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A Letter of thanks from the Lopez Family

Graduate Student Verónica Dávila has shared a letter of thanks from her family. The Spanish & Portuguese Department helped organize a fundraising campaign for the family after their housing was damaged or destroyed during the hurricanes in Puerto Rico. The letter is below:


    15 de enero de 2018


     Northwestern University

     Departamento de Español y Portugués

     Chicago, Illinois


     Reciban un fuerte abrazo de parte de la Familia López Ellis.

     Como todos saben la isla de Puerto Rico fue afectada por el Huracán María el pasado 20 de septiembre de 2017. Aún teniendo experiencias anteriores con dichos fenómenos naturales no nos imaginabamos la magnitud de María. Toda la Isla, en mayor o menor grado, fue afectada. El sistema eléctrico colapsó en un 100% y los medios de comunicación (radio, celulares, internet) a penas estaban disponibles. En nuestro caso en particular, también sufrimos de una gran inundación por lo que perdimos practicamente todo.  Fueron momentos de mucha desesperación; había que tomar decisiones rápidas para salvaguardar nuestras vidas, por lo que estuvimos en el techo de nuestro hogar por casi 11 horas.

Gracias al apoyo de nuestra familia y de personas maravillosas y con gran corazón como ustedes, pudimos comenzar a recuperar nuestro hogar y nuestras vidas. No pensamos jamás que recibiriamos tanta ayuda. Con sus donaciones pudimos ayudar a varias familias del área de Levittown: Fam. Torres, Fam. López Rodríguez, Fam. Cortés y Fam. Pérez. Todas ellas les envían su mas profundo agradecimiento y gratitud.

 Nos sentimos muy orgullosos que nuestra hija Verónica Dávila sea parte del Departamento de Español y Portugués de Northwestern, Universidad no solo de gran prestigio sino una que  fomenta el servicio comunitario, la caridad y solidaridad.

Gracias a todos y cada uno de los que nos donaron dinero para nuestra recuperación. Les estaremos infinitamente agradecidos.  Aquí en Puerto Rico tienen una nueva familia que los recibirá con los brazos abiertos. Dios los bendiga.


Eternamente agradecidos,


Familia López Ellis





Watch Professor Cook's "Language and Cultural Studies" Video 

Professor Cook explains her research on the Judeo-Spanish language (the language of the Sephardim [the Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492] ) in the video below:

Congratulations Carlos Halaburda

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese is proud to announce that the Ibero-Amerikanische Institut (IAI) Research Grant has been awarded to Spanish & Portuguese doctoral student Carlos G. Halaburda. During his research stay in Berlin, Carlos will be part of the Institute’s 2018 research project, “Knowledge Production and Cultural Transfers: Latin America in Trans-regional Contexts.”






Support for Veronica Davila and Family


As many of you know, our graduate student Verónica Dávila is in Puerto Rico with her family. Her family has been especially hard hit by the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has started a GoFundMe for Veronica and her family. We encourage you to contribute and to share the link far and wide. The web address for the campaign is Donations of any amount are welcome… big  or small, everything counts! 

Beiling Wu Prize in Writing for 2017 Awarded to Carlos Halaburda.

Congratulations to Carlos Halaburda on winning the Beiling Wu Prize in Writing for 2017. The Beiling Wu Prize is named for a former Northwestern graduate student in the humanities and is awarded to a doctoral student who wrote the best essay on literature or literary culture in the first year of his/her program.

Carlos is now a 2nd year graduate student, and his doctoral research will examine the ways in which the 19th century Iberoamerican melodrama articulates a critique of the alliance between nation, science and global capitalism.






Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Student Award Winners

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is proud to honor the 2016-2017 student award winners. This year's winners are: Paul Curtis, Alex Karahalios, and Sofia Salgado, with honorable mention to Arnold Johnson and Laura Padilla.

