Famed Performer and Author to Visit SUU through National Grant

Published: September 10, 2015 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Iliana Portaro and Dr. Alexandra Perkins of Southern Utah University’s Department of Languages and Philosophy have received a national grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, bringing 500 Years of History to SUU’s students.

SUU is the only institution in the state of Utah to receive this award. As part of the grant, professors Iliana Portaro, Alexandra Perkins, Mark Miller, and James McDonald will host scholar-led presentations of the six-part documentary series Latino Americans: 500 Years of History. These screenings will take place each Tuesday from September 22 – October 13, commemorating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The grant also provides funds for SUU to host Josefina Báez, a world-renowned Dominican-American author, performer, and founder of Ay Ombé Theatre. In the spring of 2016, she will lead a workshop on the intersections of creative writing and performance.

Perkins, a professor of Spanish, said of the event, “The cultural life of our community will benefit from examining Latino American history and culture because there is currently little representation in our campus and community. This series will provide a much-needed curriculum and increase cultural awareness on our campus.”

She went on to add that even the Cedar City community a will greatly benefit from the resources provided by the grant because “the screenings will provide ample material for discussion about the influence and importance of Latinos in Utah and in the United States.”

Through the series, professors will connect with students, staff, and the Cedar City community to the rich and varied culture that is not studied in-depth in secondary education.

The primary goal for hosting the Latino Americans series at SUU is to bring together students and community to discuss the importance of Latino cultural and historical contributions to Utah and the United States. This series is also part of the Department of Languages and Philosophy’s continuing efforts to create inclusive events that highlight the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world.

Each episode of the series will be screened in the Sharwan Smith Theater at 6:00 PM. The screenings are free and open to the public.

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is a public programming initiative produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA)

Schedule of screenings and presenters:

September 22: “Prejudice and Pride, 1965-1980,” presented by Dr. Alexandra Perkins, assistant professor of Spanish

September 29: “The New Latinos, 1946-1965,” presented by Dr. Iliana Portaro, assistant professor of Spanish

October 6: “Peril and Promise, 1980-2000,” presented by Dr. James McDonald, professor of anthropology

October 13: “Foreigners in our Own Land, 1565-1800,” presented by Dr. Mark Miller, professor of history

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