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EIU Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Irene Jacobsen, Associate Professor of Spanish

Office: 1361 - Coleman Hall
Phone: 217-581-3021

Irene Jacobsen's Vita
Office Hours:

Prof. Irene Jacobsen was born in Córdoba, Argentina, to parents who loved to read. Her first exposure to a foreign language occurred in kindergarten (Spanish in the morning, German in the afternoon). At age seven she moved to Montréal, Canada, where her father worked as a U.N. translator, thus bringing forth her second exposure to a foreign language, French. After graduation from secondary school, following the wise advice of her parents, she switched to the English school system and earned a B.A. in Sociology from McGill University (1989). Eventually she followed in her mother's footsteps and decided to study Spanish and Latin American literature, which led to a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (2002). In 2007 her linguistic odyssey came full circle when she married a native from Germany, an event that reignited her interest in German.

Every semester, Prof. Jacobsen teaches Elementary Spanish (FLS 1102). Once a year, she offers the advanced course she has taught most often, Problems in Spanish Grammar (FLS 3000). Depending on the needs of the Department, her non-language centered course will be any of the following: Writing Through Literature (FLS 3010, a basic composition course); Survey of Early Spanish Literature (FLS 4510, medieval and early modern literature of Spain); Women in the Hispanic World (FLE 3025, in English, cross-listed with Women's Studies); and Cultural Perspectives on the Tango (Special Topics: FLS 4650). In fall 2017, she taught for the first time FLS 4320, Civilization and Culture of Spanish America.

Prof. Jacobsen's research interests coincide with the literature and culture courses she teaches. For a decade, inspired by the topic of her doctoral dissertation, her conference papers and articles focused on the issues faced by women writers, such as censorship of their work and the textual strategies they developed to avert clashes with (male) authorities. The past few years have seen a shift in the focus of her research toward the intersection of the picaresque (an early modern Spanish literary genre) novel with Tango lyrics (a subgenre of Argentine poetry). For this project she is busy translating numerous Tango-songs from the River Plate variety of Spanish (peppered with lunfardo, a local lexicon) to standard English. In 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014, she lectured on the Tango at six different universities (including in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in Medellín, Colombia).

In the summer of 2017 Prof. Jacobsen was invited by the 
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to conduct the Second Educators Summer Workshop (32 certification hours), designed to support the internationalization of course development among High School and Community College Educators in Illinois, entitled The Poetry and Movement of Tango: A Window to Southern Latin America

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Contact Information

Women’s Studies Program

3744 Coleman Hall
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920- 3099

EIU FEM Meetings

Tuesdays @ 8pm in Paris Room, University Union

Women's Studies Program Meetings

1/23/17 2pm in the WRC
2/20/17 2pm in the WRC
4/10/17 2pm in the WRC
5/1/17 2pm in the WRC

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