Campus News: Lee Hosts Conference on Latin American and Iberian Studies

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Lee Hosts Conference on Latin American and Iberian Studies
Sarah Wiggers - 4/10/2019

Spanish majors Krysta Valderrama and Miranda Phillips with their poster presentations.

Lee's Department of Language and Literature recently hosted the eighth annual Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Latin Amiercan and Iberian Studies. The conference included panel presentations given by students from various colleges and universities, poster presentations given by Lee students, a photo gallery presented by Colombian photographer Luis Fernando Jaimes, and a lecture led by Lee graduate Guilherme Von Streber.


“I am very glad this conference is happening on a yearly basis, as it touches on highly relevant topics related to the Latin American and Iberian communities that are pertinent to the globalized world in which we live today,” said Von Streber.


Panel presentations were given by 28 different students from 11 different colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Wofford College, Western Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, Union University, and Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico. The presentations covered a variety of compelling topics including immigration, second language acquisition, religion, social conflict, and art.


Twenty students of Dr. Carmen Guerrero, assistant professor of Spanish at Lee, delivered poster presentations about art, music, history, and politics in Latin America.  The students included Timothy Bildeshi, Rebecca Courtney, Dawson Davis, and Dillon Wheeler.


For the first time, the conference hosted a guest artist, Colombian photographer Jaimes. As a well-known artist, Jaimes captures photographs that reveal the daily routines, political and social situations, and cultural issues of their subjects. His work focuses on common people, needs in the community, beauty in nature, emotions, and social justice.


“I want to thank everybody who made my photo gallery possible,” said Jaimes. “These cross-cultural spaces allow us to break barriers, open doors to critical thinking, and construct knowledge. Culture, literature, and arts are forms of human expression that allow us to grow and find our own identity.”


Von Streber offered the plenary lecture for the conference. While at Lee, he received the 2015 Crosby Scholarship and the 2017 Charles Paul Conn Award.  Von Streber is now pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in interdisciplinary studies at Emory University. His research interests include language and globalization, language ideologies, and language policy, especially in border territories.


“The highlight of the conference to me was the Q & A session in which we all engaged in a dialogue related to the topic I proposed,” said Von Streber. “This means to me that the topic was a generative one, and I hope it sparked an interest towards Democratically Engaged Learning and Scholarship that will continue to grow in all participants at the conference.”


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