CLAS: Center for Latin American Studies

News and Highlights

CLAS-CHC HOST SUCCESSFUL UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARS SYMPOSIUM, "CUBAN IDENTITY AND DIASPORA."

May 17, 2012

The symposium, organized by the Center for Latin American Studies and the Cuban Heritage Collection, and supported through a grant from the Goizueta Foundation, marked the culmination of the year long CLAS-CHC project "Faculty Grants in Support of Undergraduate Research at the Cuban Heritage Collection." This project enabled professors Christine Arce (Modern Languages) and Mia Leonin (English) to receive grants to revise courses incorporating a strong research component exploring the unique holdings at the CHC, containing primary and secondary sources documenting Cuba and its diaspora from colonial times to the present.

The symposium held on Friday, April 20, 2012 at the Cuban Heritage Collection in the Otto G. Richter Library, featured presentations showcasing the work of the CLAS-CHC Undergraduate Scholars, providing them, in some cases, with a first opportunity to participate in a public conference. Presentations were arranged into panels covering such themes as the relationship between Afro-Cuban Identity and Music, research-based creative writing and the portrayal of Zarzuela in Miami's Cuban theatrical tradition. Dr. Lillian Manzor delivered the keynote address, a Cuban quartet was invited to play Cuban music, and Cuban actors from the Miami-based theater "Teatro El Ingenio" performed a dramatic reading of one of the creative writings produced by the Undergraduate Scholars.

The symposium marked the end of a first cycle during which CLAS created a new structure for the use of Goizueta Foundation grant funds. Through collaboration with the CHC, CLAS envisions future symposiums to build and learn from this first excellent experience. During the fall 2012 semester, undergraduate courses will make use of the rich materials in the CHC, fostering innovative undergraduate research. From a wide range of topics such as Caribbean Religion, Travels through Latin America, and Environmental Engineering, these courses will make the most of the available infrastructure at the University while fostering undergraduate scholarship.