LAIS | Web Update

LAIS majors to present research at student symposium

Published: April 14, 2014, 12:53 pm ET
Collegian Reporter

April 17, students majoring in Latin American and Iberian Studies will showcase their research, writing and knowledge base at the ninth annual LAIS Student Research Symposium.

As a graduation requirement, all LAIS majors are required to present a 10-minute paper in Spanish. This year’s research topics range from “Erotic literature and language: Pedro Juan Gutiérrez and pornography of poverty,” to “A female Quixote in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Madness, authenticity and money.”

Katie Conklin, a LAIS and journalism double major, will be presenting her topic of “The connection least explored: Oscar Wilde and Salvador Novo.”

“I actually discovered that there isn’t very much literary criticism or examination into what, specifically, connects Wilde and Novo as writers, even though they are so frequently compared,” Conklin said. “This assignment gave me the opportunity to explore a literary connection that not many others before me have endeavored to tackle.”

Each student was allowed to choose his or her own topic from a paper he or she had previously written for LAIS. It could be a paper the student is proud of, or a paper on a topic that the student knew he or she could improve and expand on.

“Some of the most important aspects of the LAIS major are researching and writing,” Aurora Hermida-Ruiz, LAIS associate professor and chairwoman of the department, said. “It is important for the students to pursue original, individual research, and not just read what other people say.”

The symposium is an important way to reflect on past LAIS classes, Alexis Ventura, a participant in the symposium, said. Every experience in lower-level classes prepared her to present at the symposium, she said.

April 16, the invited guest speaker and visiting professor, Martín Bonadeo of the Universidad Católica Argentina, will be giving the inaugural lecture about new languages in contemporary Latin American art.

Normally, the theme of the lecture alternates each year between Latin America and Spain. However, because this year’s guest speaker is Argentinean, the theme will be Latin America.

At the conclusion of the symposium, the department will recognize students with special awards. The awards include two Outstanding LAIS majors, Outstanding Assistant Teacher in LAIS and Outstanding Service to the Richmond Hispanic Community.

Contact reporter Olivia Simons at

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