Allegheny Professor’s Podcast Brings Victor Hugo’s Work Into the 21st Century

Les Miserables podcastAllegheny College Associate Professor of French Briana Lewis has started a podcast that she hopes will open a dialogue about the relevance of Victor Hugo’s work in the 21st-century world. Lewis, who received degrees from Furman University, Boston University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has taught at Allegheny for the past nine years.

On most Tuesdays, Lewis releases a new episode of “The Les Misérables Reading Companion,” which she says “aims to break down the walls of academia, and make Victor Hugo’s legendary novel more accessible to the general public”.

Lewis says her inspiration for the podcast stems from her interest in the media form herself. As she listened to a variety of podcasts, she noticed the lack of shows about literature, recognizing that many podcasts focus on television shows and movies — often neglecting rich literature such as Hugo’s Les Misérables. Hugo was a 19th-century poet and novelist who wrote Les Misérables — a story that follows Jean Valjean throughout the early years of the nineteenth century. The 1862 novel has since been adapted for the screen and the stage.

Briana Lewis
Associate Professor of French Briana Lewis

Lewis noted the relevance of Les Misérables to the current political state of our world–and particularly, the United States. Given the contentious nature of the modern political scene, clear lines can be drawn from our current world to that of the novel, she said. So Lewis found it important to create an open discussion about the classic French novel that was aimed at the general public.

By using language relevant to all listeners regardless of their prior knowledge about French culture, Lewis is able to immerse people in the rich messages associated with Hugo’s most famous work. One such message is that social forces can make a person’s past cast a long shadow over their life.

Lewis noted that she intends for her audience to consist of people reading the book because the podcast is constructed as a reading companion, rather than a lecture series. The episodes, she said, act as a liaison between the general public the academic community of Hugo studies. By gearing the project toward a general book-loving audience, including those who might not speak or read French, Lewis makes knowledge about Hugo, Les Misérables, and French history and culture more broadly accessible.

For example, in Episode 33 of “The Les Misérables Reading Companion,” Lewis states that Hugo’s style “allows him to speak to individual readers, alone in the tranquility of their reading minds.” Moreover, readers are called to “question the boundaries” and act against “social damnation”.

The podcasts themselves will be a limited run, lasting 60 episodes. Lewis has some additional episodes and specials planned. That said, she hopes the podcast acts as a spark of passion for the novel, rather than a one-time experience for her listeners. As far as Lewis’ professional plans, she looks forward to remaining a part of the Allegheny family by continuing her career as an associate professor of French.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Dig into Foreign Language Fields (and tacos) on Gator Day!

Foreign Language Fieldbook - Get help navigating the field of foreign language study at Allegheny and advice for digging deeper in your career.

Alumna Ellen Yount to speak on International Development career – 10/22

PATHWAYS TO CAREERS IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT — OCTOBER 22

The Graphic Literature of Birgit Weyhe

You are cordially invited to attend a special event featuring the 2018 Allegheny College German Writer-in-Residence, Birgit Weyhe, on Wednesday, October 17 at 6:00 pm in the lobby of the Max Kade International Wing of North Village C.

Click to enlarge photo of Birgit Weyhe
Birgit Weyhe
2018 German Writer in Residence

Ms. Weyhe will present a multimedia program in German and English of her work in the genre of graphic literature. An hors d’oeuvres reception will follow.

For a sneak preview and more information, please enjoy the event poster designed by the artist.

We hope you will join us for a delightful evening of art and word!

Graduating Seniors: Teach Spanish to K-12 students in the Sunny South!

Southern Teachers is seeking graduating students who would be interested in teaching Spanish in K-12 private schools.

 

Southern Teachers Elephant Logo
Southern Teachers is a recruiter for private schools in the South. Hundreds of schools throughout the South will list about 3,000 jobs for the 2019-20 school year.

 

These schools are seeking candidates who have a strong background in Spanish and a desire to impact the lives of students. A teaching license or education major is NOT generally required.
If you might be interested in teaching after graduation, please use this link to apply online.

 

If you have questions, you may contact Austin White, Director of College Recruitment, at 434-295-9122.

WESTPACS JOB & INTERNSHIP FAIR – OCT. 10 – PITTSBURGH

The Fall 2018 WestPACS Job & internship Fair will be held from on Wednesday, October 10, from 10:00am – 3:00pm at the Monroeville Convention Center.

Who we are
With more than 50 member institutions, WestPACS is one of the largest job fair consortia in the country. Established in 1988, WestPACS is also one of the oldest and is proud of our history of connecting college students and graduates from the region with employment opportunities for over 20 years.

WestPACS Job Fairs At-A-Glance
The WestPACS consortium coordinates fall and spring job fairs that are open to students and alumni from two-year and four-year colleges and universities. We anticipate between 170-190 employers and between 1000-1300 candidates at each of our events.

For more information, please visit http://www.westpacs.org/candidates

Get or renew your passport at the Post Office Passport Fair

Call the Post Office at 814-724-5990 for details…

 

M&CL wins grant to boost student conversational skills

The Allegheny College Department of Modern & Classical Languages has been awarded a curriculum development grant from TalkAbroad, a company which connects language students with trained native speakers in 15 countries around the world for live conversation. TalkAbroad evolved out of a not-for-profit organization in Nicaragua in 2009 and is now utilized by more than 100 colleges, universities and high schools.

The grant will provide video training, instructional Click to expand photo of two people skyping.materials, and funding to department staff to implement a trial of the service free of charge to Allegheny students. The service will commence in select courses beginning in the Fall 2018 semester.

The grant was written by Department Chair and Associate Professor of Spanish, Barbara Riess, with collaborators Laura Reeck, Professor of French, and Nancy Smith, Instructor of Spanish & French.

Chasing The Tea Leaves: Chris Miller chronicles his summer in China

Click to expand photo of Chris MillerChristopher Miller ’19 spent two months in China this summer and chronicles it all in a blog he calls “Chasing The Tea Leaves: My Journey East.”  Starting on Day 1 (actually, Day 0, a brief autobiography) he posts a daily stream of unvarnished thoughts and impressions, accompanied by lots of great photographs.  Click here to check it out.

Meadville Tribune reports shortage of language teachers in NW PA

A week after telling the Conneaut School Board that the district has been unable to find a foreign language teacher to fill the vacancy left by the departure of the Conneaut Area Senior High German teacher, Superintendent Jarrin Sperry offered a straightforward update on the search.

“Still looking,” he said following Wednesday’s meeting.

— Meadville Tribune, 8/9/18

While the Conneaut vacancy in German and an opening in Penncrest for a French instructor are of acute local concern, the article goes on to say that “[t]he dearth of foreign language teachers is evident throughout the districts that make up the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit.”

Read the full article here.