2013-14 Series

SPEAKER

Dr. John D. Riofrio, Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at William and Mary College

TITLE

Dirty Politics of Representation: Dehumanizing Discourse, Latinidad and the Struggle for Self-ascribed Ethnic Identity

WHEN

September 24, 2013, 12:05 PM

WHERE

Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, Mary Baldwin College, in Staunton, VA

HOST

Department of World Languages and Literatures. Facilitator Dr. Brenci Patiño, Assistant Professor of Spanish and U.S. Latina/o Studies at Mary Baldwin College

ABSTRACT

This talk begins by contextualizing the proliferation of “I am not Mexican” youtube videos within a larger frame of anti-Mexican (and anti-Latino) discourse. More specifically, focusing on the role that representation plays in establishing discourse about Latinos, this talk will argue that the highly public nature of discourse about Latinos has devolved into frequent metaphors and images that center on Latin American immigrants as animals and as criminals. Further, by examining the proliferation of references and categorizations rhetorically linked to poverty and migration, references that both enable and propagate a recasting of Latinos as dangerous, criminally-inclined sub-humans, this talk will suggest that one of the tragic, perhaps expected, outcomes of this persistent dehumanization is the easy rhetorical leap from less-than-human to criminal, a rhetorical association with severe consequences for Latino communities of all types.

BIO

John Riofrio, or “Rio” as he is called by just about everyone besides his parents, earned his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.A in English from Emory University. Rio’s research interest include popular representations of U.S. Latinos in film, literature and popular rhetoric, Latino counter-narratives and contestatory discourses, as well as an abiding interest in hemispheric Latino identities and their impact on understanding the complexities of Latino presence in the Americas. The son of Ecuadorian migrants, Rio teaches courses in Latin@ studies at the College of William and Mary where he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Rio has published on the confluence of Latin American and Latino studies in MELUS and LALR; is at work on a book-length manuscript entitled “Continental Shifts: Migration, Representation and the Search for Justice in Latin(o) America.” Occasionally Rio finds the time and emotional energy to publish opinion pieces in Huffington Post on topics ranging from Arizona’s ban on Ethnic Studies, to a media review of CNN’s Latino in America, to cable television’s obsession with big, white families.

SPEAKER

Dr. Ivelise Faundez-Reistma
Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, Virginia Military Institute (VMI)

TITLE

M(other) of mine: Arabic Roots from Spain to Spanish-America

WHEN

Thursday, March 27, 2014, 6:00 PM

WHERE

Main Hall Ballroom, Southern Virginia University, Buena Vista, VA 24416

HOST

Southern Virginia University. Facilitator Dr. Iana Konstantinova

ABSTRACT

The merging point of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean has been witness to some of the most important human migrations in history. From the Berber and Arabic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century AD to the expulsion of Jews and Moriscos in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the subsequent migrations of Middle Eastern peoples into Spanish-America.
We look for clues to the geographic significance of this passage in the mention of the white women slaves that came with the conquistadores, and also the story of Juan Garrido, a black conqueror who accompanied Cortéz to Mexico. Both texts point to a hidden presence of Arabic elements at the birth of Spanish-America that would overtly increase in the newly independent Hispanic nations through its Middle Eastern (Arabic) immigrants. From the 16th century to our present day, we will reference how these two traditional “others” in Eurocentric discourse became inevitably joined in today’s Cooperación Sur-Sur global paradigm.

BIO

Dr. Faundez-Reitsma earned her PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from Washington University in St. Louis. Her scholarly activities center on the intersection of politics and religion in the production of the Afro-Hispanic literary text. The specific focus of her research is the mosaic of cultures, Arabic as well as North and West African, which imparted the American colonies of Imperial Spain, and in particular the Caribbean, with their distinct character and rich history. In 2012, Dr. Faundez-Reitsma was the recipient of a VMI’s Jackson-Hope Faculty Development Grant for the purpose of in-depth studies and research on the theme here presented in both Spain and Morocco.

SPEAKER

José Galvez, Professional photographer and Pulitzer Prize Winner

TITLE

Al Norte al Sur: Latino Life in the South

WHEN

October 17, 2014, 1:00pm (Reception to Follow)

WHERE

College of William and Mary, Tucker Hall Room 127A

HOST

The program is sponsored by VALHEN (Virginia Latino Higher Education Network) and the Hispanic Studies Program in the Department of Modern Literatures and Languages with funding from the Center for Student Diversity, the Arts & Sciences Lecture Fund, Latin American Studies Program.

ABSTRACT

Mr. Galvez will share his latest book of photographs and present a lecture and photo exhibit titled “Al Sur al Norte: Latino Life in the South.”
For more than 40 years, Galvez has used black-and-white film to create a powerful and unparalleled historical record of the Latino experience in America. His compelling work, done with respect, pride and no pretense, captures the beauty of daily life. For him, photographing the lives of Latinos is not a one-time project or “current passion” but a lifelong commitment. As an artist, he photographs nothing else. And, while capturing the struggles and triumphs of Latinos in the U.S., Galvez also tells his own story of being a child in the barrios of Mexico, moving to the United States, and how he became the world-renowned photographer he is today.

BIO

José Galvez is an accomplished and widely heralded photographer who has spent a lifetime documenting the lives and experiences of Latino communities throughout the United States. Known for his work on César Chávez, Galvez has also documented the lives of Latinos in the Southwest and, more recently, the shifting realities of Latinos living in the U.S. South. He has collaborated with the Latino actor James Edward Olmos and the Chicano writer Luis Alberto Urrea on photo exhibits and an acclaimed book of photography entitled Vatos. Galvez is a Pulitzer-prize winning photographer and an itinerant story-teller.