Fall 2012 Newsletter (archive)

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Volume 3, Number 1
Fall 2012


Fall Spotlight: Family Matters by Marisel Moreno

The Institute congratulates ILS Faculty Fellow Marisel Moreno, Assistant Professor of Latino/a Literature, on her publication of Family Matters: Puerto Rican Women Authors on the Island and the Mainland in the New World Studies series of the University of Virginia Press.

Raised in Puerto Rico, Moreno notes that it wasn’t until graduate school that she “discovered” the existence of a vast body of Puerto Rican literature produced stateside. Her curiosity fueled, and she proceeded to read most of the major works of Puerto Rican literature written on the mainland in a single summer. Her engagement with these texts led to the conviction “that if there was a lack of comparative studies addressing Puerto Rican literature in and outside the island, perhaps I could do something to change that. That is how the idea behind this book came about.”

Thus Family Matters is the first book-length study to juxtapose narratives from Puerto Rican women authors from the island and the mainland in order to examine their convergences and divergences. The book explores how key writers from both sides use the trope of “family” to question the tenets of racial and social harmony, an idealized past, and patriarchal authority, which collectively sustain the foundational myth of la gran familia puertorriqueña. Fixing its critical gaze on narratives published during the 1980s and 1990s, two decades that mark a literary boom among Puerto Rican female authors, Family Matters demonstrates that the metaphor of la gran familia constitutes an overlooked literary contact zone between these two branches of Puerto Rican literature. The result is a significant comparative and multidisciplinary study that defies the tendency to examine these literary bodies independently of one another and therefore presents a more nuanced and holistic vision of Puerto Rican literature. As Frances Aparicio, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University, attests: “Family Matters offers us new readings of canonical texts, as well as lucid readings of forgotten or ignored texts, that, together, elucidate the commonalities between women writers across the charco (puddle) that divides the Island from the mainland.”

The Institute for Latino Studies applauds our colleague Dr. Moreno on her achievement of deepening the scholarly engagement of Puerto Rican literature across the divides of migration.


Accomplishments of ILS-Related Faculty

Anne García-Romero, Department of Film, Television and Theater, has been chosen as a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Besides a prestigious honor, García-Romero’s designation will enable her to collaborate with fellow playwrights and artists to shape theatre repertory in Chicago and across the nation. Commenting on her selection, she expressed delight that she now has “an artistic home to develop my plays with theater artists in Chicago” and “new opportunities to engage my students with the work at Chicago Dramatists as well.” García-Romero’s play Provenance was also one of eight plays selected for the 2012 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Connecticut, where she received a staged presentation of her new work. Her play Paloma received its world premiere in July 2012 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, produced by Camino Real Productions, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Finally, her translation of the highly acclaimed Spanish play, The Grönholm Method by Jordi Galcerán, received its world premiere in Los Angeles at the Falcon Theatre in August 2012.

Thomas Anderson, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has been invited to give two public lectures in relation to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Cuban author Virgilio Piñera. In June he gave the opening talk at the International Colloquium “Virgilio Tal Cual” in Havana, Cuba. Next month he will give the Provost’s Distinguished Lecture at the opening of the conference “Virgilio Piñera: The Accursed Circumstance” at Stony Brook University in New York.

José Limón, Department of English and ILS director, has published his most recent book. Américo Paredes: Culture and Critique (University of Texas Press) examines the works of arguably the most renowned U.S. literary and cultural studies expert of Mexican ancestry. Professor Limón is a former student and colleague of Paredes. In this volume he builds on his previous writings on his mentor to provide a critical study of Paredes’ writings as well as an analysis of the shifting reception of his works during his lifetime and since his passing in 1999.


Other Recent Publications

Darcia Narvaez (Psychology), coedited with Panksepp, J., Schore, A., and Gleason, T.. Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Jaime Pensado (History). “Student Activism: Utopian Dreams.” ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America (Fall 2012), at: http://drclas.harvard.edu/publications/revistaonline/fall-2012/student-activism.

Karen Richman (Latino Studies). “Religion at the Epicenter: Religious Agency and Affiliation in Léogâne After the Earthquake.” Studies in Religion 41(1).  2012.  Dr. Richman also served as coeditor of this journal issue with Terry Rey.

Karen Richman (Latino Studies). “The Vodou State and the Protestant Nation: Haiti in the Long Twentieth Century.” In Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing, ed. Maarit Forde and Diana Paton. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012, pp. 268-279. 

Jason Ruiz (American Studies). “Private Lives and Public History.” In Bodies of Evidence: The Practice of Queer Oral History, ed. Nan Alamilla Boyd and Horacio N. Roque Ramírez. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 113-29.


Recent Publication Awards

Theology professor Father Daniel Groody, CSC has won two 2012 Catholic Press Association publication awards. He won the First Place Book Award, Spirituality Book (softcover), for his volume Gustavo Gutíerrez: Spiritual Writings (Orbis,). His America Magazine essay “A Theology of Migration” won the First Place Article Award for the Best Coverage of Immigration.

Theology professor and ILS executive director Timothy Matovina’s book Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church (Princeton University Press) was awarded the 2012 College Theology Society Best Book Award at the Society’s annual meeting this summer in San Antonio.


Report Published on Economic Benefits of the DREAM Act

Juan Carlos Guzmán and Raúl C. Jara have published a report on the economic benefits of passing the DREAM Act. The report is available at:



Accomplishments of ILS-Related Graduate Students

May Kim (Psychology) has successfully proposed her doctoral dissertation titled “Risk and Resilience among Latino College Students: A Test of the Cultural-Ecological-Transactional Model” and has begun the data collection phase of her dissertation research.

