Oct. 24, 2012

Languages and Literatures celebrates 50 years


A performance of the play "En tel tiempo de las mariposas" on Nov. 1 is one of the featured events the college will host to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Languages and Literatures department.






In 1962, Geneseo made a commitment to teaching foreign languages and the important role foreign languages has for student education. Geneseo founded the Department of Foreign Languages that year as an independent academic program.

Today, the Department of Languages and Literatures has about 300 majors and 28 full- and part-time faculty members. Students can study how to speak, write, read literature and learn the culture and complexities of nine languages. The department is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of special events Wednesday, Oct. 31 through Saturday, Nov. 4.

The celebration includes a stage performance on Thursday, Nov. 1, of the play "En el tiempo de las mariposas" by the critically acclaimed New York City theater company Repertorio Español. It tells the story of the courageous Mirabal sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa (known as "the butterflies"), who were brutally murdered in 1960 for inspiring a revolutionary movement in the Dominican Republic against the dictatorial regime of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Members of the Spanish Club will decorate the auditorium's foyer with an altar for Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition observed the first two days of November. Based on Julia Alvarez's popular novel, the production is Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students, and $5 for Geneseo students. They are available online or at the auditorium's ticket office one hour before the performance.

"We are delighted to welcome this well-established New York theater company to Geneseo to help us celebrate our anniversary and look forward to what promises to be a powerful production," said Rose McEwen, associate professor and chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures. "We look forward to all of the events saluting the students, faculty and administrators who for the past half century have made our department what it is today. We look forward to a bright future in a world where language study is increasingly important."

Also attending the celebration will be the ambassador for The Ohio State University's Foreign Language Center's Collaborative Articulation Assessment Project, Romain Paumard, and Yishai Neuman, Geneseo's Hebrew Studies visiting scholar. Both will meet with students and faculty.

The Geneseo events celebrating the department's anniversary are also part of the Western New York Hispanic Heritage Festival, which is underway with events scheduled through Nov. 4 at multiple venues in Livingston and Wyoming counties. The festival events coincide with the college's annual Cultural Harmony Week Oct. 24 through Nov. 3, which provides programming to address a wide variety of community and diversity issues.

Also scheduled for the anniversary are several free events that are also open to the public:

• An Oktoberfest Celebration Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 2:30 p.m., in Welles Hall 210, organized by the German and Slavic Clubs, and activities by the Asian and Arabic Studies Clubs, held outside of Welles 210.

• A cultural evening hosted by the French Club on Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in Welles 111, focusing on Europe, Quebec and Africa. These events are free and open to the public.

See a complete schedule of anniversary events.