Randolph College’s 2018-19 academic year is officially underway, and there are several new faces among the faculty.
Spanish professor Daniel Cooper is one of the new additions:
Where are you from originally and what is your background?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. In 2007, I completed my B.A. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I double-majored in Spanish and Global Studies. I subsequently received an M.S. in Global Economic History at the London School of Economics (2008), and an M.A. in Global Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany.
In 2018, I completed my Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of California, Los Angeles. My doctoral research focused on 20th-Century Latin American literature, and I wrote my dissertation on the poetry and politics of the Nobel Laureate poets Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz. I recently published the article “NAFTA as Rupture and Communion: Neoliberalism in the Poetic Imagination of Octavio Paz” in A Contracorriente, Vol. 15, No. 3, Spring 2018. My main area of interest/expertise is the intersection of literature and ideology in 20th-Century Latin American literature. I am currently engaged in a critical translation of some of Octavio Paz’s early poetry.
What attracted you to the job at Randolph?
Having studied and taught exclusively at large, public research universities in the United States and Europe, I was drawn to Randolph’s commitment to an intimate educational experience where professors are encouraged to develop meaningful professional relationships with students and colleagues. I am also a firm believer in liberal arts and the humanities, and Randolph’s proven excellence as a leading liberal arts college was very attractive when I began my job search. I was also excited to come to Virginia and the South, a region of the country I am not familiar with, to steep myself in American history.
What classes are you teaching this fall?
This fall I am teaching Spanish 101, 201, and 231/431 (Modern Latin American Literature)
Describe your teaching style. What can students expect out of your classes?
In Spanish languages classes, I consider myself more of a facilitator than an instructor. Rather than lengthy grammar lessons, I prefer to lead a student-centered, task-based and communicative class where students take the lead in improving their own fluency. In literature classes, I foster a similarly communicative environment, allowing my students time to critically think through discussion questions in groups in order to arrive at their own conclusions about a given text that we are analyzing together. Whether it’s a language or literature class, I always strive to make the course material meaningful for the students by drawing connections to the larger world, whether that be current events or contemporary cultural trends.
What are your initial impressions of Randolph and its students?
My initial impression of Randolph is that people, especially the faculty, seem very happy to be here. I have felt warmly welcomed at every step, and I feel that I am already a valued member of the community. The staff has been especially accommodating. So far, the students strike me as eager, respectful, and proud to be students at the College. I was particularly impressed by the pride they displayed at Convocation.
What sorts of hobbies or fun activities do you enjoy outside of the classroom?
I enjoy Dodger baseball, running, yoga, hiking, reading, trying to cook, and spending as much time as possible with my family.