Lingua Franca*

Department of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures (RALL)
University of Cincinnati
June 2021

*Lingua Franca: a common language consisting of Italian mixed with French, Spanish, Greek, and Arabic that was formerly spoken in Mediterranean ports; any of various languages used as common or commercial tongues among peoples of diverse speech.  (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

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Dear Friends of RALL,

Although during this past academic year we had to conduct all our RALL departmental activities remotely, we still have many achievements to celebrate in RALL for this 2020-21 academic year. Once again, the many challenges that came with these unusual circumstances have highlighted the resourcefulness, creativity, and innovative strengths that characterize our RALL faculty, staff, and students.

This past year we were fortunate to have Kara Moranski come back in her new position of Assistant Professor, to welcome Muhammad Faruque as Inayat and Ishrat Malik Visiting Assistant Professor, and to welcome three new Educators in Spanish: Anne Lingwall Odio, Juan Godoy Peñas, and Rosario Drucker Davis. In the Fall we will welcome back Ashley Johann also as a new Educator in Spanish. Fred Cadora, Michèle Vialet, Siusan Sinclair, and Noris Rodriguez retired this past year. We will miss them! We wish them the very best in their retirement and future endeavors.

These following highlights, among many others, illustrate our faculty’s and students’ interdisciplinary expertise in literary, film, and cultural studies, Creative Writing, and Second Language Acquisition, and the many successes of our department this past year. Our Cincinnati Romance Review editors Jeff Loveland and Maria Paz Moreno, assisted by Assistant Editor extraordinaire Julia Escobar Villegas, announced the publication of Volume 50 (Spring 2021), a fascinating monographic issue on sports in Latin American literature, edited by our very own graduate Dr. Luis Miguel Estrada Orozco: . Thank you also to our Program Manager Steve Hofferber for his invaluable help uploading the new issue to our webpage. Starting this Fall Semester, Patricia Valladares-Ruiz will take over as Editor of the journal. She will be joined by Olga Sanz Casasnovas as Assistant Editor.

Senior Librarian Arlene Johnson was honored with a 2021 Faculty Senate Exemplary Service to the University Award. The full UC News article, which describes the impressive scope of Arlene's work and service, is here:
She is the first UC librarian to receive this award.

The 2021 CCRALL (Cincinnati Conference of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures, which happened online this year) panel on Carmen Laforet, chaired by Olga Sanz Casasnovas, was featured in the culture section of Milenio, one of Mexico’s major news outlets. Organized by former visiting professor Rolón Barada and a group of former classmates of Nicasio Urbina at Georgetown, the panel was a great success. The moderator was his former professor of Spanish theater, professor emerita Barbara Mujica.

Throughout the year we held a RALL Research Presentation Series that allowed our faculty and graduate students to present on their latest research and creative work. This series included the following presentations:

  • Nicasio Urbina: “Authorial Intention in Mario Vargas Llosa's Hard Times.”
  • Jeff Loveland: “Specialized Dictionaries and Encyclopedias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” 

2020-2021 RALL Research Presentation Series

Poster advertising the 2020-2021 RALL Research Presentation Series
  • Michael Gott and Leslie Kealhofer-Kemp, Associate Professor of French & Film Studies at the University of Rhode Island, Book Presentation: Refocus: The Films of Rachid Bouchareb.
  • Anne Lingwall Odio: “Bilingualism in the US: Two Studies on Child Language Development.”
  • Kara Moranski: “Research methods for language curriculum development: Myths, magic, and reality.”
  • Thérèse Migraine-George: “French in the World: Translingualism and Francophonie."
Poster of the Magdalena River promoting  Julia Escobar Villegas's presentation for the 2020-2021 RALL Research Presentation Series entitled: “To Think With the Magdalena River’s Flow: The Metaphor of the National Fluvial Tree in Grávido Río by Ignacio Piedrahíta.”
  • Maria Paz Moreno, Bilingual Poetry Reading.
  • Irene Ivantcheva-Merjanska: Collaborative reading from her forthcoming book Pieces (Poems and Fragments).
  • Julia Escobar Villegas: “To Think with the Magdalena River’s Flow: The Metaphor of the National Fluvial Tree in Grávido Río by Ignacio Piedrahíta.”

Our RALL community has made it through this difficult year with flying colors, and I look forward to our next academic year together.

