March 10, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.-The first International Conference on Spanglish will be held at Amherst College on Friday and Saturday, April 2 and 3. Heard and spoken daily in the United States mass media, in culture high and low, Spanglish melds the Spanish and English languages in "a realm that cannot be bound by just one discipline," says Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture (Spanish) at Amherst and organizer of the conference. The academic discussions and cultural events at these two days of celebration and conversation are free and open to the public. The new Spanish-language newspaper for New England, El Globo, will make its debut at the conference.
Spanglish "invokes issues of identity and language, and it triggers reactions from the media, and also from the learned literary environments," Stavans says. "Our goal is to bring all these factors into one conference so the public can gain a better understanding of the reality of Spanglish. All the forces that are for it-and those that are against it."
Sessions in Spanglish linguistics, Spanglish media, Spanglish culture and Spanglish arts will be accented by performances of poetry and jazz music.
On Saturday, April 3, at 8:30 p.m., in Johnson Chapel, Paquito D' Rivera will perform. Cuban-born and classically trained, D' Rivera is "a gifted saxophonist and clarinetist [who] has became the man to call if you want a concert-hall presentation of Pan-Latin music," according to The New York Times. Puerto Rican vocalist Brenda Feliciano, a bilingual actress and interpreter of jazz and classical music, and Israeli pianist Alon Yavnai will join D' Rivera for this multicultural musical event.
On Friday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium, Spanglish poet and novelist Giannina Braschi and poet and editor Tess O'Dwyer will read from The Mole and the Rat. Susan Chávez-Silverman will read from The Anniversary Chronicles on Saturday, April 3, at 2:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium.
The Spanglish conference will be the subject of a special supplement in El Globo, the new Spanish-language weekly newspaper. El Globo will address the Hispanic community in New England with in-depth analysis of world affairs and local news, commentary and opinion, features, arts and sports. The editors and publishers of El Globo will hold a press conference at Amherst College the weekend of April 2-3. Details will follow. More information, including a full schedule, is available at www.amherst.edu/~spanglish/.