The 2016 Conference on Américo Paredes: Border Narratives and the Folklore of Greater Mexico will be held in the Music Hall of California State University, Los Angeles from May 6-7, 2016.
The conference is the result of the long-term planning and close collaboration between Mexican and Chicano faculty at California State University, Los Angeles (Roberto Cantú), the University of California, Santa Barbara (María Herrera-Sobek), and the University of Texas at Austin (José E. Limόn). The faculty representing these three institutions are pleased to announce the conference participation of ten renowned keynote and featured speakers, such as Richard Flores (University of Texas at Austin), John Holmes McDowell (Indiana University), Oscar J. Martínez (University of Arizona) and, among other prominent speakers, film director Robert M. Young and award-winning actor and director Edward James Olmos. This conference on Américo Paredes will also include scenes from plays by Chicano dramatist Carlos Morton to be performed under the direction of Mexican actress Alejandra Flores, and panel sessions on various topics related to the conference's theme. The full conference program will be announced in mid-February 2016.
Américo Paredes (September 3, 1915-May 5, 2009) distinguished himself as a journalist, novelist, short story writer, poet, folklorist and as Professor of English and Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. He also knew how to strum the guitar and sing, Homer-like, the folk corridos (ballads) of legendary Mexicans who rode and battled on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Admired by many and held as one of the inspiring founders of Mexican American Studies in colleges and universities across the United States, Paredes was an active advocate of civil rights, educational reform, and improved social and economic opportunities for Mexican Americans and members of other ethnic communities in the United States. Born in Brownsville, Texas, Paredes was elected President of the Texas Folklore Society and Vice-President of the American Folklore Society. His life-long interest in Mexican American history and culture motivated him during his early years to collect corridos from farmers and villagers living on the Lower Rio Grande and on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, resulting in his pioneering book “With His Pistol in His Hand”: A Border Ballad and Its Hero (1958), and other influential books on folklore, poetry, and narrative fiction, such as Folk Music of Mexico (1966); A Texas-Mexican Cancionero: Folksongs of the Lower Border (1976); George Washington Gόmez (1990); Between Two Worlds (1991); Folklore and Culture of the Texas-American Border (1993); The Hammon and the Beans and Other Stories (1994), and The Shadow (1998). In 1991 Paredes was honored by the government of Mexico with the Order of the Aztec Eagle Award in recognition of his contributions to Mexican culture.
For more information about the conference, including a more detailed list of conference highlights, go to: http://americoatcalstatela.blogspot.com/