Romance Languages and Literatures Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Black Lives Matter!  Les Vies Noires Comptent!  Le Vite Nere Contano!  Vidas Negras Importam!  ¡Las Vidas Negras Importan! 

Statement on Diversity, Antiracism and Equity

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Washington University condemns racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination. We teach and research the cultures of countries with histories of white supremacy and its attending patriarchalism and colonialism, both as perpetrators and victims. Our fields have historically neglected non-white and non-normative cultural productions and producers. We commit ourselves therefore to tell the fuller stories of the cultures our department represents. At the same time, the cultures we represent offer varied perspectives on race, gender, sexuality, and other expressions of diversity, and activists and intellectuals from these geographies have developed myriad strategies and approaches to combating racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. We are also therefore poised to tackle these issues from transnational, transdisciplinary, and intersectional methodologies.  

We also commit ourselves to:
1.    Developing and sustaining diversity in our makeup, research, and teaching 
2.    Sponsoring platforms for discussion on race and equity 
3.    Strengthening the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, and other expressions of diversity by seeking to decolonize the way we teach and conduct research 
4.    Supporting faculty and students of color and other minority groups through mentorship, scholarship, advocacy, and other forms of support 
5.    Creating inclusive spaces for dialogue in our department and classrooms 
6.    Working with the university to develop resources that support faculty, students, and staff of color and other under-represented and marginalized groups

Diversity and Equity Committee, RLL

Stephanie Kirk

Stephanie Kirk (Chair, Diversity and Equity Committee, RLL)

Stephanie Kirk (Chair, Diversity and Equity Committee, RLL) is Professor of Hispanic Studies and Gender Equity Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Diversity. She is also an At-Large Member of the university-wide Equity and Inclusion Council and former President of the Association of Women Faculty. In the classroom, Stephanie is committed to fostering a collaborative and equitable learning environment of mutual respect in which all students can succeed and in which students gain access to a wide range of texts and materials that reflect the diversity of the WUSTL student body. Beyond WUSTL, Stephanie is a board member of Sherwood Forest, a youth development and anti-poverty organization based in St. Louis. She was born in Manchester, England and was a first-generation college student.

Keenan Burton

Keenan Burton is a graduate student in the French section of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department. In the classroom, Keenan is dedicated to cultivating an environment in which all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, social class, age, or ability feel empowered to explore and learn. He ensures that the content of his courses reflects the diversity of Washington University in Saint Louis’ student body and encourages his students to question their own ideas and preconceptions as well as those of their peers. Additionally, Keenan is fervently committed to anti-racist work in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. As a member of the Diversity and Equity Committee, Keenan is dedicated to creating a department in which no student feels disadvantaged or discriminated against. He works to seek out and eradicate systemically founded policies that perpetuate discrimination as well as provide current members of the department with the education and tools necessary to make their classrooms, the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, and Washington University in Saint Louis at large both more diverse and equitable.

Kaché Claytor

Kaché Claytor is a PhD in student in Hispanic Studies investigating African diaspora in Latin America. Claytor is a co-founder and co-president of the Black Graduate Student Association at WashU and also works closely with undergraduate students as a graduate mentor. As a 2017-2018 Fulbright Colombia grantee, she taught at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá and mentored Martin Luther King Scholars—an initiative geared to increase bilingualism within the Black and Indigenous communities throughout Colombia. 

Elena Dalla Torre

Elena Dalla Torre

Elena Dalla Torre (Pronouns: she/her/hers) I am a Lecturer of Italian. I hold a PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a Graduate Certificate in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Questions of diversity and inclusion are at the core of my teaching philosophy and research. I teach Italian language classes and courses on sexuality and Italian media, and on race, gender and migration. Among the DEI initiatives I am organizing an event on Black Italians and Contemporary Digital Culture with Italian-Ghanaian director Fred Kuwornu. In my elementary language classes, students learn early on the use of * and “u” for gender non-conforming people.

DEI related publications by Dalla Torre
Vincent Jouane

Vincent Jouane

A native of Toulouse, France, Vincent Jouane, Lecturer in French, earned his PhD in Francophone Literature at Washington University in Saint-Louis in 2012. His dissertation, titled La Littérature des Enfants de Harkis: Mémoire et Réconciliation, focuses on a corpus of autobiographies and novels produced since 2002 by children of harkis (Algerian civilians who fought on the French side during the Algerian War).He has worked with the Alliance française, The CASS Program at Harris Stowe State College, Saint-Louis University, Webster University and the Centre Francophone of Saint-Louis to promote several French and Francophone events promoting inclusion and diversity.

Akiko Tsuchiya

Akiko Tsuchiya

Akiko Tsuchiya is Professor of Spanish and an Affiliated Faculty in the Dept. of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Equity. Her research and teaching interests include nineteenth-century Iberian literatures and cultures, gender studies, women’s transnational networks, race and colonialism, and slavery and antislavery in the Hispanic world. She is currently writing a book on Spanish women in the antislavery movement and is a co-PI of a project on the cultural legacies of slavery in modern Iberia, which consists of a publication (under contract with SUNY P) and a digital archive of sources related to slavery and its memory sites in the Iberian world. Most recently, she has become engaged in public debates generated around monuments related to colonialism and slavery in Spain. Tsuchiya was involved in the Association of Women Faculty in its early years. She served on the Executive Board of the AWF for several terms, as well as on other committees, including the Committee on Workplace Issues and the Family Responsive Policies Committee, of which she was chair. Beyond the university, she has volunteered for Planned Parenthood, and has participated in voter registration and GOTV efforts that reach out to underrepresented populations. She is currently volunteering for the New Georgia Project, founded by voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, which aims to civically engage underserved and disenfranchised communities of color. As a member of the DEI committee, I am committed to improving the climate for women, gender minorities, and people of color by advocating for their inclusion and equitable treatment in all areas of academic life and by helping to raise consciousness about issues of concern to these communities. I am also enthusiastic about mentoring graduate students and junior faculty who form a part of these communities.

Miguel Valerio

Miguel Valerio

Miguel Valerio, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies: I identify as Afro-Latino and want to be part of a department that is at the forefront of inclusivity, diversity, and equity. I thrive to be a leader on this front in my teaching, service, research, and every interaction with students and colleagues.