Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies

Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana


Assistant ProfessorPh.D., University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain)

Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana

Contact

Interests


Philosophy of Language; Linguistic Anthropology; Bilingualism; Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness; Cognition: Intensional and Inductive Logic; Philosophy of Science; Metaphysics (specially Time); Points of View and Perspectivism; and Carnap’s and Russell’s Legacies.

Biography


Juan J. Colomina received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain) in 2009. He is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies (MALS), and an affiliate of the Department of Philosophy. His books include Los problemas de las teorías representacionales de la conciencia (Tenerife: Universidad de La Laguna, 2010) and Implicaciones de la teoría de los actos de habla (Madrid: EAE, 2011), and he has coedited (with V. Raga) La filosofía de Richard Rorty (Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2010.)
 He has also published more than fifty articles in several collected books and international journals. His research areas of interest focus on the boundaries between Semantics and Pragmatics, Philosophy of Language, Linguistic Anthropology, Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, Philosophy of Science, and Logic. In 2012, he received the Young Researcher Award from the Spanish Society of Logic. He is a member of the Research Group for Logic, Language, Epistemology, Mind, and Action (LEMA) at the University of La Laguna in Spain, whose main project is “Points of View and Temporal Structures” (FII2011-24549).

Professor Colomina-Almiñana is PI of the IUPLR Linguistics and Latina/o Speech Communities Working Group.

Courses


MAS 309 • Bilingualism In The Americas

35967 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 302

Bilingualism is a complex phenomenon that refers to the capacity to speak and communicate indistinctly in two or more different languages. Then, it is not a semantic feature of the natural language; it is a pragmatic characteristic of its use. Since language is a property of groups of speakers, bilingualism is a skill showed and belonging to certain individuals. Because of the nature of our contemporary society, this phenomenon is a lived reality for a number of individuals in several communities inside and outside the US. This is to say, the fact that several communities in the Américas conserve a native language besides the official one extends between the members of these communities the knowledge and use of different ways to communicate.

 

The main purpose of this course is to analyze the linguistic, cognitive, social, and cultural aspects of this complex phenomenon. To do so, the course supposes that the main characteristics of the (different variables of the different) languages are independent of the origin of these communities. The course will primarily focus on the relationship that is established between English (as the vernacular language) and the second co-existent language, especially the binomial with Spanish (approximately 70% of course material) and other common US bilingual language experiences as well. The idea is to analyze the bilingual speaker in context within the community to which she belongs, especially relating to Mexican American and US-Latino communities.

 

TEXT:

Multiple Voices. An Introduction to Bilingualism, by Carol Myers-Scotton (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006). Additional texts will be available on the Blackboard.

           

GRADING:

25% Final Paper

25% Two Short Essays (12.5% each)

10% Peer-Review Sessions

10% Oral Presentation

30% Attendance and Participation

(5% additional extra-credit short essay)

MAS 309 • Bilingualism In The Americas

35090 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 2.124
(also listed as LIN 312)

FLAGS:   Wr  |  CD  |  GC

DESCRIPTION:

Bilingualism is a complex phenomenon that refers to the capacity to speak and communicate indistinctly in two or more different languages. Then, it is not a semantic feature of the natural language; it is a pragmatic characteristic of its use. Since language is a property of groups of speakers, bilingualism is a skill showed and belonging to certain individuals. Because of the nature of our contemporary society, this phenomenon is a lived reality for a number of individuals in several communities inside and outside the US. This is to say, the fact that several communities in the Américas conserve a native language besides the official one extends between the members of these communities the knowledge and use of different ways to communicate.

The main purpose of this course is to analyze the linguistic, cognitive, social, and cultural aspects of this complex phenomenon. To do so, the course supposes that the main characteristics of the (different variables of the different) languages are independent of the origin of these communities. The course will primarily focus on the relationship that is established between English (as the vernacular language) and the second co-existent language, especially the binomial with Spanish (approximately 70% of course material) and other common US bilingual language experiences as well. The idea is to analyze the bilingual speaker in context within the community to which she belongs, especially relating to Mexican American and US-Latino communities.

TEXT:

Multiple Voices. An Introduction to Bilingualism, by Carol Myers-Scotton (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006). Additional texts will be available on the Blackboard.          

GRADING:

25% Final Paper

25% Two Short Essays (12.5% each)

10% Peer-Review Sessions

10% Oral Presentation

30% Attendance and Participation

(5% additional extra-credit short essay)

MAS 374 • Mistranslating Latinos

35163 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GWB 1.130
(also listed as LIN 373, PHL 354, SPC 320C)

This course is oriented around the problem of translation (literary, cultural, political, sociolinguistic) as it relates to the cultural production and/or language use arising in Latina/o communities. Depending upon the expertise of the individual instructor, the course might address translation from different angles: issues of linguistic or cultural relativism, complications of literary translations, the mistranslations that ensue when translating cultural texts from one medium to another (the stage to the screen or the page to the stage, for instance).

MAS 374 • Socioling:mex Amer/Lat Studies

35464 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GWB 1.130

Description: "Sociolinguistics  for MALS Majors" examines the presence and use of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and other "indigenous" languages in the US, focusing particularly on those aspects that characterize Latina/o communities, such as language acquisition; language maintenance, change, and loss; language contact phenomena such as code-switching  or lexical borrowing; linguistic identity and ideology, linguistic attitudes, and the interaction between language, gender, race, ethnicity, and social class.