Thérèse Migraine-George

Professor Emerita Susan Bacon published Leyendas: Tesoros del mundo hispano, co-authored with UC RALL alumni, Aitor Bikandi- Mejias, Saint Louis University Madrid, and Gregg O. Courtad, Mount Union University. This is a fully interactive edition published by LingroLearning for 3rd and 4th year students of Spanish:

Mohamed Elayyadi was promoted to Assistant Professor Adjunct.

Mauricio Espinoza published a new book of his translations into English: Hago la herida para salvarte / I Make the Wound to Save You, by Costa Rican poet Randall Roque (New York: Artepoética Press, 2020). In addition, his co-translation of Eunice Odio’s poetry, The Fire’s Journey Part IV: The Returned, was a finalist for the 39th Northern California Book Awards, Translation in Poetry category. Mauricio Espinoza also received a UC Sustainability Course Content Enhancement grant from the Provost’s Office to develop a new course with substantial sustainability content on “Coffee in Latin America: History, Culture, Environment” that he will teach in 2021-22. This grant will go “toward interviewing farmers, young and innovative coffee entrepreneurs, environmentalists and labor activists, and agricultural scientists working in coffee production in Costa Rica.” Finally, the groundbreaking work of the Latino Faculty Association, and in particular of Prof. Espinoza, was featured here:

Muhammad Faruque, Inayat and Ishrat Malik Visiting Assistant Professor, published his book Sculpting the Self: Islam, Selfhood, and Human Flourishing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2021; the following articles:                                                                                    “Untying the Knots of Love: The Qur’an, Love Poetry, and Akkad’s The Message.” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies 5.2 (2021).                                                                                              “A Nietzschean Mystic? Muhammad Iqbal on the Ethics of Selfhood.” In Mysticism and Ethics in Islam, edited by Bilal Orfali et al. Beirut: The American University of Beirut Press, 2021.              “Transcending the Ordinary Self: Mullā Ṣadrā on the Ethics of Human Flourishing.” In The Bloomsbury Handbook of Islamic Ethics, edited by Jafar Mahallati. London: Bloomsbury, completed and forthcoming [2021].
“Eternity Made Temporal: Ashraf ʿAlī Thānavī, a Twentieth-Century Indian Thinker and the Revival of Classical Sufi Thought.” Brill Journal of Sufi Studies 9.2 (2021).                                  And the book review:
Mohammad Azadpur, Avicenna and Analytic Philosophy: Knowing the Unknown. The Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, 5.2 (2021), forthcoming. 

Juan Godoy Peñas published his book Memoria, identidad y literatura del yo at Editorial Renacimiento:
and a book chapter titled: “Exilio, creación y memoria: las mujeres de la segunda generación de escritores exiliados por la Guerra civil española” in Eva Quiso morder en la fruta. Mordedla. Autoría y espacio público en las escritoras españolas e hispanoamericanas, published by Dykinson (Madrid).

Juan Godoy Peñas and Kara Moranski received a University Honors Program Summer Research grant for their project “Local Spanish Language Immersion Experience at UC,” to support the creation of a local Spanish immersion program this summer. UC News featured the upcoming local Spanish immersion summer program:

Michael Gott and Mauricio Espinoza are part of the interdisciplinary “Identities and Representations of Human Mobilities” research group (focused on global migration) that received a Taft Research Group award.

Michael Gott’s new book ReFocus: The Films of Rachid Bouchareb, co-edited with Leslie Kealhofer-Kemp (Edinburgh University Press) was published: His chapter entitled “Inside Out: Invaders, Migrants, Borders, and Queering the Belgian Family” is included in the new collection Queering the Migrant in Contemporary European Cinema, edited by James S. Williams (Routledge, 2020): Michael Gott received an AHSS (Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences) Research Advancement Awardan A&S Innovation Grant (“Global Media Cultures and Creation”), a Taft Research seminar award for a Fall seminar on “The Global Cinema of Quebec: Representation, Social Justice, and Cultural Policy,” and a Taft summer fellowship for his project “Transnational Quebec Cinema: Nation, Diversity, and Representation.” 

Michael Gott and Thérèse Migraine-George, in collaboration with Ashley Currier in WGSS and the program of Gender Studies at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne, received a UC International Incentive Grant and a Taft Collection Grant to develop an archive of lectures on gender and sexualities in Francophone cultures (to be used for UC seminars).  

Carlos Gutiérrez, Mauricio Espinoza, and Thérèse Migraine-George are part of another interdisciplinary Translation Work group that has been selected to receive a Taft Research Group award for one year. 

Cover of forthcoming book by Irene Ivantcheva-Merjanska entitled "Pieces (Poems and Fragments)."

