Two New Undergraduate Essay Prizes Honoring Two of our Distinguished Professors

Published: September 4, 2018

The UCLA Spanish and Portuguese Department is pleased to announce two new undergraduate essay prizes honoring two of our distinguished professors, Randal Johnson and Claudia Parodi. Essay entries are submitted in the Spring. For more information on available undergraduate essay prizes, please contact Denise Barragan, the department undergraduate advisor.

The Randal Johnson Essay Prize —Essay on Luso-Brazilian literature, film or culture
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Randal Johnson received his B.A. from the University of Texas, Arlington, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin. He taught at Rutgers University from 1977 until 1983, and at the University of Florida from 1983 until 1994, when he joined the faculty of UCLA’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where he remained until his retirement in 2018. While at UCLA he served as Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (1996-2001, 2013-15), Director of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program in Brazil (2002-04), Director of the Latin American Institute (2005-10), and Interim Vice Provost for International Studies (2010-11). As Director of the Latin American Institute (previously called the Latin American Center), he transformed the Program on Brazil into the Center for Brazilian Studies and the Program on Mexico into the Center for Mexican Studies, and he created what is now called the Center for Southern Cone Studies. As Director of EAP-Brazil, he established a new language and culture program in Salvador, Bahia, where he also created the department’s Summer Travel Study Program in Brazil (2000-2016). He is also responsible for establishing, in collaboration with the Brazilian Consulate-General in Los Angeles, the Brazilian Film Series (2007-present). His scholarly interests have focused primarily on twentieth-century Brazilian literature and Portuguese and Brazilian cinema, with a special focus on government film policy and the contemporary audiovisual industry in Brazil. He is the recipient of many grants and honors, including the Brazilian Order of the Southern Cross. Professor Johnson has written, co-authored or co-edited 12 volumes and has published more than 65 essays, articles, and reviews on different aspects of Luso-Brazilian culture.

The Claudia Parodi Essay Prize — Essay in Spanish Linguistics
Before her passing on November 15, 2015, Professor Claudia Parodi had a most distinguished career as a professor of Spanish Linguistics at the UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She was a member of the faculty since 1991. Born in Mexico, she began her studies at Mexico City’s Universidad Iberoamericana earning a Licenciatura in 1969, followed by an MA in Hispanic Language and Literature at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in 1972. After earning her degree, she continued research at UNAM collaborating on a study of the Spanish of Mexico City. Through the 1980s, she was both professor and researcher at Centro de Lingüística Hispánica del Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas de la UNAM. In 1991, she earned a doctorate in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at UCLA. Professor Parodi published over ninety articles, editions, and collections on a wide variety of topics related to language, literature, and sociolinguistics. She was considered one of the outstanding contributors to Latin American Linguistics. At UCLA, she was a founding member and director of both the UCLA Centro de Estudios del Español de Estados Unidos and the UCLA Centro de Estudios Coloniales Iberoamericanos. Additionally, she assisted in initiating the UC-Mexicanistas, an inter-campus research group on Mexican Studies involving faculty and students from a wide range of academic disciplines from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. She was a most productive scholar, and an inspiring teacher who was highly admired and loved by her students. Professor Claudia Parodi’s enthusiastic dedication to the study of the Spanish language, particularly Mexican Spanish, Los Angeles Spanish, and Mexican Culture has been a constant source of inspiration for students and scholars alike. Professor Parodi was also the recipient of the UCLA Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching Award 2011-2012. In recognition of Professor Claudia Parodi’s extraordinary legacy to the field, this prize was created to honor students’ outstanding academic achievement in Spanish Linguistics.