Friday, November 16, 2012

AILCFH Conference Reflections

I attended the XXII Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Literature y Cultura Femenina Hispánico, "De la Tierra al Ciberespacio / From the Earth to Cyberspace" November 8-10, 2012.

Prior to the conference, to help the GVSU onsite organizing committee, I had set up a "Subject Guide," a.k.a. Libguide, with links to the keynote speakers' books I had bought for the library (one of the organizers checked out the books and put them on display), the journal for the Association, Letras femeninas, and the keynoters' websites. I also passed along the request for library laptops for presenters to use. At the congreso, I met some newer GVSU Modern Languages Spanish department faculty, which always helps with liaising. I also met a friend from WMU, and made new friends.
Papers I attended: 
  1. Lynn Healy (GVSU), "Remembering the Other: Hegemony and the Ethics of Memory in Peru." She spoke about reinterpreting "collective memory" in an archive of photographic images in terms of gender, Westernizing indigenous women, recognizing difference vs. homogenization. Prior interpretations have been a type of violence, undermining the women's defiance, demands for truth, fight for justice and freedom, agency, organization, and thus have reduced the impact of the photos.
  2. Bernadita Llanos (Loyola U) spoke about political and problematic memory.
  3. Constanza López Baquero (U of North Florida), "Realidades novelescas: De cómo sobreviven las mujeres en medio del conflicto armado en Colombia." She spoke about several films, such as Impunity: What Kind of War for Columbia? which shows the fight against invisibility and that the only way to possess memory is to transform experiences; Proyecto Rosa, which names those assassinated; The War We are Living; Violeta Cortometraje animado; Kilele; theatre such as Teatro la mascara; oral history such as Throwing Stones at the Moon: Narratives from Colombians Displaced by Violence. All of which stress the importance of women's voices. 
  4. Keynote/Plenaria de Lola López Mondéjar: "De pintores, glaciares, esculturas, andróginos y Frankenstein" -- I'd like to read some of her essays in English, to be honest.
  5. Ana Bellum (University of New Mexico) “Making the Tangible Intangible: The Reconstruction, Redefinition and Reclaiming of the Woman in Latin American Literature”
  6. Maribel Colorado-García (GVSU) “La doble imagen femenina en dos autorretratos: Julia de Burgos y Rosario Castellanos” [poets]. Maribel is another newer faculty member at GVSU.
  7. Anne M. Pasero (Marquette University) “A través de los años: La expresión del amor en la obra de Clara Janés.” Anne said that Janés is one of the most important and well-known writers, mystical, spiritual, using love as a paradigm instead of war (very Quakerly). She recommended an anthology.
  8. Leticia Espinoza (Western Michigan University) “La construcción de la feminidad en Cuerpo Náufrago.” Leticia addressed the transgender Antonia-Anton, compared to Man Ray, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, and Shakespeare's Viola. We discussed masks, and I remarked that for the transgender person, the body itself is a mask.
  9. Hedy Habra (Western Michigan University) “Niveles de recreación del personaje femenino en Travesuras de la niña mala”
  10. Irma M. López (Western Michigan University) “La recreación como vehículo de afirmación subjetiva en El amor que me juraste, de Silvia Molina”
  11. Karina Ortiz-Pacheco (Western Michigan University) “El pasillo expresión musical popular creadora de la imagenfemenina y su subversión en la obra Si tú mueres primero de Aminta Buenaño”
  12. Keynote Address/Plenaria de Belén Gache: "Word Toys y Manifiestos robots. (Navegación comentada por la autora)." Gache reimagines other's words/works electronically. Amazing, interesting, radical mash-ups, such as word-flowers, birds that speak with a mechanical voice (a raven quoting Poe, for example), butterflies with literary quotes about butterflies, a plane which narrates stars' histories, names, and stories from different parts of the world, houses which narrate the dreams of those sleeping under the roof, a Second Life video, a word market.... Useful ideas to show students who are trying to understand and interpret poetry that to them seems "antique/ancient"--putting the poems into web 2.0 context. 
  13. Keynote Address/Plenaria de Cecilia Vicuña: “Hilo de agua, hilo de vida” was performance art/shamanic ritual. She spoke about how the quipu represents cyberspace/the virtual worldwide web/the Dreamtime of Australian Aborigines/the cosmic umbilical cord. That "eye," "I," "yo," are the same, the identity of all who are living. That "I am" means "mismo ama" or "same love." That "in - formation" is a synonym for "universe" or "universal," as is also "word" ("palabra") and "sound."  She said that all poetry comes from the ancient silence. Vicuña is what I would call a "Machi" -- a Mapuche curandera/shaman, although she is "mestiza" or mixed-blood, not only indigenous, and grew up in the city. She said, though, that we are ALL indigenous to the Earth.

What I took away: better understanding of Latin@ cultures and literature and a renewed wish to spend my next sabbatical in Spain. What the Library gained: a better collection, donations of the speakers' books, a closer relationship between the Spanish department and library liaison, a liaison who is even more interested in internationalizing information literacy (in Spanish: aprendizaje informado, alfabetización informacional/ALFIN, alfabetización en información, o investigación bibliotecológica).

Constanza Lopez just spent a month in Ibague, Colombia, where Laura Arcila Villa is Decano Facultad de Humanidades, Artes y Ciencias Sociales in the University. Constanza's chair at N.FL was one of my favorite professors at WMU, Jorge Febles. It was fun to make connections like this. I was also interested when 2 of the presenters told me that they decided I had a Latina soul because when they spoke to me in English, I would answer in Spanish. I appreciated when they would speak English to help my understanding, but I was also there to absorb/be immersed in and "negotiate life" in Spanish. There were many words I recognized as having learned in the past but whose meanings escaped me (non-English-cognates), but with a few exceptions, speakers' words were clear to me, even if their meaning lagged behind.