Irene Ivantcheva-Merjanska has a forthcoming book, Pieces (Poems and Fragments), Polis Publishers, Sofia, 2021. 

Anne Lingwall Odio received a Research Launch Award from the Office of Research.

Thérèse Migraine-George published “Littérature-Monde, World Literature, and the Politics of Difference” in Francophone Literatures as World Literatures, ed. Christian Moraru, Nicole Simek, and Bertrand Westphal. London, U.K.: Bloomsbury. 167-179 (2020).

The CANS initiative, led by Kara Moranski, was featured on UC’s homepage under “Education in Action.” The article “Good Neighbors, Better Partners" was published in UC Magazine and features our former graduate student Abbie Finnegan and our graduating student Andie Anderson:

Maria Paz Moreno published the following articles: 

  • “La mujer nueva al filo de los años 30: amistad y búsqueda estética en Concha Méndez, Ernestina de Champourcin y Carmen Conde.” Ínsula. Revista de Artes y Letras. Num. 887, Monographic IssueModos de transición. La “joven literatura” en el umbral de los años 30. Miguel Ángel García, Ed. November 2020: 25-29. Insula. Revista de Letras y Ciencias Humanas, funded in 1946, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious journals on literature published in Spain. 
  • “Subalternidad y compromiso en las poetas españolas de los 50 y los 70.” El compromiso poético español del siglo XX en el canon académico actual (1975-2018). Miguel Ángel García, Ed. Granada: Comares, 2021: 253-271.

She was interviewed by the newspaper Ideal (Granada, Spain): 
She was quoted in an article on the history of 
paella for the South China Morning Post:    
She was quoted and her book mentioned in an article that just came out in Saveur magazine. It comes with a great recipe (provided by the author of the article) for the "Spanish French toast," torrijas, typical of Easter:
She had a book review of her latest book Amiga del monstruo (2020) by Ana Merino published in the prestigious journal Zenda:
She had a selection of her poems included in a poetic anthology: Antología poética del desexilio. Los nautas. 14 poetas en exilio voluntario. In La manzana poética. Revista de Literatura n. 58Córdoba, 2020. Ed. Mertxe Manso.
Her poem “Where you say fear” was selected by the Cincinnati Public Library as part of “Our Community Poetry Project” in celebration of April's National Poetry Month. The video of her bilingual reading is available on their Youtube Channel:

Maria Paz Moreno and Jeff Loveland received another Editorial Assistance Award for the 2021–22 academic year. All CRR issues can be accessed here:

Congratulations and thank you Maria Paz, Jeff, and Julia Escobar Villegas for all your hard work on behalf of our CRR!

Thomas Mouries completed his PhD and was promoted to Assistant Adjunct Professor.

Professor Emerita Pat O’Connor figures as a major character in the novel of Vanessa Montfort about María Martínez Sierra, La mujer sin nombre, and will also be a character in Montfort’s planned TV series of the same name. Her many recent and upcoming publications and recognitions include:

  • “Paradise and Love in Ana Diosdado’s Unpublished Final Play: El cielo que me tienes prometido.” Journal of the Asociación Hispánica de Humanidades, 2020 (Fall). 
  • “Ana Diosdado, la mujer y la dramaturga, prefacio a su última obra, El CIELO QUE ME TIENES PROMETIDO (2015).” Estreno 2020 (Fall).
  • “Martha Halsey and her Invaluable Relation to Estreno and to Spanish Theater.” Homage to Martha Halsey (Estreno’s recently-deceased former editor). Estreno, 2020 (Fall).
  • “El darwinismo social y sus consecuencias en dos obras teatrales recientes de Juana Escabias,” Ed. Isabelle Reck, for publication in a volume of essays on Juana Escabias. Strasbourg: University of Strasbourg, 2021.
  • Bilingual Prologue to Iride LaMartina-Lens’ book entitled Women’s Monologues from the Far Side of the Moon [Palabra de mujer del otro lado de la luna]. Madrid: Editorial Antigona, 2021.  - “María [de la O Lejárraga] Martínez Sierra,” an essay about this dramatist for The Encyclopedia of Modern Theater  (London: in press for 2021).
  • Entry for María Martínez Sierra in the Encyclopedia of Theatre, London, 2022.
  • She participated via a video in the homage to María Martínez Sierra at the SGAE (Authors’ Society) in Madrid, March 8 (International Women’s Day), 2021.

Quote from Facebook: “The Spanish Embassy provided a Spotlight clip of Diana De Paco's SEE YOU IN HEAVEN...OR, MAYBE NOT! For anyone interested in reading the play, the excellent English translation by Patricia O'Connor is available in Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays vol 38. This play is also a wonderful option for college courses dealing with contemporary theater, women writers, and/or women's issues.”

