New Faculty Spotlight: Marco Schaumloeffel, Isabella Huberman, Isabelle Delage-Béland

UBC’s Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (FHIS) welcomed three faculty members into new roles. Get to know Marco Schaumloeffel (Lecturer of Portuguese), Isabella Huberman (Assistant Professor of French Studies) and Isabelle Delage-Béland (Assistant Professor of Teaching in French).

Marco Schaumloeffel
Lecturer of Portuguese Studies

“My aim is to promote the Portuguese language and Lusophone cultures. The long-term goal is to create a Minor—ideally one of interdisciplinary nature that combines the study of the Portuguese language with elements of Cultural Studies, Literature, History, International Relations and Business.”
Lecturer of Portuguese

From the beginning of my career, my focus was on teaching foreign languages at the academic level, but research did follow closely, especially because I believe that both must be interconnected. My journey allowed me to create a heterogenous portfolio of interests and research, although the core of it is dedicated to Linguistics. For example, I published articles that studied the history and migration patterns of Black people in the Caribbean, and the history of Afro-Brazilian returnees to Ghana, which led to the publication of a book entitled Tabom, the Afro-Brazilian Community in Ghana. More than two decades ago, I presented in conferences and published on topics related to the use of computers and internet to learn foreign languages.

In Linguistics, my focus is on Dialectology and the study of linguistics interferences from Portuguese in the German Hunsrückisch spoken in Southern Brazil. More recently, I started researching Creole languages, with a focus on the Portuguese origins and influences in Papiamentu—a Caribbean Creole language mainly spoken in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao—comparing it with Papiá Kristang, a nearly extinct Portuguese Creole spoken by a very small community of Portuguese descendants in Malacca, Malaysia.

I also have a strong interest in translation, so much so that I translated several books from German and English into Portuguese. The most challenging and interesting was certainly the translation of a collection for the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados, with some of the literature demanding me to “dive” into Bajan, the English dialect/Creole language spoken in Barbados, and then translating it into Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese.

As Affiliate Lecturer, my main aim is to promote the Portuguese language and Lusophone cultures in the department, at UBC and in the wider community.

The long-term goal is to create a Minor related to the Lusophone world—ideally one of interdisciplinary nature that combines the study of the Portuguese language with elements of Cultural Studies, Literature, History, and perhaps even other fields like International Relations and Business (i.e. the culture of doing business in Lusophone countries). The expansion of the program and the creation of a Minor will be discussed in the department from next year. Next term, I will create assessment tests for language requirements, and, as preparation for the next step of offering a Minor, the existing Portuguese course syllabi will be redesigned, bringing them in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

To promote the Lusophone language and culture, the discipline will seek to collaborate with the local Portuguese and Brazilian Consulates and other institutions like the Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre, so that we are able to offer academic and cultural activities related to the Portuguese-speaking countries. In the longer run, I see the discipline organizing a summer study abroad trip to either Portugal or Brazil, to experience language and culture immersion.

Over time, I hope that these and other actions will bring a broader comprehension of the importance of Portuguese and the complexity of Lusophone cultures to our students and our department, one step at the time. This may even include a discussion of renaming the department itself, so that Portuguese is also contemplated in its name.

I am also open to collaborate with other disciplines and departments. One of my native languages is German; I like music, history, cooking, exploring new trails, and a few other things. Why not a presentation, a new course, a workshop related to the languages and the history of Germans in Brazil, a combination of language elements and Brazilian or Portuguese music, the translation of a novel from Portuguese into English, or something completely new related to my worlds that you may propose? I am open to interdisciplinary collaborations; let’s discuss it.

I graduated with a BA and teaching license in German, Portuguese, and Literature. At the beginning of my professional career, I was a teacher in an international Swiss School and at the German Goethe Institute in Curitiba, Brazil. After finishing an MA in Linguistics, I started teaching Portuguese as a foreign language and Brazilian Culture at the University of Ghana (Ghana Institute of Languages). Living abroad and learning about new cultures was personally very rewarding. After this first experience in West Africa, I moved to the Caribbean to teach at the University of the West Indies (UWI). There, I also obtained my PhD in Linguistics, introduced Portuguese in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature, and over the years, designed a Minor in Brazilian Studies, which was an interdisciplinary program that included Portuguese, Brazilian Culture and History.

