Piers Armstrong

College of Arts & Letters
Office Location: KH D 1054
Phone: 323-343-4230 Email: parmstr@calstatela.edu


I have been at Cal State LA for over ten years working both as a Lecturer in Modern Languages and Literatures and as an administrator in the College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE).  

I am a Brazilianist and a Latin American generalist, with a broad base in language instruction, cultural and literary studies. My PhD was at UCLA, in Romance Literature and Linguistics, with a thesis on the international reception of Brazilian literature and culture.

I have taught various combinations of Portugese, Spanish and French language and literatures at UCLAUC IrvineUSC and Dartmouth College, general ed humanities courses on topics ranging from the social history of the Americas to the aesthetics of pop music, and, in Brazil, graduate courses on cultural and literary studies at the Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (UEFS) and the Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBa).  At Cal State LA, I have taught Portuguese, Spanish and French language courses, Spanish composition, translation, literature and civilization courses, and the entry and exit courses for language majors - Introduction to Higher Education, and Research Methods for Modern Languages. 

My research works on various interfaces of three domains: (i) translation and the reception of texts; (ii) the rhetorical relations between aesthetic, ethics and material assertions; (iii) the evolution of "Black Atlantic" identity. My first book, Third World Literary Fortunes, documents the very limited European and North American reception of Brazilian literature, and compares this first to the exuberant reception of Spanish American Boom literature, and then, conversely, with the strong international recognition of certain icons of Brazilian popular culture. My second book, Cultura Popular Baiana & Estilística Cultural Pragmática is an introduction to cultural studies in a specific context: drawing on communication and reception theories for popular culture, it examines ways in which cultural tourism in Bahia engages Western interest. I have published research on literary, cultural, translation and language testing topics in U.S., U.K., Australian and Brazilian academic journals and various scholarly anthologies, organized sessions at the conferences of MLA and BRASA, and presented research at events and conferences of these and other bodies including the NEH, the Hemispheric Institute, CONFELEAATSP, ABRALIC and SCALAR.  I am also an ATA (American Translators' Association) certified Spanish-English translator.

On the English language side, I have taught ELLs (English language learners) in Australia, France, Polynesia, the U.S. and Brazil, at high school, community college, and at private and public universities. I have taught various courses in USC's MAT-TESOL online program for English language teachers. I completed two masters degrees at Cal State LA, in  TESOL and MA-ED-IT (instructional technology). In the Commonwealth sphere, I earned a Cambridge/Royal Society of the Arts TEFL Certificate (now Cambrige CELTA). I have organized sessions on language teaching pedagogy and on language proficiency testing at CATESOLTESOL and other venues.

On the admin side, I coordinated a series of PaGE academic programs, was Director of the Spanish-English Legal Interpretation and Translation Program and creator of the Spanish-English Medical Interpreting Program, and served as Associate Director of the English Language Program. My duties involved student service, administrative and logistic support in both academic and professional programs, and faculty supervision. I have worked on the creation of programs including a Masters in Literature and Cultural Diversity at UEFS in Brazil, a Portuguese Study Abroad Program in Salvador for Dartmouth, and led curricular overhauls of the Legal Interpreting and English Language Programs at Cal State LA. 

In my spare time, I like to go back-packing, especially in California's unique Sierra Nevada (a.k.a. "Range of Light"  per John Muir, visionary environmentalist, founder of the Sierra Club, commemorated in the John Muir Trail).  You can see video of some of this terrain, along with urban and all sorts of other attractions, on one of my favorite TV programs, Huell Howser's California's Gold.