Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Colloquium on Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Linguistics

Since 1987 the graduate students of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UT have organized a colloquium whose mission is to further graduate student professional and intellectual development.  Each year the event provides a space to present current research interests and to share all forms of work-in-progress.  The first colloquium, officially called the “UT Colloquium on Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Romance Linguistics”, was made possible through the effort of professors Madeleine Sutherland-Meier and Dale Koike, who received support from various academic departments across campus.  At present the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Student Organization (GSO) works enthusiastically to coordinate the colloquium and to select its theme.  True to its interdisciplinary nature, the colloquium is supported by several departments, organizations, programs and centers at UT, and continues to gather graduate students and independent scholars from across the US, Latin America and Europe.  As part of each program the colloquium organizers invite distinguished keynote speakers to contribute to the discussion on campus.

Past literature keynote speakers include: Debra Castillo (2009), Francine Masiello (2008), Sylvia Molloy (2007), Carlos J. Alonso (2003), Gustavo Pérez-Firmat (2002), Jean Franco (2000), Alan Deyermond (1997), and Andrew P. Debicki (1987).

Past linguistics keynote speakers include: Ana C Zentella (2011), Scott Schwenter (2009), Silvina Montrul (2007), John Lipski (2008, 2002), James P. Lantolf (2003), Armin Schwegler (2003), Roger W. Andersen (2000), Carmen Silvia Corvalán (1997), and Evelyn Hatch (1987).


"Borders, Borderlands, and Border Crossings"

The XXII Graduate Colloquium of Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures will take place on March 24-26, 2016.

Keynote Speakers:
Glenn A Martínez, The Ohio State University
Fernando Arenas, The University of Michigan

Special Invited Speakers:
Celeste De Luna, Painter and Printmaker, South Texas College
Sandra Lorenzano, Writer and Vicerrector, Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana
For schedule, please read our prelimnary program: 

For more information please contact: or connect with us through Facebook for updates. 

For visiting presenters: Make sure to visit the Benson Latin American Collection

UT Campus Map

6:00PM – Opening Keynote – Glenn Martinez - GWB 2.206 Keynote Address

“Negotiating Border Health: Language and Literacy Practices of Promotoras”

Colonias are disproportionately Latino settlements close to the U.S.-Mexico border characterized by extreme poverty, inadequate utility services, poor housing and lack of access to social services. Hundreds of colonias exist along the border. Within colonias, community health workers or promotoras have been shown to work effectively in creating a bridge between these marginalized communities and social service, public health and government agencies. Promotoras have been the focus of much of the colonia research; however, little is known about the linguistic and literacy practices in which they engage in order to effectively bridge these two culturally and linguistically encapsulated spaces. Focus groups with promotoras in the Cameron Park colonia of Cameron County, Texas were conducted. A discursive analysis of the focus group data revealed that promotoras engage in multiple language and literacy practices as they seek improvements on behalf of their communities. These practices are characterized by a trans-competence in which promotoras seamlessly weave their way through complex spaces and discourses in order to address problems identified by the community. This research has important implications for cultural and linguistic training of health professionals who interact with coloniaresidents. An understanding of the language and literacy practices in which promotoras engage and the underlying competencies that animate these practices can inform the development of more appropriate language and culture pedagogies for health professionals.

Glenn Martinez is chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, professor of Hispanic Linguistics, adjunct professor of Nursing, and member of the Cancer Control research group of the James Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Ohio State University. He is author of a dozen articles and book chapters on language access in health care, author of two books on Spanish in the United States, co-principal investigator for the Juntos: Integrated Second Language Learning for Chronic Care project funded by the National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disorders, and project director for the Addressing Emerging Needs in Spanish and Portuguese funded by the U.S. Department of Education. He served as Chief Subject Matter Expert for the development of the Rosetta Stone/Kaiser Permanente Advanced Spanish for Healthcare Professionals project and has led other projects funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Humanities Without Walls Consortium funded by the Andrew F. Mellon Foundation.

Friday, March 25th 3:00PM

Artist Talk by Celeste De Luna, CLA 1.302 B
"Mapping Geo-Political Space through Art"
This talk is about how art can help map geo-political spaces and personal experiences.  Celeste De Luna is an artist influenced by Gloria Anzaldúa’s work on auto-historia as a tool to understand and deconstruct oppressive paradigms in my physical/spiritual/psychic environment. “By processing and making images, I have been able to create change in myself and help decolonize space from within in it.”

Artist Statement:My work is an exploration of my environment. It gave me the language to understand things I couldn't verbalize. The confluence of American and Xicano culture clash and sometimes harmonize in my work. My seemingly morbid interests go well with the death and despair of the border experience. Common themes in my work include migrant/border experiences of women, children, and families, Tejas landscape, and the spiritual struggle of conflicting identities. My practice is rooted in writing, drawing, carving, and taking photographs. At times, my process looks like child's play with props and collected objects. These things manifest themselves in drawings and eventually artworks that can be paintings, drawings, prints, or assemblage.

Celeste De Luna is a painter/printmaker and arts educator from the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.  She received her MFA from the University of Texas Pan American in 2008.  She has shown work in group exhibitions since 2007 in various cities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, San Diego and Chicago.  De Luna’s work has been part of nationally and internationally exhibited printmaking portfolio projects.  In 2013, her one person show “Nepantla: Art from the Four Corners of the Valley” at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas was part of the 2013 Texas Biennial.   Influenced by political printmakers of the Chicago school such as Carlos Cortez and Mexican master Jose Guadalupe Posada, she has created work in linocut and woodcut. As a result, she has created several large scale “steamroller” woodcuts, which are in collections at Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas and Texas A&M Kingsville. Currently, De Luna's work was included in the newly released book (February 2016) Entre Guadalupe Y Malinche, Tejanas in Literature and Art by Ines Hernandez-Avila and Norma E. Cantu and published by UT Press and will be showing her work in a group show titled “Fencing Democracy”  at Apex Art in New York this summer.  

