Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies
Pictured: Américo Paredes. Image courtesy of the Benson Latin American Collection.

The Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture Series
and the Américo Paredes Arts and Letters Award

Since 1987, the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) has sponsored the Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture, which brings a prominent speaker from beyond The University of Texas at Austin to address the public on a timely topic in Mexican American Studies.

Américo Paredes was a musician, scholar, and folklorist from Brownsville, Texas. Prior to death on Cinco de Mayo of 1999, Dr. Paredes was the Dickson, Allen, and Anderson Centennial Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and English at The University of Texas at Austin. Among the numerous honors that marked his career are the Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Orden del Águila Azteca — Mexico’s highest award given to the citizen’s of other countries. Professor Paredes is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work on border ballads and folklore. In recent years, however, his novel George Washington Gomez in addition to his numerous short stories have found an audience across disciplines and alongside the works of other celebrated authors. Dr. Paredes’ scholarship on the culture of the people of Greater Mexico helped lay the foundation of our understanding of the people of the Lower Rio Grande Border, and inspired an entire generation of Mexican American scholars.

May 5, 2009 marked the ten-year anniversary of the passing of Dr. Américo Paredes. To honor his memory, CMAS presented its first ever Américo Paredes Literature and Letters Award. The prize is awarded approximately every four years, to an individual whose creative and scholarly contributions have had a significant impact in the field of Mexican American Studies.

Pictured above: Américo Paredes. Image courtesy of the Benson Latin American Collection.