Bok cover:  Professor Emeritus Armando Romero’s novel entitled "Cajambre."

Professor Emeritus Armando Romero’s novel Cajambre was published in Athens, Greece. 

Nicasio Urbina published two articles: “Intención autorial en Tiempos recios de Mario Vargas Llosa.” Carátula, 99, December 2020. and “Ernesto Cardenal en la cultura popular nicaragüense.” Revista Abril, 24, March 2020.                  Two book reviews: Latin America Literature Today. 16, 2020. “El asesino melancólico.” On El asesino melancólico by Jacinta Escudos. 
Latin America Literature Today. 13, 2020. “Tiempos recios.” On Tiempos recios by Mario Vargas llosa.
Since April 3, 2020 to the present he has been holding a weekly poetry reading entitles” Poesía: Instante infinito” in collaboration with the Spanish poet Pedro Enríquez.  More that 40 sessions so far and more than 200 poets have participated. The programs are available in YouTube.
Two articles of literary criticism have recently appeared about his work: Yvonne Sánchez Barea. “Muralla de luz.” Ofrendas y tributos. Granada, Spain: PCSUR, 2020.  p. 102-106.
Elvia Ardalani. “Interview. Mi poesía ha sido una poesía de exilia. De vivir en un país que no es el mío.” 
Libros medio siglo. October 23, 2020. Also published in Las marcas de mi escritura

Catherine White was nominated by one of her students for a Mrs. A.B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2021.

Luis Barreto’s article "Birdman y las nuevas aventuras de un quijote: parodia y transtextualidad" was published in Journal of Iberian Studies, vol. 45, at U of California Santa Barbara. This project was funded by a 2019 Summer Enhancement Award and refined during Prof. Maria Paz Moreno's Academic Writing Workshop in Spring 2019. Former graduate student Raquel Barbero Ortiz's article “Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y el origen del discurso ecocrítico en el Sumario de la Natural Historia de las Indias (1526)” was also published in the same volume, and was also developed in Prof. Moreno's class:

Julia Escobar Villegas received a 2021-22 Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship.

Tomás Arce Mairena received a 2021-22 Taft Dissertation Fellowship.

Julia Escobar Villegas and Victor Vimos were the two RALL nominees for a 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Assistants. 

Dani Granja and Lucas Proper received 2021 Taft Graduate Summer Fellowships.

Juan Andrés Pizzani published “Autoetnografía en una agencia de marketing de Lima” in the Venezuelan electronic magazine Prodavinci. This is the first publication from Nicasio Urbina’s Taft Research Seminar on Andean Cultures and Literatures:

Adriana Prieto Quintero wrote a children’s book Where Are We From? as part of an immigration project. The book’s production was funded by a grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) and it was sponsored and printed by Wave Pool, an art and community center based in Cincinnati. Where Are We From? is illustrated by Mónica Andino and aimed at building a positive vision about the immigration situation in the US. 

Victor Vimos was accepted into the PhD program in Latin America Culture and Literary Studies at OSU with a Dean's Distinguished University Fellowship, the best scholarship of that University. 

His interview with the Spanish poet and critic Miguel Casado was published in Periódico de Poesía (UNAM-México), one of the most prominent media for poetry criticism today in Latin America: 
(He worked on this project as part of the Taft Graduate Summer Fellowship).     

RALL Recipients of the 2021 Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence include:
Nicole Baah, Minor in Spanish
Chloe Elleman, Minor in Spanish, Certificate in Service Learning
Priyanka Vemuru, BA in Spanish & BS in Medical Studieshttps:              

RALL Students Nominated for Phi Beta Kappa include:
Domenic Cipollone, BA in Spanish
Gordon Goodwin, BA in Arabic
Sarah Kaleem, BA in Arabic
Matthew Raj, BA in Spanish
Priyanka Vemuru, BA in Spanish
Julia Windle, BA in Spanish

                             Congratulations to RALL 2021-21 Awardees and                              Finalists for Nationally Competitive Awards!

Critical Language Scholarship

Image of Nicholas Marx

Nicholas Marx

Nicholas Marx is a second year student at UC double majoring in French and Mathematics with a certificate in Spanish. He is a recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Image of Matthew Raj

Matthew Raj

Matthew Raj is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati, earning dual degrees in Medical Sciences and Spanish with a minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies. He is a recipient of the Fulbright ETA in Mexico.

