30 Years and Counting: Commemorating An Event That Broke Ground In Puerto Rican Literary Studies

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A daylong public conference at Rutgers University, Newark, will celebrate the literary contributions of Puerto Rican authors while commemorating a 1983 program that broke new ground in its presentation of Puerto Rican literature.

“Re-visiting Images and Identities: Thirty Years of Puerto Rican Literature” will be held Friday, April 12, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, Multipurpose Room, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark.  The free program is open to the public.

The Rutgers-Newark Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and the Department of  Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies, Rutgers-New Brunswick, are offering the program to mark the 30th anniversary of the conference "Images  and Identities: the Puerto Rican in Literature," held at Rutgers-Newark in April 1983.  “This was a historic conference for Puerto Rican cultural and literary studies, thanks to its proposal to combine native Puerto Rican cultural and literary accomplishments with Puerto Rican literature written in the U.S.,” states Dr. Asela Rodriguez de Laguna, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Rutgers in Newark. Laguna showcased most of the projects and authors from the 1983 conference in her anthology Imágenes e Identidades (1986) and its English version, Images and Identities: The Puerto Rican in Two World Contexts (1987).

This year’s program will examine some of the new frontiers and new debates in Puerto Rican literary and cultural productions, and how Puerto Rican studies have been redefined by collaborations with Caribbean, Latino, Africana and American studies.  A concurrent exhibit at the John Cotton Dana Library will look at “Voices from the Island and the Diaspora: Puerto Rican Authors and Literary Critics in 1983.”

Keynote sp Magali García Ramiseakers are Magali García Ramis (left), author and emerita professor, journalism and communications, University of Puerto Rico, and Ana Celia Zentella (right), emerita professor, ethnic studies, University of California at San Diego.

Other speakers are:

  • Aravind Adyanthaya, stage director, performer, playwright, educator and director of Casa Cruz de la Luna Theater, San Germán, Puerto Rico
  • Pedro Cabiya, novelist, expert in film theory and the founder, designer and director of the Centro de Lenguas y Culturas Modernas at the Universidad Iberoamericana,  Dominican Republic 
  • Mariposa María Teresa Fernández, poet, performer  and activist with the National Urban League, New York City
  • Marisel Moreno, assistant professor, romance languages and literatures, University of Notre Dame
  • Urayoán Noel, assistant professor, English, State University of New York, Albany.
  • Rubén Ríos Ávila, professor, comparative literature, University of Puerto Rico and a visiting professor at New York University

For more information, please contact:  Asela R. Laguna, Rutgers-Newark,, or Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Rutgers-New Brunswick, .

In addition to the R-N Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and the Department of  Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies , R-NB, other sponsors are  the Office of the Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, R-N; Critical Caribbean Studies, Committee to Advance our Common Purposes; Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Public Partnerships in the Arts & Humanities; Office of the Chancellor, R-N; Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, R-N;  Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience, R-N; Center for Latin American Studies (R-NB), Center for Latino Arts and Culture (R-NB), Dept. of Women’s and Gender Studies (R-N), and the Graduate Program of American Studies (R-N).