Alex Saum-Pascual at MLA Commons

19 Feb, 2019

Alex Saum-Pascual at MLA Commons

Founded in 1883, the Modern Language Association of America has worked for more than a century to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literatures. Each year, they host their annual convention, which remains the largest scholarly meeting in the humanities. The MLA convention brings together thousands of members to discuss new research, participate in workshops, and build their professional networks.

This year, Alex Saum-Pascual participated on January 5th in the TC Digital Humanities sponsored roundtable on Digital Hispanisms. The goal of the roundtable was to spark a conversation on the intersections between Digital Humanities and Hispanic Studies. While most often housed in English and History departments in the US, Digital Humanities has gained prominence in Modern Languages Departments and, particularly, within Hispanic Studies programs. On January 3rd - 6th, various presenters came together to discuss their own research in the field.

From the website:

Alex Saum-Pascual opens the discussion with a pedagogical approach to electronic literature in Spanish Literature classrooms. Following Johanna Drucker’s call to understand DH as practice, Saum-Pascual proposes that the practical engagement with electronic literature addresses humanistic and literary concerns, as it develops skills related to digital literacies. Saum-Pascual suggests that learning competencies over content offers skills that are transferable to other fields, much like learning a foreign language and looks at the implementation of “creativity” as an integral competence to “critical thinking” that reinforces the importance of foreign language methodologies in DH and Spanish Literature programs. She advocates for the acceptance of “pedagogical” and “creative” production as an essential way to defend foreign language interests (Spanish in particular) within DH programs and projects.

The night before, Alex also presented at a reception and evening of electronic literature readings and performances! Alex presented her work “As We May Think,” a bilingual online video essay on representational digital media and their asynchronous relation with the way we think and see the world. It’s part of her larger #YouTubers poetic series, where she explores early YouTube confessional videos and today’s influencers’ speech, seeing the corporate online video giant in terms of web visibility and discourse.

Watch the amazing video essay here! For more information on the program, visit this website!