SUNY Cortland is recognizing the history and culture of its fastest-growing student ethnic group with a series of events related to Latin America and Latino issues, which continues through Saturday, Oct. 15.
The Latino and Latin American Studies (LLAS) Committee will offer four more sandwich seminars in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge and a community lecture at the U.S. Post Office in Cortland for its remaining fall events. All events are free and open to the public.
“We’re excited about the fall events series, which features the work of two new faculty members and others working on important projects,” said Gigi Peterson, an assistant professor of history and the LLAS coordinator. “The month’s events take place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and coincide with the official Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, which incorporates the independence days celebrated by several Latin American countries. But we want to remind people that Latin American and Latino histories and cultures should be acknowledged all year long.”
The LLAS Committee is working on a full year of programming to enhance opportunities to study Latino and Latin American topics. The number of Latino undergraduate students who enrolled at SUNY Cortland increased by more than 20 percent in the fall of 2010, compared to the previous year. Since the fall of 2007, the number of Latino undergraduate students has increased each year.
SUNY Cortland faculty members will offer the four remaining sandwich seminars in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. They are:
• “Latino Immigration to the U.S. and the Controversy Regarding the Secure Communities Program” will be the topic of a talk by Ute Ritz-Deutch, a lecturer of history. The presentation, which takes place at noon on Thursday, Sept. 29, will address the negative impact of the current U.S. immigration system on Latinos.
• Richard Hunter, an assistant professor of geography, will deliver “Searching for Clues: Historical Environmental Transformations in Central Mexico” at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The seminar will look at the role of introduced livestock as agents of environmental destruction in 16th century New Spain, or present-day Mexico.
• Susana Davidenko will offer “What Do We Mean By ‘Culturally Relevant’ Teaching? Lessons Learned From the Children of the Mayan Village of Santa Avelina” at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Davidenko, an associate professor of childhood/early childhood education, will share lessons from her experiences with mathematics educators in Guatemala.
• “Behind the Times: Latin America in the New York State Global Studies Curriculum,” is the topic of Peterson’s lecture at noon on Thursday, Oct. 13. Peterson will discuss problems with New York state’s official curriculum and ideas for teaching beyond tests.
The culminating event of the fall series will look at how a Mexican muralist movement of the 1920s and 1930s shaped a community landmark in Cortland. Robert Rightmire ’66, a published author in the field of art history and a retired educator, will present “From Mexico to Cortland: The Creation of a Post Office Mural” at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the U.S. Post Office in Cortland. The post office, located at 88 Main St., includes a Ryah Ludins mural in its interior. Rightmire will talk about Ludins, who was the first woman to receive a mural commission from the Mexican government. Talk attendees are asked to bring their own chairs to the event, which takes place in the post office’s lobby.
The LLAS Committee is sponsoring the sandwich seminar series. Both the committee and the Cortland County Historical Society will sponsor Rightmire’s talk.
For more information on the LLAS Committee's fall events, contact Peterson at (607) 753-2051.