Since its inception, I was also active in the creation of the UWI Translation Bureau, being its coordinator for the last few years before joining FHIS. For three terms, I taught Portuguese and German as foreign languages at the Barbados Community College as well. Apart from that, I am also the Chief Examiner for Portuguese as a foreign language for the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

Isabella Huberman
Assistant Professor of French Studies

“I am looking forward to engaging with students about Indigenous literatures from Quebec and expanding the French and Quebec literature curriculum.”
Assistant Professor of French Studies

I work at the intersection of Indigenous literary studies and the environmental humanities and focus on contemporary Indigenous narrative arts from Quebec. In my book Histoires souveraines: poétiques du personnel dans les littératures autochtones au Québec (Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2023), I study a corpus of Innu, Cree-Métis and Wendat literature to understand how these authors tell personal stories to elaborate larger visions of Indigenous sovereignty in Quebec. In my current research, I analyse archival documents, public art, literature and film to address how Indigenous creators in the province call into question colonial perspectives on hydro power as a green energy. In addition to scholarly writing, I explore alternative forms of research dissemination in my research creation practice of zine-making.

I am looking forward to engaging with FHIS students about Indigenous literatures from Quebec and to experimenting with research creation in the classroom. I am dedicated to expanding the French and Quebec literature curriculum by bringing these research questions and creative research methods to the classroom.

I’m also excited to work across disciplines with colleagues at FHIS and explore new collaborations, particularly pertaining to decolonial research. I look forward to learning and expanding my teaching and research practices in ways that reflect and contribute to UBC’s commitment to honouring and engaging with the Indigenous communities of Vancouver and its surroundings.

Prior to coming to FHIS, I held two postdoctoral fellowships, one as a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Manitoba (2020-2022), the other as a University postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto (2019-2020). I really enjoyed this time, as I could delve into new research questions! I also taught literature and language courses in several universities across Ontario and taught graduate courses in the “Récits et médias autochtones programme” at the Université de Montréal.

Isabelle Delage-Béland
Assistant Professor of Teaching (French)

“My projects include modernizing grammar teaching, integrating inclusive French into language courses, and creating meaningful learning experiences for students by involving them in the redesign of our courses.”
Assistant Professor of Teaching in French

I have several interests that I aim to bring together in my new role at FHIS. As a medievalist, I study the development of narrative genres using the tools of poetics, lexicology, material philology, and codicology. Based on this method, the dissertation I defended in 2017 at the Université de Montréal—and which will soon be published as a monograph—focuses on fabliaux (short stories written for the most part during the 13th century), the complex concept of truth, and the powers of fiction.

Prior to joining FHIS, I taught a variety of French language (including Old and Middle French), literature, and writing courses in Quebec and Ontario. In our Department, I teach French as an additional language and I use my background as a specialist in medieval literature to offer courses that bridge learning French and studying literature, cultures, and the history of language, while promoting the diversity of accents and areas where French is spoken. I am always looking to expand my knowledge, and studying medieval literature gave me the taste of discovery and taught me to constantly go against preconceived ideas. Therefore, when I teach, I hope to spark the curiosity of my students and I encourage them to question their initial biases before anything else.

My projects for the years to come include modernizing grammar teaching, integrating inclusive French into language courses, and creating meaningful learning experiences for students by involving them in the redesign of our courses, as well as the growth of the Francophone life at UBC. As course coordinator of FREN 401 and 402, I work with more advanced students and I wish to give them as many tools as possible to maintain and develop their French skills beyond high school.

Additionally, I believe there is still a lot to do to better connect Western and Eastern Canada—where I come from. Hence, I am grateful to be one of the board members of the Centre de la Francophonie of UBC, and I would like us to continue to create inclusive spaces, such as publications, cultural activities, and networks, for people using and learning French in Canada in 2023. More broadly, I want to listen to the needs of my community by participating in initiatives that foster a diversity of voices, and I want to contribute to an environment where we have kindness and compassion towards each other.

After having been Sessional Lecturer and Lecturer in FHIS, it is with great humility that I begin this new position as Assistant Professor of Teaching. In my opinion, transitioning from Lecturer to Assistant Professor of Teaching is a way to make a lasting commitment. Let’s be honest: given the current context, the humanities will face significant challenges over the coming years and I believe that by being involved in a strong and dynamic community, we will be able to find ways to ensure the relevance of our role.

Being Assistant Professor of Teaching allows me to convey a comprehensive view of education: it satisfies my passion for teaching while pushing me to imagine sustainable projects to enhance the learning journey—in class and beyond—of our incredible students. I also wanted the opportunity to contribute to the pedagogical development of the teaching team of which I am a part of. Last but not least, if I chose to pursue my career here, it is mainly because I found an exceptional environment, intellectually and humanly speaking. I did not want to leave the wonderful people I met here!