Students will explore the different linguistics aspects that help shaping identity, identify and illustrate historical developments relevant to the presence of Latina/o populations in the US, discuss the diversity of US Latina/o communities and its linguistics implications,  and explain and analyze important language policy challenges posed by the presence of other language­ speaking communities in the US (mainly those involving Hispanic and Latina/o populations). Students will also have the option to complete written assignments in Spanish, since instructor is Spanish and Catalan native speaker (plus also speaks other 6 languages).

Therefore, this is not only a course about language but also about the Latina/o populations that speak those languages.

Texts/Readings:The Handbook of Hispanic Sociolinguistics, edited by M. Diaz-Campos  (specially Part V, which analyzes Spanish in US Latino communities); The handbook of Hispanic Linguistics, edited by J.l. Hualde, A. Olarrea, and E. O'Rourke, Wiley, 2012 (specially Parts 3 and 4, which analyze aspects of US Spanish); "Fighting words: Latina girls, gangs, and Language Attitudes," by Norma Mendoza-Denton, in Speaking Chicana, edited by L. Galindo, University of Arizona Press, 1999.

Grading: 25% Final exam; 25% Final research paper; 25% Short review essays; 25% A&P

MAS 319 • Bilingualism In The Americas

36395 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 3.116

Please check back for updates.

MAS 392 • Semantics Racial Epithet/Pejor

36747 • Spring 2014
Meets M 4:00PM-7:00PM PAR 214

Please check back for updates.

MAS 319 • Bilingualism In The Americas

36473 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 3.116

Please check back for updates.

PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

42770 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 201

Early Modern Philosophy represents the rise of empiricism and humanism in place of scholastic tradition. Beginning in early 17th century, philosophy was dominated by the need to organize philosophy on rational, skeptical, logical and axiomatic grounds.  Students will read and analyze classical thinkers (and their texts) from this period to understand how this new turn in the Western thought supposes a new view about the world. This type of philosophy attempts to integrate religious belief into philosophical frameworks and, often to combat atheism or other skeptical beliefs, by adopting the idea of a binomy between material and ideal reality and the dualism between soul and body (Descartes, Malabranche, and Leibniz). The extension and reaction against this view would be, on the first hand, the monism of Berkeley and Spinoza. On the other hand, it was during this time that the rise of systematic empiricism appears as an alternative to idealistic skepticism on reality (Hobbes, Bacon, Locke, LaMettrie, and Hume). These periods and schools of philosophy will develop a complex understanding of philosophy under a naturalistic view, that will syntetizy in Enlightenment and Kantian idealism.

 

The main purpose will be to provide to the students the skills enough to understand the historical, social, and cultural connections of some important concepts in order to develop a critical reasoning clarify the plurality of perspectives of our actual thought.

PHL 303 • Human Nature

42790 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM BEN 1.104

Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How is our nature different

 

from other beings like animals or computers? An ancestral tradition claims that a set of innate skills denotes what human nature is. An opposing view advocates for the plasticity and indeterminacy of this nature. In this course we will explore competing views of human  nature,  their  fundamental  arguments  and  issues,  and  their  implications  to understand what it means to be a human being.

 

Students will read classical works on human nature from the Western tradition of Philosophy like Plato and Aristotle along with other modern thinkers like Hobbes, Hume, Kant  and  Nietzsche  as  well  as  from  non-Western  traditions  such  as  Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. We also will consider some interdisciplinary material from evolutionary theory, animal studies, or cognitive psychology in order to rethink how we might revisit some of these previous conceptions.

 

The main purpose will be to provide the students the skills enough to understand the historical, social, and cultural connections that this concept necessarily includes, and how clarification of a plural cultural perspective will permit them to handle the complex social issues of the society we live in.

 

This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42368 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 0.128

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 303 • Human Nature

42390 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM GAR 0.128

Theories of human nature, such as those of Plato, Christianity, Marxism, and existentialism. Modern phsychological and biological theories are included, as the interplay of nature and nurture in determining human conduct is explored. 

PHL 303 • Human Nature

42265 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM BEN 1.104

Theories of human nature, such as those of Plato, Christianity, Marxism, and existentialism. Modern phsychological and biological theories are included, as the interplay of nature and nurture in determining human conduct is explored. 

PHL 306 • Three Views Of Empiricism

42433 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BEN 1.108

Empiricists claim that our knowledge is based on the sensory-perception experience. Rationalism defends a rational justification of our knowledge. Traditionally empiricists have constructed their arguments to explain the formation of ideas and concepts with different kinds of evidence, scientific observation, and experience. Rationalists have defended that we can explain concepts from notions such as innate ideas, a priori reasoning, or traditions. Beyond the epistemic considerations of these theses, we will also explore the logic, semantic and metaphysical implications of these polemics, attending specifically to questions such as the potential/actual distinction, the problematic of universal concepts, the existence of abstract objects and the inductive/deductive and analytic/synthetic dichotomies.

The main purpose of this course is to explore the basis and skeptical challenges postulated by Empiricism through the analysis of the works of three of its most representative thinkers: Aristotle, David Hume, and Rudolf Carnap. We will read various texts by these authors to understand what it means to be an empiricist, how the empiricist theses have been developed for centuries, and how their arguments challenge some common-sense intuitions. We will also attend to possible criticisms of the ideas by these particular empiricists. 

Curriculum Vitae


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