Best Essay for Spanish 200 level Literature and Culture Classes Prize

Paul Curtis 2020 Chemical Engineering Major

"Fiat iustitia: Una exploración de la culpa y la justicia en “Las medias rojas” 

Spanish 220, Professor Lucille Kerr

Honorable Mention to: 

Arnold  Johnsen 2019 Statistics Major/Spanish Minor

“Yo me conozco esa historia”: Repetición y subversión en También la lluvia"

Spanish 260, Professor Casey Drosehn

Best essay on the Literatures and Cultures of Latin American and/or Spain:

Alex Karahalios 2018 Political Science Major/Spanish Minor

"La incertidumbre, la recuperacion de la identidad y el legado: las consecuencias de la violencia deshumanizante y del cuerpo perdido" 

Spanish 395, Professor Nathalie Bouzaglo

Honorable Mention to: 

Laura Padilla 2017 Spanish & Neuroscience Major

“La causalidad mágica en “Verbo matar”

Professor 348, Professor Lucille Kerr

Josef J. Barton Prize for Undergraduate Service in Spanish and Portuguese:

Sofia Salgado 2018 Psychology Major/Portuguese & Global health Studies Minor

Romance Language Alumni Talk Career Options and Tips

cA group of six Northwestern alumni spoke on Thursday (April 20th) about the ways in which their undergraduate language studies have shaped their career paths and continue to enhance their professional opportunities.

The panel, held in the newly-renovated Kresge Hall and geared towards current undergraduate students studying Spanish or French, featured Redmond McGrath (Weinberg ’12), an associate attorney at Webster Powell, P.C.; Elisa Meggs (Weinberg ’11), a program manager at the cultural exchange organization CCI Greenheart; Zachary Pfau (BMus’08), a learning and development solutions designer for Murex S.A.S in Paris; Aja Ringenbach (Weinberg ’13), a visa specialist and program advisor at IES Abroad; Jake Rosner (SESP ’12), a union organizer at Unite Here Local 1; and Kate Suellentrop (Weinberg ’12), a senior strategist at FCB Chicago.

The speakers kicked off the panel by urging audience members not to underestimate the value of a second language, and emphasizing the ways in which their own undergraduate language studies helped them stand out to employers following graduation.

“Even in the first years after college, I’ve had a number of great opportunities opened to me,” said Ringenbach, who studied Spanish during her time at Northwestern and continues to use the language as an advisor at IES Abroad. “[Studying a language] adds an extra tool to the tool belt. It signals to others that you have an interest in opening your mind to other cultures.”

The alumni noted that the payoff of studying a second language is quick to manifest itself outside of the work space, too.

 “You can put other people at ease when you speak not only their language but their culture,” said Pfau, who skyped into the panel from Paris, where he has been living since 2008 when he came as a Fulbright scholar.

Rosner, who uses Spanish in his job as a union organizer in Chicago, agreed.  “Language…lets me build much deeper relationships and bonds with people,” he said.

The alumni wrapped up the panel by encouraging current students to keep practicing their language skills outside of the classroom, especially by studying abroad.

“Study abroad early and often,” said Meggs, before highlighting the ways in which the university has equipped its students for success in any environment, be it abroad or domestic. “Just going to Northwestern and being in a fast-paced, demanding environment, you’re more prepared than you think.”

After the event, students lingered to chat with panelists one-on-one, utilizing the opportunity as a chance to ask more personalized questions and seek out language-specific advice. 

“On your own, it’s hard to think about how a language skill will be useful in the future,” said Kelsey Pukelis, a current undergraduate student who has taken courses in Spanish and attended the Thursday panel. “So it’s nice to hear from different people how and to what extent they try to incorporate [language] into their lives. It’s not always an obvious connection.”

Congratulations Raquel Amorese!

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is delighted to announce that Raquel Amorese has won the Arts and Sciences Alumni Teaching Award. Congratulations to Raquel for all of her hard work and dedication.



Congratulations to our Portuguese Language Program 

The "Illinois Portuguese Language Connection", a yearly event organized and run since 2013 by the Portuguese Language Programs of Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign WON the 2017 AOTP Award of BEST INITIATIVE OR PROJECT IN THE PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE in the UNITED STATES!

Ana C T Williams is the Northwestern University co-chair of this program.

The  AOTP partners with the prestigious Brazilian International Press Award that recognizes, since1997, institutions, initiatives and individuals who promote a positive image of Brazil in the USA. The AOTP recognizes the contributions of those who stand out in the teaching and promotion of the Portuguese Language in the United States. 

This year the V Illinois Portuguese Language Connection will be hosted by Northwestern University, on April 29. On the occasion, there will be a special celebration with students, faculty members from the 3 universities and the Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago . All are invited. More information:

Northwestern to focus on critical theory in the Global South

Northwestern University is leading a new curriculum initiative that will bring together researchers from across the globe and a wide range of disciplines to focus on critical theory in the Global South.

The group of new undergraduate and graduate courses being developed will reflect contemporary, historic and economic conditions that extend well beyond a traditional European focus in critical theory.

