College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Spanish Professor Named UM Humanities Teacher of the Year

Jason Klodt believes film has become the de facto model of, and for, youth culture in Spain. Klodt, the University of Mississippi’s 2010 Humanities Teacher of the Year, shared his thoughts on the subject in a campus lecture last fall in honor of Arts and Humanities Month in Mississippi.

Klodt, an associate professor of modern languages, was selected for the honor by the College of Liberal Arts, which is cosponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council.  The award is presented each fall to distinguished humanities scholars at senior and community colleges throughout the state. Each scholar receives a $500 honorarium and an invitation to deliver a public lecture on their campus. Klodt’s lecture was titled “Growing Up on Film: Youth and Disaffection in Contemporary Spain.”

“Contemporary Spanish cinema presents youth as a brutal period of desperation and anomie, framing young people as rudderless, self-destructive and a social blight,” Klodt said. “The dynamics of this cinematic representation expose Spain’s social wounds, such as the failure of interdependency, the collapse of the family and the impact of trauma on young people.  Moreover, when cinema casts youth as a symbol of national anxieties, it posits questions about the future of Spain itself.”

Klodt, who teaches Spanish, is regarded by both peers and students as a great teacher, and his teacher evaluation scores are off the charts, said Donald Dyer, UM chair of modern languages.

“Dr. Klodt is energetic, engaging, funny and interesting,” Dyer said. “He’s on the top of his game when it comes to disseminating his knowledge about Spanish and Spanish culture.”

With research specialties in Spanish literature, cultural studies and film studies, Klodt treasures his interaction with students and the perspectives they bring to class.

“Each class, each week, each semester is different and engaging,” he said.