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Recent Faculty Publications

March 14, 2016

The faculty in Romance Studies have produced many great works recently.  Check out the newest titles below:

  • Dominguez, Frank. Carajicomedia: Parody and Satire in Early Modern Spain. New York and London: Tamesis, Boydell and Brewer, 2015
  • Estrada, Oswaldo Ed. Senderos de violencia. Latinoamérica y sus narrativas armadas. Valencia: Albatros (Serie Palabras de América), 2015
  • Gonzalez Espitia, Juan Carlos. La cosecha del sembrador. Comprehensive introductory study and edition of José María Vargas Vila’s unpublished novelistic tetralogy. Panamericana Editorial. Colombia. 2015
  • Luisetti, Federico, John Pickles, and Wilson Kaiser, eds., The Anomie of the Earth: Philosophy, Politics, and Autonomy in Europe and the Americas, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2015
  • Rao, EnnioCastroreale: Storia e Lingua. Terme Vigliatore: Giambra Editori, 2015
  • Alayrac, Fielding, Vanessa and Ellen R. Welch, eds. Cultural Intermediaries/Intermédiaires culturels. Etudes Internationales sur le Dix-Huitième Series. Paris: Honoré-Champion, 2015
  • Longino, Michele and Ellen R. Welch, eds. Networks, Interconnection, Connectivity. Biblio 17 Series. Tübingen: Narr, 2015

Rocha Vivas (PhD, 2015) awarded Premio Literario Casa de las Américas 2016

February 2, 2016

rochasMiguel Rocha Vivas, PhD in Romance Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 (advisor, Professor Emilio del Valle Escalante), has received in Cuba the prestigious international literature award Premio Literario Casa de las Américas 2016.

The Premio Literario Casa de las Américas is a literary award given by the Cuban Casa de las Américas. Established in 1959, it is one of Latin America’s oldest and most prestigious literary prizes. The award is presented for works in Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French by writers from Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to the main categories of fiction, poetry, and essays, there are categories for narrative and children’s literature.

Miguel Rocha Vivas received the Premio Literario Casa de las Américas 2016, in the category “Premio de Estudios sobre Culturas Originarias de América,” for his book Mingas de la palabra, textualidades oralitegráficas y visiones de cabeza en las oralituras y literaturas indígenas contemporáneas (Word´s Mingas, Oralitegraphic Textualities and Upside Down Visions in Contemporary Indigenous Oralitures and Literatures), a text based on his doctoral dissertation.

His book was chosen for “Being a profound, relevant and original study about contemporary Indigenous writings in Colombia, understood within the continental Indigenous literary movement. For establishing pertinent and luminous connections between these writings and other forms of register, languages and symbolic representations created by the Original Peoples. And for contributing knowledge to the Indigenous movements that have been prominent actors in the Americas in their desire for cultural and political self-representation, and the affirmation of their identities.”

Miguel Rocha Vivas is a Colombian writer, professor, researcher and traveler. Currently he is an associate professor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. He has devoted part of his scholar career to study and foster indigenous literatures and creative work throughout the continent. He received his PhD in Romance Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. During his residency in Chapel Hill (2012- 2015) he founded the Cineminga (intercultural cinema group) and became an active member of the Abya Yala Working Group, sponsored by the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UNC and Duke University. As a member of this working group he organized numerous events such as the visit of four indigenous writers, two Colombian social scientists, and one elder from the camëntsa nation. Miguel has held various academic positions. At UNC he taught Spanish and also a course on indigenous cinema and contemporary writing at the Institute for the Study of the Americas. Between 2004 and 2013, he was coordinator of the national Intercultural Education Program for indigenous researchers at Universidad Externado (Colombia). He has lectured in Europe, Canada, the U.S. and South America. Miguel is the author or coauthor of many books, including El héroe de nuestra imagen (literary criticism, 2004), Perumanta qanchis aswan allin willakuyna (narrative, 2005), Interacciones Multiculturales (essays, 2008), Antes el amanecer (anthology, 2010), El sol babea jugo de piña (anthology, 2010), Flores del diamante (poetry, 2010), Pütchi Biyá Uai, precursores (anthology, 2011) y Pütchi Biyá Uai, puntos aparte (anthology, 2011), Camino a Sí (aphorisms, 2012), Palabras mayores, palabras vivas (literary criticism, 2010/2012).

