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News & Events

Each year the department hosts a number of events and activities--from regional conferences on modern language scholarship and international literatures, to theatrical and musical presentations, as well as the University's Annual Human Rights Film Series. Click the links below to learn more about past and upcoming events:

Spring 2016 Events:

Call for papers for Pennsylvania Foreign Language Conference

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is pleased to host the 29th annual Pennsylvania Foreign Language Conference (PAFLC) on September 23-25, 2016. We cordially invite scholars to organize a session or submit a 200-word abstract before August 19, 2016. Presentation time is limited to 20 minutes. No papers will be read in absentia. All presenters must pay the $150.00 registration fee by August 30, 2016 to be included in the program. Proceedings will be published. More information will follow. Please see the attached flyer.

Performance for the "Reading to Play and Playing to Read"

On April 14, 2016, the project Reading to Play, Playing to Read culminated with six short performances with a strong message: health, nutrition and sickness prevention in Spanish. Beechwood Elementary and Duquesne students became actors and actresses to share the benefits of good nutrition and exercise. Students in Spanish Conversation and Composition II and Spanish for Healthcare Professionals, and children from the Casa San José after-school program did a phenomenal job performing the skits while encouraging everyone to adopt a healthier lifestyle!


"Reading to Play and Playing to Read"

"Reading to Play and Playing to Read," is a collaborative agreement with the after school program at Beechwood Elementary sponsored by the non-profit Casa San José. Students enrolled in MLSP 302W (Conversation and Composition II) and MLSP 280 (Spanish for Healthcare Professionals) will work with Beechwood students 2 days a week for 3 weeks, from March 30sth to April 14th. The project is meant to:

  1. Connect the language we are learning in the classroom about health for medical professionals with our own community,
  2. Bridge Spanish language and content focused on healthy lifestyles, health promotion and prevention through a community engaged experience
  3. Further Duquesne University's mission of service.

East Asian Expert Dr.Feigon's Residency at Duquesne  

We were excited about Dr.Lee Feigon's residency here at Duquesne during a week of March 14, 2016 sponsored by the Honors College. He has written for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Nation, the Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, and the Boston Globe. He has been interviewed on television shows such as MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, CNN, CNBC's Hardball, and the NBC Nightly News. He is the author of Mao: A Reinterpretation, the work on which the documentary is based, as well as of the acclaimed Demystifying Tibet: Unlocking the Secrets of the Land of the Snows, and China Rising: The Meaning of Tiananmen, a highly praised book that combines a historical perspective of the Tiananmen Movement with a first-hand view of the events leading up to this crisis. Japanese Culture Course taught by Keiko Rushlander enjoyed his lecture in the evening of March 14. He shared his firsthand knowledge of Tibet and personal anecdote with her students. Below is one of comments from her students:

Dr. Feigon's talk was an extremely interesting and an eye-opening experience. Dr. Feigon is an East Asian Expert that holds a great deal of positions, he is a writer, director, and a producer. His talk was centered on Tibet. He opened up his discussion with the how much different their culture was from what we are accustomed to. He briefly discussed the Tibetan warrior tribe, and how they would carry their swords around and if they went into a bar they would have to check their weapon in, so there wouldn't be any fights breaking out leading to deaths. Another aspect of his discussion about Tibet I found extremely interesting was that these people were able to construct some of the most astonishing architectural designed buildings in the world. I was stunned when Dr. Feigon pulled up a picture with his ‘His Holiness' or the Dalai Lama. It was interesting to hear that Dr. Feigon and the Dalai Lama had a meeting that lasted almost four hours, and they were openly discussing politics and the Chinese and Tibetan relations. His overall discussion was extremely informational, and I'm pleased that I got to hear a man of his stature present his findings of a countries various cultural identities that I will probably never get to visit ~ by Cody West, School of Business


Spanish students on the live radio show "Barrio Latino!"

Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero and students from her MLSP 302W-Community-Engagement Spanish Conversation & Composition II class participated in the Barrio Latino radio show on Thursday, March 10. Heidi Shellenbeger, Eli Badaczewski, Lex Monroe, and Vicente Zamarripa-Zoucha participated in the radio show. They talked about Dr. Osa-Melero's Mead Fellowship Award and the impact of "Niños y niñas bilingües y biculturales" on the students, the preschoolers and the community. Please click on a link below to the podcast to enjoy a live conversation in Spanish!


2016 Duquesne University Human Rights Film Series

The department is privileged to to serve as the organizer of the University's annual Human Rights Film Series, which is held in January and February. The series showcases award-winning documentaries and feature films dealing with the some of the most pressing human rights issues confronting the world today.

Click on the graphic above for the schedule of films and speakers for our 2016 series.

Click here for information about the more than 60 films we have shown in recent years.


The department hosts the conversational gatherings facilitated by Dr. Arlette DeJesus at the Spiritan Campus Ministry Center. We welcome everyone who speaks Spanish to join our informal conversation table.

Place: Spiritan Campus Ministry Center, 2nd floor, Duquesne Towers

Dates: 3-16 @4:00 - 5:00,  3-31 @5:00 -6:00

Faculty Spotlight 2016:

 Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero was selected as a NECTFL (Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Mead Leadership Fellow. This program supports an individual in the development of a project that contributes to the foreign language teaching profession and advances quality language instruction. Dr. Osa-Melero's project focuses on the exploration of the value of learning a foreign language at a very early age in a global society.