Led by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the project was made possible by generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, including a $1.02 million grant to launch the Northwestern initiative in December.

the project was developed by faculty affiliated with the Critical Theory Cluster, one of the innovative cluster initiatives spearheaded by The Graduate School. The faculty include Weinberg College’s Jorge Coronado, chair of Spanish and Portuguese, and two associate directors of Northwestern’s Critical Theory Cluster: Peter Fenves, chair of German, and Penelope Deutscher, professor of philosophy. Both Fenves and Deutscher are Weinberg College Joan and Sarepta Harrison Professors.

Read the full article here.



Lecture and Film Screening by Maite Conde: Photography, Film and the Techno-politics of Brazil’s Rondon Commission

January 17 & 18, 2017

Kresge 1515 (both days)

5:00pm (both days)

Maite Presentationlimite poster- maite conde

Professor Fernandez-Morera's The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise Finalist for WORLD Book of the Year Award.

WORLD magazine has announced its finalists for its 2016 Book of the Year awards, and we are proud to announce that Professor Dario Fernandez-Morera's book The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise is a finalist in the History/Biography category. This is just the latest honor bestowed upon the book. More information can be found here.

Summer Classes Start on June 20th


Congratulations to Our 2016 Award Winning Students

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is proud to announce our 2016 student award winners:

  • Gabrielle Enrique, winner of the Humberto E. Robles Prize for the Best Honors Thesis in Spanish
  • Kayla Morin, winner of the Best Essay for Spanish 200-level
  • Weldon Terrill, winner of the Best Essay on the Literatures and Cultures of Latin America and/or Spain Prize
  • Nicole Kempis, winner of the Vera R. Teixeira Prize

Congratulations to All of Our Graduating Majors and Minors, Convocation Is June 18th

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is proud to announce the upcoming graduation of 11 Majors and 33 Minors graduating this Spring. For more information about Weinberg's Convocation, click here.


Cornell Professor Gerard Aching to Present at "Modernisms Before Modernism",  the Launch of the Global Avant Garde and Modernist Studies Graduate Cluster.

June 3rd is the launching ceremony of the graduate cluster global avant garde and modernist studies (gams). It will have three speakers, a roundtable and a reception including "Freedom from Liberation" a talk by Gerard Aching.


Come Join the 2016 Illinois Portuguese Language Connection 

The Illinois Portuguese Language Connection is an initiative of three Universities in Illinois: The University of Chicago, Northwestern University andThe University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.The IV IPLC will happen at The University of Chicago on April 23, 2016, from 11:00am to 5:00pm and will focus on Rio de Janeiro: History, Culture and Adventure.The main reason for this anual event is to gather the students of Portuguese from the three biggest universities in Illinois for a day of interaction, and also to reinforce the presence of Brazil within our institutions. More information at:

filmContemporary Migrations: Destination Europe - A Film Series


Two men make the dangerous journey from Africa to Italy for a better life, but then face hostility and 

violence in this shocking look at the life-and-death struggle of refugees.

Beun Día, Ramón

Ramon, a young Mexican boy, tries to cross the border for the fifth time but fails. His friend tells him about his aunt living in Germany and that she has a better life over there. Ramon then goes to Germany to find his friend's aunt.


Bilal, a 17-year-old Kurdish boy, has traveled through Middle East and Europe to join his girlfriend, freshly immigrated to England. But, his journey comes to an abrupt end when he is stopped on the French side of the Channel. Having decided to swim across, Bilal goes to the local swimming pool to train. There he meets Simon, a swimming instructor in the midst of a divorce. To impress his wife and win back her heart, Simon decides to risk everything by taking Bilal under his wing.

Forum Language Tables in Allison


The Forum for Languages and Cultures at the Buffett Institute will host a series of Language Tables during Spring Quarter and would like to invite the broader Northwestern community of faculty, students and staff to attend. The Language Tables provide an opportunity to gather and converse in one of ten languages in the friendly environment of the PARC Dining Room in the Allison Dining Hall with refreshments provided by the Forum and the Office of Residential Academic Initiatives. The tables are open to everyone, from novice learners to native speakers. Come and practice your language skills while getting to know others on campus.

Tuesdays @ 4:00: Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Korean, Russian, and ESL

Wendesdays @ 4:00: French, Spanish, German, Polish, Hindi/Urdu, Portuguese

Congratulations to Professor Joel Colom-Mena for Being Named One of College Magazine's Top 10 Professors at Northwestern.

