DENTON (UNT), Texas –Communities across the U.S. are celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month including the University of North Texas, which is hosting on-campus events showcasing Hispanic culture, history and more.
UNT is home to scholars across a variety of disciplines who dedicate their studies toward Hispanic culture and history.
- Priscilla Solis Ybarra in the Department of English specializes in contemporary Chicana/o literature and ecocriticism. Her award-winning book, “Writing the Goodlife: Mexican American Literature and the Environment,” is the first study to engage a long-range environmental literary history of Chicana/o writing. She is co-editor of a forthcoming volume titled “Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial.” She serves on the board of directors for the Rio Puerco Rangeland Trust, a nonprofit working to restore a watershed and rangeland historically inhabited by Hispanas/os in New Mexico, and on the Executive Council of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.
- Valerie Martinez-Ebers is a professor in the Department of Political Science and director of UNT’s Latina/o and Mexican-American Studies. Latinx politics, women in politics and education policy are among her areas of expertise. Her published works include “Politicas: Latina Public Officials in Texas,” “Latino Lives in America: Making it Home,”and “Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior and Policy Preferences.” Her latest work is “Only Human: Government, Groups, and the Struggle for Racial Harmony in American Cities.” This book examines the efforts of government-sponsored Human Relations Commissions and related organizations to improve the equality of intergroup relationships in metropolitan areas.
- Teresa Marrero, a professor of Latina/o and Latin American theater and graduate advisor in the Department of Spanish, has dedicated years of study to Latinx theater and performing arts. As a Cuban-American, she brings a diversified voice as a theater critic for a local arts publication, “TheaterJones.com” Through her membership in the American Theatre Critics Associationand Latinx Theatre Commons, she’s helping grow representation by people of color in arts criticism. Locally, Marrero has witnessed opportunities increase for Latinx writers and performers with a number of established and emerging companies staging Latinx works.
- Samuel Manickam, chair of the Department of Spanish, focuses his research on 20th and 21st century Mexican narrative (novels, short stories and essays). He teaches undergraduate classes on Mexican culture and Mexican civilization as well as graduate level classes on the Latin American novel and short story. His writings have been published in “Hispania,” “Letras Femeninas” and “Chasqui,” among others. Currently, he’s working on a book exploring science fiction by Mexican women authors.
The national celebration dates back to 1968 when Hispanic Heritage Week first was observed under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it to a 30-day period. Now, National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 - Oct. 15 each year.
This semester, UNT’s Department of Spanish organized on-campus festivities ranging from cascarones painting and salsa dance lessons to talks on “Speaking Spanish in the Nonprofit World” and “The Influence on History by the Queens of Spain.” UNT’s Multicultural Center has been hosting events for Hispanic Heritage Month as well.
“Since we have a multi-ethnic and very international student body with a high percentage of Latina/o students, we thought it was high time for the Department of Spanish to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Samuel Manickam, chair of the Department of Spanish.
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Contact: Heather Noel at 940-369-8218