Once you start learning a new language, grammar, and way of understanding the world, all of a sudden you’re translating not just language but culture. That’s why I’m passionate about teaching a foreign language.
Jeremy Paden is a professor of Spanish, but you might find him falling naturally into German or Italian while chatting with a colleague in a neighboring office. Although he claims it’s been “much too long” since he studied German for him to carry on a fluent conversation, there is a fluency in his ability to cross cultural bounds. Growing up in Italy, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S., that’s no surprise.
“There exists no divide between language and culture,” he said.
In his classes, Paden strives to emphasize the “complexity of Latin America,” which he believes is often overlooked. If students understand the variable forces and influences on the region as well as the multiple identities that have shaped its history, their grasp of the language will also improve. This in turn increases the students’ awareness of Latin American values, as well as their own.
These lessons can be simple. For example, Paden wants students to know that “the first place that received the name America was actually South America.” That revelation can, in some small way, alter a student’s world view. Understanding the role the United States has taken in Latin American politics or the various social justice issues its communities face helps students gain a more nuanced perspective on this part of the world.
But just as studying culture deepens students’ understanding of language, a liberal arts education gives students a richer academic experience that prepares them to better engage the world, not just those within their field.
“A liberal arts education, much like the study of a foreign language, moves students beyond the theories and ideas they are accustomed to. Learning a language broadens your mind. It’s easy to be certain about the way the world works when you have one language and one community,” Paden said.
Paden came to Transylvania because he values the liberal arts approach. “Being able to not only coexist but to relate, understand, and engage in dialogue with people from a variety of backgrounds and professions is important for human society.”
Ph.D., Emory University, 2004
M.A., University of Memphis, 1998
B.A., Harding University, 1996
Courses Taught at Transy
Introduction to Hispanic Literature
Colonial Latin American Culture
Introduction to Colonial Latin American Civilization
Latin America as Essay
Latin American Utopian Thought
Literature of the Mexican Revolution
Representing Native America: Indios in Latin American Literature
The Poet and the World: History, Language, and Politics in Neruda’s Poetry
Areas of Research
Latin American poetry
Colonial Latin American literature
The Latin American essay
A prolific poet, Paden published his first chapbook of poetry, Broken Tulips, in 2013. He has also published work in Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Hinchas de Poesía!, The Adirondack Review, Artichoke Haircut, Abuelas hispanas desde la memoria y el recuerdo (an anthology about Hispanic grandmothers), and So Spoke the Earth (an anthology about Haiti).
Other journals and anthologies that have published his work include The Atlanta Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Tidal Basin Review, The Cortland Review, The New Mexico Poetry Review, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, The New Sound: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Art and Literature, The Louisville Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Pluck! the Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Naugatuck River Review, Christianity & Literature, Limestone, and Duende.
In 2009 Paden was guest editor for a special issue of the South Atlantic Review titled “Reflections on Empire: Latin American Depictions of Colonization in Literature and Cinema.”
He is a member of the Affrilachian Poets.
“Reading Colonial Ruins in Carmen Boullosa’s Poetry” in Colonial Itineraries of Contemporary Mexico: Literary and Cultural Inquiries, Eds. Oswaldo Estrada and Anna M. Nogar, University of Arizona Press, 2014
Broken Tulips, ed. Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, Accents Publishing, 2013
“El amor ardiente y militante en el Oriental planeta evangélico de Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora.” Escritura, poder e imaginación política en la Compañía de Jesús (siglos XVI-XVIII). Eds. Alexandre Coello de la Rosa and Teodoro Hampe-Martinez. Barcelona:
“Letters to the Metropole: The Rhetoric of Distance in Sor Juana’s Poetry,” Modernity’s Modernism, spec. iss. Review of International American Studies. 4.2-3 (Fall 2009–Winter 2010): 31-35
“Hunger’s Brides: Vida, Obra e Imagen de Sor Juana.” Cuadernos de Música, Artes Visuales Y Artes Escénicas. 4.1-2 (October 2008–September 2009): 82-110
“Eyes Wide Shut: Sor Juana’s Paradoxical Hermeneutics of Faith.” Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry.” 14.1 (2008): 95-113
“The Iguana and the Barrel of Mud: Memory, Natural History, and Hermeneutics in Oviedo’s Sumario de la natural historia de las Indias.” Colonial Latin American Review. Fall 2007
“Des-velando a la Reina Mab: Shakespeare como fuente imag(e)nativa y estética para Rubén Darío.” Visión de la narrativa hispánica. Eds. Juan Cruz Mendizábal, Juan Fernández Jiménez. Indiana, PA: IUP, 1999