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Events Calendar

What Does Columbus Day Mean Now? or Why Hispanic Heritage Month Matters - LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

Date and Time

Thursday, October 18, 2018
3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.


  • Cook-DeWitt Center » Cook-DeWitt Center Auditorium


National holidays are always controversial, and none is more so than Columbus Day.  Hispanic Heritage Month offers a welcome alternative for civic, cultural, and educational institutions around the country.  The current image of Columbus as a “Renaissance Darth Vader” has a long history, and Hispanic Heritage Month has a shorter but more immediately important one. If the former was all about European overseas expansion, the colonization of native Amerindian peoples, and the enslavement of Africans, the latter involves United States’ domestic issues of race, ethnicity, migration, and immigration.  This talk will cover briefly the history of Columbian commemorations in the United States (mentioning its observances in Spain and Latin America) and, at greater length, the development of Hispanic Heritage Month nationally and, in particular, the history and presence of Latino communities in the greater Midwest. The interpretation of the figure of Columbus in the contemporary Latin American novel will round out this presentation.




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