Guest Blog: SPAC, an online space for doing CA in Spanish

CA is well established in a number of Spanish-speaking countries, but there is always room for more initiatives, and for ways for sometimes isolated researchers to meet together. I’m delighted that Luis Manuel Olguín has sent in a report on the Seminario Permanente de Análisis de la Conversación, a lively and inclusive forum for Spanish-speaking CA researchers.

Luis Manuel Olguín, UCLA

Although CA is well-known across Spanish-speaking academia, resources for learning and teaching CA in Spanish are still significantly scant, especially if compared to other approaches to language use and social interaction with established traditions in Spain and Latin America. Similarly, the Spanish-speaking CA community is still relatively small and largely scattered across countries, making it difficult for CA to take root in Language and Social Science programs and departments. 

Luckily, this situation is starting to change thanks to SPAC, an international collaboration that brings together language and social interaction scholars and students around the globe to do CA in Spanish. 

SPAC’s logo

Seminario Permanente de Análisis de la Conversación (SPAC) is an online space for collaboratively learning what CA is all about. The idea of a “seminar” responds to SPAC’s efforts promoting CA practice at different levels of expertise as well as designing and making freely available resources for learning and teaching CA in Spanish. 

SPAC’s activities include monthly talks and workshops, as well as weekly (yes, weekly!) data sessions. Since our launch in January this year, we have organized 11 events, ranging from talks on classroom interaction in Chile and summons practices of deaf communities in Mexico, to workshops on transcription, ELAN, and multimodal analysis. All our events are recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Chase Raymond (UC Boulder) gives a talk on exploring Spanish morphology in interaction in May 2021

Data sessions–or observatorios de datos, as we call them in Spanish, highlighting CA’s characteristic approach to data analysis–are SPAC’s most cherished and defining activity. SPAC’s data sessions take place every Tuesday at 18:00 UTC and run year-round. We primarily focus on ordinary conversation, working on a single episode over the course of several weeks and, recently, on assembling specimen collections. We encourage participants to bring their own data too, so they can benefit from others’ observations. You can read more about SPAC’s data sessions in this ISCA report written by Verónica González Temer (UMCE, Chile) and Katherina Walper (UAC, Chile) earlier this year. 

SPAC data session

SPAC is coordinated by an international team of CA practitioners and enthusiasts. For 2021, they are Verónica González Temer (UMCE, Chile), Alexa Bolaños Carpio (UC, Costa Rica), Ariel Vázquez Carranza (UG, Mexico), Elizabeth Manrique (UCL, Argentina/England), Carmen Del Río Villanueva (PUCP, Peru), and Luis Manuel Olguín (UCLA, Peru/USA). 

Other SPAC projects

Aside from organizing SPAC’s monthly events and weekly data sessions, the team is putting together a bibliography of CA publications on Spanish talk in interaction as well as those written inSpanish, such as textbooks and specialized work that might help colleagues at Spanish-speaking institutions introduce CA to students. The team also runs a GoogleGroup with more than 200 subscribers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Spain, the U.S., among other countries in Europe and the Americas. The listserv is used to disseminate information about recent publications and upcoming events of interest to the community.

SPAC is a chapter of Conversanalista, a larger vision to foster interactional research methods in Spanish-speaking academia and to progressively consolidate a network of language and social interaction scholars across Ibero-America. 

Si estás interesado/a en saber más sobre las activades de SPAC, suscríbete a nuestra lista de distribución enviando un correo electrónico a conversanalista+subscribe (arroba) lists (punto) ucla (punto) edu. 

The author

Luis Manuel Olguín is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at UCLA. His research explores how everyday language practices reflexively shape exchange behavior and economic action, with a particular empirical focus on Spanish talk in interaction.