Boren Awards

Image of Caleb Akers

Caleb Akers

Caleb Akers is a fourth-year student at UC from Columbus, Ohio double majoring in International Affairs and Political Science. He is a recipient of the Boren Scholarship and will study Bahasa in Indonesia.

Image of Adam Elzarka

Adam Elzarka

Adam Elzarka is a second-year student double majoring in Medical Sciences and Liberal Arts with concentrations in Arabic, Philosophy, and Psychology. He is a recipient of the Boren Scholarship and will study Arabic in Jordan.

Image of Nicholas Marx

Nicholas Marx

Nicholas Marx is a second year student at UC double majoring in French and Mathematics with a certificate in Spanish. He is a recipient of the Boren Scholarship and will study French in Senegal.


Stephanie Alcantar (Ph.D. 2018) was hired as Assistant professor of Spanish, tenured track at the University of Cincinnati, Clermont Campus.

Paola Cadena Pardo published the book of poetry Apartamento 4 (3419 Telford St.) Fundación Renascentro, 2020.

We received the following note from Cristina Ortiz Ceberio: “I am an alum of the University of Cincinnati’s Spanish program (PhD, 1993) and I am contacting you because I had excellent news to share. A member of my PhD cohort, Dr. Alicia de Gregorio, has been appointed by the North American Academy of the Spanish Language as chair of the committee in charge of the new edition of the Spanish Grammar. Professor De Gregorio has a stellar resume, which includes, among her multiple honors and achievements, full-membership to the Academy (académica de número). Un afectuoso saludo,” Cristina Ortiz Ceberio, PhD, Prof. of Humanities and Global Studies, Coordinator of Spanish and Latin American Studies Program, UW-Green Bay.

Tiffanie Clark published  “La evolución espiritual en tres obras de Amado Nervo" in Reflexiones, a literary journal at La Universidad Libre of Colombia: Reflexiones-Vol-7-vr.-digital-1.pdf and “Mujer sin Edén: Fusiones del feminismo y guerra/posguerra” in Lucero at UC BerkeleyMujer sin Edén: Fusiones del feminismo y guerra/posguerra (

Arturo Gutiérrez Plaza published the poetry anthology El cangrejo ermitaño. Visor, 2020. His new book of poetry is Cartas de renuncia. Fundación la poeteca, 2020. And the translation into English of his book of poetry Intensive Care, translated by Arthur Dixon. Alliteratïon, 2020.

Rodrigo Mariño (Ph.D. 2020) has accepted an offer from Bard High School Early College, in Washington, D.C. as full-time faculty member of Spanish language and culture, with a contract for two years, renewable.

Manuel Ramos Montes published Tratado de Ilusión. Ediciones Oblicuas, 2020, the second of four books or movements of experimental prose entitled Vatako, created by Manuel, an accomplished drummer and musician as well. He also saw the publication a monograph based on his doctoral dissertation, El hallazgo del escriba. Buenos Aires: Alción Editora, 2020. 489 pp.

Marcelo Rioseco published the book of poetry Olivia en los suburbios. Valparaíso, 2020.

Carolina Rueda (MA Spanish) is the director and co-author of the film Oklahoma Mon AmourMarcelo Rioseco (PhD) is the co-author. The film won a Special Jury Award. this weekend at the WorldFest Houston! About 1500 feature films were submitted, 34 were chosen. The film also features former professor Enrique Giordano.


Matthew Raj (Spanish major and Premed) received a very competitive Fulbright to teach English in Mexico from August 2021 to May 2022.

Although many donors prefer to remain anonymous I would like to thank all those who have donated to the department for their tremendous generosity, which has had a powerful impact on our department, on both our undergraduate and graduate students, and on our faculty. Among other sources of funding I would like to acknowledge the Pat O’Connor Fund for Cultural Enrichment, the Betty Jane Hull Scholarship, the Emily Frank Adler Award for Study Abroad, the Edward Coughlin Scholarship, the Dr. Karen L. Gould Scholarship in Foreign Language Studies Endowment Fund, the French Culture and Francophone Studies fund, and the Susan Cogan Romance Language fund. Donations are allowing us to support our undergraduate students’ study abroad experiences and our graduate students’ research activities, to buy material and equipment for our department, and to support our many social, cultural, and scholarly events in RALL throughout the year. Donations allow us to grow and thrive and we are deeply grateful to all our donors for their generosity.

If you would like to give to our department please consult this webpage:

You can also email the head of the department, Thérèse Migraine-George (, for more information on the various areas that you can support in our department.