What's Happening in Latin American and Iberian Studies?

Important news!

Grandmothers’ president recovers grandson taken away under dictatorship

Estela De Carlotto, the president of activist group the Grandmothers of the Plaza De Mayo, learned today that the grandchild taken away during the military dictatorship of 1976-83 had been found.Sources from the group, which aims to reunite the children taken from those disappeared during the dictatorship with their genetic, informed that De Carlotto’s male grandson had been located after voluntarily coming forward for a DNA test.He is the biological son of Laura, the daughter of the Grandmothers’ president who remains disappeared.”The result was positive, we have found my nephew. We are very excited. The boy turned up voluntary because he had doubts over his identity and the blood test showed a 99 percent match,” Kibo Carlotto, the Buenos Aires province secretary of Human Rights, told the press.

According to the Infojus website, Guido Carlotto, 35, lives in Olavarría and is a musician, playing the piano. He is expected to meet his grandmother later today, after spending his entire life unaware of his origins.

Laura was two months pregnant when kidnapped by security forces on November 26 1977, and according to testimony she gave birth to a child she named Guido in the Military Hospital in June 1978.

After the birth, Laura was returned to the ‘La Cacha’ clandestine detention centre, without her baby, and murdered on August 25 of that same year.

Other articles to read are:

Conference on Literature in Portuguese Language


You are cordially invited to participate in the
Conference on Literature in Portuguese Language
Perceptions of Lusophony: identities, conceptions and stereotypes
Friday, April 25 2014, 10am to 4pm
UMass Boston, Ryan Lounge, McCormack Hall, 3rd floor
100 Morrisey Blvd, Boston, MA


Spring events for the Spanish Resource Center

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Cultural Ambassadors in Spain

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For more information click here.



A workshop presented by Louise Popkin

On November 21st. Louise Popkin, along with Prof. Diego Mansilla, read from Ms. Popkin’s recently published bilingual anthology, Witness: the Selected Poems of Mario Benedetti, using some of her translations to exemplify the types of issues, challenges and choices involved in negotiating between source and target text.

Ms. Popkin explained how successful literary translation requires numerous tradeoffs between the ideals of accuracy (linguistic and cultural) and artistic effectiveness.

This event was conducted at UMass Boston and broadcasted via live stream to the students of the Certificate in Spanish/English Translation Program, faculty and students of the Latin American and Iberian Studies Department, and the community in general.

Long time translator, human rights activist and educator, Louise Popkin resides in the Boston area. Her translations of Latin American poetry, theater and fiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

Study Abroad!

Justine Crowley, a Minor in Latin American & Iberian Studies shares her experience in the Study Abroad program in Barcelona.



“It has only just marked a month here in my stay in Barcelona and it truly is amazing how much I can already look back on.  I had previously cautioned myself that it was a whole different world over here, above all else, an entirely new culture.  Immersing myself in something new feels so liberating and refreshing.  I made a goal to learn as much of the Spanish language and culture as possible during my very short stay here. Barcelona is such an antique beautiful city with so much to offer to everyone, I’m very happy with my choice of stay. Speaking of stay, I live with a wonderful Spanish woman, Antonia, and she is a true mother at heart. She is such a sweet addition to my life here in Spain; let alone the magnificent cooking, and the bonus of actually having someone do your laundry (Whoa!) she is awesome to talk to. She only speaks spanish, as well as understands Catalan, so English isn’t an option which is in my favor. Expressing yourself is something I somewhat took for granted, which is weird to say since at times it’s actually quite difficult to express yourself even in your native tongue… But having to express your needs, wants, wishes, opinions, etc in a whole different language truly is a life changer all in itself.  I realized how crucial language is for everything from relationships, to directions, to clarifying that you would like to know if the “Chocolate Caliente” you are about to buy is the THICK kind –Not the watery kind.. That sure has been a struggle, haha. 
It seemed as though the first month was mainly for adaptation; I got lost all the time, got exhausted from speaking Spanish, and was still working on the time change.. It was a little overwhelming, but what made it easier was that I was constantly being swept off my feet by all of the majestic masterpieces that stood before my eyes; for me to see, feel, and smell.  All much better than photographs. 
Studying abroad in general is by far the best decision I ever made, every day I am thankful of this opportunity to work towards my progression as a student, as well as my own personal growth. To be able to navigate through a new city where my first language isn’t prominent is so wonderful, because it is beyond “new” and “different” to me. There’s just no comparison, and I hope that every one who wants to experience a new country does so, because it’s something I am so happy that I am fortunate enough to make a part of my life.  Here go the next two months, I hope time slows down!”

