Campus / New Professors / News / October 28, 2010

World traveler, Knox professor

Professor Anna Proffit joined the Modern Languages Department to teach Spanish. This term she is teaching Spanish 101A and Spanish 201. Proffit approaches Spanish from a background based in travel and scholarship.

The Knox Student (TKS): What brought you to Knox?

Anna Proffit (AP): I applied for lots of different teaching jobs, because that’s just what you do, but I was really interested in Knox because five of my friends went here. I’m actually finishing my dissertation at the University of Chicago.

TKS: What is your dissertation on?

AP: Representations of children in Spanish film. Most people know “Pan’s Labyrinth,” but my first chapter is about children who sing. [For example, two child actors] Joselito and Marisol — their films were produced under Franco’s reign, and there are just lots of hidden, and sometimes not so hidden, critiques. I’m not sure how they escaped censors.

TKS: Where are you from?

AP: I grew up in Hawaii. I lived there since I was five, but I was born in New Zealand, because that’s where my dad is from. I’m also half Korean from my mother. My parents were pen pals; that’s how they met.

TKS: Being from Hawaii, what do you think of the Midwest and Galesburg?

AP: From Hawaii I went to Vanderbilt in Tennessee; that was the biggest culture shock, going from Hawaii to the South, but you start to like it once you start making friends. As for the Midwest, you know, no one really gets used to the winter, and here it’s so flat.

Here in Galesburg there’s just so much live music, which is what I was impressed by. I love the houses, and people really go crazy for Halloween.

TKS: How did you get your start studying Spanish?

AP: I started studying Spanish in middle school, and I studied abroad in Madrid my senior year at Vanderbilt; it was that, really, that made me decide to keep studying in Spanish in grad school. I love Mexico, and I’ve taken students to Oaxaca before, and I’ve been to Colombia a bunch of times. I know Colombia and Mexico best.

I love to travel. It makes you want to study the language more and meet people. It’s so much fun. The main part is when you can talk to people and hear stories from other countries, you know why you’re studying another language.

TKS: Any final thoughts?

AP: I’m really enjoying my teaching here at Knox. I’m just impressed by the students here; they are very active participants in class …Everyone seems so excited.

Ben Reeves

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