Bulletin News

SUNY Cortland celebrates Latiné Heritage Month


Award-winning writer Esmeralda Santiago grew up in a poor, rural part of Puerto Rico, learned English as a teen after moving to New York, graduated from Harvard University and authored several highly acclaimed memoirs and cultural essays about her journey and the interaction of the cultures she negotiated.

Santiago will share her insights with the SUNY Cortland community in a talk titled “Writing for Life” on Monday, Oct. 2, one of 12 campus events celebrating Latiné Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Latiné Heritage Month, also known as National Hispanic Heritage Month, started in in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded in 1988 when Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into federal law.

Why do the four weeks overlap two months? Sept. 15 marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, while Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and 18 respectively.

A full list of Latiné Heritage Month events is included below, with support coming from many offices and departments. They include the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies (CGIS), Clark Center for Global Engagement, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office, President’s Office and the Political Science Department. The university also offers an interdisciplinary minor in Latino and Latin American Studies.

For more information, contact Gigi Peterson, associate professor of history.  

Latiné Heritage Month 2023 Events

Tuesday, Sept. 19
LGBTQ+ Icons in the Latiné Community  

6 to 7 p.m., Corey Union Voice Office 

Event is sponsored by La Familia Latina and Pride Club.

Wednesday, Sept. 20
“Latiné Heritage Month: Contested, Imperfect and Needed”

Gigi Peterson, associate professor, History Department
12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Old Main Colloquium 

Across the U.S., communities and institutions celebrate Latiné — or Latino or Hispanic — Heritage Month. Peterson examines its history, including arguments about why and how to recognize the varied heritages and histories involved — and what labels are appropriate. She’ll explain how have varied actors and groups found it important — and/or problematic — to have a “special” month. This is a Sandwich Seminar series event supported by the President’s Office.

Wednesday, Sept. 20
“Latiné History is U.S. History: Ideas for Teaching”

Gigi Peterson, associate professor, History Department; Sabrina Jakobsen, graduate student, History Department
4:30 to 6 p.m., virtual event on Webex (registration required)

From long-ago ancestors to current residents, populations with Hispanic and Latin American roots have played central roles in U.S. history — yet they have been marginalized in most curricula. This session offers ideas and resources for integrating many, and diverse, Latiné actors into the narratives and teaching of U.S. history.

Advance registration is required online.

Thursday, Sept. 21
“Wild Lands and Savages: How Wilderness Bias has Enabled Oppression in America from Columbus to the Present” 

Pete Nelson, graduate student, History Department
Noon to 1 p.m., Old Main Colloquium 

Throughout history, ideas of wilderness have been a critical force in the dynamics of frontiers and borderlands. Contemporary notions of wilderness may aid in the protection of the natural world, but a historical understanding of wilderness must acknowledge it as a descriptive engine of oppression, establishing frontier interactions that positioned “deserted” lands as unclaimed and the “wild” or “savage” indigenous peoples who occupied them as lesser. Nowhere is the historiographic consideration of this wilderness bias more important than in Latiné history. This is a Sandwich Seminar series event supported by the President’s Office.

Thursday, Sept. 21
Class lecture for FSA 103: Gender, Race and Class Issues in Education

Pete Nelson, graduate student, History Department
3 to 3:45 p.m., Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-140

Nelson will offer a guest lecture in this undergraduate course. Guests are welcome.

Monday, Sept. 25
Book panel talk

Sebastian Purcell, associate professor, Philosophy Department; Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Philosophy Department; Sofía Ortiz-Hinojosa, assistant professor, Philosophy Department, Vassar College
5 p.m., Old Main Colloquium

Panelists will discuss “The Discourses of the Elders,” Purcell’s recent book which compiles and translates Nahuatl philosophy. Nahuatl is the group of languages spoken by indigenous Aztec peoples in Central America. This event is co-sponsored by the Clark Center for Global Engagement.

Tuesday, Sept. 26
Noche de Karaoke 

6 to 7 p.m., Corey Union Voice Office

Event is sponsored by Spanish Club and La Familia Latina.

Wednesday, Sept. 27
Chips and salsa

7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Corey Union Exhibition Lounge 

Event is sponsored by Ritmo Latino, Mu Sigma Upsilon sorority and Spanish Club.

Monday, Oct. 2
“Writing for Life” talk by award-winning author Esmeralda Santiago

5:30 to 7 p.m., Old Main Brown Auditorium

Santiago is an award-winning author whose memoirs and novels include “When I was Puerto Rican,” “The Turkish Lover,” “America’s Dream,” “Conquistadora,” “Las Madres” and “Almost a Woman,” which she adapted into a Peabody Award-winning movie for PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre.

Santiago’s career also includes leadership in the fields of literary studies, education and culture. She has been recognized alongside Hillary Clinton, Katie Couric and Vera Wang with the National Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts and a school in Chicago also is named in her honor.

This event is organized by the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office and is free and open to the public. For more information contact Lorraine Lopez-Janove.

Wednesday, Oct. 4
Third Annual Mi Gente Happy Hour

3 to 5 p.m., location to be announced.

Food, snacks and drinks will be provided. This event is sponsored by Ritmo Latino, La Familia Latina and Spanish Club.

Tuesday, Oct. 10
Conversations about law and Latiné heritage

Juan Carlos (J.C.) Polanco, J.D., CEO of Council on Legal Education Opportunity; graduate student, History Department

This event will discuss study and careers in the field of law as well as Dominican and Latiné heritage. This event is sponsored by the Political Science Department.

Wednesday, Oct. 11
A read-aloud of “Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Dianne Wellington, assistant professor, Literacy Department
11:50 a.m. to 12:55 p.m., Old Main, Room 122

This read-aloud will highlight culturally authentic stories for children, led by faculty and students from LIT 372: Teaching Elementary School Reading and Language Arts II. SUNY Cortland students will use comprehension strategies they are learning to guide a discussion based on the text. This event is sponsored by the Literacy Department.