Spanish Students Present Research at Initials Symposium

Every Spring semester K-State’s Modern Languages Department hosts Initials, a student research symposium where graduate and undergraduate students in Modern Languages present projects they have worked on during the academic year. Typically, each student creates a poster to showcase their research findings and illustrate their ideas – like these from 2019 – and faculty and students visit the displays and ask students questions about their projects. This year, Initials has gone virtual, and students created short video presentations. You can view all presentations from students in the Modern Languages Department (Spanish, French, German, and Classics) here.

This year, eight Spanish students presented their work, from classes ranging from Food in Spanish American Culture & History (Span 566), Spanish America Today (Span 773), Mapping Madrid in the Silver Age (Span 735), and even for capstone projects in International Studies. Below are the videos created by our #KStateSpanish students to showcase their research. A conversation with the presenters to discuss their projects will be facilitated through a live roundtable on April 30th from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm via Zoom. Questions about the video presentations can be entered in this document by April 28th.  We invite you to “visit” with our students and share your questions.

The Arepa: “Somos maíz”

Ariana Brancato and Sarah Meenen, supervised by Dr. Kanost

Ariana and Sara studied the origins and cultural importance of the Venezuelan arepa, a round, flat cornmeal cake popular in Central and South America. The arepa originated hundreds of years ago, and was a staple in the diet of several indigenous tribes in the northern region of South America. (Spanish 566, Food in Spanish American Culture & History)

Black-eyed pea fritters: An Afro-Caribbean food from Colombia

Lucy Fischer and Alice Miller, supervised by Dr. Kanost

This project is an investigation in the history, cultural significance, and preparations of the popular Colombian food buñuelos de frijol de la cabecita negra (black-eyed pea fritters). To convey the history and social role of the dish, Lucy and Alice created an original picture book and a demonstration of how to prepare this dish. (Spanish 566, Food in Spanish American Culture & History)

Abuse and Illegal Sterilization of Indigenous Women in Jorge Sanjinés’s The Blood of the Condor (1969).

Brecken Lawrence, supervised by Dr. DePaoli

For more than fifty years, forced sterilizations have been a recurring violation of women’s rights faced by many women around the world, but specifically among Latin American women. Brecken explored the scope of reasons as well as the ethical, medical, and social implications of why this issue still persists today, and what needs to be done to prevent these atrocities from happening in the future. (Spanish 773, Spanish America Today)

Bolivia, Lithium, and Energy Exploitation: Who Deserves to Reap the Rewards?

Chase Norton, supervised by Dr. Kanost

For his International Studies Capstone, Chase analyzed the 2019 Bolivian election that became shrouded in controversy and the debate regarding the removal of previous Bolivian President Evo Morales. He examines the subsequent 2020 election and how the results potentially help or harm the United States’ pursuit for lithium. Given that one of the largest lithium reserves lies within Bolivia and its government has made an effort to nationalize the mineral for its own people, there has been conversation regarding whether the U.S. is potentially beginning a new pattern of imperialist tactics.

Mexican Feminicide: The Colonialist Implications that Arise with the Promotion of Scientific Knowledge Against the Activist Response.

Madison Stiffler, supervised by Dr. DePaoli

Madison examined the Politics of Feminicide in Mexico, arguing for the movement away from reliance upon scientifically produced data (which is implicitly tied to colonialist power dynamics) and instead a push for more abstract methodologies which account for the intersectionality of the feminist movement against feminicide in Mexico. Madison supported her research with the the work of Dolores Figueroa Romero and Indigenous authors Jessica Kolopenuk and Robin Kimmerer. (Spanish 773, Spanish America Today)

Out of Sight and Underpaid: Women’s Labor and the Urban Landscape of Madrid in Carmen de Burgos’s La rampa (1917)

Anna Welsh, supervised by Dr. Bender

Anna analyzed the 1917 novel, “La rampa” and plotted the areas of paid, unpaid, and areas of leisure onto a map of early 20th-century Madrid based on the locations that characters frequented. She argues that women labored in every sector of the city and in every part of their life, not just where they were paid. Her narrative cartography will be shared with feminist organizations in Spain and the Carmen de Burgos Foundation to promote the legacy of Carmen de Burgos. Anna received funding for this project from K-State’s Office of Undergraduate Research & Inquiry (OURCI). (Spanish 735 Mapping Madrid in the Silver Age, 1898-1939)

We’re so proud of our Spanish students and their hard work in preparing to share their research – MUCHAS GRACIAS y FELICIDADES!

We hope to see you at the live roundtable on April 30th from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm via Zoom. Remember to post your questions about the video presentations on this document by April 28th

If you’re a student who will be working on a research project next year (2021-22), talk to your professor about presenting your work at Initials in April 2022. And even if you aren’t quite at the research stage of your coursework yet, join us online to learn about the exciting possibilities for research in both our undergraduate and graduate courses.


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