Monday, March 30, 2009

Spanish Community Service Learning and Campus Race Relations: A Talk To Shed LIght on Racial Representations

by Ann Abbott

The Tacos & Tequila controversy at the University of Illinois may no longer be fresh in students' minds, and the freshmen and sophomores now have no memory of that debacle. But it highlighted the deep divisions between campus and community that our Spanish community service learning courses attempt to bridge. When our students step into the community, they are representing our university, and SPAN 232 is designed to help students represent us well and continue the ties that we have formed. Even if none of our Spanish CSL students attended the party, their work is tarnished because the entire university has lost credibility in the community.

So, I'd like to draw your attention to tomorrow's talk sponsored by the Center for Advanced Studies:

From Looney Coons to Tacos & Tequila: The Aesthetics of Race in Middle Class America

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
7:30 pm
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
600 South Gregory Street
Urbana (View Map)

James D. Anderson
Gutgsell Professor of Educational Policy Studies

Jim Anderson explores the ways in which evolving forms of race and ethnic performance entered into and shaped the culture of middle class America from the late nineteenth century to the present. He begins with an analysis of the art and lyrics of minstrel sheet music in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and then traces its legacy through television, “playful” racialized antics in educated environments and into the theme parties of contemporary campus life. Then and now, race performances have supplied America’s middle class with fun and entertainment while offering up ethnic and race caricatures that have reinforced entrenched dynamics of race superiority, national identity and citizenship status.

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