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Release: March 14, 2001

UI hosts symposium on Spanish in the Americas March 23-24

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A group of scholars will gather at the University of Iowa for a two-day symposium, "Spanish in the Americas," March 23-24. Participants include linguists, literary theorists, and cultural scholars who are interested in the historical development of the Spanish language in North and South America. The symposium is free and open to the public. Some presentations will be in Spanish, but the majority will be in English.

Issues to be addressed include Spanish in different cultural contact zones, bilingualism, popular/cultural uses of Spanish, and politics of language. This last issue is of particular relevance in Iowa as state lawmakers debate whether to pass a law making English the state’s official language.

The keynote speaker is Steve Dworkin, professor and chair of the department of romance languages at the University of Michigan. His presentation, "The Historical Background of New World Spanish," is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 23 in Room W401, Pappajohn Business Building. Dworkin’s principal research area is the history of the Spanish language, with emphasis on the evolution over time of the Spanish lexicon, and the nature of language change.

"This symposium has attracted a diverse group of scholars interested in how linguistic and cultural contact has enriched the literary and cultural production in the context of the Americas," said Laura G. Gutierrez, a UI assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese and one of the symposium organizers.

In addition to panel presentations and discussions, the symposium will feature readings of recent poetry and fiction by UI professor Oscar Hahn; UI graduate students Jesus Jambrina, Eduardo Corral, Alfredo Alonso Estenoz, Roberto Ampuero and Oscar Casares; and by Ruben Medina and Tess Arenas of the University of Wisconsin.

The symposium is sponsored by the Latin American Studies Program, the department of Spanish and Portuguese and UI International Programs, with generous support from the Stanley-UI Support Organization.

Following is a schedule of symposium activities. All activities will be in W401 Pappajohn Business Building.

Friday, March 23

7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Welcome – Daniel Balderston & Mercedes Niño Murcia (University of Iowa)
Keynote speech by Steve Dworkin: "The Historical Background of New World Spanish"
Poetry Reading by Chilean Poet Oscar Hahn (University of Iowa)

Saturday, March 24

9-10:30am: Linguistic Contact (chaired by Judith Liskin-Gasparro, University of Iowa)
Mercedes Niño-Murcia (University of Iowa): "Texto y contexto de la escritura en una aldea andina"
Carlos Eduardo Piñeros (University of Iowa): "Linguistic Traces of Africa in Northern Colombia"
Irene Wherritt (University of Iowa): "Infiltration of English Only into County Government: A New Tactic in Iowa"

10:45-11:45 a.m.: Bilingualism (chaired by Adriana Méndez Rodenas, University of Iowa)
Yolanda Martinez San Miguel (Rutgers University): "Bilinguismos latinos: La ficcion como otra lengua materna"
Andrew Lynch (University of Miami): "Sociolinguistic Discontinuity in Bilingual Miami: Implications for a Theory of Language Shift"

1:15-2:30 p.m. Fiction Reading
Roberto Ampuero (University of Iowa)
Héctor Domínguez (Denison University)
Oscar Casares (University of Iowa)

2:45-3:45 p.m.: Borders & Languages (chaired by Phillip Round, University of Iowa)
Laura Gutierrez (University of Iowa): "En/Coded Desires: Sexuality and Linguistic Playfulness in Contemporary Latina/o Performance"
Hector Domínguez (Denison University): " ‘Mi vida en rosa’: Agencias discursivas en la narrativa oral de la Frontera Mexico-US"

4-5:30 p.m. Poetry Reading
Tess Arenas (University of Wisconsin System)
Jesús Jambrina (University of Iowa)
Eduardo Corral (University of Iowa)
Alfredo Alonso Estenoz (University of Iowa)

Rubén Medina (University of Wisconsin – Madison)