Lynda Letona (Master of Fine Arts) was selected to present her work at the Writing by Degrees Biennial Conference at the historic Bundy Museum in Binghamton, New York on October 20. She will read from her non-fiction piece titled “Mark of Cain.” Her recently published non-fiction work titled “My Body is a Cage” is featured in Literary Review International at: http://www.liternational.com/my-body-is-a-cage/

Felicia Moralez (History) has passed her doctoral comprehensive examinations. With funding awarded from Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Center for the Study of Social Movements, and the Graduate School, she spent part of the summer doing dissertation research on Mexican American women’s experiences during World War II in the Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

Lauro Vazquez (Master of Fine Arts) moderated a roundtable discussion between Latino/a Poetry Now featured-poets Xochiquetzal Candelaria, Lorena Duarte, and Rigoberto González for the online blog of the Poetry Society of America. The discussion can be found at: http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/crossroads/interviews/page_11/

Lindsey Passenger Wieck (History) presented a paper titled “Speaking Spanish in Safe Places: El Tecolote as a Guide to the Mission District” at the recent annual meeting of the Western History Association. She also chaired a session titled “The Outdoors: How to Teach and Research Work and Play in the American West.” At that same meeting Lindsey became the sole chair of the WHA’s Committee on Teaching and Public Education (previously she served as co-chair).


Announcements and Events

Latino Studies Graduates

The Institute celebrated the graduation of the largest class of Latino Studies students in May 2012.  Four students completed the Supplementary Major in Latino Studies and six students finished the Minor in Latino Studies. Congratulations to our graduates: Ruby Amezquita, James Mitchell Day, Yessenia Diaz de Leon, Susan Esquivel, George Felix, Amanda Meza, Stephanie Pérez, Marisa Ramón, Ruben Saldaña, and Isabel Yanker.


Senior Theses

Two students completed senior theses in Latino Studies in 2012.  Ruby Amezquita researched the transnational dimensions of la quinceañera rituals among local Mexican immigrant girls.  James “Mitch” Day researched aspects of the health care access of Latinos in South Bend.  After graduation Ruby entered Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education Masters in Teaching program, while Mitch began medical school at Loyola University in Chicago.


Student Research Series

In 2007, Notre Dame undergraduate students studying and serving Latinos in South Bend launched a Student Research Brief Series to report their findings.  The first two volumes, featuring eight individual newsletter-style publications, appeared this spring.  The authors of the briefs are students in community-based research and independent study courses taught by Professors Karen Richman and Marisel Moreno.


Latino Honors Society

ILS is the institutional sponsor of the Latino Honors Society of Notre Dame, which was established in fall of 2012 to recognize Latino undergraduate students who are excelling academically with a GPA of 3.25 or above.  The Latino Honor Society’s first annual induction ceremony will take place in spring 2013.  Senior Stephanie Aguilera is the society’s president this year. 


Summer 2012 ILS Cross Cultural Leadership Internships

Eight Notre Dame undergraduate students completed eight-week internships as part of the ILS Cross Cultural Leadership Program (CCLIP). CCLIP engages students in real-world applications of their academic studies as interns in community-based organizations in Chicago and national minority-serving organizations based in Los Angeles. In Chicago, students and their placements were Amanda Peña (Chicago Archdiocese), Amanda Camille Neal (Las Caras Lindas), Krystal Hentges (Casa Juan Diego), and Xule Lin (Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital). This year’s Los Angeles-based interns and their placements were Angelica Martinez (Urban League), Isabella Pacheco (MALDEF), Mayra Estrada (La Opinión), and Alyssa Borrego (Self-Help Graphics). CCLIP is open to all Notre Dame undergraduates. The summer 2013 internship program open house will take place in early spring.


Letras Latinas

Author Fred Arroyo read selections from his latest story collection Western Avenue and Other Fictions (2012) and the novel The Region of Lost Names (2008) to a full room of ILS-related faculty and students on October 4. The third installment of the Latino/a Poetry Now series convened at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 10. Letras Latinas is a campus and national initiative under the direction of ILS faculty member Francisco Aragón.


Young Latinidad Conference

ILS will convene a major interdisciplinary conference on young Latinos in the United States April 14-16, 2013. Details on speakers and topics will follow in a subsequent issue of Horizons.


Fresco-Naming Contest and Dedication

Members of the Notre Dame community are invited to enter the contest to title the Frederico Vigil Fresco, a work dedicated to the Latino presence and contributions at Notre Dame. The fresco is permanently displayed in the lobby of the Hesburgh Library, where instructions are available for entering a name in the contest for a $100 cash prize. Deadline for entries is midnight Sunday, October 14. The fresco dedication ceremony and reception is on Thursday, November 15 at 4:30 at the Hesburgh Library.


Día de los Muertos Celebration

The annual Día de los Muertos celebration is Thursday, November 1 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. The order of events includes a lecture by political science graduate student Javier Osorio (PhD candidate, Political Science, University of Notre Dame and Visiting Scholar at Yale University), music from Coro Primavera de Nuestra Señora, Ballet Folklorico Azul y Oro, a student presentation about Day of the Dead & Ofrenda, and a reception featuring Mariachi ND, Pan de los Muertos, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and Face Painting.



ILS extends a warm welcome to Daniel Gayo Lafée, a visiting fellow who is a professor of applied economics at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain. Dr. Gayo Lafée will be in residence at the Institute for the fall semester.