The recipient of national and international awards in 2006 and 2009, Miguel Rocha Vivas also won national literature scholarships sponsored by the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the Instituto Caro y Cuervo. In 2010 he received the National Research Award in Literature funded by the local government of Bogotá, and in 2012 was awarded an honorable mention for his collaborative work with indigenous nations from the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas, the Peruvian Congress, the Universidad San Marcos de Lima and the Universidad Austral de Chile.

We congratulate Miguel for receiving the prestigious Premio Literario Casa de las Américas 2016!

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Sam Amago receives award from IAH

January 19, 2016

Sam AmagoCongratulations to Dr. Sam Amago, who has recently won an award from the Institute for Arts & Humanities.

Dr. Amago has been selected by the Faculty Advisory Board to be a Faculty Fellow with the IAH in the Spring of 2017, allowing him to focus on his current research projects.

Thank you for all of your hard work!

Rosa Perelmuter wins $1,000,000 Mellon Grant

January 11, 2016

Rosa PerelmuterCongratulations to Prof. Rosa Perelmuter, Principal Investigator of a 4-year, $1,000,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP).

With additional funding from UNC, MURAP will be able to continue its mission to diversify academia by ensuring that high achieving, talented underrepresented minorities, as well as others committed to diversity, are given every opportunity to consider, and to succeed in, a career in higher education.

More information about the program is available at

More information about the grant can be found here:

Faculty are encouraged to recommend rising juniors and seniors interested in pursuing PhDs in the humanities, social sciences and fine arts by writing to or by directing them to the MURAP website.

Felicidades, Rosa!

Dorothea Heitsch wins 2016 Chapman Award

January 7, 2016

Heitsch, Dorothea

Congratulations to Dorothea Heitsch, who is this year’s recipient of the prestigious 2016 Chapman Family Distinguished Teaching Award for proven excellence in undergraduate education. The award conveys a semester’s leave as a fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

This makes the second time a ROMS faculty member has won this award in recent years, making a total of 5 recipients from our department since the award’s inception in 1993.

Many thanks to Dr. Heitsch for her hard work and dedication to the Department of Romance Studies!

UNC Teaching Award to Luis Marcelino Gomez

November 20, 2015

Gómez, Luis MarcelinoCongratulations to Luis Marcelino Gómez!

He was chosen this year for a Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff Awards (SUTASA).

SUTASA was established in 1989 to recognize outstanding undergraduate instruction at the University.

Each year, a committee of 15 to 20 undergraduate students selects the annual SUTASA awardees. Recipients are chosen based on demonstrated and consistent excellence in undergraduate teaching, creation of a dynamic intellectual environment and success in positively affecting a broad spectrum of students both in and outside the classroom.

On Wednesday, April 22, Luis Marcelino will be in a ceremony with the Chancellor for that recognition, receiving a Diploma and a $ 5000 check.

Celebrating an early unpublished Latin American novel on Nov. 18

November 11, 2015

José María Vargas Vila

A roundtable discussion on Nov. 18 at UNC will celebrate the publication of Latin American writer José María Vargas Vila’s manuscript of his novel, En los jardines de Lesbos.

The event will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room in Wilson Library.

Speakers include Daniel Balderston, Mellon Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Maria DeGuzman, Director of Latina/o Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill; David William Foster, Regents Professor at Arizona State University; and Ariana Vigil, Women’s and Gender Studies Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill.

