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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
UM TO HOST GROUNDBREAKING CONFERENCE ON PUERTO RICAN ISSUES
March 29, 2002
CORAL GABLES, FL Changing dynamics in Puerto Rican identity and migration in the context of major events like Vieques, lead the list of topics to be explored at The Puerto Rican Vacilón, a conference on current debates in Puerto Rican culture and politics sponsored by the University of Miamis Center for Latin American Studies in conjunction with the Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida and Miami-based Puerto Rican filmmaker and writer Frances Negrón-Muntaner.
The first-of-its-kind conference will be held April 18-20 at the UM School of Business Administrations Storer Auditorium, located at 5250 University Drive, on the Coral Gables campus, with a meet-and-greet reception at 8 p.m. April 18 at the Holiday Inn, 1350 South Dixie Highway, across from UMs Coral Gables campus.
"Puerto Ricans are now the second largest Hispanic group in Miami-Dade County and the largest in Broward," said PROFESA Board Chairman Raúl Duany. "This unprecedented initiative is a top-notch conference that will undoubtedly raise awareness and foster a positive dialogue on important matters related to both Florida and Puerto Ricans."
The three-day conference will gather prominent Puerto Rican civic and political leaders, as well as leading Puerto Rican studies scholars from all over the world to examine the challenges posed by migration, globalization, nationalism and political status issues.
"The latest U.S. Census numbers confirm the growing importance of the Puerto Rican community in the U.S. and especially in Florida," said Dr. Robert M. Levine, UM professor of history and head of the Center for Latin American Studies. " The presence of Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, and many others of Hispanic origin in our community demonstrates the importance of addressing issues of Hispanic culture and reality. The conference will be a forum to address many of the more pressing issues affecting Puerto Ricans."
Conference highlights include:
"This conference invites all participants to think out of the box about Puerto Rican experiences in the U.S. as well as the complexity of todays Puerto Rico and Florida," adds Frances Negrón-Muntaner. "I guarantee that no one will leave this conference with their previous assumptions intact. That is why the conferences is a vacilón, a word that alludes to the Puerto Rican way of enjoying life, the political ambiguity that has been part of our history, and the possibility of shifting positions."
Among the participating scholars are Héctor Cordero-Guzman, The New School; Jaime Benson, University of Puerto Rico; Christina Burnett, Princeton University; Félix Jiménez, El Nuevo Dia; Carlos Pabón, University of Puerto Rico; Agustín Lao-Montes, University of Massachusetts; Efrén Rivera Ramos, University of Puerto Rico; and José Quiroga, George Washington University.
Frances Negrón-Muntaner, who originated the idea for Vacilón, is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, journalist, and cultural critic. Her films include AIDS in the Barrio, and Brincando el Charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican. She is the co-editor of the anthology Puerto Rican Jam and her latest book, Passing Memories: Puerto Ricans and American Culture, will be published this year by New York University Press. An irreverent columnist, her work appears in The San Juan Star and The Puerto Rico Herald (on-line, www.puertorico-herald.org).
To register for the conference contact Diane Just, 305-284-1854.
The Puerto Rican "Vacilón"
A Conference on
Current Debates in Puerto Rican Culture and Politics
University of Miami
April 18-20, 2002
THURSDAY, APRIL 18
|8:00 PM - Reception
|Co-sponsored by PROFESA, Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida
FRIDAY, APRIL 19
Welcome by Donna Shalala, president, University of Miami, Robert Levine, Director of Center for Latin American Studies, and Frances Negrón- Muntaner, Conference organizer
New Migration Patterns
|How will demographic changes in New York, namely, the massive immigration of non-Puerto Rican Latinos affect Puerto Ricans there? Has Latin American immigration to Puerto Rico re-Latinized the Island? Does the Puerto Rican migration to Florida challenge traditional assumptions about Puerto Ricans in the U.S. in political, economic, and cultural terms.
Respondent: Thomas Boswell (University of Miami)
|12:15 PM - 1:10 PM
||Screening of "Puerto Ricans From Here and There" by Sonia Fritz (University of the Sacred Heart). Question and Answer session to follow. Co-sponsored by PROFESA, Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida
||1:15 PM - 2:15 PM
|Maurice Ferre, former mayor of Miami
||2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
|How are Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rico "globalized"? How does economic precariousness, combined with other factors influence political behavior and community formations? Is the Puerto Rican education system producing "global" subjects?
Respondent: Max Castro(UM)
|4:15 PM-5:45 PM
Is Resolving the Status Irrelevant?
|With the onset of widespread weariness with the status struggle, can a de-colonizing politics exist outside of pursuing independence and/or seeking statehood?
Respondent: Efrén Rivera Ramos (Dean, UPR Law School)
Performance, Coconut Grove Playhouse
|Performer Teo Castellanos, moderated by Lillian Manzor
Co-sponsored by PROFESA, Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida
SATURDAY, April 20
|9:45 AM-12:00 PM
|Has cultural nationalism transformed Puerto Ricans on the Island and the mainland over the last fifty years? How is it manifested and how is it reproduced? What forms of community has it made possible? Difficult? Is there a growing gap between US and Island cultural formations?
Respondent: Celeste Fraser Delgado (UM)
Closing Remix/Final Discussion
For More Information: Lourdes Cué Lcue@miami.edu (305) 284-1607