abroad and learning a new language? There are two nationally competitive awards available to students from all majors.

Critical Language Scholarship
UH Student Info Session—Friday, Oct. 16 at 2p.m.
212S, Honors College
National Deadline—November 23rd

Boren Awards for International Study
UH Student Info Session—Friday, Oct. 23 at 2p.m.
212S, Honors College
National Deadline—February 9, 2016

Workshop on Applying for CLS and Boren
212S, Honors College
Friday, Oct. 30 at 2p.m.

Classical Studies Student volunteers in Nepal

Student with Nepal host

This past summer, Emily Johnson, recipient of the 2014 Renaissance Scholarship in Classical Studies, lived in Kathmandu, Nepal for two months. She helped to coordinate and manage a series of children’s camps in ten different villages for students who were just starting to go back to school following the April 25 earthquake. She also worked with several Nepalese NGOs to establish projects for future international volunteers to make a positive contribution to Nepal. She had the opportunity to live and work with Nepali people as they were working to rebuild their country, and she reports that this experience was one that has truly impacted her life and mission in a very meaningful way. Living and traveling alone in a place that is so different from home was at first very challenging, and she says that in her first week she wondered how she was going to survive, but with the help of the wonderful Nepalese people, Nepal became her home. She was very sad to leave it at the end of the summer.

MCL Award Winning Professors:

Teaching is an important part of our mission and we are proud of our award-winning faculty:

Professor Alessandro Carrera, Italian Studies and World Cultures and Literatures received a 2015 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award (Provost’s Core). category.

Instructional Assistant Professor Jonathan Zecher, Classical Studies, received a  2015 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award (Instructor/Clinical)

Instructional Assistant Professor Jing Zhang, Chinese Studies, is the 2015 recipient of the Ross M. Lence Teaching Excellence Award (Humanities) from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.


Photo Exhibit “Allies. 70th Anniversary”

Photo Exhibit

The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Elbe Day, April 25, VE (Victory Europe) Day, May 7, and Victory Day, May 9, as it is known in the former Soviet Union. The dates mark the official end of World War II in Europe and the Allied Nations’ victory. To commemorate these historic events, Russian Cultural Center presents the photo exhibition “Allies.70th Anniversary.”

This exhibition consists of photographs from the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. They were taken during WWII by various Soviet photojournalists. These photographs depict political figures of the highest rank, such as President Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. These photos emphasize the diplomatic efforts of Russia, the United States, Great Britain, and France during the war.

Date: April 9 – May 30, 2015
Location: Houston Public Library
500 McKinney Street, Houston, TX, 77002

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Faculty News

Prof. Zaretsky


Boswell’s Enlightenment by Robert D. Zaretsky, Professor of World Cultures and Literatures in MCL, just came out with Harvard University Press. It made the “ 10 best books of March” list of the Chistian Science Monitor!

“Throughout his life, James Boswell struggled to fashion a clear account of himself, but try as he might, he could not reconcile the truths of his era with those of his religious upbringing. Boswell’s Enlightenment examines the conflicting credos of reason and faith, progress and tradition that pulled Boswell, like so many eighteenth-century Europeans, in opposing directions. In the end, the life of the man best known for writing Samuel Johnson’s biography was something of a patchwork affair. As Johnson himself understood: “That creature was its own tormentor, and I believe its name was BOSWELL.”

Few periods in Boswell’s life better crystallize this internal turmoil than 1763–1765, the years of his Grand Tour and the focus of Robert Zaretsky’s thrilling intellectual adventure. From the moment Boswell sailed for Holland from the port of Harwich, leaving behind on the beach his newly made friend Dr. Johnson, to his return to Dover from Calais a year and a half later, the young Scot was intent on not just touring historic and religious sites but also canvassing the views of the greatest thinkers of the age. In his relentless quizzing of Voltaire and Rousseau, Hume and Johnson, Paoli and Wilkes on topics concerning faith, the soul, and death, he was not merely a celebrity-seeker but—for want of a better term—a truth-seeker. Zaretsky reveals a life more complex and compelling than suggested by the label “Johnson’s biographer,” and one that 250 years later registers our own variations of mind.”

Film Screening: Murder Book

Image of the poster for the movie

Filmed in Houston. In this crime thriller, detective Rick Rodriquez investigates the serial killings of young women active on social media sites, an investigation that leads him into the world of human trafficking. Your opportunity to preview this movie before it will be released commercially at Alamo Drafthouse later this spring.

Thursday, March 5, 2015
7:00-9:00 PM
AH Auditorium 2

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Family Stories & the Making of History: A Historian Confronts the Holocaust

Jablonka - poster

Renown French Historian Prof. Ivan Jablonka
February 19, 12:30 PM
Honors College Commons

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Film Screening: Marína of the Zabbaleen

Marina of the Zabbaleen - Film Screening

Film Screening, Discussion and Q&A hosted by Director Engi Wassef (Egypt)
Thursday, February 19
Time: 7:00 - 9:30pm
Location: SEC 102

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Spirituality – The Next 50 Years

Panel Discussion

What is the future of spirituality in Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? Listen to a discussion and exchange of representatives from four different religious traditions.

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Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Lecture: Lessons from My Travels

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Thursday, January 29, 2015
5:30 PM
University Theater, Student Center, Room 103
University of Houston

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POESIA CHE MI GUARDI (Poetry, Looking at Me)

Film cover

(in Italian with English subtitles)
Introduced by the film director
Marina Spada

Monday, February 9, 2015
5:00 PM
University of Houston, Agnes Arnold Hall - Room 15

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Italy’s president knights Italian and Classical Studies professor

Dr. Francesca Behr

Dr. Francesca Behr, Associate Professor of Italian and Classical Studies, was bestowed the knighthood of the order “Stella d’Italia” by Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Republic of Italy, for her promotion of Italian culture. Congratulations!

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Presentation & Panel

Discussing Secret Jews in Spain & Mexico

Marie Theresa Hernández Presents her book: The Virgin of Guadalupe & the Conversos: Uncovering Hidden Influences from Spain to Mexico

Date: Monday, November 17, 2 pm Location: Honors College Commons

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Milatary Intervention and Human Rights in Iraq: A UH Perspective

Join a panel of distinguished UH faculty as they offer their perspectives on the conflicts in Iraq. Who exactly is ISIS? What human rights vi-olations are occurring? And what is the inter-national community doing to address these issues?

