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Highlighting the Research and Expertise of College of Charleston Professors

Professor Patrick Harwood
Department of Communication


Professor Raul Carrillo-Arciniega
Hispanic Studies

Raul Carillo Professor Raul Carrillo-Arciniega


Passionate Scholar--Changing the World One Word at a Time
By Toni Everly

"Words change things, it's the only way that we have to think about the world, and the only way we can communicate with each other," says Hispanic Studies Dr. Raul Carrillo-Arciniega. Raising the bar in understanding the concepts in poetry communication is a goal which he aspires to accomplish.

A native of Mexico, the only son out of six sisters and a hard working father has made a name for himself here at the College of Charleston. This influential Mexican scholar came to the United States nine years ago to learn more about the beauty within a single word. He obtained a Ph.D. in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has experience as an Assistant professor at the College of Charleston in Hispanic Studies and previous teaching experience in Tennessee and Mexico.

Jose Escobar, a fellow Hispanic Studies Professor at the College of Charleston believes that Carrillo-Arciniega has a tremendous potential as a scholar. Since his arrival to the College of Charleston he has successfully published numerous books, articles and short stories. "He is a very good poet; published and beginning to establish himself as a leading voice among poets in his native Mexico."

Like many college students, Dr. Carrillo-Arciniega, did not always know what the outcome of the decisions he made for his life would be. He never thought he would be a professor or a scholar whose writings could change the way individuals thought critically about the world.

He remembers a time when he was 15 years old, when his father bought a book titled, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." There was something about the title of that book which captivated his interest in wanting to understand the meaning of the title. After reading this novel, he discovered two things, first, this novel was difficult to read and second, it made him think outside the box.

According to Dr. Michael Handelsman, Spanish Professor at the University of Tennessee: "Raul Carrillo-Arciniega is a multifaceted individual. His intellectual curiosity serves as a positive model in a university community. He has an incredible capacity to read multiple things while retaining that material and creates creative original interpretations of his readings."

Carrillo-Arciniega has published several works and been awarded for achievements in the Research and Development Grant from the College of Charleston, Fellowship from Mexican Government to support Mexican students abroad, Honorable mention in the short story contest "Todos Santos" BCS, Mexico and is a member of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

In 2006, he was invited to participate in a panel on the poetry of Jose Emilio Pacheco, one the major Mexican poets of the second half of the 20th Century and also participated in honoring Roberto Fernandez Retamar, a Cuban poet, essayist, literary critic and cultural spokesman for the regime of Fidel Castro in 2007 at the Puebla's City Hall.

Dr. Georgina Whittingham, Spanish Professor at the State University of New York College at Oswego, elaborates on these experiences," Dr. Carrillo-Arciniega spoke with authority and eloquence on Jose Emilio Pacheco's and Roberto Fernandez Retamar's writings, the evolution of their poetry, and the critical theory necessary for understanding their work and that of their predecessors."

Dr. Carrillo-Arciniega has placed a positive impression on those who know him inside and outside the classroom. He truly cares about the success of his students and those around him.

Dr. Whittingham adds, "He's a versatile scholar who is making outstanding contributions to the understanding of Latin American and Mexican literature."

Dr. Handelsman says, "He's worthy of our greatest respect."

And Jose Escobar proclaims that one of his greatest accomplishment is just being here for he is, "genuine, sincere, bright, funny, and truly dedicated in teaching with passion."

It's a necessity to have teachers like him because they help encourage others to engage in learning.

In regards to understanding the concepts of poetry communication, Dr. Carrillo-Arciniega feels successful when his students have at least read the material and tried to understand poetry communication.

He concludes,"If I communicate to them the passion within literature and language successfully, then I feel OK."