Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Welcome from our Chair

Welcome to MLCS and to a new school year. The leaves here are turning green and gold and we in MLCS are pleased to have been certified as green and silver. That is, we were awarded a Silver Certificate for our commitment to sustainability when we were certified in 2016 as a Green office by the Office of Sustainability.

This fall, we welcome the first co-hort into our newly re-vamped graduate programs (MA- Thesis, MA- Course-based and PhD) in MLCS. We now offer new specializations in Applied Linguistics, Media and Cultural Studies, Translation Studies and Transnational and Comparative Literatures. Graduate students create individualized portfolios with modules that are tailored towards professional development, giving students opportunities to engage with Community Service Learning, benefit from our strong series of teaching workshops, and write for a variety of audiences. I hope you will browse our website to learn more about these programs.

We are thrilled to welcome a new faculty member, Dr. Astrid Ensslin, Professor of Media and Digital Communication, who will be offering a variety of exciting courses in intercultural game studies, digital fiction, and more.  She will be an important voice in the growing body of Media Studies scholars developing a new undergraduate program in that field for the Faculty of Arts.

We are also thrilled be welcoming two new postdoctoral fellows this year, Dr. Reisa Klein and Dr. Zaira Zarza. Dr. Klein comes with a Fonds de Recherche Societé et Culture postdoctoral research fellowship to work with Dr. Carrie Smith-Prei, Associate Professor of German and an expert on digital feminism, on a project entitled “Beautiful scars: Online discourses on Tattooing as self-care for breast cancer 'survivors'.”  Dr. Zarza, an Isaac Walter Killam Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Victoria Ruetalo, Associate Professor Spanish & Latin American Studies who specializes in Latin American film, is working on project on Cuban Cinemas of the Diaspora in the 21st century.

We are hosting Dr. Heike Ortner, Assistant Professor of German Studies, University of Innsbruck, for the month of September, as part of a faculty exchange the University of Alberta has with the University of Innsbruck, organized by our wonderful Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies.  Dr. Ortner will offer a masterclass for graduate students on "Language and Emotion in Computer-Mediated Communication" as well as two lectures, one on September 22nd entitled, "United Guinea Pigs: Gallow's Humor in Discussion Forums on Chronic Illnesses" and one on September 27, entitled "The Effects of Intensive Tourism on Language Attitudes, Accommodation and Identity: The Example of Tyrol."

Two of our regular faculty members received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada in the most recent funding cycle. Dr. Natalie Van Deusen, the Henry Cabot and Linnea Lodge Professor of Scandinavian Studies, received a  SSHRC Insight Grant for her  project entitled  "Mirrors of Virtue: Holy Virgins and Models for Womanhood in Early Icelandic Verse." Dr. Odile Cisneros, Associate Professor of Spanish & Latin American Studies, Comparative Literature, and Translation Studies, received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for her project entitled " An Online Resource on Environment & Poetry from Latin America." Several other faculty members in MLCS hold SSHRC funding from previous funding cycles.

Coming up this fall, we have our 14th Annual St. Jerome’s Day Conference, celebrating International Translation Day, on September 30.  This conference, organized each year by Dr. Anne Malena, features papers and readings by many faculty members and graduate students in our department and across campus.

We are also co-sponsoring the  “Comics –Medium in the Museum” exhibit in Rutherford South, September 20-October 1st, along with the Department of Art & Design and the Kule Institute for Advanced Study. Other events to watch for will be an International Indigenous Film series and, of course, more games by our intrepid graduate student hockey team!

We have some new courses to watch for this year, including Dr. Daniel Laforest’s MLCS 399 on “Cultures of the Body” and Dr. Elena Siemens’ new course on Fashion/Text/Film/Photography. MLCS offers courses that run the gamut from Dr. Natalie Van Deusen’s “Old Norse Paleography” to Dr. Victoria Ruetalo’s “X-Rated: Sex on Screen, ” so be sure to check out the offerings to see what catches your eye.

Links on the left-hand side of this page will take you to more information about our people, our undergraduate and graduate programs, our study abroad options, our on-going research projects, our journals, and more.  Please browse our website, come by Arts 200 to visit, or enroll in our terrific courses in order to find out where in the world studies in MLCS may take you!

Laura J. Beard
Department of Modern Languages & Cultural Studies
The University of Alberta