November 14th from 3-5 pm in the Honors Commons

  • Dr. Mient Jan Faber, mathematician and human rights activist
  • Dr. Cyrus Contractor, Assistant Director of the Center of International and Comparative studies and professor of International
  • Dr. Emran El-Badawi, Director of the UH Arabic Studies Program
  • Dr. Johanna Lutrell, Post-Doctoral Phronesis Fellow and professor of Political Philosophy

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El Paso Corporation Lecture Series

Poster for the lecture: Give until it hurts: Jesse Jones, Houston, & WWI

Give Until it Hurts: Jesse Jones, Houston, & WWI

Wednesday, October 29th, 4 pm
Honors College Commons

Steven Fenberg, Emmy Award Winner
Author of Unprecedented Power


  • The Honors College
  • Center for Public History
  • Department of Health and Human Performance
  • College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
  • The German and Italian Programs of Modern and Classical Languages
  • The Ugo Di Portanova Lecture Series

Shell Shock & the Emotional History of WWI

Poster for the lecture: Shell Shock & the Emotional History of WWI

Jay Winter, Yale University,
Author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning

Friday, November 7th, 1 pm
Cemo Hall 100D


  • University of Houston
  • The Honors College
  • Center for Public History
  • The German and Italian Programs of Modern and Classical Languges
  • The Ugo Di Portanova Lecture Series
  • Department of Health and Human Performance
  • College of Liberal Arts and Social Science

American Music & the Great War

Poster for the lecture: Shell Shock & the Emotional History of WWI

with Michael Lasser
host of "Fascinatin' Rhythm" public radio show

Wednesday, November 19th, 4pm
Honors College Commons


  • University of Houston
  • Center for Public History
  • The German and Italian Programs of Modern and Classical Languages
  • The Ugo Di Portanova Lecture Series
  • Department of Health and Human Performance
  • College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Alain Mabanckou

Award-winning French novelist and professor at UCLA

Poster for the lecture: Alain Mabanckou, award winning French novelist and professor at UCLA

In Conversation with Julie Tolliver, MCL
November 4, 2014 at 4:00pm
Honors Commons (M.D. Anderson Library)

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages welcomes Alain Mabanckou, the much-decorated French poet, novelist, and essayist. Mabanckou, born in the Republic of the Congo, is currently Professor in French and Francophone Studies at the University of California (Los Angeles). His 2006 novel Memoirs of a Porcupine won him the distinguished Prix Renaudot, and in 2012 the Académie française awarded him the Grand Prix de Littérature Henri Gal for his body of works.

Film Screening – Global Cinema Series

The World Cultures and Literatures program in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages presents:

The Pipeline

Photo of pipe line

Director: Vitali Mansky, Russia-Germany-Czeck Republic (2013)
Date: October 31, 2014 | Time:2-4:30 PM | Location:SW 101 | Free Admission

This award winning documentary follows the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhhorod pipeline from Siberia to Western Europe. In what has been described as a “different sort of road movie,” the acclaimed Russian filmmaker takes a look at the people and communities  along the route: "PIPELINE is a film about modern Europe, about two of its edges, or to put it more precisely – two of its extremes. This is a film about Europe, which spans from the barren land of eternal winters of Siberia to the complaisant Bay of Biscay, where even the laws of nature form fundamentally different paradigms of human existence.” (Deckert Distribution)

Introduction: Dr. Elena McGee

Director Vitali Mansky will attend the screening and will be available for a discussion of the film following the screening.

Event co-sponsored bythe Russian Cultural Center Houston

Film Screening

Bent Familia -

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages presents:

Bent Familia
Director: Nouri Bouzid, Tunisia 1997
Date: October 14, 2014 | Time: 6-9 PM | Location: UC Theater | Free Admission

In late 20th-century Tunis, three women - Amina, Aïda, and Fetiha - are haunted in different ways by their relative powerlessness in a world dominated by men. But the friendship and solidarity that unite them help them find ways to resist and to define their independence.

Introduction: Dr. Julie Tolliver, MCL French Program

Event co-sponsored by the: Council of Ethnic Organizations

Faculty News - Dr. Wen

Dr. Xiaohong Wen, Professor of Chinese and Chinese program director in MCL, is the invited keynote speaker at the upcoming conference on “Educating Teachers of Chinese Language – Creating a Coherent Approach” which will be held at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Her talk is titled: "Constructing Meaning through Interactive Activities: Teaching Chinese as a Constructivist Process." While in Australia, she will also be visiting a Chinese immersion school and other Chinese programs in the Melbourne area.

Study Abroad and Research Opportunities in Germany

Thursday, October 2, 2-3 PM, Room 210 Agnes Arnold Hall

Study abroad flyer

Info session for Undergraduate and Graduate Students of all disciplines

Representatives from DAAD and Cultural Vistas will present on their programs

(DAAD) / German Academic Exchange Service is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation. It offers funded programs for students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty from a wide range of disciplines to study or research at Germany.

Cultural Vistas annually serves more than 5,000 students, professionals, and emerging leaders through career-focused international internships, language immersion and cultural exchange programs in the United States and around the world. Knowledge of German not required for all programs.

Lecture Dizionario delle collocazioni


Paola Tiberii
Author of Dizionario delle collocazioni. Le combinazioni delle parole in italiano

In linguistics, “collocation” means a combination of lexical items that regularly occur together and sound natural in speech and writing. The way words combine in a language is not determined by rules of syntax or grammar but instead is established through repeated context-dependent use within the language community.

This Dizionario delle collocazioni is specifically designed to help choose the right words to express ideas in an effective way. The dictionary’s selection of approximately 200,000 collocations makes it a useful tool to develop an increased range of vocabulary and facility of expression in idiomatic Italian.

200,000 collocations - 6,000 entries - 640 pages - Includes a DVD Rom with the complete dictionary and Assistente Linguistico. Exclusive USA-CAN distributor: Edizioni Farinelli

Paola Tiberii has studied musicology and linguistics at the University of Bologna. Her Dizionario delle collocazioni is the result of ten years of work.

Event sponsored by:
The Department of Modern and Classical Languages
The Italian Cultural and Community Center
The Ugo Di Portanova Lecture Series
The Italian Studies Program in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages

This event has been made possible by the generosity of Ugo Di Portanova

Refreshments will be available

Remembering World War I

Postcards from the Trenches

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Library of Congress Prints and PhotographsDivision
Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

An exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War through the art created by ordinary soldiers in the trenches.

