Marlboro College

Academics Rosario de Swanson - Spanish

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.

Teaching Philosophy

"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

Scholarly Activities

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.

Selected Publications

Community Service

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."

External Sites

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 -




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