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Busboys and Poets Hyattsville 5331 Baltimore Avenue Hyattsville, MD 20781
Sunday, April 09, 2017 - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Help Recently Arrived Immigrant Youth Share Their Stories.

The Center for Synergy in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) has received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund “Home Stories,” a digital storytelling project that empowers migrant youth to create and share their stories with the wider public.

The award is part of NEH’s inaugural Humanities Access grants, which provide cultural programming to underserved groups and were awarded to 34 organizations. The grant is designed to encourage fundraising and sustainability of ongoing programming.

The project co-directors are Ana Patricia Rodríguez, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Sheri Parks, associate dean of research, interdisciplinary scholarship and programming and associate professor of American studies.

The project responds to the growing number of often-unaccompanied migrant youth who travel to the U.S.-Mexico border and eventually seek to reunite with families, relatives or friends who live in the long-standing Central American communities near the University of Maryland. These newcomers navigate multiple identities but rarely have the opportunity to reflect on or share these experiences. Despite the scale of youth migration to this area, there is little research or ethnographic work generated about or by these youth.

“We are living in a historical moment where there is an explosion in migration,” says Rodríguez.  “Digital storytelling is a way of uncovering these stories and making them accessible to a wider public, and it is something that anyone can learn.”

“Home Stories” extends the Center for Synergy’s ongoing Social Innovation Scholars Program into the public humanities. Through the project, undergraduate students at the University of Maryland will enroll in a multi-semester course with Rodríguez to learn about the migrant experience while collaborating with migrant youth from local middle and high schools to explore digital storytelling.  Digital stories are multimedia movies that combine voiceovers, video, sound and text to create a narrative. Both in and out of the classroom, they are a tool for not only developing technical skills, but also promoting self-reflection and critical thinking.

“The project is a way of connecting students who have the technological skills with migrant youth in communities who have important stories to tell,” says Rodríguez.  “Digital storytelling is a democratizing tool that allows these stories to be created and shared across communities.”

The project will work with youth in local schools that enroll large numbers of recently arrived migrant youth from Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean and culminates in a community screening of the filmed stories these youth produce, which will then be available on a public website.

“The humanities help us study our past, understand our present, and prepare for our future,” says NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to support projects that will benefit all Americans and remind us of our shared human experience.”

 

Image Credit:
Close up of Child Migrant Quilt Project (September 2014)
© Ana Rosa Ventura-Molina 2014

IDEAS THAT SERVE - ANA PATRICIA RODRIGUEZ
12/3/14 - 7:00 PM

Spanish professor Ana Patricia Rodriguez shares ideas about teaching the multifaceted dimensions of American Salvadorians.

Tawes Hall, University of Maryland, College Park
Friday, October 24, 2014 - 8:30 AM to Saturday, October 25, 2014 - 6:00 PM

The Graduate School Field Committee in Medieval & Early Modern Studies hosts Knowing Nature in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds, Friday and Saturday, October 24-25, 2014. The conference is free and open to the public.

Rasmuson Theater, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C.
Saturday, May 03, 2014 - 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM

Students in Foxworth course, SPAN408I, present their work on the Salvadoran transmigration at the Smithsonian.

The University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) would like to congratulate the inaugural recipients of the Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative (Foxworth Initiative), including Psyche Williams-Forson, associate professor in the Department of American Studies; Ana Patricia Rodriguez, associate professor in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; and Leigh Wilson Smiley, associate professor of theatre and director of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.

“We are excited and proud to announce our first cohort of Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative recipients and courses,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean for the College of Arts and Humanities. "Funding from the Foxworths will enable faculty to further engage students in the lived experiences of people from diverse heritages, traditions and histories, and facilitate their reflections upon the role of the humanities in promoting civic values within the contemporary United States.”

This year’s Foxworth Initiative funds the development of three arts and humanities courses to support advanced teaching and engaged research by scholars whose interests examine community defined issues and whose products and documentation appropriately assess student learning and community engagement.

Courses include a variety of topics like Food, Trauma, and Sustainability; Latina/o Transmigration and Transnationalism; and Community Partnership for the Performing Arts. The Foxworth Initiative also partners each course or “Creative Enterprise Team” with community partners like Prince George’s County Food Equity Council and Casa De Maryland to encourage the inclusion of the arts and humanities disciplines in the application of solutions to pressing issues like food insecurity, climate change, immigration, poverty and racism.

This initiative is made possible by the generosity of two college alumni, Domonique and Ashley Foxworth; Domonique ’04 is a graduate of American Studies, and Ashley ’06 is a proud English alumna. Ultimately the Foxworth Initiative is intended to enrich arts and humanities education and scholarship, and support projects that address enduring or emerging themes central to the arts and humanities or questions arising from other disciplines to which the arts and humanities might speak. For more information, visit www.arhu.umd.edu/foxworth.

INAGURAL FOXWORTH FACULTY COHORT:
 

Faculty Lead: Psyche Williams-Forson, Department of American Studies

Course: AMST 418G: Food, Trauma, and Sustainability

Social Issue: Food insecurity

Approach: Students will work with community partners like the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council to help reduce food vulnerabilities in the county.

Interdisciplinary in focus, students will draw from the fields of American Studies, anthropology, cultural studies and women’s studies to explore issues of food insecurity and urban food deserts. The project will engage these issues in the context of Prince George’s County (e.g. Sheridan Community Garden, Prince George’s County Food Equity Council), and in addition to their hands-on engagement students will learn about issues of food economies, acquisition and distribution circuits.

Community benefit: Communities made up of elderly and migrant populations, identified by partnering organizations like Casa De Maryland, will benefit from food delivery, work in community gardens and will be able to share their life stories with students.

 

Faculty Lead: Ana Patricia Rodriguez, Department of Spanish and Portuguese 

Course: SPAN 408i: Latina/o Transmigration and Transnationalism

Social Issue: Invisibility of Salvadorian migrant communities

Approach: The Salvadorian diaspora makes up the third largest Latino migrant community in the United States, many of whom reside in the Washington, D.C. metro area. SPAN 408i will bring students into conversation with this community to build and archive a digital storytelling project.  The course will explore the complex migration factors that lead to the Salvadorian diaspora.  Students will interact with non-English speakers to understand Latin American migration patterns with the members of the community, drawing on the powerful narrative tradition of testimonio, will have an opportunity to challenge their social and political invisibility through these documentation practices. At the end of the course, students and community members will present aspects of this digital storytelling project at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Community benefit: UMD students in SPAN 408i will work with alongside the Latino Resource and Justice Center (CARECEN) in their community outreach to members of the Salvadorian diaspora. Together they will build a digital archive of Salvadorian migration, experiences of civil war and unrest, to form part of a larger archive in San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and El Salvador.

 

Faculty Lead: Leigh Wilson Smiley, School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies

Course: TDPS358P Community Partnership for the Performing Arts

Social Issue: Racism, immigration and adolescent identity

Approach: Students from UMD and the Latin American Youth Center will work together to learn and apply performance skills of listening, voice and working in front of an audience. They will apply these techniques as they collaboratively build a performance piece, which they will use to explore and express a range of social issues that affect them as adolescents and young adults.  Inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski, Augusto Boal and James Gilligan, among others, they will develop storytelling skills as a means of expression, empowerment and imagination. 

Community benefit: Students explore and develop community partnership skills to become trained cultural field workers who will do transformative community based work. Latin American Youth Center.

 

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