Celeste De Luna’s Solo Exhibition at La Peña GalleryMarch 1 to March 31 atLa Peña Gallery, 227 Congress Ave #300, Austin TX 78701
Artist Reception, Saturday, March 26 at 6:00pm

Friday, March 25th 4:30PM

Special Talk by Sandra Lorenzano, CLA 1.302 B

“Fragmentos de memoria: fronteras, contrabando, cenizas"

Sandra Lorenzano is an “argen-mex” writer and a literary critic. She was born in Buenos Aires, in 1960, and lives in Mexico since 1976. She holds a PhD in Literature and specializes in contemporary Latin American literature, a subject in which she has published extensively. Furthermore, she combines academic and research work with creative writing. As Vice Provost of Research and Special Projects at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Dr. Lorenzano founded the Creative Writing Program, which is currently under her helm.

Dr. Lorenzano is the author of both “Literature is a film: Reviews on Manuel Puig” (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1997) and “Writings of survival: Argentine narrative and dictatorship” (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2001, Special Mention at the José Revueltas Award). She is an editor of the books “Politics of the Memory: Tensions in word and image” (Claustro de Sor Juana, 2007) and “Approaches to Sor Juana” (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2005). She also coordinated “Written tomorrow: Mexican writers born in the 60's” (Axial Publisher, 2010).

Her literary work includes fiction and poetry. She is the author of the novels “Saudades” (FCE, 2007), “Fuga en mí menor” (Tusquets, 2012), “La estirpe del silencio” (Seix Barral, 2015) and of the books of poems entitled “Vestiges” (Pre-Textos, 2011) and “Herencia”. Each of her books have received warm receptions and have been placed among the critics “best of the year”. For all her endeavours, Dr. Lorenzano has been chosen as among Mexico’s 100 Most Influential Women by the national newspaper El Universal

Saturday, March 26th 5:00PM 

Closing Keynote by Fernando Arenas– CLA 1.302 B

“Time-Space of Portuguese (Post)coloniality: Migrations and the Rise of African Lisbon”

Fernando Arenas

University of Michigan, Departments of Afro-American and African Studies & Romance Languages and Literatures

Portugal is arguably the European nation with the longest experience with "colonialism" in a variety of configurations, historical moments, and geographical contexts. Yet, given its perennially peripheral status from a geopolitical and economic standpoint, the Portuguese (post-)colonial experience has not been an object of attention outside of the field of Lusophone Studies. This essay provides a brief historical overview to understand the breadth and depth of the Portuguese (post)colonial experience; offers a conceptual map of Portuguese postcoloniality where ideologies of affect and exceptionalism such as Lusotropicalism play a key role; highlights the centrality of immigration for an understanding of Portuguese society — particularly African immigration and its nexus with thehistory of colonialism and racism that reverberates in national debates around race, ethnicity, and interculturality; provides a brief account of the rise of an Afro-Portuguese culture; and presents short readings of Portuguese cinematic texts that exemplify ethical and aesthetic praxes bringing marginalized black subjects to the center of representation in the quest for social and cultural citizenship.

Fernando Arenas is a Professor of Lusophone Cultural Studies (including Brazil, Portugal, and Portuguese-speaking Africa) at the University of Michigan with a dual appointment in the departments of Afro-American and African Studies and Romance Languages and Literatures. He is currently Associate Chair of African Studies and Head of the Portuguese program. His work centers on cultural expressions such as film, literature, and popular music, which he studies through an interdisciplinary and theoretical prism centering on the dyad of post-colonialism and globalization. He received his M.A in Latin American Studies (1988) and Ph.D in Luso-Brazilian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (1994) and taught for 16 years in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Utopias of Otherness: Nationhood and Subjectivity in Portugal and Brazil(University of Minnesota Press, 2003) and co-editor together with Susan C. Quinlan of  Lusosex: Gender and Sexuality in the Portuguese-Speaking World(University of Minnesota Press, 2002). He has been a visiting professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro) and at Harvard University. In 2005-06 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for the completion of the book manuscript, Lusophone Africa: Beyond Independence (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), currently under consideration by a major Brazilian press in an expanded, updated, and revised version in Portuguese.

Fernando Arenas’ current long-term research project focuses on migratory flows in the Portuguese-speaking world and issues related to interculturality, community, and citizenship, reflected in his new book project, “Afro-Portuguese, New Portuguese: From Migration to Citizenship” (working title). He is also working on the filmography of Bissau-Guinean director Sana Na N’Hada in order to examine its ethical, ethnographic, and historical dimensions. Until now, Sana’s filmic work has not been the object of scholarly attention. This new project builds upon his prior critical work on Lusophone African cinema.


Previous Colloquia

  • 21st Colloquium, held March 22-24, 2014
  • 20th Colloquium, held March 2-3, 2012
  • 19th Colloquium, held February 25-16, 2011
  • 18th Colloquium, held November 13-14, 2009
  • 17th Colloquium, held November 7-8, 2008
  • 16th Colloquium, held March 23-24, 2007
  • 15th Colloquium, held April 2, 2005.
  • 14th Colloquium, held April 10, 2004.
  • 13th Colloquium  

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