Columbus looks at how language structures thought – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
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Columbus looks at how language structures thought

A new book, “Andean Archi-Texts: Wordplay and the Sacred in the Andes,” by Professor of English Emerita Claudette K. Columbus, was recently published by BookSurge Publishing.

She notes that the book “connects ritual language to landscape through the native Quechua and Aymara terminology,” explaining that while a person who first learned English or Spanish is trained to use an “either-or” distinction to separate items, native speakers of other languages will use an “and-and” connection to weave things together.

“To contrast how our language structures organize our perceptions — with how people who speak languages other than European-derived ones organize theirs — is truly illuminating.”

A member of the English Department faculty from 1969 until her retirement in 2003, Columbus taught the literature of late-18th and 19th-century authors including John Ruskin, Charles Dickens and Robert Browning. She also studied native Andean practices with two Fulbright grants that enabled her to visit Peru, and additional grants from these Colleges.

Her articles, published in a number of professional journals, range from essays on major figures in the English Romantic and Victorian periods to essays on Latin American subjects, on which she has written two books. She led several semesters of off-campus study to London and Ecuador, and in 2003, received the HWS Faculty Prize for Teaching.

Columbus received her B.A. from Bucknell University, her M.A. with high honors from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She was instrumental in creating the HWS women's study and Latin American studies programs, and has served as adviser on more than a dozen student honors projects.

Copies of her latest book are now available at The College Store.