The book is the first novel in Latin America dealing clearly and specifically with the topic of lesbianism. UNC-Chapel Hill was able to purchase the unpublished manuscript, which is now part of the University’s Rare Book Collection.

Associate professor Juan Carlos González Espitia, in the Department of Romance Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences led the effort to acquire the book. He is the foremost expert and editor of the work of José María Vargas Vila and also created a UNC Libraries comprehensive digital library of all the author’s works.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Romance Studies, the Institute for the Study of the Americas, the Program in Latina/o Studies, the Center for Global Initiatives, the Rare Book Collection and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

The Department of Romance Studies also has related events on Nov. 19 and Nov.20.

Jessica Tanner wins Lawrence R. Scherhr Award

November 11, 2015
Dr. Jessica Tanner

Jessica Tanner has received the Lawrence R. Schehr Memorial Award for her paper “Branding Naturalism: The Ecology of Vice in Zola” at the Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium at Princeton. The NCFS describes the prize: “In remembrance of Larry Schehr’s profound commitment to mentoring junior faculty, this prize recognizes the best essay presented at the NCFS Colloquium by an untenured PhD within the first 6 years since receiving the degree.”


Congratulations, Jessica!

Newest Members of the Department

August 13, 2015

You may see some new faces around Dey Hall this year.  Here’s a quick introduction, though you should really try to get to know each of these amazing people better!


Anderson, RobertRobert Anderson is our newest faculty member in Portuguese, and will also be serving as Director of the Languages Across the Curriculum program.  He is an alumnus of our program, and is returning to us from Winston-Salem State Univeristy!
Pereira, Carolina Sa CarvalhoCarolina Sa Carvalho Pereira is our new instructor in Portuguese & Spanish!  She is a recent graduate of Princeton University and we are excited to have her join the ROMS team!
Graham, Lamar 2Lamar Graham is our newest Post-Doctoral Fellow in Spanish (Hispanic Linguistics), coming to us from the University of Georgia.  Here's hoping he sticks around for a while!
Burklin, BlakeBlake Burklin is our new Graduate Student Services Manager and will be guiding our students along the arduous path to obtaining a PhD. New to our department but not to UNC, it's great to have him on board!
Whitney, NellyNelly Whitney is the new managing editor of our Publications office.  In just a few short weeks, she's done amazing things with the office, and we are happy to see what else she has in store!

A New Name for our 106-year-old Department

June 9, 2015

*The following article originally appeared on the UNC Global Website*

The home for research and study of the French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish languages and associated cultures in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has formally changed its name from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures to the Department of Romance Studies.

The department aims to preserve, increase and transmit knowledge and understanding of the Romance languages, literatures and cultures within the transnational and regional contexts in which they have developed.

“The name change reflects the new face of language, literary and cultural studies and complements recent changes in the department’s administrative structure, graduate programs and academic culture,” said Federico Luisetti, chair of the department.

This shift follows a national trend of other departments of Romance studies—at institutions such as Cornell and Duke universities—that have attempted to break down traditional methodological and national barriers to emphasize interdisciplinary research and scholarship, rather than separating language instruction and cultural research.

“What ‘Romance Studies’ captures is a key strength of our faculty, composed of scholars who apply a variety of approaches ─ historical, linguistic, philological, sociopolitical, cultural, visual and theoretical ─ to the teaching and study of languages and literary and nonliterary texts and cultures of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas,” said Luisetti.

This fall, the department will host a one-day symposium that will bring together scholars from Romance Studies across the nation to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the discipline.

Romance languages were among the first subjects taught at UNC, and this is not the first name change to the department. It was originally called the department of modern languages (French and German) when it was constituted in 1885. It split in 1909 into the department of Romance Languages and the department of Germanic Languages. The latter is now the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Since then, several other languages have been added to the Romance Studies mix, including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and other historical languages of Europe and the Americas, such as Basque, Catalan, Galician and Guaraní.