Exhibit runs from October 23, 2014 – February 14, 2015 at the

The Printing Museum
1324 W. Clay St.
Houston, TX 77019

Co-sponsored by The German and Italian Programs of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages

book cover

Dr. Marie-Theresa Hernández’s new book

Dr. Marie-Theresa Hernández’s new book on The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Conversos. Uncovering Hidden Influences from Spain to Mexico has been recently published with Rutgers UP in the “Latrinidat: Transnational Cultures in the United States” series.

Fall 2014 Exhibit:

Postcards from the Trenches

An exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War through the art created by ordinary soldiers in the trenches.

Author David Laskin at Brazos Bookstore

“The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the Twentieth Century"

DATE: Sep 4 2014 7:00 pm

Location: Brazos Bookstore
2421 Bissonnet St
Houston, TX 77005

"In tracing the roots of this family—his own family—Laskin captures the epic sweep of the twentieth century. A modern-day scribe, Laskin honors the traditions, the lives, and the choices of his ancestors: revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, scholars and farmers, tycoons and truck drivers. THE FAMILY is a deeply personal, dramatic, and emotional account of people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history.

A century and a half ago, a Torah scribe and his wife raised six children in a yeshivatown at the western fringe of the Russian empire. Bound by their customs and ancient faith, the pious couple expected their sons and daughter to carry family traditions into future generations. But the social and political crises of our time decreed otherwise.

The torrent of history took the scribe’s family down three very different roads. One branch immigrated to America and founded the fabulously successful Maidenform Bra Company; another went to Palestine as pioneers and participated in the contentious birth of the state of Israel; the third branch remained in Europe and suffered the onslaught of the Nazi occupation.

With cinematic power and beauty, bestselling author David Laskin brings to life the upheavals of the twentieth century through the story of one family, three continents, two world wars, and the rise and fall of nations."

Defending Their Own in the Cold

Defending Their Own in the Cold

Marc Zimmerman, Professor Emeritus in the World Cultures and Literatures program of MCL and Director of Global CASA/LACASA Books

Defending Their Own in the Cold. The Culturan Turns of U.S. Puerto Ricans (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011) by Marc Zimmerman was very positively reviewed in CENTRO Journal (Vol. 26:1, 2014) by Richard Perez. The review essay concludes:

"In Zimmerman’s learned text the “everyday and remarkable” inter-animate each other in order to reveal the unremitting cultural production of Puerto Ricans over the last century. Defending Their Own in the Cold, in short, awards the reader with novel hermeneutic understandings of the aesthetic forms and vocabularies created by Puerto Rican artists. The result is the story of a people who have resorted to their imaginations as an enabling mechanism through which to gain political empowerment and social recognition. Zimmerman, in beautifully rendered prose, captures the largesse of this tradition with the empathy of an insider and the expertise of an accomplished theoretician. His text is more than a defense, as the title may imply, but literary, artistic, and social analysis at its very best.” (202)

Poets of the Italian Diaspora

Poets of the Italian Diaspora

Alessandro Carrera, Director of Italian Studies and Graduate Director of WCL, is one of the 80 Italian poets included in the recently published anthology, "Poets of the Italian Diaspora" (Fordham University Press, 2014). For the anthology, the editors have selected 80 Italian poets living and writing outside of Italy, in eleven different countries. Alessandro Carrera is one of the poets representing the United States. A selection of his poems appears with a critical introduction and facing English translation.

Congratulations Dr. Julie Tolliver

Dr. Julie Tolliver, who joins us this year as assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies, has guest-edited, together with Monica Popescu and Cedric Tolliver, a special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (Volume 50, Number 4, August 2014). The special issue, titled Alternative Solidarities: Black Diasporas and Cultural Alliances During the Cold War, explores the intersection between diaspora studies, postcolonial literary criticism, and Cold War theory.

Congratulations Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn

Bernice Heilbrunn

Jewish Studies lecturer Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn was one of only two foreign scholars invited to lecture at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany in May 2014. Marking the one hundredth anniversary of Goethe University, the symposium focused on Jews' critical role as the university's founders, funders, and distinguished scholars. Heilbrunn's address focused on Jacob H. Schiff, the American Jewish philanthropist and community leader who funded the Chair in Semitic Philology which became the core of Goethe University's Near Eastern and Jewish Studies programs. The well-publicized symposium attracted people in the greater Frankfurt community as well as the community of scholars at the university and received media attention.

New Faculty for Fall 2014

Julie-Françoise Tolliver, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies


Julie-Françoise Tolliver earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a visiting professor in French and Comparative Literature at Hamilton College and as an instructional assistant professor of French right here at the University of Houston. She spent last year as visiting scholar at McGill University (Montreal), and she re-joins the faculty in MCL as assistant professor of francophone studies. Her current research project reads independence-era francophone literature as constructing a transnational French-language literary solidarity. Related to this work is her co-editing of a special issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (forthcoming fall 2014) entitled Alternative Solidarities: Black Cultural Alliances during the Cold War. Her teaching interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century francophone literature, culture, and film.

Nelly Noury-Ossia, Ph.D., Instructional Assistant Professor of French


A French native from Paris, Nelly Noury-Ossia earned her Ph.D. in French Studies at Rice University. Prior to her journey to Houston, she also completed a B.S (‘’Maîtrise’’) in British civilization at Paris-Sorbonne University. Her research focus is on twenty-first century Francophone postcolonial studies with a special interest in the Maghreb. She is particularly interested in examining the various ways in which Francophone-Arab women writers and visual artists have expressed their opposition to the manufacturing of an orientalized ‘’Other.’’

Dr. Noury will be editing a special issue on the Algerian woman writer: Assia Djebar, for the CELAAN (Center for the Studies of the Literatures and Arts of North Africa) review in January 2015. At the University of Houston, she is joining the French and Francophone Studies programs in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

Duy Lap Nguyen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of World Cultures and Literatures

Duy Lap Nguyen

After completing a one-year Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Pembroke Center at Brown University, Duy Lap Nguyen is starting his appointment as Assistant Professor of World Cultures and Literatures in Fall 2014. Dr. Nguyen earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. His current book project explores works by the Vietnamese philosopher, Tran Duc Thao, and develops a reading of Thao's materialist critique of Edmund Husserl's phenomenology. His second project, entitled, The Postcolonial Present: Redemption and Revolution in Twentieth Century Vietnamese Culture and History, examines Vietnamese cinema, literature and mass culture from period of the Vietnam War. Nguyen's publications include, "The Universal Province: A Critique of Provincializing Europe" (Interventions, 2013), "The Commodity Fetish and the Angel of History: Walter Benjamin's Philosophy of History and the Marxian Critique of Political Economy" (Telos, forthcoming), and "Le Capital Amoureux : Imaginary Wealth and Revolution in Jean Genet's Prisoner of Love" (Historical Materialism, 2010).

