Latino American history is topic of film, discussion Sept. 24 at Neville

santiago-vaquera-webScreening of a one-hour segment of the 2013 PBS documentary Latino Americans will be accompanied by a lecture and discussion featuring visiting author and scholar Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez this Thursday evening (Sept. 24) at the Neville Public Museum of Brown County.

The program, free and open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. at the Museum at 210 Museum Place on the west bank of the Fox River in downtown Green Bay. The program kicks off this year’s “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” series organized by UW-Green Bay in conjunction with the American Library Association and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

Vaquera-Vásquez is an assistant professor of creative writing and Hispanic Southwestern Literatures at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of the book One Day I’ll Tell You the Things I’ve Seen, a collection of stories about international borders and men and women “from Madrid to Mexico City, from California to Istanbul” with experience in two or more cultures.

“My scholarly work is about border-crossers and communities in contact, and how identities start being shaped by bicultural contact,” Vaquera-Vásquez told the Latin Post earlier this year. “So, I started off by looking at the U.S./Mexican border when I was living at the University of Iowa. I looked at the way migrant Mexican communities and small farming communities in the Midwest started being shaped and reshaped … and it goes both ways. The farming community expected the migrant workers to assimilate, and they, themselves, started incorporating this community into part of their experience, which I thought was fascinating.”

Thursday’s event begins with refreshments, music and brief opening remarks by Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, among others. Vaquera-Vásquez will talk about his work and introduce the one-hour segment of the PBS documentary titled “Prejudice and Pride.” A question-and-answer and discussion session follows the film.

A collaborative effort by UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members resulted in the $10,000 grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to fund the local “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” project. The public events, presentations, discussions and showings of the PBS series are part of a larger, national NEH and ALA initiative called The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square.

The UW-Green Bay organizing committee — consisting of faculty members Marcelo Cruz (project director), Aurora Cortez and Gabriel Saxton Ruiz and staff members Paula Ganyard, Mai Lo Lee and Lidia Nonn — has proposed a series of communitywide events at various local venues. The group will work with Neville Museum, Brown County Library, Casa Alba and other community organizations to bring the series and discussion to the greater Green Bay community.

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