Faculty’s Recent Research and Scholarly Activities

We are excited to share about recent research completed by members of the Department of Modern Languages & Classics. While all professors spend a lot of time teaching at Siena College, they also dedicate a considerable amount of time to honing their research and scholarly activities. This informs and enriches their courses and is line with the mission of Siena College to “explore knowledge from a variety of perspectives and disciplines.”

Dr. Lisette Balabarca (Associate Professor of Spanish) presented at two international conferences during Summer 2023, for which she received funding from prestigious academic entities. She presented “Jewelry and Precious Stones: The Resignification of Female Luxurious Accessories in Early Modern Spain” at The Migration of Objects between Islam and Christianity in the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean: New Uses, New Meanings, held at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia Herzegovina. This conference was funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Association. Her travels also took her to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where she presented “Christian and Muslim Female Converts in Early Modern Spanish Literature” for the Arabic Poetry Cairo Genizah (APCG) Research Project, a conference supported with funding from the The European Research Council (ERC). In September 2023, Dr. Balabarca attended the Society for the Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry at the University of Chicago where she presented “The Inversion of Christian Rites in Morisco Poetry: An Analysis of Scatological Elements in Juan Alonso Aragones’ Romances.”
Dr. Balabarca’s recent publications include a teaching unit titled “Francisco Núñez Muley’s Memorial,” a collaboration for Open Iberia/América, an online Open Access collection of short pedagogical editions and translations of premodern Iberian and Latin American texts modeled after the editorial practices of commercial anthologies. Take a look at: https://openiberiaamerica.hcommons.org/2023/11/14/francisco-nunez-muley- memorial-granada-1566/ . She also published a book review of “Catherine Infante’s The Arts of Encounter: Christians, Muslims, and the Power of Images in Early Modern Spain” in Bulletin of the Comediantes, vol. 74, no. 1–2, 2023.

Dr. Nathalie Degroult (Professor of French and Department Chair) was elected editor of La Gazette violette last April. It is the newsletter of ASFAP (American Society of French Academic Palms). It is published 3 times a year: Spring, Fall, Winter. She is also the contributor of two rubrics published in each edition: “Le coin des livres” and “L’actu ciné.”
Dr. Degroult continues to work actively on pedagogy and film studies. She presented the pedagogical dossier of the film “Il a déjà tes yeux” during a 3-hour workshop entitled “AATF Commission on Cinema presents Volume IV of “Allons au Cinéma: Promoting French through Films—la famille et la communauté” at an International conference in Trois-Rivieres, QC in July 2023. The volume was published in 2022. Degroult also published two book reviews: “Harcele” (Pierre Filoche), French Review, 96.4 (May 2023), and “Rien n’est perdu” (Patrice Guirao), French Review, 97.1 (October 2023).

Dr. Marcela Garcés (Professor of Spanish) traveled to Granada, Spain in the summer of 2023 to present her research at a conference titled Post-Pandemic Tourism Transformations. Eighth International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies. Her presentation, titled “In Defense of the Anchovy: Tourism Through Place-Based Cuisine” began her work on her sabbatical project about this topic. In October 2023, Dr. Garcés published a book review in the journal Romance Quarterly about a book titled Women’s Work. How Culinary Cultures Shaped Modern Spain by Dr. Rebecca Ingram (UC San Diego). Garcés also published a creative Spanish-English work of poetry titled “Protect Your Magic” in Nos Volvimos a Pasar, edited by Lori Celaya and R.E. Toledo.
In Fall 2023, Garcés published an article based on pedagogy in a recent 400-level Spanish course at Siena College. The article, titled “Creative Pedagogical Synergies: What Can We Borrow from Rosalía?” was published in Romance Notes as part of a special edition about the international music star Rosalía called The Rosalía Effect: Popular Music and Culture in Contemporary Spain. Garcés has given several invited lectures recently, including “The Culinary Exchange between Spain and the Americas: Recognizing Difference while Celebrating Fusion” at the FBI Central Offices in Albany, New York in conjunction with her business La Centralita Culinary Studio which she owns with her husband and creative partner; “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: My Story” at Bethlehem Central High School; and a virtual presentation titled “Teaching the Cuisines of Spain Hands-on at La Centralita” for Georgia State University.

Dr. Michael Sham (Professor of Classics) published the 12th edition of his canonical textbook Classical Mythology in early 2023.

Dr. Michael Sham (Professor of Classics) published the 12th edition of his canonical textbook Classical Mythology in early 2023.

Dr. Janet Shideler (Professor of French) carried out research this past summer related to the lives of various deceased parishioners who worshipped at the Troy, NY Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church and to the church’s significant place at the heart of the city’s “petit Canada” neighborhood. The remarks that she shared at the September 12, 2023 dedication of a historic marker for the church, razed in 2021, are accessible via a QR code on the plaque and were part of the content of a September 15 Times Union article.

As you can see, our department exemplifies diverse, interdisciplinary scholarship that addresses a wide range of material culture, time periods and topics. Stay tuned for more exciting news from the department about our accomplishments!