Welcome to the Autumn 2021 Edition of the Bulletin.
This edition launches in the run-up to the Thursday 14 October webinar “Modern Languages: Challenges and Solutions” (3.30-5pm, all welcome). The webinar will build on the findings of our previous edition’s survey on A-levels, on which Stephen Hart reports in this edition, and will contribute to the resulting report to policy-makers. A link to the webinar is included in Stephen’s article.
To put us in the mood, Helen Laurenson sets out her vision of how A-levels must evolve if MFL is to remain viable among Sixth Formers of the 2020s.
This edition also appears just before El Día de la Raza (12 October), the celebration of the Spanish-led expansion of Europe into the Americas begun in 1492. Known as Columbus Day in the United States, Catherine Wray examines why many Americans are abandoning this once-cheery tradition.
Another recent cause for celebration was Shakira’s deliverance from a pair of bag-snatching boar in a Barcelona park (to think that locals had hitherto blamed such incidents on los rumanos….). ‘Hogs don’t lie’ around in the monte these days, apparently. However, the Iberian Lynx* can be found there, and has become an emblematic species for Spanish wildlife conservation. Award-winning student journalist Victoria Reid assesses its prospects. [* denotes an article in Spanish]
Back on the academic front line, Dr Emily Baker looks back on the pandemic-era online teaching experience, identifying strategies that succeeded in UCL’s Spanish Department
Sander Berg looks at the challenges and rewards of translation – attaching a lesson plan and further reading suggestions for teachers and students.
Also on a linguistic theme, the Instituto Cervantes this year published Lo uno y lo diverso, a book in which writers from the 21 officially Spanish-speaking countries reflect on the joys and peculiarities of la lengua*. William Chislett samples the delights for us.
Further illustrating the global reach of Spanish, Clara Riveros reports from Miami on the allure of Florida* as a place for Latin Americans to start a new life. Drawing on her sometimes tough personal experience, she recounts the hardships that face new arrivals, looking at the personal stories of some who have managed to stay.
On a Mexican theme, Netflix has announced plans to film Juan Rulfo’s novel (and Pre-U set text) Pedro Páramo*. Fran Compán looks at the novel’s spooky appeal, impact on other writers, and the fate of the previous attempt to adapt it for the screen. We also mark the thirtieth anniversary of Como agua para chocolate’s film release with a retrospective on both the novel and Laura Esquivel’s career by Nathanial Gardner, author of the Critical Guide. A free download of the Guide is available as a pdf from this page.
Autumn is a season of new appointments in academia, so please let us know (via the Contact tab) of any new members of your team (or others) who might welcome being on our circulation list.
The Bulletin of Advanced Spanish is a free resource, read on every continent, written by and for enthusiasts at all stages of their exploration of the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Please see the Guidelines tab if you would like to write for us. The spring edition deadline is the end of January.
Until then, the BAS team wishes you a healthy winter and, dare we say, Feliz Navidad.