The Romance languages, which include Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and others, all descend from one common ancestral language, Latin—the language of Rome. On November 5, 2022, there was a linguistic family reunion of sorts when the first ever Syracuse University Romance Languages Colloquium was held, fittingly in the Hall of Languages.
Organized and run by the Syracuse University Graduate Student Committee of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (LLL), its theme was “(Re)Imagining the Romance-Speaking World: Origins, Space and Memory.” It sought to weave together the threads connecting time, space and memory found in current research across disciplines.
“The Romance Languages Colloquium was born from the desire to bring together Syracuse University graduate students and their peers from other universities,” says colloquium chair Giovanni Minicucci, a graduate student and teaching assistant in LLL. “Though ambitious, the conference endeavored to connect the diverse world of Romance languages, literatures, and linguistics for a day under a common banner, with the aim of facilitating dialogue, collaboration, and mutual inspiration.”
The program comprised eight panels, such as French Literature, and Spanish, Italian and Portuguese Linguistics. Participants enjoyed coffee breaks, meals and time to socialize and network together as well, one of the conference’s goals in bringing the 30 attendees together.
Keynoting the event was Ilka Kressner, associate professor of Hispanic Studies at SUNY Albany, whose scholarship focuses on Spanish American literature, film and visual arts of the 20th-21st centuries, often from a comparative perspective. She is interested in theoretical approaches to conceptions of space in art, and ecocriticism, an interdisciplinary field of study that analyzes how the natural world is portrayed in literature, mainly in relation to modern environmental concerns. Her speech was, “Immersive Epistemologies – Human Encounters with the Elements in Contemporary Latin American Cinema.”
Graduate student volunteers from LLL staffed and helped run the event. They included Valeriia Bogacheva, vice chair and social media manager; Jhon Lindarte, secretary and artistic director; Hugo Cantin, communication officer; Andy Dowling, treasurer and catering manager; and Hector Prieto, committee member.
At the program’s conclusion, Minicucci (pictured) reflected on all they had accomplished.
“I hope that future generations of graduate students from Syracuse University will follow and improve upon our initial dream and philosophy, so that the Colloquium may continue to be a nexus around which students, professors and professionals alike may come together in pursuit of knowledge, connection, and inspiration,” he said.
Conference attendees hailed from Syracuse University, New York University, University of Florida, University of Puerto Rico, University of Toronto, University of Guelph, Middlebury College, Emory University, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Georgetown University, California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo, Indiana University, University of California Santa Barbara, Purdue University and the University of Albany.
Prof. Gail Bulman, Prof. Ana Mendez Oliver and Prof. Alicia Rios served as conference advisors. Sponsors of the conference were: LLL, LLAS, the Graduate School, PLACA, Center for European Studies, the Syracuse University Libraries and the Centro de Estudio Hispanicos.