Professor Vilma Navarro-Daniels is not sure how she got to where she is today — that is, to teaching as an associate professor and recently receiving a promotion to full professor in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race.
“Little ants … they take piece by piece their food and suddenly they have a hill, a mountain,” Navarro-Daniels said. “When I look back, I see the same. I don’t know how I got here; it was day-by-day, probably.”
Navarro-Daniels is very intellectually curious, said Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi, associate professor and associate dean of student affairs and global education.
A native of Chile, Navarro-Daniels is just beginning to explore research of literature and film in her home country. She lived there for the entire duration of Augusto Pinochet’s 17-year-long dictatorship. She said it took her a long time to be able to shift her research focus to her home country.
Where in the world had the Clumber Park Chartier disappeared to? Joan Grenier-Winther, the Marianna M. and Donald S. Matteson Distinguished Professor of French at Washington State University Vancouver, really needed to examine the fifteenth-century collection of poems by Alain Chartier and others.
After all, her critical edition and translation of an unusual poem of the era was about to be published, and the Clumber Park manuscript had a version she hadn’t yet seen.
Before printing presses were invented, manuscripts were copied by hand. Mistakes could creep into one copy, and then be reproduced by scribes in subsequent copies. Grenier-Winther had examined all the known copies, or witnesses, as they’re known by professional medievalists, of “La Belle dame qui eust mercy” she was editing—all except the one in the Clumber Park Chartier.
“From the beginning of the 20th century,” Grenier-Winther says, “a lot of people have mentioned this manuscript: they knew it was beautiful and contained the poems of Chartier. The contents were cataloged. I asked scholars in Europe if they had any clue where it was, but no one did.”
Washington State University will celebrate the public launch of the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) with two workshops and a reception on Oct. 24. Joining the festivities will be Jon Parrish Peede, chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“The center will serve as a ‘front door’ to the arts and humanities at WSU. Our goal is to nurture curiosity and encourage innovation that crosses traditional scholarly boundaries and supports the public good,” said Todd Butler, associate professor of English and CAH director.
The center will award its first two undergraduate scholarships at the reception and celebrate the work of the current cohort of eight CAH Faculty Fellows, who are pursuing projects ranging from an examination of the links between Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frank Lloyd Wright to collaborations with Native American singers to preserve recordings of traditional Nez Perce songs.
Formally approved by the Board of Regents in May 2019, the center is supported by a University-wide consortium that includes the Office of Research, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, WSU Libraries, and the Office of the President.
Washington State University linguistics major and Spokane native Ava Beck will study at Aberystwyth University in Wales for three weeks this summer, thanks to a Fulbright Summer Institute to the U.K. award.
Beck is one of around 60 U.S. students selected to undertake short academic and cultural programs at any of nine hosting institutions throughout the United Kingdom. At Aberystwyth, on that country’s western coast, Beck will join fellow Americans exploring contemporary issues in identity and nationhood “through the lens of Wales.” She will attend classes in the university’s Dept. of International Politics, explore the city, visit the National Library of Wales, and learn a bit of the Welsh language.
“I am eager to learn and study during the experience and apply that knowledge to my future studies,” Beck said. “But I am also eager to just experience a new place and culture. I hope to grow in obvious and subtle ways and to bring this experience back with me to share with my peers as well as those I am closest to. It really is an exciting opportunity.”
The aspiring speech language therapist chose to apply to the Aberystwyth program for two reasons. She is interested that Wales is striving toward bilingualism in English and Welsh. Plus, she believes her academic area of interest—linguistics, or the study of the nature and structure of human language—is “irrefutably connected” to the summer themes of identity and culture.
Dr. David Leonard, professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies and American Studies at Washington State University, talked about the influence of African American Studies professor and scholar Ula Taylor. Leonard and Taylor first met when he was a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley.
“I arrived in Berkeley with trepidation and anxiety. My fears were quickly assuaged after a lunch with Dr. Ula Taylor,” Leonard recalled. “At the time, I saw such support as ‘normal’ and ‘routine,’ yet it was anything but commonplace—it is the kind of daily labor that is often rendered invisible. This is the essential work, often carried out by faculty of color, particularly women, that deserves recognition because of its impact. This labor isn’t just about support and mentoring but intellectual work. Thank you, Dr. Ula Taylor for giving so much to me and so many others. Thank you for contributing to my purpose.”