Stavans Named Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College

August 2, 2001
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College has named Ilan Stavans, a professor of Spanish at the college since 1993, as the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture.

The Professorship was established in 2001 by the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation on behalf of Charles A. Lewis ’64 and Penny Bender Sebring to promote the study of the culture, language, politics, history or art of Latin or Latino America.

A descendant of Eastern European Jews who settled in Mexico, Ilan Stavans calls himself “a sum of parts. Spanish is my right eye, English my left; Yiddish my background and Hebrew my conscience.” Henry Louis Gates has called Stavans “an old-fashioned intellectual.”

Stavans is founder and editor of Hopscotch: A Cultural Review and author of The Hispanic Condition, The Riddle of Cantinflas, The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories and The Essential Ilan Stavans, among other books. He edited the forthcoming Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Latino Literature Prize, among many honors. On August 27, the New York publishing house Viking will release Stavans’s new book, On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language, which Publisher’s Weekly described as “beautifully written…A tale of learning to live in translation [that] should resonate with Americans of many ethnic backgrounds….”

"Conversations with Ilan Stavans," an intellectual talk show dealing with Latino art, culture and politics, will premiere on PBS in the fall. Stavans is the host.

Ilan Stavans received a B.A. from Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana, an M.A. from the Jewish Theological Seminary and M.A., M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.