The mission of the International Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department is to build, support, and enhance a teaching and learning community through instruction, scholarship, service, and community outreach in the area of foreign languages, literatures and cultures.  As part of Regional & Continuing Education’s efforts to bring more on-campus events to our online students – and to the community at large – the department’s presentations below are now available online.

International Languages, Literatures & Cultures Forums

Gender and Violence in Cuba

Aida Bahr
Cuban Author and Publisher

Aida Bahris is a fiction writer, literary critic, screenwriter, researcher, and publisher from Cuba. In this presentation, she reads a hard-hitting short story set in Cuba about violence against women. Before she reads her story, Ms. Bahr places its theme in context. She notes that, historically, violence is ingrained in Cuban culture, with its history of colonization, slavery, pre-independence wars, and two revolutions. The 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power resulted in legislation giving women equal rights with men to work outside the home and a full year of maternity leave. However, the patriarchal history of Cuban society has worked against these conscious efforts to improve women’s standing; for example, domestic violence is still a problem. Presentation Time: 41 minutes | View Now

The Memory of Silence: Immigrant Experience and Identity

Uva de Aragon
Cuban Author

Havana-born and Miami-based, Uva de Aragon is the first female Cuban writer living outside of Cuba who was published after the 1959 revolution. As a Cuban immigrant Ms. de Aragon depicts an interesting and unique dual perspective of the Cuban Revolution, inspired by her own personal experiences. In this presentation, she reads from her bilingual novel, “The Memory of Silence/Memoria del Silencio,” published by Cubanabooks press. The author is introduced by CSU, Chico professor Dr. Sara E. Cooper, the Editor-in-Chief of Cubanabooks. Presentation Time: 39 minutes | View Now

Bilingual Reading by Maria Elena Llana

Maria Elena Llana
Cuban Author and Journalist

The Cuban journalist and fiction writer Maria Elena Llana began her career as a journalist in 1959, the year the Cuban revolution forced the dictator Fulgencio Bautista from power. The short story she reads in this presentation, “Nochemala” (“Unholy Night” in English), was written and takes place during this turbulent era. Ms. Llana is introduced and her remarks interpreted by Dr. Sara Cooper, faculty in the CSU, Chico Department of International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department. The story is about a woman divided by ties to her son, who is a member of Cuban revolutionary forces, and to her husband, who rose to a position of power in the Bautista regime. Ms Llana reads her story in Spanish, with a full English translation projected in PowerPoint slides. Presentation Time: 45 minutes | View Now

The Cultural Policy of the Cuban Revolution

Dr. Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt
King's College London

Among the first manifestos issued by the Fidel Castro-led Cuban revolutionaries were those urging that culture be spread throughout the country. According to Dr. Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, the concepts expressed by the revolutionaries were that culture: belongs to everyone, is a form of social production, should be detached from the market economy, stimulates economic development, and promotes revolutionary (critical) thinking. Her book, “To Defend the Revolution is to Defend the Culture: The Cultural Policy of the Cuban Revolution” (2015, PM Press), is a comprehensive look at how the Cuban government’s policies related to art, film, music, and literature have played out in the decades since the revolution. Dr. Gordon-Nesbitt’s talk is illustrated by historic photos, Cuban art, and photos of today’s Cuban cultural centers. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes | View Now

Perspectives on Participation & Attitudes in the Foreign Language Classroom

Raquel Mattson Prieto
PhD Student, Temple University

Ms. Mattson-Prieto presents some results of her research on how students learn a foreign language. She begins by describing how languages are taught today and asking members of the audience to reflect on their own experiences as language learners. She then focuses on collaborative learning and motivation for language students. Ms. Mattson-Prieto is especially interested in motivation, which she describes as “dynamic, ever-changing, and not static.” She also shares practical applications to increase motivation. Presentation Time: 30 minutes | View Now

Connecting & Disconnecting with Nancy Alonso

Nancy Alonso
Cuban Author & Member, Cubana Books Editorial Board

Prominent Cuban author Nancy Alonso reads in Spanish one of the 12 stories from her book, “Desencuentro” (“Disconnect”), with the English translation by Dr. Anne Fountain provided through PowerPoint slides. The connection between all of the stories is love in all its diverse facets. Ms Alonso’s appearance was made possible by CSU, Chico professor Dr. Sara E. Cooper. Dr. Cooper is founder and senior editor of Cubanabooks, a small independent press devoted to bringing first-class literature from Cuban women to the United States and beyond. English translations of Ms. Alonso’s works are available through Cubanabooks. In the lively question-and-answer session following this reading, Dr. Cooper serves as Ms. Alonso’s translator. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes | View Now

Chronicles from and about the New World

Dr. Angel Delgado
Visiting Professor of Spanish, CSU, Chico 

This presentation is subtitled, “The Early Historical Narratives from the Spanish Conquest to Cultural Appropriation.” Dr. Delgado begins by examining the European interests served by Christopher Columbus’ voyages to the “New World”: the church, the crown, and private wealth. He maintains that the publication of the 1520 report of Hernan Cortes helped start the full-blown conquest of the New World by Europeans. This report established the understanding that the indigenous people of the New World were not just a “natural people,” but had created sophisticated civilizations and empires of their own. Dr. Delgado also shares other historical accounts of the New World. Dr. Delgado’s appearance was jointly sponsored by the CSU, Chico Department of International Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and by Phi Sigma Iota, the International Foreign Language Honor Society. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 18 minutes | View Now