20th Annual Award Ceremony

MCL 20th Annual Award Ceremony - group photos

At the 20th Annual Award Ceremony of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages on April 25, 2014, awards and scholarships were presented to outstanding students in Arab Studies, Chinese Studies, Classical Studies, Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian Studies, Japanese, Jewish Studies, Russian, and Vietnamese.

(Click image to the left to view photo gallery)

Chinese Studies faculty received "Advisor of the Year" Award

Award photo

Jing Zhang, Instructional Assistant Professor of Chinese, received the "Advisor of the Year" award from the Division of Students Affairs and Enrollment Services (April 2014).  She has been serving as a faculty advisor for a number of student organizations on the UH campus for several years, actively advising them on organizational matters, schedules, cultural events, and festival activities.  The organizations she advises have enthusiastically promoted Chinese culture and language on campus.

Inaugural Induction Ceremony for New Chapter of Pi Delta Phi

French Honor Society - group photo

The University of Houston's brand new chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the national French honor society, will be holding its first ever induction ceremony for new members on April 19th at 10:00 AM in Room 212 of the University Center. Please join us to celebrate this important moment in the history of our university. The ceremony will consist of the induction ritual, followed by a short program and refreshments.

UH's new chapter is named Beta Beta. The president of the chapter, Patricia Savala, will perform the induction rights after being inducted herself by current MCL faculty and lifetime Pi Delta Phi member Dr. Jean-Michel Lanskin. Pi Delta Phi is the oldest honor society for a modern foreign language in the United States. More information about Pi Delta Phi may be found at


Congratulations to German students Thalia Gonzales and Margarita Campos! Both have been selected for the Congress-Bundestag Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year. This is a highly selective program. Only about 75 students nationwide are selected to participate each year. We are proud that two students from UH are given the opportunity to live, study, and work in Germany for a year.

More information about the Fellowhip:

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is a fellowship funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress, that annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals the opportunity to spend one year in each others' countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program. The program is open to candidates in all career fields who are interested in a year of cultural exchange. Prior German language knowledge is not required, but is strongly preferred. The program consists of three phases: two months of German language school; four months of classes in the participant’s career field at a university, technical school, or professional school; and a five-month internship in the participant’s career field. Tuition, basic living costs, and program related travel within Germany are fully funded by the fellowship.

Jewish Studies Get-Together


You don't have to be a Jewish Studies Minor to come; Faculty and students are welcome!

Brown Bag Lunch!
Meet Faculty and Students
Talk - Visit - Eat




“Behind the Mask: World War I, Plastic Surgery, and the Modern Beauty Revolution”

Dr. David M. Lubin
Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art
Wake Forest University

April 10, 2014, 4-5:30 PM in room 105 SEC

“Behind the Mask” explores the development of reconstructive plastic surgery for disfigured soldiers during the First World War and considers the impact of this surgery on changing norms of female beauty and modern aesthetics.

David Lubin is a noted scholar of American art and popular culture.  His book Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images (2003) won the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Eldredge Prize for distinguished scholarship in American art.  His book Flags and Faces: The Visual Culture of America’s First World War, will be published this year by the University of California Press.

Sponsored by:
QEP Curriculum Development Grant, The El Paso Corporation Lectures Series, Department of History, Department of Modern and Classical Languages (German Program)

Spring 2014 Film Series

Global Cinema -

April 10: Springtime in a Small Town

Director: Zhuangzhuang Tian (China, 2002)
Liyan’s and Yuwen’s stagnant marriage is shaken up when Liyan’s boyhood friend visits, and turns out to be Yuwen’s high school sweetheart in this award-winning romantic drama.

Introduction: Professor MacArthur

TIME: 6:00-8:30 PM | LOCATION: AH AUD 2

Free admission - open to the public


Congratulations Dr. Giacchetti!

Dr. Claudine Giacchetti

Claudine Giacchetti, Professor of French and Director of the French program in MCL, has been named a Chevalier (knight) of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques. The prestigious award recognizes her efforts in promoting French language and culture in the US. Founded by Napoléon, the Ordre des Palmes Académiques ( Order of Academic Palms) is an Order of Chivalry of France recognizing outstanding individuals for their contributions to French culture and education in France and abroad.

To read more:

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages Welcomes New Faculty

Amelia Ying Qin, Assistant Professor of Chinese

Amelia Ying Qin

Amelia Ying Qin is joining the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of Houston in the fall of 2013. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a Ph.D. in Chinese literature (2013) from the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature and an M.A. (2010) from the School of Library and Information Studies. Prior to her study in Madison, she also completed degrees at the University of Rhode Island and Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Her current research interest is in the relationship and dynamics between cultural memory and historiography in Chinese anecdotal and historical narratives during the time period of 600-1300. She is also the translator of two chapters of The Grand Scribe's Records. Her teaching interests include Chinese language of all levels, survey of Chinese literature, special topics in modern and classical Chinese literature, as well as comparative topics in East Asian literature and cultures.

Duy Lap Nguyen, Assistant Professor of World Cultures and Literatures

Duy Lap Nguyen

Duy Lap Nguyen earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. His current book project explores works by the Vietnamese philosopher, Tran Duc Thao, and develops a reading of Thao's materialist critique of Edmund Husserl's phenomenology. His second project, entitled, The Postcolonial Present: Redemption and Revolution in Twentieth Century Vietnamese Culture and History, examines Vietnamese cinema, literature and mass culture from period of the Vietnam War. Nguyen's publications include, "The Universal Province: A Critique of Provincializing Europe" (Interventions, 2013), "The Commodity Fetish and the Angel of History: Walter Benjamin's Philosophy of History and the Marxian Critique of Political Economy" (Telos, forthcoming), and "Le Capital Amoureux : Imaginary Wealth and Revolution in Jean Genet's Prisoner of Love" (Historical Materialism, 2010).

