Faculty Spotlight

Photo of Serafin Coronel Molina

Serafín M. Coronel-Molina is Associate Professor of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education in the School of Education, and Indiana University Bicentennial Professor. He is an Indigenous scholar and native speaker of Huanca Quechua, an endangered variety spoken in the central highlands of Peru. Serafín is an “ex-centric native” and border crosser who has become a traveling Indigenous culture-maker with multiple local, global, translingual, transcultural, and cosmopolitan experiences in addition to his rooted, native ones. He is an educational linguist and sociolinguist who possesses solid experience as a researcher, educator, translator, ethnographer, lexicographer, and editor. He is a multilingual and pluricultural individual, a world traveler who loves to dance, play chess and play the drum.

Serafín earned his Bachelor's from Universidad Ricardo Palma (Lima, Peru), his M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics from The Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics/Sociolinguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Indiana University, he was an instructor and lecturer at several prestigious academic institutions, including The Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, Pitzer College in Claremont, California, the University of Michigan, Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and Princeton University, where he taught for 4 years. During his pre-tenure and post-tenure years at Indiana University, he has been very active in research, teaching, and service locally and globally.

As a researcher and educator, his work is about making linguistic, ethnic, and cultural borders visible, so people can apprehend them and decide whether to embrace them or not. He strives to have a positive impact on students who have seldom experienced this kind of cultural and linguistic uprootedness. In his classes, he always injects cross-cultural, cross-linguistic awareness to provide them with real-life examples, and not just quotes taken from books. At the same time, he is a living example to domestic and international graduate students of what is possible in crossing linguistic and cultural borders. He is always available and eager to mentor them on their own journeys. Serafín has been actively involved in a wide range of teaching activities at local, national, and international levels. He has designed and taught a wide range of graduate courses and supervised numerous independent studies. He has also successfully chaired a good number of dissertations. Thanks to his dedication to students, he was the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Award, granted by the School of Education at Indiana University, and the recipient of the 2019 Helen C. Bailey Alumni Award granted by the Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Serafin’s research draws on fields as diverse as macro- and micro-sociolinguistics, educational linguistics/language education, applied linguistics, linguistic anthropology, Andean Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latin American Studies, and Literacy Studies. His contributions were published by top international publishing houses and prestigious international journals. He is one of the Co-Founders of the Global Institute for Transformative Education (GITE). He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education (IJLCLE) and the Co-Founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Global Journal of Transformative Education (GJTE). He is one of the Co-Editors of a new Book Series Language, Education and Diversity published by Multilingual Matters, UK. He has organized numerous conferences nationally and internationally, and he has participated as a keynote and invited speaker and presented papers in a good number of academic events worldwide.

Undergraduate Student Spotlight

Daniel KreiderDan Kreider is a senior graduating in May 2019 majoring in International Studies and Hispanic Linguistics with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In 2017, Dan spent four months in Quito, Ecuador where he studied Ecuadorian arts, society, and politics. In the summers of 2017 and 2018, he worked as an intern for the National Immigrant Justice Center in Goshen, Indiana. Through this work, Dan developed a passion for serving the Central and South American immigrant population. At Indiana University, he volunteered for three semesters with La Escuelita para Todos where he had the opportunity to tutor Latino youth in the community, developing their Spanish and English language skills. This year, Dan is conducting senior thesis research on anti-immigrant discourse in Ecuador with regards to the Venezuelan refugee crisis. After graduation, he plans on pursuing a career in non-profit work with Latin America and the Caribbean.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Nofiya DenbaumNofiya Denbaum is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Saludos desde Medellín, Colombia! I have only been doing fieldwork for 6 days now, and I have already made several contacts and have collected data from 8 participants. 6 of the participants are foreign students learning Spanish as a second language here in Medellín and the other two participants are native speakers from Medellín. I am, especially, happy because I didn’t even think I would be able to collect data from foreigners learning Spanish as a second language during this trip, but thanks to the generous funding by the Tinker Field Research Grant, I was able to make contacts at the Language Center at the EAFIT University in Medellín. The director of the Spanish program was very friendly and nice enough to let me visit some Spanish classes in order to recruit participants.

Another exciting part for me was the first step in recruiting participants who are native speakers of Medellín Spanish. Yesterday, I had one of my first experiences approaching strangers in a foreign country and asking them if they would like to participate in my study. At first, I was shy, but I built up the courage to do it and fortunately, both people I asked agreed to participate. Not only did they participate in my study, they also spread the word to their friends and obtained even more participants for tomorrow.

Today, I had another exciting experience getting to know some natives and doing an initial recruitment. I ordered breakfast, an arepa and fried fish, from a local store on the corner of a street. There appeared to be a mother and her two children who were about my age. They were really friendly with me and asked me where I was from. We enjoyed some small talk and laughs. At the end, I mentioned to them that I am doing a study and looking for participants and they told me they would like to participate. So, they gave me their contact information and invited me to their house to carry out the study with them there. I look forward to talking to them later and getting to dive even deeper into the culture of the people of Medellin.

The study I am carrying out looks at forms of address or ways of saying “you” in Spanish. In all types of Spanish, there are two ways to address someone, which include a formal (usted) and informal (tú) way. The Spanish of Medellín is especially interesting because there is an additional form of address: vos. My study is looking at the use of these forms of address and in what situations paisas (people from Medellín) use each form of address. It was really exciting to hear my first participant use vos while he was completing the study! I look forward to continuing to make even more contacts and meet more paisas. I am excited to see what the results show when I analyze all the data I have collected!

Alumni Spotlight

Catherine Fonseca

Catherine Fonseca is an IU alum who spent a total of seven years in Bloomington earning her baccalaureate in History and joint Master’s in Library Science and Latin American Studies. During her time as a CLACS graduate student from 2016-18, Catherine’s academic interests included area studies librarianship, issues related to primary source ephemera, and Latin American gender relations. After graduating, Catherine went on to become the Outreach & Inclusion Librarian at Sonoma State University, at California State University (CSU) located in Northern California that serves 9,300 students. In this role, she develops and implements library programs, events, and practices designed to meet campus and community needs. She also coordinates targeted efforts to reach underserved and vulnerable student populations for the purpose of improving student success through an increased use of library resources and services.

As a tenure-track faculty member, Catherine’s other responsibilities include information literacy instruction, collection development, service, and research output. It is within the realms of instruction and research that her CLACS degree has served her particularly well. In the classroom, Catherine teaches students how structures of power and inequity are inextricably woven into the information landscape; drawing upon examples from Latin America to illustrate these issues. Of late, Catherine has discussed with students the implications involved in the use of “illegal alien” as a standardized subject heading or Instagram’s bias when verifying the profile of U.S.-backed opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, but rescinding verification to Venezuela’s sitting president, Nicolás Maduro. Catherine is also passionate about research projects that combine her two fields of Library Science and Latin American Studies, particularly work that relates to the decolonization of modern libraries and the information needs of Hispanic and Latin@/o/a/x populations. This merging is perhaps most evident in her recent webinar: “Examining Privilege in Classifications: Connecting Critical Information Literacy to Conversations on ‘Latinx’”, which aimed to explain issues of identity, language, gender, and privilege encapsulated within the term “Latinx” and to encourage a critical understanding of the utility, limits, and hierarchies enacted by classifications—both within and outside library contexts.

While Catherine loves her new home in sunny California, she does miss the changing of seasons at the IU campus as well as Bloomington’s relatively affordable housing!