We are pleased to announce that Per Urlaub will present a talk for language instructors at Columbia on Friday, September 18th. Professor Urlaub is Associate Professor at the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is affiliated with the Center of European Studies, the Texas Language Center, and the Graduate Program in Foreign Language Education at the College of Education. His talk is entitled “Critical Reading in Communicative Collegiate Language Instruction: What? When? How?”
Professor Urlaub has provided the following summary of his talk:
Many foreign language departments at North American research universities structure their curricula as follows:
Introductory courses provide language training with a strong emphasis on oral communication, more advanced courses help learners to develop critical literacies through the analysis of cultural artifacts. This two-tiered curriculum that isolates “language” and “cultural content” has been harshly criticized by some of the most esteemed members of the profession, both applied linguists and literary scholars. However, institutional realities often prevent departments — especially at R1 universities — from implementing fully integrated language/literature/culture curricula. Therefore, instead of advocating a radical reconfiguration of departmental structures, this talk represents a more realistic approach: The first part of the presentation will introduce research insights from the field of second language studies that will encourage us to rethink our curricular choices within the parameters of institutional constrains. In the second part, I plan to share concrete approaches that help instructors (1) to integrate more substantial literacy instruction into introductory courses and (2) to increase the communicative value and participatory dynamic in upper-level literature and cultural studies classrooms.
Per Urlaub (PhD, Stanford, 2008) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where is affiliated with the Center of European Studies, the Texas Language Center, and the Graduate Program in Foreign Language Education at the College of Education. During the academic year 2014-15, Per Urlaub served as the Scholar-In-Residence at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Second Language Studies. Per Urlaub’s contributions to the areas of reading research, curriculum development, instructional technology, and the digital humanities have been published in various venues such as the Foreign Language Annals, System, Unterrichtspraxis, the ADFL Bulletin, the AAUSC annual volumes, and MLA’s Profession. The volume “Transforming Postsecondary Foreign Language Teaching in the United States,” co-edited with Janet Swaffar, appeared in 2014. Currently, Per Urlaub is co-editing a volume on curricular articulation in secondary and postsecondary foreign language education (with Johanna Watzinger-Tharp) and a special focus issue of “The Brecht Yearbook” dedicated to the teaching of the German playwright’s literary and theoretical works (with Kris Imbrigotta). Both are scheduled to appear in 2016.