New speaker series addresses the Latino experience in America

Connecticut College faculty from various disciplines will explore topics related to Latino culture, identity, art, education and politics in a new speaker series debuting this semester. The Latino Studies Speaker Series was the result of growing student interest in the field of Latino studies.

“In response, faculty from various academic fields — sociology, Hispanic studies, art history, and government and international relations — are bringing their specializations to explore Chicano/Latino studies through the new series,” said Ana Lilia Campos Manzo, assistant professor of sociology and one of the series’ organizers. “Nurturing students’ intellectual curiosity is a priority at Connecticut College.”

The Latino Studies Speaker Series kicks off on Friday, Feb. 15, with “What Makes Someone Latin@? A Conversation about Latinadad,” a talk by Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies Jennifer Rudolph. Her interactive and audience-based conversation about Latino identity within a larger social framework of the U.S. ethno-racial structure is at 3 p.m. in Coffee Grounds, located in Katharine Blunt House.

On Friday, March 1, Associate Professor of Sociology Ronald Flores will deliver “The Latino Second Generation: A Look at Their Educational Success,” a look at how the children of Latino immigrants are succeeding in education, with a focus on completing high school and the college experience. His talk is at 4 p.m. in Coffee Grounds.

On Friday, April 12, Campos-Holland and Karen Gonzalez Rice, the Sue and Eugene Mercy Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, will explore how Chicano/Latino artists use a variety of media to explore identity, history, politics, spirituality and culture in “Chicano/Latino Art in American Society.” Their talk is at 4 p.m. in Room 307 of Cummings Arts Center.

And the series concludes on Tuesday, April 30, with “Latinos and Politics in the U.S.,” a joint presentation by MaryAnne Borrelli, professor of government, and Carlos A. Suarez-Carrasquillo, assistant professor of politics at Hampshire College. They will discuss the wide spectrum of Latino politics in the United States with a focus on the Caribbean at 4 p.m. in the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room in Shain Library.

“Since Florida’s Spanish period, the Mexican-American war, and U.S.’s control over Puerto Rico, the Chicano/Latino population has been a defining force of American culture,” said Campos-Holland. “In 2010, the Hispanic population in the United States was 16.6 percent, including 33,557,922 from Mexican ancestry and 4,885,294 from Puerto Rican ancestry, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. This series will explore the Latino experience as an American phenomenon.”

The Latino Studies Speaker Series is sponsored by the President’s Fund for Faculty-Student Engagement and the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity. All talks are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Campos-Holland at 860-439-2006.

February 13, 2013