Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies

CMAS Announces 2014 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture

Wed, March 26, 2014
CMAS Announces 2014 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture
Image courtesy of Sonia Nieto

The Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) will host the 2014 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture on Monday, April 14, 2014. The lecture will take place in the AVAYA Auditorium (POB 2.302) in the Peter O'Donnell Jr. Building on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The lecture will begin at 6:00 pm.

CMAS is pleased to announce that Sonia Nieto, Ed.D., will give the 2014 Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture. The title of Dr. Nieto's lecture is "Educating Latin@ Students: What Can We Learn From Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Teachers?" What does it take to be culturally responsive and socially just teachers for Latin@ students? In this lecture, Sonia Nieto explores this and other issues concerning the education of Latin@ and emergent bilingual students. Based on her new book, Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds, she will suggest a number of valuable lessons for teachers of Latin@ students and those learning English in U.S. schools.

Educator, researcher, writer, and teacher, Sonia Nieto is Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture, College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has taught students from elementary school through doctoral studies and her research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of Latinos, immigrants, and other students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She has written dozens of journal articles and book chapters as well as several books on these topics including, most recently, Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms (2013); Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education (6th ed, 2012, with Patty Bode); The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities (2nd edition, 2010); Language, Culture, and Teaching: Critical Perspectives (2nd ed, 2010).

Professor Nieto serves on several regional and national advisory boards that focus on educational equity and social justice, and she has received many awards for her scholarship, teaching, and advocacy, including four honorary doctorates. She was selected as a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and as a Laureate for Kappa Delta Pi in 2011, and in 2012 she served as the Wits-Claude Distinguished Scholar at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. In May 2014, she will receive the Medal for Distinguished Service, the highest honor given by Teachers College at Columbia University. She is married to Angel Nieto, a former teacher, poet, and children’s book writer, and they have three daughters and twelve grandchildren.

Professor Nieto earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John's University and obtained a Master of Arts degree from New York University and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a concentration in Curriculum, Bilingual and Multicultural Education.

For many years, CMAS has sponsored the Américo Paredes Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings a prominent speaker from beyond the UT Austin to campus 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. 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.

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