Pearson Partners with the University of Massachusetts, Boston on its First Blackboard Integration with MySpanishLab

 September 9, 2013

The World Languages Team is pleased to announce the successful launch of its first Pearson Blackboard Building Block Initiative with MySpanishLab at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Thanks in large part to the ambitious technology initiatives implemented across the UMB program by Susan Mraz, Language Coordinator for Spanish and Portuguese, this new Blackboard Kiosk integration not only provides students and instructors with one central access point to all of their online course materials, but also simplifies the workload for instructors with the ability to import grades into their Blackboard gradebook directly from MySpanishLab.


With the new technology integration implemented in both web-enhanced as well as online first-year Spanish courses at UMB, students now benefit from 14-day temporary access to their MySpanishLab course materials, if needed, before they purchase access. Additionally, single sign-on capabilities from their UMB Blackboard courses will allow for seamless navigation between course materials housed on both Blackboard and MySpanishLab, giving instructors greater freedom to use new technologies that can all be accessed from one central location.


The World Languages Team at Pearson would like to extend our gratitude to Susan Mraz and the entire Latin American and Iberian Studies Department for their hard work and dedication over the summer to making this integration an overwhelming success. Additionally, we would like to thank Mary Simone, John Mazzarella, and the staff of the Digital Learning Studio at UMB for their time and support. We look forward to much continued collaboration to help develop new ways of supporting faculty while providing students with the best opportunities for increased learning outcomes.



Restitución de niños: A Conversation with Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo

2013 Honors Convocation: Celebrating LAIS Award Recipients


We are pleased to announce the department awards to our 2013 graduating Majors in Latin American & Iberian Studies.  Our warm congratulations to the recipients and to all our graduates.



(Latin American & Iberian Studies)

The María-Luisa Osorio Prize is named in recognition of the many contributions of María-Luisa Osorio, a colleague now retired, who taught in the Hispanic Studies Department from 1967 to 1995.  One of Professor Osorio’s most passionate academic interests was the role of women in Spanish society; more specifically, the images of women in Spanish literature.

Grateful for her wise and dedicated leadership, her colleagues, upon her retirement, established this prize in her honor, to be awarded to a graduating Spanish major who has written an outstanding paper on the topic of women in Spanish-language literatures or who has demonstrated academic excellence and an active interest in promoting a greater understanding of the role of women in the Spanish-speaking world.

Abigail Lee Goldberger

With the María Luisa Osorio prize, the Latin American and Iberian Studies Department recognizes academic excellence in graduating Spanish majors who have demonstrated interest in promoting a greater understanding of the role of women in the Spanish-speaking world.  This year’s honors go to Abigail Goldberger for her seamless commitment to learning as an engagement with the world.  “Through my academic work in the Latin American and Iberian Studies Department at UMass [Boston],” writes Abigail, “I not only gained the ability to communicate with so many interesting people, I also began to integrate my own experiences and the experiences of the people I had worked with, with the shared experiences of people throughout history.” Abigail’s awareness and commitment to understanding social systems that, as she notes, “either offer support to people or intensify obstacles that can hold [them] back” was born out through a number of independent outreach programs including one in Perú where she became involved with a small foundation seeking to empower a local community of women.  In the future, Abigail hopes to instrumentalize the knowledge and experiences she has gained while studying at UMass Boston towards furthering her interest and efforts in confronting issues of inequality and marginalization.


