Academics Rosario de Swanson - Spanish
Contact Rosario de Swanson; 802-451-7581
Growing up in a rural town in Mexico's Jalisco state gave Rosario de Swanson a unique perspective as a student of Spanish American literature. Studying the culture she grew up in while living in the U.S. made her more aware of contradictions and forced her to confront ideas that she had never questioned. Rosario considers the study of Spanish as highly relevant, even in rural Vermont. "Perhaps we have not been the best of neighbors, but the stories of Americans and Latin Americans are tied, historically and otherwise. There are also so many people in the U.S. of Hispanic descent that knowing about their language, their culture and their stories of immigration and arrival is relevant to all of us because it is part of our histories.
"I want to always present ideas in a fresh way, and always present new ideas," says Rosario. "I usually go for the nontraditional," such as her course called Gender Trouble, about modern women writers in Latin America and the Afro-Hispanic diaspora. As a professor of Spanish she expects a lot of her students, but in a laid back atmosphere. She strives to help students to test and trust their own ideas and find their own voice, "which most of the students already have in English; it's hard to find in a second language."
Student Plans and Collaborations
- La vida galapaguena: a collection of essays and journals exploring second language acquisition and culture in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Christopher Boyle '10, languages.
- An application of psychology, Spanish and applied linguistics to the Colombian context of English language learning, history, culture and armed conflict. Antonio Iaccarino '10, psychology and languages.
Rosario's tendency to explore uncharted academic territory is exemplified by her dissertation topic, "Afro-Hispanic difference in continental Spanish American literature." In addition to Afro-Hispanic literature, culture and music, she specializes in women writers, contemporary indigenous literature and feminist and post-colonial theory. "There are 21 nations and multiple cultures represented in the linguistic universe of Spanish," says Rosario. "With each community adding something to the language, culture and literature, studying Spanish is very rewarding." In March 2010, she traveled to Equatorial Guinea, the only African nation where Spanish is the official language, to research a paper on the nationally celebrated writer Juan Tomas Avila Laurel.
- "Si alguien dice que esta desarrollado y no goza de los derechos humanos, no lo esta": Entrevista al escritor ecuatoguineano Juan Tomas Avila Laurel. Hispanic Journal, 32(2), Fall 2011.
- "Orality, Myth and History in the works of Afro-Peruvian writer Lucia Charun Illescas.MARGES, Postcolonial Discourses and Renegotiations of Black Identities." Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios Africanos y de la World Diaspora. Howard University (US) & Le Groupe de Recherche Sur Les Noir-E-S D'Amerique Latina, Universite de Perpignan (France), 2011.
- "Autoenografía, espacio, identidad y resistencia in la narrativa fundacional de Guinea Ecuatorial: Cuando los combes luchaban (1953) de Leoncio Evita Enoy." Revista Iboroamericana, in press.
- "Palabras de mujer: intertextualidad, mito y memoria en Malambo de Lucía Charún Illescas." Alba de America, 28 (2009): 311-330.
- "Para morir iguales." (Short Story) Letras Femeninas 35(1), Summer 2009.
- "María de las Soledades" and "Así fue." (Poems) Letras Femeninas 31(2), Winter 2006.
- "Los milagros de la Virgen de Guadalupe: Transición al Nuevo / Nuevos Mundos." (The Miracles of our Lady of Guadalupe: Transition to the New World, to New Worlds). Hispania 85(2), May 2002.
Since 2008, Rosario has led a Spanish language and literature program for promising students in the Dominican Republic. She designed the curriculum as part of MACILE (Matemáticas, Ciencias y Lenguaje), a program dedicated to improving the quality of education for K-12 students in less advantaged communities. "I had great teachers who really loved our culture and language," she says. "I want these students to have the same experience."
Rosario's blog, which honors the ancient world and its renewal in today's struggles for social justice and freedom in literature and the arts.
B.A., Smith College, 1998; M.A., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2003; Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2008; Marlboro College, 2009 -