The Latin American Studies program, the Department of Educational Studies, ENLACE, the program in Spanish, the Gender & Sexualities Studies program, and the Department of English present:
Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon
A Book Talk by
Dr. Vanessa Pérez Rosario
Note new date & room:
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Kohlberg Room 115, Swarthmore College
While it is rare for a poet to become a cultural icon, Julia de Burgos has evoked feelings of bonding and identification in Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the United States for over half a century. In the first book-length study written in English, Vanessa Pérez-Rosario examines poet and political activist Julia de Burgos’s development as a writer, her experience of migration, and her legacy in New York City, the poet’s home after 1940. Pérez Rosario situates Julia de Burgos as part of a transitional generation that helps bridge the historical divide between Puerto Rican nationalist writers of the 1930s and the Nuyorican writers of the 1970s. Becoming Julia de Burgos departs from the prevailing emphasis on the poet and intellectual as a nationalist writer to focus on her contributions to New York Latino/a literary and visual culture. It moves beyond the standard tragedy-centered narratives of Burgos’s life to place her within a nuanced historical understanding of Puerto Rico’s peoples and culture to consider more carefully the complex history of the island and the diaspora. Pérez Rosario unravels the cultural and political dynamics at work when contemporary Latina/o writers and artists in New York revise, reinvent, and riff off of Julia de Burgos as they imagine new possibilities for themselves and their communities. This talk will also feature newly discovered archival material not included in the book that focuses on the poet’s legacy in the New York City Public Schools in the 1970s.
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About the Author
Vanessa Pérez Rosario (@VanessaYPerez) is Associate Professor of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College—City University of New York. Her research and teaching interests include Transnational Feminism, Latino Cultural Studies and Spanish in the United States. She is the author of Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon (University of Illinois Press, 2014) and the editor of Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement (Palgrave 2010). She has received numerous fellowships including the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, an American Association of University Women fellowship and a library fellowship at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Her work has appeared in Centro Journal, Meridians, and Translation Review. She currently serves on the board of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project at the University of Houston. She is Interim co-Principal Investigator of the CUNY—New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals.
Information on Julia de Burgos
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