Blue Sage Founder & Director | Jacob Dyer Spiegel

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Since 2005, Jacob Dyer Spiegel has been teaching university courses in Spanish and Portuguese, Comparative Literature, Postcolonial literatures in English, Composition and Rhetoric, and African Diaspora Studies.

His appointments cross what is now core territory on the Blue Sage map: from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, to the Federal University of Bahia and the Catholic University of Salvador in Brazil, to the University of the Bahamas (where he is currently Interim Director of Global Studies and Assistant Professor of English) as well as lengthy research periods in Cuba, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

Fulbright Scholar,
Afro-Brazilian Religions (2011)
Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst, English (2011)
MA, Univ. de la Habana-SUNY Buffalo, Caribbean Studies (2004)
BA, Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst, Comparative Literature (2002)
BA, Univ. of Massachusetts-Amherst, Spanish & Portuguese (2001)
————————————————————————————- Current Writing Project: ————————————————————————————-

In addition to several essays on Caribbean literature and translation as understood through traditional Yoruba/Yoruba Atlantic religious philosophies, Jacob is working on a project centered on Kamau Brathwaite’s concept of Nation Language as applied to emerging writers in the Bahamas.

One essay, “Building Around Nation Language: Critical Reflections on Teaching Composition and Rhetoric in The Bahamas” will be in Creole Composition: Academic Writing and Rhetoric in the Anglophone Caribbean (ed. Vivette Milson Whyle. Parlor Press) which will be published this year. He is currently extending the project as a co-authored series of chapters with students in his writing courses in the Bahamas.
————————————————————————————- Snapshot of Research: ————————————————————————————-

Most of Jacob’s academic work has been centered on West African and Afro-Atlantic religions and aesthetic philosophies—deities and figures of transition and transformation who embody the poetics of travel, change, and the crossing of all types of boundaries (national, cultural, even cosmological). They are the master translators of Yoruba and Yoruba Atlantic religious systems who are invoked and exalted in literature and visual arts. Too complex to pin down to specific names and categories, these constantly morphing deities of the crossroads teach us important things about dwelling in travel, transiting between languages and cultures, and what it means to immerse ourselves in living language codes. It is, too, a life quite similar to what students fully engaging the study abroad experience should encounter.

Through the art and culture of Flamenco and the work of film director Tony Gatlif, Jacob is working on a parallel project that essentially traces the history of the Spanish and Portuguese Roma (“gypsies”) in the Iberian peninsula and their presence across the Atlantic (in Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latin American music, dance, nation language, and religious systems). Blue Sage is poised to develop programs around these two diasporas — African and Roma — and by 2020 we will launch our own Study Abroad program around the theme of Continuities and Resiliency.

————————————————————————————- Formative International Work ————————————————————————————-

In addition to years of international research and study experience, Blue Sage emerges from hands-on professional work in the field of international education, student mobility, scholarship design and administration, and study abroad program development.

While a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil, Jacob took apart, rebuilt, and applied the research on Black Atlantic religious systems and arts to expand and enhance CIEE’s study programs. After leading the business legalization process and revamping student experience, Jacob served as Resident Director for a four year period, working with approximately 300 US universities.

Harvard University - Latin American Scholarship Program
Working closely with the Ministries of Education across Latin America and the Caribbean, the region’s top private businesses, and Harvard University’s Latin American Scholarship Program for American Universities, Jacob designed and implemented scholarship programs for Fulbright, Organization of American States, Colciencias, Science Without Borders, and ten other student mobility programs.

University of the Bahamas
Jacob is Assistant Professor of English at the University of the Bahamas in Nassau. Since January, he has been advising on and implementing the national university’s internationalization agenda:

  • Founding the Office of Global Studies and Programmes

  • Forging robust partnerships with universities across the world

  • Designing the inbound program theme around African Diaspora and Climate Change Studies

  • Setting up inbound study abroad receiving capacity with housing, activities, emergency support, and more

  • Directing national scholarship programs

  • Creating protocol and policy for sustain global programming

  • Designing new study abroad sites in Spain, Cuba, Brazil, France, Argentina, and the US

  • Defining methods for outbound study abroad that are cost-effective
    Working with faculty to support international projects

  • Overseeing faculty-led programs across all 60 majors
    Bringing in world-class scholars to the university campus for talks and workshops

This work is essentially the mirror image of Blue Sage’s Core Services.

Our Approach

Blue Sage approaches international Program Development, Institutional Advancement, Scholarship Program Design and Implementation, and Student Advising with a focus on Direct Enrollments grounded in what we call the 'transformational poetic' of international education and cultural immersion: the power that this form of hands-on, experiential learning has to deeply impact students' academic and professional careers and to change lives. 

Building from the commitment to make education abroad more inclusive our goal is to develop and make available study programs that support hands-on, intercultural learning, fully explore the arts and language as the point of entry into cultural systems, instill a sense of global citizenry through learning and meaningful service learning, and prepare all students for career opportunities in an increasingly interconnected world.