(Latin American & Iberian Studies)

A renowned scholar in Castilian Medieval history, Professor Clara Estow dedicated four decades of her life to UMass Boston and the Department of Hispanic Studies (1968-2008).  During that time, Professor Estow gathered accolades for her inspiring teaching, her generous mentoring of junior faculty, her scholarly rigor, and her dedication to improving public education in Massachusetts.  Her teaching effectiveness and her capacity for mentoring were proverbial.  She inspired many students to become teachers and scholars.  She showed an extraordinary teaching range and flexibility.  Her accomplishments in scholarship were equally outstanding. Professor Estow authored several widely respected books in her field as well as dozens of articles and essays on a number of topics. Professor Estow was repeatedly selected by her peers to represent them on the campus’s most significant committees and governance structures. She was UMass Boston’s first Hispanic to lead the University Faculty Council.

In gratitude for Professor Estow’s tireless, generous, and inspiring academic work on behalf of UMass Boston, her colleagues, upon her retirement, established a prize in her honor. The Clara Estow Prize is awarded to a junior or a graduating senior who has shown excellence, determination, and inspiration in their academic work in Hispanic Studies.

Stephanie Janine Banos

We honor Stephanie Janine Banos as co-recipient of the Clara Estow Prize. Stephanie Banos has combined her passion for the Spanish language with an equal commitment for social justice.  As a freshman she first envisaged a degree in business but was soon drawn into the world of Spanish language.  Although she had always loved the study of Spanish, she found at UMB that what she “initially thought of as a language composed of letters and words soon became much more: a culture, a set of ideas and beliefs, and an entirely new way to express” herself. She recalls that, “Spanish soon took me out of the classroom and into the real world,” and writes that her studies “clarified my ethical and moral responsibilities in all facets of my life.”

Stephanie spent nine months in Costa Rica where she found that mastering the Spanish language opened the door to Latin American civilization and experience.  She sees herself as a bridge between cultures and her determination to understand other worlds is drawing her into issues of immigration and educational policy.



Franklin K. Lund Montoya

We honor Franklin Lund Montoya as co-recipient of the Clara Estow Prize.  Franklin has superb linguistic abilities and the utmost commitment to education. He completed his BA in Spanish while working full time at night, and attending classes during the day.

His initial goal at UMass Boston was to master the complexities of Spanish linguistics in order to become a professional translator: and he has became a pretty good one; however he credits his professors for widening his horizon and encouraging him to think critically about the world and his place in it. He excelled in all of his courses in all areas: linguistics, translation, literature and culture. His plans for the future include completing graduate studies and becoming a college professor in Costa Rica. It is clear from his level of success at UMass that he will teach his students with the same passion, love, dedication and skill that he has shown in all of his classes.




Professor Susan Mraz received the Award for Leadership in Teaching with Technology in Web-Enhanced Environments

Professor Susan Mraz, Language Coordinator/Sr. Lecturer in Latin American & Iberian Studies received the Award for Leadership in Teaching with Technology in Web-Enhanced Environments at the CIT/Library/EdTech Conference: Innovating Teaching & Learning through Partnerships and Collaboration (May 15–16, 2013).  This award is given to someone who is a thoughtful user of technology in his/her own teaching and who also contributes in larger ways to our campus conversations about teaching with technology.  At that conference, Professor Mraz also participated in 3 presentations: “Swipe to Unlock Learning: Student Engagement with iPads in The Classroom,” “Using Voicethread And iPads to Increase Student Interaction and Develop Foreign Language Skills,”  and  “Using iPads to Engage Students.”

Mary Simone (DLS Manager) , Professor Susan Mraz,  Professor Dora Álvarez