Dr. Mark Frisch received an internal NEH Grant that supported the visit of the Cuban journalist, foreign correspondent, short story writer and poet, María Elena Llana, and her translator, Dr. Barbara Riess (Allegheny College), in October 2016.

Fall 2015 Events:

Living the Mission II

• Students in MLSP 301W-CE Spanish Conversation and Composition I completed their second community-engagement activity at Beechwood Elementary School.

• The after-school program, organized by the non-profit Casa San José, weekly assists Hispanic children, ages 5 to 8, in the process of improving their school performance.

• Duquesne students cooperated with Casa San José by teaching Christmas traditions, fully in Spanish, from some of the children's countries of origin: Honduras, Guatemala, México,Puerto Rico, and Spain.

• Both Duquesne students and Beechwood children fully enjoyed this process of teaching and learning, and they are already making plans for a bigger collaborative project for Spring 2016.

                 Beechwood 1     Beechwood 2

                   Beechwood 3

 A Reading and Discussion with Cuban Author Maria Elena Llana  

Thursday, October 29, 2015
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. 644 College Hall

                 Maria Elena 2

Please see the attached flyer.

The Day of the Dead Celebration

The Day of the Dead is an ancient tradition celebrated in all of Latin America from October to November. Families remember their departed loved ones and celebrate their lives. Join us in celebrating this unique holiday. We will have craft-making workshops, discussions in Spanish and a communal altar installation.

Spanish Conversation Hour

The department hosts the conversational gatherings facilitated by Dr. Arlette DeJesus at the Spiritan Campus Ministry Center. We welcome everyone who speaks Spanish to join our informal conversation table.



Place: Spiritan Campus Ministry Center, 2nd floor, Duquesne Towers

Dates:  2-3 @4:00 - 5:00                               2-18 @5:00 -6:00

Living the Mission I

Students in Spanish Conversation and Composition I completed their first community-engagement activity

• Dr. Lucía Osa-Melero guided her students, working cooperatively in pairs, to educate preschoolers on the value of a second language

• Duquesne students customized a lesson plan to teach colors, numbers, fruits and vegetables to the young preschoolers and created cultural lessons based on Hispanic popular culture

• Teachers, parents and preschoolers involved in the YMCA-Duquesne project highly valued the activity and have already requested more lessons

• In line with the Día de los Muertos event, students created lesson plans that compared the Halloween celebration in the USA to the Día de los Muertos festivities in Latin America and parts of the USA

• This project was supported by the YMCA Duquesne Early Development Center and the Community Engagement Teaching and Research Center (CETR)


Annual Pennsylvania Foreign Language Conference

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures was pleased to host the 28th annual Pennsylvania Foreign Language Conference (PAFLC) on September 25-27, 2015.


Spring 2015 Events:

Community Engaged Learning: "Reading to Play and Playing to Read"

In line with the mission of Duquesne University and the support and inspiration offered by the Community-Engaged Teaching and Research Center (CETR),, Dr. Vanessa Fernández and Dr. Lucia Osa-Melero initiated a community-engaged project entitled "Reading to Play and Playing to Read" during the Spring of 2015. This community-engaged project, forged through a partnership between the non-profit Pittsburgh organization Casa San José and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Duquesne University, combined the learning goals of two upper division courses: Advanced Spanish Composition & Conversation and Spanish American Theatre of the Avant-Garde. Students from both courses worked cooperatively to develop a 3-week program on Mexican history and culture for Mexican children, ages 5 to 8, who had recently immigrated to the United States. College students wrote scripts, planned lessons, and taught children in an after school program once a week. The project culminated with creatively executed performances at Duquesne University. The Wimmer Family Foundation, the Department of Modern Languages&Literatures, Casa San José, and Beechwood Elementary in Beechview supported this collaborative effort from its inception. The project offered immeasurable benefits to both college students and our community partners. Photographs featured below better depict the profound impact that this experience had on children in Pittsburgh's Hispanic community and Duquesne's undergraduate students.





Salsa Night - February 6, 2015







Photo Gallery of Past Events


Pennsylvania Foreign Language Conference

Sponsored and organized by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the Pennsylvania Foreign Languages Conference (PAFLC) on French, German, Italian and Hispanic Literatures is held in September of each year, attracting language and literature scholars from the US. and Europe. 


Cultural Performances

In the fall of 2012, the department hosted Los Valientes (The Courageous Ones), a live music theatre work for singing actor and onstage music trio of cello, piano and percussion. Based on the lives of three heroic Latinos, the show celebrates Mexican painter Diego Rivera, martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Mexican-American outlaw Joaquin Murrieta - some say the Zorro character was based on this historical figure. The music ranged from traditional Latino folk and popular songs sung in Spanish to instrumental works by Latin American composers.



2013 Majors/Minors Picnic & Senior Awards

Each year the department recognizes outstanding students and celebrates the graduation of majors and minors.  Here are a few pictures from this year's Major and Minors Picnic.