For the 2013-14 academic year, Dr. Nguyen is a Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow at the Pembroke Center, Brown University. He will start his appointment at the University of Houston in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages in the fall of 2014.

New core curriculum course

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the onset of World War I in 1914, MCL will launch a new core curriculum course focussing the on the cultural impact of the war experience.

Supporting troops of the 1st Australian Division walking on a duckboard track near Hooge, in the Ypres Sector

Supporting troops of the 1st Australian Division
walking on a duckboard track near Hooge, in the Ypres Sector

Julia Kleinheider, Instructional Assistant Professor of German, received a 2013-14 QEP grant to develop a new core curriculum course, to be offered in Spring 2014: GERM 3369 "World War I in Literature, Visual Arts, and Film." The course will be taught in English. Students in this class will research and explore the ways in which World War I is visually represented and memorialized in contemporary contexts. Students will visit regional WWI commemorative sites and relevant exhibits in Houston museums. Student projects may also include interviews. In another project, students will assess works of literature, film, or art relating to the war. Public guest lectures on topics relevant to the commemoration of the war will complement the course offerings.


Napoleon and the Battle of Nations. Politics and Music in Early Nineteenth-Century Leipzig

Thursday, November 21, 4 PM
Symposium and Concert Preview
Dudley Recital Hall


Saturday, November 23, 8 PM
Historical Concert featuring rarely heard works nad US premieres by Mozart, Haydn, Hasse, Paer, and Weber
Cullen Theater, Wortham Center

For more information, please see this article.

Go Abroad!

Open House

Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs Language Programs at UH

Picture of a suitcase

Broaden your horizon! Study abroad and learn another language to increase your job opportunities and earning potential in a wide range of careers – while earning college credit! Come by to learn about all we have to offer, including instruction in 14 different languages, faculty-led study abroad programs in China, France and Spain, and additional summer or semester-long programs in Germany, Mexico, Italy and more! Departmental scholarships are available.

LOCATION: Agnes Arnold Hall 213 (in the Language Acquisition Center)


Achilles Ambush

Megan and Chris
Images: Megan and Chris (bottom image) and a scene
of ambush from a Greek vase (top image)

Emerging Student Scholars: Classical Studies Majors Present Their Research Projects

Classical Studies majors Christopher Rivera and Megan Truax (both class of 2014) won Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships from the University of Houston in 2013. They spent their summer working under the direction of MCL professor Casey Dué Hackney on the Homer Multitext project ( The students worked with several other teams of undergraduates from institutions across the United States to transcribe, edit, and mark up folios from the tenth-century manuscript of the Homeric Iliad known as the Venetus A, which is the oldest extant manuscript containing a complete text of the poem. Their work focused on book ten of the Iliad, which feature a night time embassy to Achilles and a night raid by the Greek soldiers Odysseus and Diomedes on the Trojan camp.

Megan and Chris also participated in a special seminar devoted to the project at Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., in June. They will present posters about their research at Undergraduate Research Day 2013 on Thursday, October 10, at 4pm in the Rockwell Pavillion.

An article in the Houston Chronicle discusses the Iliad research Megan Truax and Christopher Rivera conducted under Professor Dué Hackney's supervision.

Fall 2013 Global Cinema Series

Global Cinema - Flyer image

For more information about
each film
Download Flyer

Sponsored by the World Cultures and Literatures program in the department of Modern and Classical Languages

  • September 30: Free Men   (France 2012)
    Time: 6:00 pm
    Location: AH AUD 1
  • October 24: Tomorrow (Russia 2012)
    Time: 6:00 pm
    Location: SW 101
  • November 21: The Piano in a Factory (China 2011)
    Time: 6:00 pm
    Location: SW 101

Free Admission - all screenings open to the public

Faculty News

Logo - Italian conference

Our colleague Alessandro Carrera, director of Italian Studies and Graduate Director of World Cultures and Literatures, had a busy summer in Italy. In addition to giving three papers in Florence, Vicenza, and Turin, he has also been invited to the 6th International Conference on "Italian Culture in the World" held in Pescara, Italy, on July 13. This year's topic was "Italian Culture in North America." Carrera has given a paper on the impact of Italian philosophers in the U.S. from the 18th century until today. The conference accompanied the 40th "Premio Flaiano," an international literary and artistic prize given every year to writers (this year's winner was Syrian poet, Adonis), filmmakers, and actors, to honor the memory of Ennio Flaiano (a native of Pescara), writer, playwright, and Fellini's screenwriter.


Startalk-group picture

The Chinese Program of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages is again providing advanced training to Chinese language teachers this summer. The program, directed by Prof. Wen, is supported with a STARTALK grant.

For more information:

Congratulations Alessandro Carrera

The "Segretariato Europeo per le Pubblicazioni Scientifiche" (SEPS), a European Union bureau for the subvention of scientific publications, has awarded Alessandro Carrera (MCL) and Prof. Massimo Verdicchio (University of Alberta) a grant of 3000 euros for the translation, editing, and introduction of Massimo Cacciari's "Europe and Empire." The book explores the genealogy of the idea of Europe and addresses issues such as European identity, secularization, and the geopolitics of the European Union. Fordham University Press will publish "Europe and Empire" in 2014.

Behr Armstrong Award Photo

Congratulations Francesca Behr and Richard Armstrong

MCL cogratualtes  Francesca Behr (Associate Professor of Classical Studies / Italian Studies) and  Richard Armstrong (Associate Professor of Classical Studies) as 2013 recipients of University of Houston Teaching Excellence Awards. 

Francesca D'Alessandro Behr, Associate Professor of Classics and Italian Studies in  MCL has received the 2012-13 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Awards for the category Provost Core. The WID/Core courses that she most typically teaches are CLASS 4381 Women in the Ancient World, CLASS 3374 Latin Classics in translation (which will be taught next Fall) and ITAL 3397 Women Writers and Filmmakers of Modern and Post modern Italy. She is a fellow of the Honors College and affiliated with the UH Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program.

Richard H. Armstrong, Associate Professor of Classical Studies in MCL and The Honors College, has received the 2012-13 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. Professor Armstrong is the Coordinator of The Human Situation, the gateway "great books" course taught annually in the Honors College.  In addition, he teaches CLAS 3375 Roman, Jew and Christian: The Politics and Sociology of Religion in the First Century AD (offered in Spring 2014), CLAS 3371 Ancient Comedy and Its Influence, CLAS 3341 The Roman Republic, and CLAS/WCL 4353: Classics and Modernity.  His classes are approved for the minors in WCL, Phronesis, and Center for Creative Work, in addition to Classical Studies.

