In some of these articles, my fellow hispanists from the A of Abu Dhabi to the Z of Zimbabwe, I will try to help you improving some of your contents. It’s always positive to have a second opinion about an educational program. The concept of “improvement” would usually be debatable, but not in this case. A missing country in the list of territories that speak Spanish is a huge gaffe that decreases the overall quality of your cultural lectures.
The tendency of not including Equatorial Guinea in any part of the concept of Spanish-speaking territories or lectures about History and Culture of the Spanish Language has to stop. It’s not even being done on purpose… Some political decisions in the 19th century started the ball rolling and we all followed like lemmings to this day 🙂 Equatorial Guinea has Spanish as an official language and it shares centuries of history with the rest of the Spanish-speaking community. Ignoring this country is an unjustified move that, in my opinion, lacks common sense. And just to shake off any hidden elitist ideas you might be holding to… I would like to remind you that in the first half of the 20th century Equatorial Guinea was the second richest province of Spain, as well as having one of the highest indexes of literacy. The teachers from that land were kind enough to help in the academic programs taking place in rural areas of mainland Spain in the 40s and 50s.
I wouldn’t like to present my argument as some sort of prize to them like: “See, people? They are cool… let’s talk about them for 5 minutes… Let them feel included!”. My point is that if you don’t include them, your program will be incomplete, and that means a lack of quality that any smarter faculty could take advantage of. Even if your academic environment is lazy and nobody cares if you forget one, eleven or twenty countries during your lectures, because they only need a tick in a list of language programs to have… Doesn’t it make you feel great to know that your program is better than others? I mean… there are people right now in Madrid or Seville who are amazingly good in Spanish Studies, but they never stopped to think WHY Equatorial Guinea is out of their programs, and yet here you are… a humble non-native scholar from Hong Kong, Dublin, Cambridge or Bangladesh with a more complete program than theirs 😀
That’s the kind of improvement that keeps you sharp in this field. Oh! I will talk about this in depth in the future, but please, I beg of you… Don’t throw political opinions inside the cultural modules of your lectures… just don’t. If you MUST unavoidably state your political opinion, you have the moral obligation to warn your students that it’s not a part of the plain facts:
“Cuba would be better off being a democracy” = WRONG, an argumentative and weak statement… You are not chatting with your buddies. They are paying you very well in some institution for the contents of your academic brain…
“Two studies from 2014 suggest that Cuba would increase their GDP by at least 28% with a liberalization of the markets and electoral rights for their citizens” = RIGHT, supported by external sources and well explained.
See you in the next post! 🙂