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Faculty Forum Explores Images of the Latin American Male in the U.S.

2/25/2009 —

Ana Figueroa, assistant professor of Spanish, will be the featured speaker for the next Faculty Forum session at noon on March 18, in the Atrium at the Lehigh Valley campus. Figueroa will present "From Romance to Reality: the Images of the Latin American Male in the United States." The event is free and open to the public.

According to Figueroa, the Cuban Revolution of 1959 created an alternative way of performance masculinity in Latin America by helping to inspire a new, more politically-engaged generation of men who came of age in the 1960s and attempted to put their social problems or their idealistic construction of society in dialogue with the pressing social-justice issues of the day. She continues that the new self that was constructed followed in the steps and imagery of Che Guevara, the French existentialists, and the American hippies not only in their political ideals but also in physical appearance and habits: long hair, beard, dark clothes, and cigarettes. Figueroa's study is centered on how this "ideal male construction" was repeated in the main characters of the 1960s novels known as "New Narrative of Latin American."

"I will argue that writers such as the Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortazar, Alejo Carpentier, and Mario Vargas Llosa represented masculinity in their works in terms of theatrical and rhetorical performances," says Figueroa. "They are theatrical in the sense that the male characters keep staging themselves in competitive displays; rhetorical in the sense that the characters, and the very narrative form of the works in which they appear, render masculinity a kind of persuasive argument that readers can and should debate. This movement of ideas creates the stereotypes of the Latin American male."

Ana Figueroa holds a doctorate in Latin American Literature from Rutgers University. She is the author and/or co-author of numerous books and articles on the topic of Latin American and Hispanic literature.

For more information, please contact the University Relations Office at 610-285-5067.

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