Upcoming Fall 2013 Courses

Join Modern and Classical Languages for these exciting offerings for the Fall 2013 Semester.

Beginning and Intermediate Turkish
Beginning Hindi
Elementary Modern Greek
Fascism & German Cinema
From Homer to Hollywood
Gender and Sexuality in World Film
Intro to Jewish Studies
Paris and Berlin Since 1800: A Tale of Two Cities
The Dark Side of Modernity
The Rise of Cool Cinema
Who Owns Antiquity?

Dr. Carrera's Keynote Speach at NEMLA

As one of the keynote speakers of the 2013 NEMLA (North Eastern Modern Language Association) Conference in Boston, MA, on March 22 Alessandro Carrera will give a lecture on "The Untimely Timeliness of Giacomo Leopardi's Theory of Pleasure." The lecture will be part of a one-day series of panels and sessions on the times and works of the most important Italian romantic poet.

Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country

Arab Americans have been an integral part of the United States of America since its inception, contributing to our society in myriad ways, including public service. 

Join us  at the University of Houston Alumni Center Monday, March 11 through Friday, April 5, 2013 and is the culmination of four years of research on men and women who have served our nation with dignity, loyalty and sacrifice.

Visit the website and view the flyer for more information.

Under the Bombs

Under The Bombs Poster
The Arab Studies program at the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and the Arab Student Union are happy to present a public screening of  "Under the Bombs," a Lebanese film depicting events in the wake of the 2006 war, with English subtitles. Middle Eastern food will be served, with a talk on the film by Latif Adnane from the Houston Palestine Film Festival will follow. Please distribute this poster and visit us on Facebook: “ASU and MCL present: Under the Bombs”  Admission is free! The event will take place  Friday, March 22 1 – 4 PM in Social Work 101.

View the flyer here.

Study Abroad Program in Italy!

Four weeks studying in Rome, with all its history, art, beauty and intrigue. Students can take up to 2 courses for credit at the University of Houston, that are potentially transferable to other schools. Class time and assignments will be interspersed with organized visits in Rome, excursions to Pompeii, Naples and Assisi. Explore Rome and visit other parts of Italy in your free time outside the classroom.

UH in Rome 2013!  Spend the month of June in Rome, Italy, and pick up 3 or 6 credit hours, or just go for the fun!  Three courses will be offered (base on enrollment):  Elementary Italian I, Roman Civilization (CLAS, HIST, ARTH), and ILAS 4350 Senior Seminar (a Great Books course).  Fee waivers of $250 per course, and a $500 scholarship are virtually automatic.  UH Alumni, friends and family are welcome to apply as well.

Poster PDF is here: liberal-studies/news-events/_files/poster-rome-13.pdf

Click here for the full itinerary and details:

Application deadline is February 15th, and deposits (10%) are due February 22nd.  You can apply online with the Study Abroad office at:

Contact Dr. Behr with any questions.


Congratulations to French student Muhammad Mahdi who completed an internship at the French Consulate General of France! Mahdi

Muhammad worked in close collaboration with Mr. Frédéric Bontems, Consul General of France in Houston, and his assistant, Ms. Marie-Laure Reed, on a special project recognizing WWII American veterans who had served in France, and were awarded the Legion of Honor medal, one of the most prestigious awards given for services to the French Republic.

Click here for his statement about the experience. 

Join UH MCL and The Russian Cultural Center for Winter, Go Away!

Winter, Go Away! is a documentary film covering the largest anti-government protest in Moscow since the 1990s. It takes the film of 10 young directors that was accumulated over a two month period and chronicles the events of the popular uprising against Vladimir Putin’s presidential run. View the flyer for more information.

Hindi poetry recital program to promote minor in Indian studies

hindi poets

The Hindi program of the University of Houston, with the help and support from the Indian Students Association, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, and the India Studies program in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, organized a very successful and entertaining Hindi poetry recital on June 23 in the Agnes Arnold Hall auditorium 1.  This program was held to promote and develop awareness of the newly established India studies minor at the UH among students and the Indian community at large.  About 350 distinguished members and leaders of the Indian community attended the program.  Hindi instructor Arun Prakash introduced the three well known Hindi poets visiting Houston from India. Assistant Director of the India Studies program,  Ms. Anjali  Kanojia  welcomed the audience and  spoke about the IS program. The audience welcomed the good news and many prospective donors showed interest and support for the India Studies program.

Poets Mr. Manjit Singh, Mr. Ras Bihari Gaur and Mr. Mahendra Ajanabi entertained the audience for four and a half hours with poems in humor, satire and jokes about Indian politicians, politics and social changes India is going through. Guests were also served snacks and tea at the intermission. Net proceeds from the program were donated to the India Studies program.

Congratulations to Jesse Sifuentes Jesse Sifuentes

For the second time the Region of Lombardy-Italian Embassy conjoined program has chosen one of our students as a one-semester teacher of English in an Italian high school.

Congratulation to Jesse Sifuentes, UH Italian major. He was selected to go to Brescia, Italy, in the spring semester of 2013 as a high school English teacher: "My name is Jesse Sifuentes.  The Italian language has been my passion since childhood. My mother's parents came to America from Sicily in the 1950s, as a kid I wanted to be able to communicate with them in their language. Since then, I have been a student of the Italian language. I'm currently majoring in Italian Studies at the University of Houston.

Congratulations Alessio M. Giudice first WCL Master Program graduate Giudice Photo

The World Cultures and Literatures Graduate Program is proud to announce that Alessio M. Giudice, one of the first student to enroll in the WCL Master Program, was also the first to graduate. Even before the defense of his thesis Mr. Giudice was accepted in two Ph.D. programs. Mr. Giudice has chosen the University of Texas at Austin, Department of French and Italian, where he will pursue the Ph.D. in Italian, and we wish him good luck!

Guidice handshake

Claudine Giacchetti recipient of Ross M. Lence Award Giacchetti photo

Claudine Giacchetti, Professor and Director of the French Program in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages received the 2012 Ross M. Lence Award in the Humanities. Professor Giacchetti is a scholar of Nineteenth-Century French literature and has written extensively on women writers of the Romantic period. Her third book, Poétique des Lieux, on post-revolutionary Memoirs, was published in France in 2009.

