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Modern Languages

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Modern Languages Faculty


Thierry Rene Durand - Professor of French Studies

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Walker 315
503-883- -2474

Professor Thierry Durand’s academic interests pertain to the relationship between philosophy and post-World War II French literature and literary criticism. His dissertation examined the critical and philosophical works of French essayist Maurice Blanchot. Before Dr. Durand came to Linfield in 1995, he taught at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and was a visiting assistant professor at Middlebury College in Vermont.  He also served as president of the Oregon Association of Teachers of French for two years from 1998 to 2000. In addition to studying late 19th and 20th century French literature, Dr. Durand’s current research focuses on the expression of a tragic vein in “l'extrême contemporain.

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Marie Noussi - Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies

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Walker 315
503-883- -2231

Marie Noussi teachesFrench and Francophone African Studies courses. Professor Noussi is interested in studying ecocriticism (relationship between literature and the environment). Additionally, Dr. Noussi researches postcolonialism and African and Caribbean studies. Her work includes a book chapter on the nuances of eroticism in the novel Lettres d’une Péruvienne by Françoise de Graffigny, and a book chapter on the translation, multilingualism, and linguistic hybridity of The Heart of Redness. She also runs sessions at conventions for the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA) and presented at conventions of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE),  Modern Language Association (MLA), African Studies Association (ASA). 



Gudrun Hommel - Associate Professor of German; Coordinator of European Studies (on sabbatical 2014-15)

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Walker 319
503-883- -2476

Gudrun Hommel joined the Linfield faculty in 1988. She teaches all levels of German language and culture courses. Courses she teaches in English include an Inquiry Seminar (INQS) called “Globetrotters,” German Film and Society, and January Term (JanTerm) courses that focus on the history, art, and science of brewing, which she co-teaches in Germany and Belgium. Prof. Hommel graduated from Gymnasium and received her Abitur in 1975 in Mainz, Germany. In graduate school, Hommel based her dissertation on social criticism through female figures in German crime novels. Her professional interests are the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), film studies, and translating. She is also interested in foreign language pedagogy and the use of technology in foreign language classrooms, popular German culture, German studies, and German politics. Besides teaching, Dr. Hommel has been a proofreader, freelance photographer and freelance translator. 

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Peter Nichols Richardson - Professor of German

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Walker 322
503-883- -2249

Peter Richardson has been teaching at Linfield since 1980. He specializes in language pedagogy, linguistics, Latin, folklore, German literature and American English. For one month every summer, the 2009 Oregon Professor of the Year visits a tiny village in the Swiss Alps, where he transcribes hundred-year-old documents to be bequeathed to the local museum. As of 2009, he has transcribed nearly 1,300 of these love letters, poorhouse documents, cattle certificates, gravestone inscriptions and more. He is known for his interactive, one-on-one teaching style, which includes bringing in cowbells and butter churns to class to illustrate the lives of Swiss farmers. Dr. Richardson has published several works on Germanic philology and linguistics, folklore literature, applied linguistics, the Swiss German and academic administration. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, hiking, gardening and admiring his ancient Mercedes.

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Masayuki Itomitsu - Associate Professor of Japanese

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Walker 325
503-883- -2475

Dr. Itomitsu has been at Linfield since 2009, the same year he graduated with his doctorate in Japanese from Ohio State University. His dissertation concerned the measurement of language learners’ pragmatic knowledge using a web-based standardized test. Professor Itomitsu's research interests include Japanese language pedagogy, materials development, Japanese linguistics, teacher training and testing. He serves as an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview tester and as a writer and reviewer for AP Japanese and the SAT II Subject Test in Japanese. Apart from that, he is also a board member of the Association of Teachers of Japanese in Oregon (ATJO) and advises Linfield’s Japanese Club.

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Christopher Keaveney - Professor of Japanese, Co-chair of Department of Modern Languages; Administrative Coordinator of International Studies

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Walker 321
503-883- -2584

Chris Keaveney joined the Linfield faculty in 1997. He teaches introductory and intermediate Japanese language and culture courses and shares oversight of advising for Japanese majors and minors. In addition, he teaches courses about East Asian film and literature and oversees the Chinese Studies program while also sharing oversight of the East Asian Studies program. Professor Keaveney has co-taught several January Term courses in China and Japan and regularly offers an Inquiry Seminar course about East Asian culture.

