SPO Professor Natalia Castro Picon's course “Questions in Iberian Studies” visits UPenn

Nov. 8, 2022

by Nora Renee Muniz Hernandez

In two packed cars, eleven students (and a teacher) traveled from Princeton to Philadelphia to visit a seminar. It was chilly, with a wind that seemed unnecessarily furious, but the students found solace in Luis Moreno-Caballud’s classroom. Natalia and Luis’s graduate students sat down and were greeted with the question: “Can we generate a space in which language can alter our experience?”.

The class discussed the value of stories, the possibility of a feminist (re)organization of social structures, and the impact of language in creating reality. To follow up the discussion, they then went to a feminist book presentation. The speakers talked about translation and workers' rights, two problems that connect with language and experience. The day came to an end in a delicious Ethiopian restaurant.

The seminar “Questions in Iberian Studies” interrogates the conception of Spain in relation to nationality and community. To think about Spain, especially in the Spanish and Portuguese department, urges us to reflect on our own practices within the academia, our relation with imperialism, and our teaching skills. Visiting UPenn entails not only a change of scenery, but also an opportunity to form a new community... to generate a space in which language can alter our experience.