Professor Giacchetti has introduced francophone literature and cinema courses to the French curriculum, created and developed the Minor in French for Business-related Professions, and has taught a variety of courses using multi-media approaches, such as distance education “live TV” and hybrid delivery. Dr. Giacchetti has directed the French study-abroad program since 2003.  Every summer, this popular program takes more than 20 students on a “total immersion” experience at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. 

Professor Giacchetti has also worked closely with the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Houston to provide French business internship opportunities to her students.  

Read more

Dante in Auschwitz: Primo Levi Reads the Canto of Ulysses by Prof. Carrera

Join the South West Chapter of ISSNAF under the auspices of the Italian Cultural and Community Center for the lecture by Professor Carrera.

When: Monday April 23rd, 2012 6:15 P.M.
Where: Avenue: ICCC Houston, 1101 Milford Houston, TX 77006

Download a copy of the flyer here.

Methods in Linguistic Anthropology

This course covers the multifaceted relationship between language and culture and the methodologies to examine these connections. Check out this course flyer for this WCL 4396 / WCL 6397 and ANTH 4301 / ANTH 6301 Summer IV class.

University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award

marquart photoDr. Sharon Marquart, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, is a recipient of the 2011-12 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Marquart teaches cinema studies courses, courses on sexuality and gender, and on representations of the Holocaust and the experience of displacement and exile in literature and film in our World Cultures and Literatures program.

This past year, Dr. Marquart published   Les revenantes: Charlotte Delbo, la voix d'une communauté à jamais déportée (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2011), coauthored with David Caron, and an article on "Authoritative Witnessing and the Control of Memory: On Jorge Semprun's L'écriture ou la vie." ( French Forum, 36.2-3, 2011).

UH Chinese Studies Program recieves STARTALK grant

Check out the article at The Daily Cougar.

Congratulations to Casey Dué Hackney on her award from the National Endowment for the Humanities for "Who Owns the Past?"

Casey Dué Hackney, Professor of Classical Studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, has been awarded an NEH Enduring Questions grant for her application "Who Owns the Past?". The Enduring Questions program sponsors the development of courses that "will foster intellectual community through the study of an enduring question. This course will encourage undergraduates and teachers to grapple with a fundamental question addressed by the humanities, and to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential thinkers over the centuries and into the present day." Dué Hackney's course will address the many questions inherent in the concept of "owning" the past. The course will be centered around case studies having to do with particular objects, but the students will also leave the course with a much broader understanding of the issues at stake. They will think about how and why history matters to us, what purposes historical narratives and artifacts serve, who gets to interpret them, and why. Class sessions will include far reaching discussions about why we care about the past, when and how we seek to control it or "possess" it, and the influence narratives about the past have on current conflicts. A running (but by no means the sole) theme of the course will be how the reception of the Homeric Iliad, combined with contemporary aesthetics and trends, influenced the mania for antiquities in different time periods. We will also debate what role the study of antiquity should play in a modern education.

Dué Hackney will develop the course this summer, and will offer it in Spring 2013 and again in Fall 2013.

Ugo di Portanova Endowed Scholarship in Italian Studies for master's candidates

The Ugo di Portanova Endowed Scholarship in Italian Studies, benefitting students earning master of art degrees in the World Cultures and Literatures, has been established in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Ugo di Portanova is a longtime supporter and patron of Italian Studies at the University. His first donation in 1988 contributed to the creation of the Italian major and an undergraduate financial scholarship bearing his name.

That scholarship - now in its 24th year of aiding students - covers expenses associated with sending up to four students each summer to the University for Foreigners in Siena, Italy. In 2003, Mr. di Portanova donated funds to establish the "Ugo di Portanova Lecture Series" to bring Italian scholars, authors and artists to the University campus.

Since that time, 17 Italian luminaries have shared their expertise as series lecturers.

The new gift of $50,000 creates a sustaining endowment and provides cash support for the Italian Studies Program's recruitment and retention of high-caliber student leaders.

Thanks to Ugo di Portanova's generosity, the UH Italian Studies Program continues to grow and flourish and deserving students are being provided with resources essential for their academic success.

The University, the College, the students and the entire community have greatly benefited from Ugo di Portanova's philanthropy, and we are very grateful for his continued support.

The next talk in the series is "The Ghost of Life: For a Genealogy of Bioethics" to be delivered by Rocco Ronchi, professor of Philosophy at University of L'Aquila, Italy, at 6 p.m. on March 7 in the Honors College Commons on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library.


Lecture by Rocco Ronchi

Rocco Ronchi is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of L’Aquila and teaches Philosophy of Communication at the Bocconi University in Milan. A scholar of Bergson, Sartre, Bataille, Jankélévitch, and Lacan, he has written extensively on communication as the very foundation of philosophical enterprise. Recently he has also undertaken a critical analysis of the “philosophy of life.” Dr. Ronchi has translated works of Bergson, Sartre, Bataille, and Ignace J. Gelb into Italian, and he contributes to the cultural pages of Italian newspapers. His most recent books are Liberopensiero (2006), Filosofia della comunicazione (2008), Bergson (2011), and Come fare. Filosofia e resistenza (2012). His article, “The Ghost of Life,” co-written with Federico Leoni, is included in Italian Critical Theory (“Annali d’Italianistica,” 29, 2011), edited by Alessandro Carrera.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2012 – 6:00PM

This event has been made possible by the generosity of Ugo Di Portanova
Refreshments will be available

Download the Flyer


Film Flyer Header

March 1: A Screaming Man. Director: Mahamat -SalehHaroun (Chad / France: 2010)
Adam, a former swimming champion in his sixties, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad.
When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job
to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile the country is in
the throes of a civil war. Rebel forces are attacking the government and the authorities
demand the people contribute to the "war effort" with money or volunteers old enough to fight.
Introduction: Dr. Julie Tolliver, MCL

March 8: The Colors of the Mountain. Director: Carlos César Arbeláez (Colombia, 2010)
A modern-day portrayal of daily life in a remote part of the mountainous Colombian
countryside, set around the friendship between Manuel and Julián. One day, while
playing a game of football, they kick the ball into a minefield. Accompanied by Poca
Luz, they do everything they can to recover their prized belonging, an essential part of
their everyday lives and dreams. Introduction: Dr. Christina Sisk, Hispanic Studies

March 29: The Man of the Year. Director: Jose Henrique Fonesca (Brazil 2006)
Meet Maiquel (as Michael) in his incredible destiny: the unemployed car salesman
turned assassin-for-hire who becomes the owner of a highly successful security firm.
Based on the award-winning novel by Patricia Melo "O Matador" (Brazil 1995).
Introduction: Dr. Teresa Nunes, Hispanic Studies.

