Andrew Eiffert ’16, a Wells College student from Canandaigua, N.Y. minoring in Spanish, along with Gerardo T. Cummings and Elizabeth Juarez-Cummings—members of the Spanish department at Wells—presented research at the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies Conference held at Ithaca College, April 17-18, 2015. The theme of this year’s MACLAS conference was “Altered States: Cross-disciplinary explorations of tradition and the emergent in Latin America.”
Eiffert was invited by Dr. Cummings, chair of Wells’ department of Spanish, to present the research he is undertaking on the racism experienced by Afro-Hispanic soccer players. Eiffert’s research, which stems from the course HUM 285: Afro-Hispanic History, Literature and Culture, created an interesting discussion about racism in the soccer field and its potential causes and/or solutions.
“Andrew did a very fine job on his MACLAS presentation," said Michael Schroeder, Associate Professor of History at Lebanon Valley College and newly elected Vice-President of MACLAS. "[He] shed an important light on an issue of major concern, and not only for fútbol. MACLAS warmly invites the participation of undergraduate students, and we were delighted to have Andrew participate in this year's annual conference."
Dr. Cummings organized and chaired the session titled “Wellsian Perspectives on the Hispanic World: Racism, Spanglish and Mexican Horror Films” and presented his research in a paper he dubbed “From Surrealism, the Golden Age and Contemporary Remakes: An Inside Look at Mexican Horror Films.” Elizabeth Juarez-Cummings, Visiting Instructor of Spanish at Wells, also presented her research in a talk entitled “Spa(ngl)ish in the US: Origins, Attitudes, Identities.” The session was well attended, and each presentation struck the audience in different ways, causing them to ask questions and offer suggestions.
“I enjoyed attending the conference,” said Eiffert. “I learned a lot about other cultures both in the form of Mexican horror cinema and about the code switching that happens as a product of the contact between English and Spanish.
“I am also not a comfortable public speaker and to be able to speak in front of a group of others who were interested in my presentation and not harsh with criticism about a topic I am passionate about was a great learning experience. The criticism I received was very useful and will be incorporated into my final paper.”
Wells College Provost and Dean Cindy Speaker was instrumental in making Wells’ participation possible. Dean Speaker frequently lends her support to students who want to experience new things that will, hopefully, lead them to a successful path in the future.