Forum on 15

Forum on 15 is a lecture series sponsored by the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics featuring talks presented by scholars in all fields represented in the School – literary studies, linguistics, visual culture, material culture, cultural studies, religious studies, and area studies. The series features scholars from within and outside of the School and the UIC community. Talks are loosely structured around a theme for each calendar year. The format of the talks emphasizes serious scholarly discussion across disciplines of interest to faculty and graduate students within the wider Chicago scholarly community.

2019-2020: Upcoming Talks

flyer for Cabrelli talk

The role of background languages in the acquisition of a third language

Jennifer Cabrelli
Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics, UIC

Tuesday, October 15th • 4PM • 1501 UH

While third language (L3) acquisition has historically been viewed as an extension of second language (L2) acquisition, a growing body of research shows that L3 learners have superior metalinguistic knowledge and access to more linguistic options compared with L2 learners. Much of L3 research has sought to uncover which variable(s) determine how learners use their existing language systems at the onset of L3 acquisition. In this talk, I will present data from different profiles of English/Spanish bilinguals acquiring Portuguese as an L3. The data show that these L3 learners initially transfer the more similar language (i.e., Spanish) regardless of whether Spanish is a first, second, or heritage language. While these bilinguals pattern similarly at the beginning of Portuguese acquisition, however, the data also reveal that their developmental path differs in a) rate of acquisition and b) stability of the existing Spanish system depending on age of acquisition of Spanish. I will discuss the implications of these findings for classroom learners of a third language, specifically how best to leverage (and maintain) previous linguistic knowledge when learning a third (or more) language.

2019-2020: Past Talks

flyer for Meyer talk

Anxiety and the Imperial City: Arthur Schnitzler’s Vienna around 1900

Imke Meyer
Professor of Germanic Studies, UIC

Wednesday, September 4th • 4PM • 1501 UH

In contrast to German, French, or American literature, Austrian literature is not often associated with modernist representations of cities. Austrian literature is typically rather considered a literature of provincial spaces, of rural settings, or of sublime nature. A look at the literature of Austrian Jewish writer Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931) must prompt a revision of such general assumptions, though. This talk will examine the representation of urban spaces in some of Schnitzler’s prose fiction, in particular the 1897 narrative “The Dead Are Silent.” The chronotopography of Vienna in this text is replete with street names and references to specific buildings and monuments; mentions of roads, walkways, and their surfaces; train and tramway tracks; bridges and viaducts. Yet the seeming solidity of material surfaces and the specificities of landmarks, meant to invoke the long history, spatial expansion, and might of the Habsburg Empire, induce disorientation and anxiety in the characters that move through the cityscape. Schnitzler’s story of doomed lovers is mapped onto the topography of an imperial city that mirrors the instability of an empire anxiously hurtling towards a crisis both accidental and inevitable: as it captures the anxieties of those who populate the urban space, along with the temporal and material instability of this space, Schnitzler’s narrative seems to anticipate the Great War to come, the end of empire, and the dawning of the nation state.


Past Years' Talks

Please use the links below to visit archives of past talks in the Forum on 15 series.