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Tech Profs Serve As Panelists, Presenters At Language Conference

SOCORRO, N.M. October 12, 2010 – The Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association conference features a strong contingent of presenters from New Mexico Tech faculty, staff and students.

The three-day conference kicks off Thursday at the Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town. New Mexico Tech is among the host institutions for this year’s annual event. The panels include topics on writing, literature, science in literature, research, philosophy, film, science fiction, Shakespeare and many other topics of academic and general interest. Tech students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend the conference free. Call Ann Hewitt at 835-5445.

The Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, or CLASS, Department at Tech has several faculty members presenting.

Karen Balch, Dr. Penny Boston, Dr. Mary Dezember, Dr. Julie Ford, Dr. Maggie Griffin-Taylor and Glenda Stewart Langley will present poetry readings in a special panel featuring New Mexico Tech personalities. They will take the stage from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Friday. Balch will also present a prose reading Thursday afternoon.

Three Tech professors are featured speakers for the Sacred Spaces II panel from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Friday.

“This panel deals with different scholarly looks at ways that spaces are defined or considered sacred – various different ways,” Department chair Dr. Mary Dezember said.

Boston, professor of Earth Science, will discuss “Caves as Sacred Spaces: The Anonymous Past and the Personal Present.” A specialist in cave microbiology, Boston will present an historical talk about the role and symbolism of caves in human history.

Dr. Barbara Bonnekessen will discuss “No Girls Allowed: The Sacred Man Cave.” She will talk about the barriers that women experience in society and the misogynist voices that continue to prevent women from achieving a level playing field.

Dezember will speak on “Loaded Guns and Bursting Flowers: Women as Sacred Spaces.” Based on a quote from Emily Dickinson, Dezember relates the symbol of the loaded gun to connote the power of Dickinson’s art. She will also draw on Georgia O’Keeffe as an example of a female artist who reaches beyond gender definitions.

In the area of general linguistics, professor Rafael Lara-Martinez will discuss “Nahuat Arithmetic: Decolonization of Thought.”  Lara-Martinez will outline the discovery of the existence of a quintesimal (base five) system in the Nahuat language spoken in Izalco, El Salvador,

Ford and Dr. Julie Newmark are presenters on the Technical Writing panel. They will present "Undergraduate Technical Communication Research: Creating Publication Opportunities.”

On Friday morning’s panel on Ecocriticism, instructor Roland Rowe will discuss “The Rhetoric of Climate Disruption.” Rowe says the global environmental crisis has not captured the imagination of society and policy makers. Today’s writers, artists and scientists have tried, but failed to generate widespread support. Rowe will examine some historical circumstances that have contributed to the general lack of interest in climate disruption issues.

Earl Reynolds, an undergraduate math major with a literature minor will also talk in the Ecocriticism panel. In his essay, he writes that environmental literature is often conceived as a crusade to vilify and prevent human industry from encroaching upon the existing natural environment. He will discuss an atypical view on environmental issues, as presented by writer Dan O’Brien in his collection of short stories, Eminent Domain.

Professor Susan Dunston will speak during the American 19th Century Literature panel on Saturday morning. She will present “Melville’s The Confidence Man: A Tale of Our Time.” Confidence Man was Melville’s final novel and considered by many to be his finest work of satire.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech