The WC Gallery will be having an opening reception this Saturday (Sept. 20) for its new exhibition “Memory and Resistance: Works on paper by Latin American artists.” The reception begins at 7 p.m., to be followed at 8 p.m. by a talk by the curator (Stephen Perkins) and additional remarks by two faculty specialists in Spanish and Latin American studies, Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz and Hernan Fernandez-Meardi. This event is free and open to the public. Wine and cheese? You’re welcome to bring your own. (The WC Gallery is described as the Midwest’s — if not the world’s — most compact art gallery, located in a water closet of Perkins’ De Pere home.) For installation photos of this exhibition and the exhibition catalogue please check out the WC blog at: www.thewcgallery.blogspot.com.
UW-Green Bay, with the support of the PRAGDA distribution company’s Spanish Film Club, will present a five-movie Latin American Film Series beginning next week. Kicking off with “Here and There” (Aquí y Allá) Thursday, Sept. 18, the series of films in the Union’s Christie Theatre will feature free admission and refreshments, plus a post-movie discussion facilitated by members of the Spanish faculty. Other films in the series are “Bad Hair” (Pelo Malo), presented Sept. 25; “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” (¿Quién es Dayani Cristal?), presented Oct. 2; “7 Boxes” (7 Cajas), presented Oct. 9; and “I Thought It Was a Party” (Pensé que Iba a Haber Fiesta), presented Oct. 16. All films begin at 5:30 p.m. For more information, including film synopses, check out our news release.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, with support of the PRAGDA distribution company’s Spanish Film Club, will present a five-movie Latin American Film Series beginning Thursday, Sept. 18.
Admission to each of the movies is free, and snacks and refreshments will be provided. After each film, UW-Green Bay Spanish faculty members will lead a discussion session for attendees. All films will be shown in the Christie Theatre of the University Union on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive.
The films, dates and times are as follows:
Here and There (Aquí y Allá), 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18
Antonio Méndez Esparza / USA, Spain, Mexico / 110 min / 2012 / Spanish with English subtitles
Antonio Méndez Esparza’s directorial debut radiantly captures the complex homecoming of a loving father. In an unexpected take on the traditional immigrant story, Pedro returns home to a small mountain village in Guerrero, Mexico, after years of working in New York. He finds his daughters older and more distant than he imagined; his wife still has the same smile. The villagers think this year’s crop will be bountiful and there is work in a growing city nearby. But the locals are wise to a life of insecurity, and their thoughts are often of family members or opportunities far away, north of the border.
Bad Hair (Pelo Malo), 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25
Mariana Rondón / Venezuela / 93 min / 2013 / Spanish with English subtitles
A 9-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother, in this tender but clear-eyed coming-of-age tale. Junior is a beautiful boy, with big brown eyes, a delicate frame, and a head of luxurious dark curls. But Junior aches to straighten those curls to acquire a whole new look befitting his emerging fantasy image of himself as a long-haired singer. As the opportunity approaches to have his photo taken for the new school year, that ache turns into a fiery longing. Junior’s mother, Marta, is barely hanging on. The father of her children has died, she recently lost her job as a security guard, and she now struggles to put a few arepas on the table for Junior and his baby brother. Junior doesn’t even know yet what it means to be gay, but the very notion prompts Marta to set out to “correct” Junior’s condition before it fully takes hold. “This is a story of people doing what they feel they have to, partly out of fear, but also out of love.” – Diana Vargas, Toronto International Film Festival.
Who Is Dayani Cristal? (¿Quién es Dayani Cristal?), 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2
Marc Silver / Mexico, USA / 85 min / 2014 / English and Spanish with English subtitles
Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, Arizona border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? How did he die? And who—or what—is Dayani Cristal? Following a team of dedicated forensic anthropologists from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and give this anonymous man an identity. As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal retraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences first-hand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears. As we travel north, these voices from the other side of the border wall give us a rare insight into the human stories, which are so often ignored in the immigration debate. Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition, Who Is Dayani Cristal? shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration.
7 Boxes (7 Cajas), 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9
Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schémbori / Paraguay / 105 min / 2014 / In Spanish, Guaraní, and Korean with English subtitles
It’s Friday night in Asunción, Paraguay, and the temperature is sweltering. Víctor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow delivery boy, dreams of becoming famous and covets a fancy TV set in the infamous Mercado 4. He’s offered a chance to deliver seven boxes with unknown contents in exchange for a quick one hundred US dollars. But what sounds like an easy job soon gets complicated. Something in the boxes is highly coveted and Víctor and his pursuers quickly find themselves caught up in a crime they know nothing about. Reminiscent of Slumdog Millionaire, 7 Boxes was declared of Cultural Interest by the National Secretary of Culture of Paraguay.
I Thought It Was a Party (Pensé que Iba a Haber Fiesta), 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16
Victoria Galardi / Argentina, Spain / 84 min / 2014 / Spanish with English subtitles
Divorced and living with her teenage daughter, Lucía asks her close friend Ana to house-sit and look after her daughter while she goes away with her new partner. Ana spends her days lazing by the pool, afflicted by a deep loneliness until Ricki, Lucía’s ex-husband comes to pick up his daughter and an affair that will have profound implications on her friendship with Lucía begins. Ana and Ricki throw themselves into an intense romance that lasts until the day Lucía comes back… An honest and poignant commentary on friendship, I Thought it was a Party is also a film about the search for love, loneliness, fear, guilt, and the world of women.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved promotions or tenure for 12 UW-Green Bay faculty members during its meeting June 5-6 at UW-Milwaukee.
The following faculty members promoted from assistant professor to associate professor with tenure: Gaurav Bansal, Cofrin School of Business; Caroline Boswell, Humanistic Studies (History); Michael Knight, Cofrin School of Business; James Loebl, Cofrin School of Business; James Vincent Lowery, Humanistic Studies (History); Sampathkumar Ranganathan, Cofrin School of Business; Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz, Humanistic Studies (Spanish); Christine Vandenhouten, Nursing; and Lora Warner, Public and Environmental Affairs.
The Regents also promoted the following individuals to the rank of full professor:
Heidi Fencl, Natural and Applied Sciences, teaches Modern Physics, Introductory Physics, and Astronomy, and is a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty. She received her B.S. in Physics from Nebraska Wesleyan University, her M.S. in Physics from the University of Nebraska, and her Ph.D. in Nuclear Astrophysics from the Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Physics faculty at UW-Green Bay in the fall of 2001, Fencl taught physics and astronomy at Concordia College Moorhead and was concurrently founding director of the UW System Women and Science Program and coordinator of UW Oshkosh’s Science Outreach Program. Fencl also was the founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at UW-Green Bay.
Fencl’s scholarly interests are in physics education, and in particular she studies pedagogical approaches and out-of-classroom support for effective problem solving process and development of self-efficacy in physics. In addition to the enjoyment she takes in teaching, Fencl enjoys gardening, knitting and making vegan cheeses.
Cristina Ortiz, Humanistic Studies (Spanish), is chair of the Modern Languages program and coordinator of the Spanish program at UW-Green Bay. She joined the faculty in 1993 after receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. Ortiz has authored a monograph on Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges and has published her research on contemporary Spanish and Latin American female writers in top-tier journals in Spain and the United States. Her area of research focuses on issues of gender, nation and nationalism in contemporary Spanish and Latin American literature and film. Her work has also been included in several edited collections, most recently in Across the Straits: New Visions of Africa in Contemporary Spain.
Ortiz is a member collaborator of the American Academy of the Spanish Language and a special contributor to the academic journal of this organization. In addition to teaching a wide range of courses at UW-Green Bay, Ortiz has been instrumental in the creation of a Visiting Spanish Scholar in Residence program and the Spanish in the Professions program at the University, as well as in establishing numerous local internships for UW-Green Bay students and institutional connections with the Hispanic/Latino community. She also has led study abroad programs to Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Australia and Cuba. Ortiz is the recipient of two UW-Green Bay Founders Awards. She received the Founders Award for Excellence in Institutional Development in 2004-05 and, most recently, for Excellence in Community Outreach (2013-14).
Michael Zorn, Natural and Applied Sciences, teaches Chemistry and Environmental Science courses and is a member of the graduate faculty of the Environmental Science and Policy program. He was chair of the Chemistry discipline for six years from 2006 to 2013, and he is currently the vice chair of Natural and Applied Sciences.
Zorn’s research interests include development and application of real-time environmental sensors; studying the cycling of nutrients and oxygen in the lower Fox River and Green Bay; utilization of catalysis and photocatalysis for conversion of undesirable organic compounds to non-toxic products; and development and evaluation of alternative energy technologies. Since coming to UW-Green Bay, Zorn has been directly involved in research projects totaling more than $1.6 million in funding.
Zorn has participated in several international travel opportunities associated with UW-Green Bay, including travel to Panama (to set up a January travel course); Finland (to establish research collaborations); and the Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile (to further collaborative activities between the two universities).
Zorn began his UW-Green Bay career as an assistant professor in fall 2001, and received promotion to associate professor in 2006. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from UW-Green Bay and his Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry and Technology from UW-Madison.
Graduating seniors Jenny Mottl and Seenia Thao were asked to pose for a photo before Saturday’s commencement ceremony to mark a UW-Green Bay milestone: the first diplomas awarded to alumni of the University’s heralded Phuture Phoenix Program.
Back in April 2003, the two young women were fifth-grade participants in what was then a still-new program called Phuture Phoenix.
Now, they epitomize the promise of the University’s signature college attainment program — to show youngsters from at-risk schools that college is possible, to help them see themselves pursuing higher education, and eventually, to support them in achieving college acceptance and completing their university education.
“I love UW-Green Bay and every day I appreciate it even more — especially today,” Thao said Saturday. “It’s a very, very great day for everyone at UW-Green Bay.”
Mottl majored in Spanish. Thao received her degree in Social Work. Thao says she was always planning on attending UW-Green Bay, and her four-year experience confirmed those plans made at a young age were the right choice.
“”I think (my college education) made me see the world more globally,” Thao said before the ceremony. “You know, Green Bay is a small college and it’s very community-oriented — and I grew up in Green Bay — but everything offered here really stimulated all my experiences and really made me see the world differently.”
You can see more on the first Phuture Phoenix alumni to receive bachelor’s degrees, and quotes from Phuture Phoenix director and co-founder, Kimberly Desotell and Ginny Riopelle, respectively, in our original feature story post here.
Associate Prof. Cristina Ortiz Ceberio reports that one of our standout students in the Spanish program, Tanner V. Vodvarka — the 2014 recipient of the program’s Award in Applied Use of the Language — is enjoying a productive semester abroad. Based in Bucamaranga, Colombia, the UW-Green Bay student had occasion recently to meet Juan Manuel Santos, president of the South American nation. Vodvarka’s reaction? A tongue-in-cheek “No big deal,” reports his professor.
The Modern Language Award Ceremony took place Thursday and honored the following outstanding students:
Applied Use of French – Nicole Phillips
Academic Excellence in French – Katie Crews
Applied Use of German – Mitchell Harings
Academic Excellence in German – Ashley Deprey-Peeters
Applied Use of Spanish – Julio Morales III
Applied Use of Spanish – Tanner K. Vodvarka
Academic Excellence in Spanish – Kathryn Johnson
We’re told Vodvarka gave a short speech in Spanish and English via Skype from Bucamaranga (Colombia) where he is studying this semester and, after the presentation of the awards, faculty and students enjoyed wonderful cake and refreshments compliments of the Humanistic Studies program.
We told you last week about the UW-Green Bay visit of noted novelist César Gutiérrez of Arequipa, Peru. We now have more details. One of the hosts, Assistant Prof. Gabriel T. Saxton-Ruiz of Humanistic Studies and Spanish, says all sessions will be in “Spanglish,” as he’ll help translate Gutiérrez’s remarks for those not fluent in Spanish.
The itinerary of public events:
• Tuesday, April 1 — Book Discussion of Gutierrez’s 2007 novel dealing with 9/11, from 12:45 to 2 p.m. in Alumni Rooms A and B of the University Union
• Wednesday, April 2 — Lecture/discussion on “9/11, World Views and Cultural Impact,” 2 to 3:15 p.m., Christie Theatre in the Union
• Saturday, April 5 — Reception: Fiesta Latina, 7 to 10 p.m. at the Mauthe Center
Visiting campus next week is major novelist César Gutiérrez of Arequipa, Peru, whose debut novel 80M84RD3R0 is a work hailed by Brown University professor and well-known critic Julio Ortega as the best novel dealing with 9/11. Gutiérrez will be visiting classes and making several public presentations. Assistant Prof. Hernan Fernandez-Meardi of the Spanish program is finalizing details of the visit.
An ancient pilgrimage experiencing resurgent popularity was the focus of the third After Thoughts program of the academic year March 4, as Associate Prof. Cristina Ortiz brought the route and its traditions to life.
Ortiz, Humanistic Studies (Spanish) spoke before a full house in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, telling an engaged audience about the St. James Path in France and Northern Spain. Named for the martyred Apostle James, the route’s true origin story has elements of both legend and fact, Ortiz said. But whatever the precise circumstances of its establishment, the power of the pilgrimage — then and now — cannot be denied.
“The St. James Path speaks about history, art and culture,” she said, noting the interdisciplinary connections to UW-Green Bay’s 360° of Learning approach. “This gives us a fuller, richer appreciation of any area of study.”
Indeed, the establishment of the pilgrimage route in medieval times shaped society, commerce and culture in Western Europe, Ortiz said. Beginning in Paris, the St. James Path (El Camino Santiago) extends all the way to Santiago, Spain — travelers who attempt to walk the entire way will cover 500 miles on foot in the latter country alone. Modern-day pilgrims must walk at least 62 miles, or bike 124, to receive their compostela, or certificate of completion for the route.
“If you go by bus,” Ortiz noted, to audience laughs, “you are not a pilgrim.”
The ancient path was established after the remains of the apostle James were discovered some 750 years after his beheading in the year 44, Ortiz said. A church was established and began to draw early pilgrims, and soon tales spread of miracles — St. James appearing on a white horse to help Christians in battle, and water turning to milk, for example. After a slow start, the route became incredibly popular as pilgrims sought miracles, healing and other interventions. Some were sentenced to walk the path, while others may have just wanted to get away.
The pilgrims traveled simply, but an infrastructure of roads, bridges, towns, lodging and more soon grew — “it was a big business,” as Ortiz noted. The Basilica de Santiago de Compostela, at the route’s conclusion, was consecrated in 1128 — and today, a pilgrim’s Mass is celebrated at noon each day (and more frequently during Holy Years, when St. James Day — July 25 — falls on a Sunday). Ortiz’s presentation included video of the famous Botafumeiro, a giant incense container used during Mass at the church.
The popularity of the St. James Path started to wane during the Protestant Reformation, Ortiz noted, and later experienced a resurgence in the 1980s, thanks in large part to Pope John Paul II. From there, its numbers skyrocketed — whereas 1,245 people completed the pilgrimage in 1985, a whopping 272,000-plus did so in 2010. Today’s pilgrims have plenty in common with their medieval predecessors, Ortiz said, from the simple style of travel and dress — including the symbolic scallop shell that identifies pilgrims on this particular path — to the “smelly feet” that are all but inevitable after such a journey.
As for why pilgrims today complete the path, about 40 percent have a religious motivation, while more than half say it’s spiritual or cultural, Ortiz said, noting that the church in Santiago asks finishers and tracks their answers. Scholars have noted that contemporary pilgrims often are looking for an antidote to today’s fast-paced culture — what one scholar terms “the dictatorship of speed.”
“Today’s pilgrims are in search of yesterday’s virtues,” Ortiz said. “Simplicity, slowness, a sense of connection.”
Ortiz, who hails from Northern Spain, has walked part of the path, and intends to complete the pilgrimage someday, she said. But regardless of one’s intent, she noted, the St. James Path has lessons for us all.
“Set a goal,” Ortiz told attendees. “Dream high — and start walking.”
— Photos by Veronica Wierer, student photo intern, Office of Marketing and University Communication