Mary Jane Treacy
Professor, Honors Program
Simmons College of Arts and Sciences
I am a Professor of Spanish Language and Literatures as well as Director of the Honors Program. I wrote a doctoral dissertation on drama, the emergence of comedy, in 16th-century Spain with an emphasis on the comedia of Lope de Vega. Soon after this, I turned to the other face of Spanish theatre: the famous wife-murder plays of Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca and from there to violence (state violence as well as violence against women) in Latin American and Spanish literature.
Violence took me directly to Latin American experiences of the 60s - 90s to see how literature and film attempted to make sense of political upheaval and state violations of human rights. I also examined how personal writings—autobiography, essays, interviews—by members of guerrilla movements explained and framed their participation and use of violence to bring about social change. My particular interest was, and remains, in how women joined these forces and how they explain their experiences as gendered (or not).
Interest in social movements took me from Latin American guerrilla organizations to U.S. social movements. I was given the opportunity to teach Roots of Feminism in the WGST program. Soon after, I joined Reacting to the Past, a group of historians and political scientists centered at Barnard College who design role-playing games for college courses in a variety of fields. I saw that their approach was one that would ideally suit the Roots course, except that I was going to have to write it myself. So I did. Greenwich Village 1913: Suffrage, Labor and the New Woman has now been featured at many national conferences and is played in universities throughout the United States.
Right now I teach primarily in the Honors Program:
HON 390 Transitions: Graduate School and Beyond
HON 190 Critical Thinking, Public Speaking
HON 210 War and Memory in Latin America
However, you never know when I will teach a course in Spanish language or Latin American literature. I have routinely taught Elementary Spanish, Intermediate Spanish, Conversation and Composition, Spanish Civilization, Hispanic Culture As Seen Through Film, Latin American Women Writers.
I have also taught Introduction to Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies and Roots of Feminism.
My current research and passion is writing role-playing games for college—and now high school as well—courses. After Greenwich Village 1913, affectionately called GV), I was asked by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities to write a game for the centennial of the Paterson silk strike of 1913. Paterson 1913 The Silk Strike was debuted last fall in a HON Learning Community and has been played at both colleges and high schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas. It is in a play-testing phase and has gone through version 2.0 on its way to more testing and publication.
I have yet another game on my interest in Latin American and the aftermath of the “dirty wars” in that region. Argentina 1985: Contested Memories asks how a nation can survive or continue on after deep conflict and violence. Can it heal? Should it try? What should be its first steps towards a better life for its people? A-85 has been taught in Latin American history courses and was first play-tested in out Honors 210 seminar. It has gone into its v. 20 and is being play-tested in several colleges this year.
I am just beginning a new game. If Paterson 1913 is a “prequel” to Greenwich Village 1913, Harlem 1919 is its natural sequel. I am keeping the game hushed until I have worked out some important details but I can reveal that players will get pretty familiar with W.E.B. Du Bois and The Crisis, A. Philip Randolph, Marcus Garvey, and a young Alain Locke. I expect some blues singers to put in a loud appearance as well.
I am on the Reacting to the Past Editorial Board and serve as developmental editor for several games in the humanities.