Upcoming Lecture Explores the Effects of Spanish Colonization

This Thursday, February 27, the WOU community is invited to attend a lecture by Dr. Sonia Kania titled From Southwest Spain to Southwestern United States: Spanish in the Age of Exploration. 

Dr. Sonia Kania smiles for a photograph. She is wearing glasses and a light green blazer.Kania is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington who currently serves as the chair of the Department of Modern Languages. She focuses on the history of the Spanish language, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries. 

Kania provided some background in order for attendees to understand the history of Spanish colonization: “For much of the colonial period, the Spanish colonizing enterprise was centered in western Andalusia, the southernmost area of Peninsular Spain. Ships departed from the Andalusian ports of Huelva and Cádiz and arrived in La Hispaniola and Cuba via the Canaries, following the route that Columbus had established in 1492. Moreover, the city of Seville, also in western Andalusia, controlled all travel and trade to and from the Americas through the Casa de Contratación.”

The lecture will follow Spanish colonization from the late 15th century into modern day. Examples of colonial texts will be included, which “document the exploration, conquest, and colonization of these territories 500 years ago.”

In a more modern context, the lecture will discuss the effects Spanish colonization had on cementing Spanish as a historical language within the United States, specifically in the southwest. There will also be a discussion of the impact Spanish colonization had on U.S. culture, and how the Spanish language used within the U.S. differs from other varieties of Spanish. 

When asked about the importance of the event, WOU professor Dr. Patricia Gimenez-Eguibar mentioned, “Now that the English only movement has resurfaced with such vigor at this time and we hear every day ‘we are in America, speak English,’ the community members will gain a deeper understanding and knowledge about Spanish being a historical language of this country.”

The lecture will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday in the Werner University Center Willamette Room.

14 comments on “Upcoming Lecture Explores the Effects of Spanish Colonization”

  1. I am very interested to listen to Dr. Kania today. I’ve always wanted to learn more about the history of Spanish colonization.

  2. this is a very important topic because it will give students, faculty and staff a better understanding of Spanish as an essential language in the US since the 16th century and also as a cultural identity to many WOU students.

  3. No one ever talks about this, at least not that I’ve heard. I knew that English was not the original language of the United States but I never knew that Spanish was one of the historical languages.

  4. It’s unfortunate that the US school system doesn’t teach a lot of its history in relation to Spanish. We tend to miss out a lot of information. People profit of the lack of information and historical accuracy to spread biases and create movements like English Only. It’s important to become aware of how diverse the US has been from the beginning. I’m excited to see WOU has provided platform for this topic.

  5. I’m very excited to listen to Dr. Kania today. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the country after English, it has not always been valued. It’s very important to be aware of its importance in the United States.

  6. I am so pleased that WOU has provided a space for this topic to be discussed and made known. Ignoring our history isolates persons of Spanish decent as somehow apart from the USA simply because of their language background. It is exciting to know that Western is advocating against this language discrimination by supporting these types of lectures

  7. This is so important for everyone to learn about, as a Latina, I’m excited to be able to learn more about the Spanish Colonization and be able to expand my knowledge and also learn more about the history.

  8. These type of lectures are very important for undergraduate students and the community around them. In the United States of America, the type of government we have is a democracy, in which its citizens elect their leaders. It is this vital that everyone be informed and not risk being influenced by claims made on the internet, in magazines, newspapers, or books that may or may not be providing factual information. For example, in our current government the issue of immigration and Spanish in our country is presented with negative, and sometimes, hostile sentiment. It is imperative that everyone know how this country began to establish communities amongst other communities that were already established due to prior conquests from Spain and Mexico, which caused this nation to begin with already thousands of people within its boundaries whose native tongue was already Spanish. It is with immigrant communities that this country has the potential to maintain power in the world, including their familiarity with foreign countries and foreign languages.

  9. The presentation was interesting. I was excited to learn more about the Spanish colonization. Hope she comes back to the campus.

  10. I’m glad that I got to be apart of this topic because I was able to understand and support Dr. Sonia Kania’s goals. She mentioned that in order to learn a language, you must also learn the culture as well and I couldn’t agree more. Here in the U.S., we rarely got the chance to learn the history from our native lands. Almost everything she spoke about was new to me and I’m happy she did because I was able to learn where some of my ancestors came from or what they did that had such an impact on our history.

  11. It is so important not only for us Latinos and Hispanic but also the rest of the population the live in the USA, Spanish is one of the most spoken language in over 20 countries and it is important to know and understand where it came from and all the types of form that this has.

  12. This was a very interesting and informative lecture, I’m very happy I went. I think it’s very important to make it known that English wasn’t the first language of the United States, and Dr. Kania did a wonderful job of telling us all how Spanish arrived here, and why it’s important to our history.

  13. I am glad that WOU had a visitor like kania, who spoke about a very important topic that was exposed to students on campus. I think it’s really good to have speakers like kania to be given the opportunity to speak on campus. These are topics that are very important and every body should learn about and know about. As a Latina I enjoyed learning about the Spanish colonization , because that way I am more aware about our history and am knowledge of it.

  14. Learning about the history of Spanish Colonization is important because future generations would love to expand their knowledge in these sort of topics.

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