Research Specialties & Collaborations
While not all research in the department fits into these areas, these four research initiatives encompass the vast majority of research in our department.
Research in global Portuguese in our department focuses on research related to the literature, film, and culture of the Portuguese-speaking world: Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Goa, East Timor, Macau, and Equatorial Guinea. Not only a shared language binds these cultures, but also commonalities related to empire, slavery, migration, globalization, and culture link the disparate countries and territories where Portuguese is spoken. This initiative fosters cutting-edge research related to the cultural production of the sixth most spoken language in the world, highlighting how artists creatively transform the language.
The Hispanic linguistics program in our department is unique in its focus on language in context, analyzing how the social, interpersonal, and discursive context of language shapes its forms and uses. Research investigates language in its context(s) with a focus on interdisciplinary approaches to language contact, phonology, pragmatics, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and syntax. In the past several years, the Hispanic linguistics faculty has formed a research initiative that examines the ways in which different aspects of linguistics and the linguistic system interface with each other as well as the connections that exist between linguistics and other disciplines.
With focus on the humanities and the arts in Latin America, the interdisciplinary research on human rights in our department addresses both the post-dictatorship and post-conflict transitions and the more recent and current human rights violations through the study of different cultural and artistic practices, and of the philosophical, cultural and political debates that have been crucial in the construction of memory, in the promotion of a culture of human rights, in the attempts to understand prevent and eradicate violence, and in the struggles for justice. In this research initiative we emphasize transnational, interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogues, with emphasis on Latin America, and on the ways in which the humanities and the arts shape current debates and representations of justice, memory, advocacy and rights.
Research in Iberian studies in our department brings together scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds working around the idea of Iberia as a subject of inquiry across period, language, and identity. In transitioning from older models of area studies into transnational and global perspectives, Iberia serves as epistemological locus from which we rethink narratives of past national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious identities.
One of the department's greatest strengths is our involvement with University of Minnesota interdisciplinary centers. Centers draw on the research strength of faculty across departments and colleges who work on similar projects with diverse results and long-term impact.