Professor Keaveney's research interests revolve around cultural relations between China and Japan with an emphasis on relations between the Chinese and Japanese literary communities in the mid-twentieth century. He is the author of the books The Subversive Self in Modern Chinese Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Beyond Brushtalk: Sino-Japanese Literary Exchange in the Interwar Period (Hong Kong University Press, 2009). His newest book, entitled The Cultural Evolution of Postwar Japan: The Contributions of Kaizo's Yamamoto Sanehiko, which explores how the accomplishments in the interwar period of one dynamic figure paved the way for developments in postwar Japan, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in December 2013. His most recent research project interrogates the relationship in twentieth-century Japan of two of his personal passions - baseball and literature.

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American Sign Language

Heath Goodall - Instructor of American Sign Language (ASL)

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Mac 204
503-883- 2305

Professor Goodall has been teaching American Sign Language (ASL) at Linfield since August 2011. He was born hearing, but lost his ability to hear due to a medical complication during his first few days of life. A self-taught reader, Professor Goodall was introduced to ASL in high school after having learned Signed Exact English (SEE) and Pidgin Signed English (PSE). Besides teaching, he is a master storyteller, performer, ASL poet and artist. His passion for the arts is evident in the fun classes he leads.


Tania Carrasquillo Hernandez - Assistant Professor

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Walker 317
503-883- -2522

Tania Carrasquillo Hernández joins the faculty as an assistant professor in Spanish. She comes to Linfield after serving as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Northern Iowa. She teaches courses in Spanish language, Hispanic Caribbean and U.S. Latina/o literature and cultures.

She has conducted research on the ramifications of the Spanish Empire in las Américas, antislavery narratives in the Hispanic Caribbean, along with language performance, and diasporic displacements in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Her work is centered on issues of equity, social justice and diversity. Therefore, she pays close attention to the conflict between the center of power and the periphery, as well as how this tension is represented through literature, music, visual arts, and discourses of transgression.

These research interests have resulted in the publication of two articles “La charca y la consagración del subalterno puertorriqueño: una mirada desde el siglo XXI al naturalismo de Manuel Zeno Gandía” in AU NATUREL: (Re) Reading Hispanic Naturalism (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010) and “The House of the Lagoon: Battle against Silence” in Woman in Mind 4.1 (2007). She has also been active in presenting her scholarship at literary conferences as “32nd Congress of the Latin American Studies Association” at Washington, D.C. (2013), “Ruptures and Transgressions” at Brown University (2012), and “En Route: Journeys of the Body and the Soul in Iberian and Latin American Literatures” at the University of Chicago (2012).

Violeta Ramsay - Associate Professor of Spanish, Spanish Language and Literature; Coordinator of Latin American Studies

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Walker 316
503-883- -2544

A native of Mexico, Dr. Violeta Ramsay has been a part of the Linfield faculty since 1990 and specializes in theoretical linguistics. In addition to teaching Spanish language courses, she leads advanced courses in culture, with emphasis on pre-Columbian cultures, the culture of Indian groups in Latin America, and approaches to “otherness.” Her main research interests include second language acquisition and the development of cultural competency. She also studies language program assessment, language learning and teaching, and the design of foreign language textbooks. In addition, Dr. Ramsay has published research related to the evaluation of study abroad programs and the development of language acquisition stages. She is currently the co-director of Linfield’s Language in Motion (LiM) program, which seeks to promote language and culture in McMinnville schools, and actively leads study abroad programs to Oaxaca, Mexico.

Sonia Ticas - Associate Professor of Spanish; Coordinator of Latin American Studies (Co-chair)

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Walker 324
503-883- -2367

Dr. Sonia Ticas received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001 in Romance Languages and Literatures. She has been at Linfield since 2001 teaching courses in Spanish language at all levels, Latin American literature and culture classes including Latin American cultures through film, Latin American women writers and historical figures. She has directed and taught in the Oaxaca, México program and has taken students abroad for January term travel courses in Spain and Morocco to study Andalusian culture.

A native of El Salvador, her published work focuses on the history of women’s suffrage in the region and the study of women’s literature from the first half of the 20th century. She has published a number of articles studying the interplay of literature and women’s changing societal roles and is working on a book on the Salvadoran women’s suffrage movement. She also collaborates on a translation project of Costa Rican poet, Eunice Odio. Tavern Books of Portland Oregon has published the first translated volume in a series of four of Tránsito de Fuego (The Fire’s Journey, 2013). 

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