College Magazine, an online magazine run by student journalists nationwide, has named Professor Joel Colom-Mena one of Northwestern's Top 10 Professors. The article quotes student Meredith Falk, who says, "Joel goes the extra mile to help students outside of class. He has an amazing sense of humor that makes class even more enjoyable, and you can tell that he’s a well-rounded learner." Read the article here.

Cervantes, Christianity, and the Ides 2016 Bottom BannerStruggle Against the Islamic Caliphate: A Talk by Professor Darío Fernández-Morera 

 Darío Fernández-Morera will be speaking at the Rockford Institute about his new book The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain.

Event: The Sixth Annual Ides of March Lecture on Democracy and Tyranny

Topic: Cervantes, Christianity, and the Struggle Against the Islamic Caliphate

Details: A reception will follow the lecture, which will take place on Thursday, March 17, 2016, at The Rockford Institute, 928 North Main Street, Rockford, Illinois, at 6:00 PM.

Registration: Advance admission is $15.00; couples, $25.00. (Add $5.00 if paying at the door.)

Professor Darío Fernández-Morera was interviewed by Guatemalan TV's UFM NewMedia about Francisco de Vitoria and Jorge Luis Borges.

Professor Fernández-Morera speaks about freedom, community, and even cannibalism in the context of Francisco de Vitoria and Latin American. See the interview Francisco de Vitoria here. 

Professor Fernández-Morera explains the universality of Borges writing and his conflicts with other Latin Americans of the time. See the interview on Jorge Luis Borges here.

Come See Livio Sansone Give a Talk on "Lombroso and Latin America"

Livio Sansone, Professor of Anthropology and Afro-Brazilian Studies at Universidade Federal da Bahia Brazil, will talk on the influence of Cesar Lambroso:

  • Thursday, March 10th
  • 4:00-6:00
  • University Hall 201

The influence of the ideas produced by the cabinet of Cesar Lombroso in Turin on the debate on deviance, crime, degeneration and race on the young social sciences in Latin America is undeniable. It is especially so for the period 1889-1930 that in Brazil anticipates the creation of universities proper. Come and join us in this interesting and informative talk.

Spring Spanish and Portuguese Courses Open for Registration on February 22nd!

Spring registration begins February 22nd. Start planning your course load now by visiting our Spring undergraduate and graduate course lists.

See Tracy Devine-Guzmán of the University of Miami Give a Speech on Native Sovereignty and Indigenous Wellbeing in Brazil. 

Professor Tracy Devine-Guzmán of the University of Miami will give a talk on Native Sovereignty and Indigenous wellbeing. This presentation considers the enigma of indigenous representation in the context of Brazil’s longstanding development schemes and current political and environmental crises. I argue for the urgency of rethinking defunct notions of “community” in accordance with the alternative notions of sovereignty and belonging at work in national and transnational Native philosophies, political activism, and cultural production.

Link to the event page.

Come See Brazilian Poet and Author Italo Moriconi on February 5th.

Italo Moriconi, professor at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro and author of numerous works of poetry, will be giving a talk: "Multilingualism and Prosifying in Contemporary Brazilian Poetry" on Friday, February 5th, noon to 2:00 at University Hall, room 201. Come listen and enjoy this master of thoughts and words. Refreshments provided.

Listen to Darío Fernández-Morera Speak on the Religious History in Andalusian Spain.

Professor Fernández-Morera spoke on the podcast Research On Religion in December. From the Research on religion website: 

From approximately 711 A.D. to the end of the 13th century, the majority of Spain was ruled by Muslims, with Christian rule finally unifying the country in the late 15th century . Prof. Darío Fernandez-Morera examines the history of al-Andalus and argues that this historical epoch was not necessarily a time of religious harmony and “convivencia” that many contemporary scholars claim. We examine the political, economic, and social status of Christians and Jews, as well as women, during this time period. 

Listen to the podcast here.

"On T-Tas and Tongues: Punk Feminism and Political Violence in 80s Peru" A Lecture By Shane Greene

The Andean Cultures and Histories Working Group in collaboration with the Buffett Institute are hosting Shane Greene on Wednesday, January 20th, 5pm at Crowe 3-130. Light refreshments will be provided.

Interview of Reginald Gibbons

Northwestern's Research interviews Reginald Gibbons on his new book How Poems Thinks (pg 51-52). Read more...

Welcome to Class of 2019 and Transfer Students !

Wildcat Welcome kicks off Friday, September 11 as Northwestern welcomes over 2,000 new students on Move-In Day! View the Wildcat Welcome schedule

Join The Chicago Humanities Festival

Join the Chicago Humanities Festival for the fifth annual Morris and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day on Saturday, October 24 on the NU campus!