April 12: A Film Unfinished. Director: Yael Hersonski (Germany / Israel 2010).
Raw film material, shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and found in 1954 in East
German archives quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record
of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel complicates
earlier readings of the footage. A Film Unfinished presents the raw footage in its entirety,
carefully noting fictionalized sequences, and probes deep into the making of a nowinfamous
Nazi propaganda film. Introduction: Dr. Sandy Frieden, MCL.

April 19: Summer in Berlin. Director: Andreas Dresen (Germany: 2006)
This tragicomic movie focuses on two women and their daily
struggle for survival during a summer in Berlin. Katrin, a jobless
single mum, and Nike, a nurse, live in the same house and are
best friends. Although always dating the wrong men and still
pursuing for happiness, they don't lose their humor and spend
many nights together on Nike's balcony, drinking and
chatting. Introduction: Dr. Hildegard Glass, MCL

Download a copy of the flyer here.


Reverberations of Sexual Dissonance: Colonial Nostalgia and Myth in Contemporary French Cinema

A public lecture by Dr. Lowry Martin, Assistant Professor of French, University of Texas-El Paso

Sponsored by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Thursday November 17, 4-5:30 PM Agnes Arnold Hall Room 15

Dr. Martin’s research interests include the intersections of law and literature, French colonial narratives and cultural history as well as French and Francophone film. His current research explores the ways that narratives of colonial trials reflected and contested various ideologies behind France’s civilizing mission.

Global Cinema Series

This film series covers contemporary, independent movies from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. It is free and open to the public. Check out the flyer.

September 22: The Way I Spent the End of the World. Director: Catalin Mitulescu (Rumania, 2006)
  Bucharest during the last year of Ceausescu's dictatorship. Eva (17) accidentally breaks a bust of Ceausescu, is forced to confess her crime and expelled from school. After Eva escapes Romania, her 7- year-old brother plots with his friends from school to kill the dictator. Introduction: Dr. Sharon Marquart, MCL

October 6: In Love We Trust. Director: Xiaoshuai Wang (China 2007).
    Divorced couple leans that the only way to save their daughter who is suffering from a blood disease is to have another child. A story of parenthood, love, marriage, betrayal, trust and giving that touches upon changes in contemporary society and family life. Introduction: Dr. Marshall McArthur, MCL.

October 20: A Peck on the Cheek. Director: Mani Ratnam (India 2002). When Amudha learns on her ninth birthday that she has been adopted, she insists on searching for her biological mother. The search takes the family into strife-torn Sri Lanka. Introduction: Dr. Michael Adair Kriz, MCL.

October 27: Harvest Time Director: Marina Razbezhkina (Russia, 2004).
       Intimate and affectionate portrait of a hardship-wracked collective farming family in the Soviet Union of 1950. The director will be present at the screening and introduce the film.

November 3: A Matter of Size. Director: Erez Tadmor (Israel 2009)
  A group of fat people from the Israeli city of Ramla is fed up with the sanctity of diets. They leave their diet workshop and discover the world of sumo wrestling where people like them are honored and appreciated. Introduction: Kenneth Weiss, Religious Studies/Hillel

Time: 5:45-8:00 PM

Location: 105-SEC

MCL congratulates ALISON MARCOM

Alison Marcom, German major in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages has been selected for the Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers at the Holocaust Museum Houston: "The Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers is a week-long program that introduces university students preparing for a career in teaching to the history and to the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides. Participants attend a six-day, all-expense-paid institute designed to immerse the Fellows in historical and pedagogical issues related to the Holocaust."

Congratulations Alison!


After competing with more than 550 applicants nationwide, Carlos Valenzuela, a junior at the University of Houston majoring in Communications was selected for the highly competitive Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange For Young Professionals Programm and will spend a year in Germany. The program, "is a full-year work-study scholarship program with a strong focus on cultural exchange. CBYX annually provides 75 young Americans with an understanding of everyday life, education, and professional training in Germany. The program begins in July and includes two months of intensive German language training in Germany (no prior German language knowledge required), four months of classroom instruction at a German university or college of applied sciences, and a five-month internship in a participant's career field." (

Carlos has taken German language classes in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at UH and his appreciation and admiration for the German culture and language as well as his interest in the history and political developments of Europe led him to apply for this program. His goals are to pursue a career as a television journalist or as a diplomat for the United States He is looking forward to his experiences in Germany which will be important in his professional and personal development.

Chinese Government Scholarship

This prestigious scholarship is offered to students in American educational institutions by the Chinese Ministry of Education via the Consulate General of PRC in Houston. The scholarship is intended to strengthen the educational exchanges and cooperation between China and United States. It provides a full scholarship to study in China for one year. The scholarship recipient may choose a university in China.

This scholarship provides registration fee, tuition, laboratory fee , internship and learning materials. It also provides accommodation, monthly living allowance, and a one-off settlement subsidy. Furthermore, it covers outpatient medical service and insurance.

This scholarship is highly competitive. Scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated academic excellence in, and significant commitment to, the study of Chinese.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Preference will be given to students who have declared majors or minors in Chinese Studies and who are juniors or seniors.
  • Overall minimum GPA of 2.75.
  • Overall minimum Chinese GPA of 3.25.
  • Applicants should currently be full time students at the University of Houston.

Application process:

  • Submit 3 copies of the “CHINESE GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIP from the Ministry of Education of P.R. China APPLICATION FORM”.
  • Submit 3 copies of the candidate’s personal statement in English, stating the

reasons for the application. (limit 1 page)

  • Submit 1 copy of a recent transcript.

The deadline to submit the application is Feb. 25, 2011. Please submit your complete application to MCL department 613AH or to your Chinese course instructor.

Download Application Form


Public lecture by Sabine Hake

CLASS students and faculty are invited to a public lecture by Sabine Hake, Professor and Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture, Department of Germanic Studies, University of Texas at Austin, on "The Fascist Imaginary in Postfascist Cinema" on November 3, 2010, 4-5:30 PM in SEC 105. She will talk about the "Third Reich" in European and American Films.

The lecture is sponsored by the German and World Culture and Literatures programs of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

For more information download the flyer