Hispanic Heritage Month: October and Beyond

Hispanic Heritage Month: October and Beyond

For the 2015-16 academic year, IU East is celebrating Latino history, heritage and culture through a series of programs, events and workshops. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming up for the next few weeks:

Author visit from Marjorie Agosin

Acclaimed Chilean-Jewish author, poet, and scholar Marjorie Agosin will be on campus on Monday, October 12 at 4:00 pm to speak with students at the IU East Campus Library. Agosin, a graduate of IU, currently serves as the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College. She is the author of numerous books, including the young adult novel I Lived on Butterfly Hill (which won the Pura Belpre award in 2015), and has spoken extensively on Chilean human rights.

Agosin will also lead a workshop dedicated to crafting arpilleras on Tuesday, October 13 at 2:30 pm. Arpilleras are homemade Chilean tapestries which originated during the despotic regime of Augusto Pinochet. Under Pinochet, men and teenage boys were often tortured, imprisoned, exiled or “disappeared” from their homes, and the arpilleras were developed as a form of protest. The Catholic Church would sell the arpilleras abroad, and sales of the arpilleras often provided the only source of income for the women who made them. The arpillera workshop will take place in the library. Reservations are required – go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arpillera-workshop-with-marjorie-agosin-tickets-18782597254 to secure yourself a place. Materials will be on hand to create your own, but you are welcome to supplement with your own fabric.

agosin ad

Latino Americans, episode 2 – Empire of Dreams

The award winning PBS documentary Latino Americans: 500 Years of History will be screened at IU East and Morrisson-Reeves Library throughout the academic year. The second episode, Empire of Dreams, will show on Thursday, October 15 at 5:30 pm at the IU East Campus Library. Refreshments will be available and discussion of the film will be conducted by IU East professor Christine Nemcik.

Empire of Dreams covers the period of time between 1880 and 1942, when large waves of immigration, imperialist American conquests and industrialization change the makeup of America’s people. Like the other episodes in the Latino Americans program, personal stories are used to highlight key moments in history. In Empire of Dreams, large waves of immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico find new homes and new lives in the US while battling discrimination, violence and, beginning with the Great Depression, mass deportation. While some stories, like Juan Salvador Villasenor’s, ultimately prove successful, other stories like Emilia Castaneda’s end in tragedy.


Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

The IU East Campus Library, in conjunction with Morrisson-Reeves Library, will be hosting a Day of the Dead altar building workshop on Saturday, October 24th at 2 PM. The workshop will introduce participants to the traditions of Dia de Muertos and allow them to build small altars to their own deceased. Boxes, sugar skulls (one per participant) and basic supplies (fabric, colored paper, glue, scissors) will be provided. Participants will need to bring their own family photos and mementoes.

The world’s earliest ritual burials were found with Neanderthal graves, in which flowers, amulets, weapons and other objects of perceived value were placed in the ground or in caves with the deceased. Since then, humans have developed a seemingly endless variety of ways to memorialize their beloved departed, including Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Dia de Muertos, whose origins may be Pre-Columbian, is a Mexican tradition celebrating the lives of deceased family members. The holiday takes place annually on October 31st, November 1st and November 2nd, on the same dates as the Christian All Hallows Eve, All Hallows Day (All Saints Day) and All Souls Day.

dia de los muertos altar

Cultural Conversations

Have your own Latino American story to tell? Cultural Conversations is a Storycorps-style project that collects stories from local Latinos and Latino Americans (in English or Spanish) and presents them to the public. All stories will be edited, archived and made available online for the benefit of the community. Cultural Conversation is about the lives of individuals, of family traditions, of the unique stories that make each person remarkable. Schedule a time to record your story at liblearn@iue.edu.

After Hispanic Heritage Month concludes, IU East will continue to host exciting and engaging programs and events over the course of the academic year. Vida!, a television series devoted to presenting Latino life in Richmond and beyond, will air on WETV and WCTV, channels 11, 20 and 21, and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/WCTV112021/videos. Episodes of Vida! will air between September 2015 and June 2016, covering food, culture and IU East student experiences in Costa Rica and Argentina. KT Lowe will present a talk and tasting on the history of Mesoamerican chocolate on Saturday, January 16th, complete with samples of chocolate from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Ecuador. On Wednesday, March 23, IU East professor Stephanie Whitehead will discuss relationships between the police and Latino communities.

While Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15th, IU East Campus Library continues to present Latino programming for the remainder of October and throughout the school year. Before you miss out, catch a glimpse of the Dia de Muertos altars in the library atrium, check out the first episode of Vida! on WCTV or review some of the fantastic information available in the Latino Americans LibGuide: iue.libguides.com/latinoamericans. If you have questions or want research assistance on topics related to Latino American culture or anything else, just ask us! iueref@iue.edu


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