2015 Summer Course Offerings

Department of Spanish & Portuguese offers this summer Spanish 101-1,2,3 (Elementary Spanish) and Spanish 121-1,2,3 (Intermediate Spanish). For more information, please check our schedule for Summer Courses or visit SummerNU.

Congratulations, 2015 Grads!

Weinberg College's Convocation ceremony was held Saturday, June 20. Sheri Phillips Prentiss ’89 delivered poignant speech at Convocation Read more...View the interim dean's welcome and the speaker's keynote on Weinberg's YouTube channel, and see photos on the Weinberg Flickr feed.

Congratulations to our 2015 student wards winners: Mary Lewis, Mary Frances Verónica Bradford, Lindsay Jagla and Daniel Palacios

Best Essay for Spanish 200-level Literature and Culture Classes.

Author: Mary Lewis

Title: La imagen de la mujer desde la perspectiva del hombre y de la mujer: una comparación entre "El recado" por Elena Poniatowska y "Mientras por competir con tu cabello por Luis de Góngora."

Course: Spanish 220 - Introduction to Literary Analysis. Professor Lucille Kerr

Best Essay on the Literatures and Cultures of Latin America and/or Spain.

Author: Mary Frances Verónica Bradford

Title: “Destrucción de las normas narrativas: La atemporalidad en "Simetrías" de Luisa Valenzuela.”

Course: Spanish 395 - Citizenship and Urban Violence in Latin America. Professor Nathalie Bouzaglo

Author: Lindsay Jagla

Title: “La lucha para ganar agencia: fotografía en Latinoamérica."

Course: Spanish 361 - Latin America: Studies in Culture and Society. Professor Jorge Coronado

The Josef J. Barton Prize for Undergraduate Service in Spanish and Portuguese.

Daniel Palacios

Congratulations to our Portuguese student Elissa Rothman!

It is a pleasure to announce that our Portuguese student Elissa Nicole Rothman is the winner of the round trip ticket to Brazil offered by United Airlines on the occasion of the III Illinois Portuguese Language connection. 

Students of Portuguese from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign competed for this prize, by submitting videos on the theme "Why Portuguese is important for your future career". Elissa's video "The Dream Job" was really excellent. It can be seen on this link or on our Facebook Page.

Congratulations to Elissa!​

Check out Our Fall Newsletter!  

Read about our alumni, our current students and our faculty's research.

Congratulations to our own graduate student Cíntia Kozonoi Vezzani

who has just published an article in the jornal non plus: Revista Discente da Area de Françês, entitled "Dans l'âbîme". This article proposes to analyze the esthetical and thematic construction of the “abyss” in Boutès  (2008), in dialogue with another work of Pascal Quignard, Abîmes - Dernier royaume III (2002). We will investigate the structure of a metaphorical abyss, metaphor that centralizes the issue of time, as well as the desire of unity and reconnection among different elements (man, woman, voice and memory.)

"João Albasini e As Luzes De Nwandzengele: Jornalismo e Política em Moçambique, 1908-1922"

João Albasini e As Luzes De Nwandzengele: Jornalismo e Política em Moçambique, 1908-1922

Our own César Braga-Pinto, Associate Professor of Brazilian Studies at Northwestern University, co-edited this 400-page collection of articles by João Albasini, the founder of O Africano and O Brado Africano, the first black newspapers in Mozambique. João Albasini (1876-1922) was a prolific writer and activist who fought for the rights of Africans under Portuguese Colonialism.

2013-2014 Student Awards

The Honors and Awards Committee (Laura León Llerena, Lucille Kerr, Jill Felten, María Reyes Moran Fuertes and Darío Fernández-Morera) evaluated the papers nominated for departmental prizes and decided to award the following papers:

Congratulations to Elisa Baena, who won an Arts and Sciences Alumni Teaching Award in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences for the academic year 2013-2014!!!  This is a distinct honor, based on the recommendation of Weinberg College's student-faculty Committee on Teaching Awards, which considers members and teaching assistants from all departments and programs. We are so proud of you, Elisa, and our students appreciate your hard work and passion for teaching!

Congratulations Casey Drosehn!

Casey Drosehn, a CLS student homed in Spanish and Portuguese, has just published a peer-reviewed article in A contracorriente. It is entitled "De los medios a los remedios: Qué y Los mecanismos de la curación."


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