World Languages, Literatures & Cultures

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World Languages, Literatures & Cultures

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World Languages, Literatures & Cultures Faculty

Elmhurst’s faculty is made up of approachable, energetic educators who have a broad range of scholarly and personal interests. They are dedicated teachers and accomplished researchers, eager to guide students academically and professionally.

Want to know more? See our faculty profiles, below. Or, contact a professor directly.

Full-time Faculty
Christopher Travis
Beatriz Gómez Acuña
Federica Bando
Rebecca Léal
Christine Summers
Valentina Velázquez-Zvierkova

Christopher Travis
Department Chair and Associate Professor of Spanish
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Travis has studied, worked, and/or traveled in over 15 Spanish-speaking countries, spending extended time at the Universidad de Sevilla (Spain) and the Universidad Católica (Ecuador). His recent research has focused on twentieth-century Chilean literature and his book, Resisting Alienation: The literary work of Enrique Lihn (Bucknell University Press, 2007) concentrates on the work of poet Enrique Lihn. He has contributed chapters to major books on Lihn (Enrique Lihn: contra el canto de la goma de borrar, 2005) and Vicente Huidrobro (Huidobro’s Futurity: Twenty First Century Approaches, 2010), served as guest editor for a monographic edition of Crítica Hispánica celebrating the work of Pablo Neruda, and published in journals such as Revista Hispánica Moderna, Romance Quarterly, Mapocho, Crítica Hispánica, and Sophia Austral. Also an accomplished bilingual poet and translator, Dr. Travis has published creative work in ISLE, The Dirty Goat, and in the River Oak Review, where he now serves as an associate poetry editor. Dr. Travis enjoys teaching everything from Spanish 101 to Theories and Practice of Literary Translation, Expressive Latino Culture in the United States, and other seminars on Latin American Literature. He has led study abroad trips to Spain, Chile and Costa Rica. Dr. Travis assumed the responsibilities of Department Chair in June of 2007.

Beatriz Gómez Acuña
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Assistant Department Chair
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Gómez Acuña is a native of Madrid (Spain) and has lived in the U.S. since 1991. Before joining Elmhurst College she worked as assistant professor at Beloit College and Carthage College in Wisconsin. Her research interest focuses on the folklore and oral traditions of Spain. She has published in journals such as Folklore, Hispania and Lemir. Most of her publications pertain to the study of Hispanic Balladry. Dr. Gómez Acuña is also interested in Foreign Language Acquisition Methodologies and she has contributed materials for different textbooks. She is looking forward to teaching  all levels of Spanish language, culture and literature at Elmhurst College.

Federica Bando
Visiting Lecturer
M.A.T., University of Utah

The newest member of our full-time faculty, Federica Bando currently is working on her doctoral dissertation in second language acquisition at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ms. Bando has taught basic Spanish courses, Spanish for Native Speakers, and English as a Second Language. Born and raised in Argentina of Japanese parents, Ms. Bando is tri-lingual in Spanish, Japanese, and English. Her strong background in Spanish linguistics and teaching methods adds an important dimension to our program.

Rebecca Léal
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Iowa

With degrees in political science and international business in addition to a Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies, Dr. Léal's interests are deeply interdisciplinary and center around multiculturalism in 20th century France, with particular attention to postcolonial migration as it is popularly depicted and represented in literature, film and the media. Her current book manuscript, Mon père, l'Etranger: représentations et stéréotypes des immigrés algériens en France, explores urban and youth cultures among minorities in contemporary France, analyzing representations of North African immigration in the media and popular cultural productions since the 1980s. Other recent publications include the article “Française de deuxième génération: Constructions of Girlhood in Banlieue Literature and Film” (forthcoming 2013, French Literature Series) and a book chapter in The Women of Islam in Literature (forthcoming, L’Harmattan). With experience teaching a variety of innovative language courses of all levels including conversation and composition, Dr. Léal has also taught numerous French language content courses in her area of expertise including Revolts and Revolutions in the Francophone World as well as cross-listed courses in English (The History of Paris; Women in Francophone Literature and Cinema). She has recently led a study abroad trip to Paris and is looking forward to planning new faculty-led trips throughout the French speaking world. Through her work as a translator and educator in both the academic setting and the greater community, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge, learning from others, and promoting cultural understanding and exchange with students of all ages and backgrounds.

Christine Summers
Lecturer
M.A., Humboldt University of Berlin

Born in Rostock, Germany, Ms. Summers is an expert in German literature and linguistics with a specialty in Teaching German as a Foreign Language. She has been teaching at Elmhurst College since 1996 and also taught at the Goethe Institute Chicago from 1996 to 2010. She is interested in developments in modern German literature and creating of interdisciplinary courses, especially in connection between history and literature. Recently her focus has been on writers with an immigrant background in German-speaking countries. In 2010 she founded the German Literarischer Salon in Chicago. Her world literature class has given her a broad range of reference in a more global context.

Valentina Velázquez-Zvierkova
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of California–Davis
Professor Velázquez-Zvierkova holds an M.A. in Spanish literature and a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from the University of California–Davis. She specializes in Latin American literature and culture, and focuses on twentieth-century Mexican literature and Mexico’s Golden Age cinema. In her dissertation, “De lejos vienes: Foreign Women in Mexico,” she explores the role assumed by foreign women in Mexican national cultural production by analyzing the works and public image of several key figures in the context of Mexican nationalism. Prior to joining the Elmhurst College community, she taught Spanish language at UC–Davis, and Latin American literature and Mexican film at Northwestern University. She also served as managing editor for Brújula from 2008 to 2010, and worked as guest editor in 2011, preparing a monographic issue dedicated to Latin American popular culture.

Adjunct Faculty

Mariam Babiker, M.A.
Khartoum International Institute for Arabic Language, Sudan

Janette K. Bayles
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Karl-Heinz Gabbey
M.A., Northern Illinois University

Jenny Garcia-Macko
M.S., Northern Illinois University; M.A.T., Aurora University

Roxane Komar
M.A., Roosevelt University

 

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