Cartas de América #6: feminist nun manifestos and other viceregal drama

In today’s issue of my LatAm newsletter: This 17th-century nun was a savant, playwright, poet, intellectual, and international superstar. You won’t believe what happens next. Cartas de América #6: feminist nun manifestos and other viceregal drama

Cartas de América #5: one hundred years of my problematic fave

“You’ve done in about forty-five minutes what it took literary critics years of arguing to solve,” I told them. “Magical realism” is a marketing term more than anything, but my students got what García Márquez was getting at in the course of a paragraph. Take something wild and tell it truthfully, as if it wereContinue reading “Cartas de América #5: one hundred years of my problematic fave”

Cartas de América #4: teaching culture with the Nacirema

I like this lesson not just because it brings out the creativity in my students, or because it gives us all a laugh, but because it makes us ask a really important question about “cultural learning.” What’s it for? I used the Nacirema article to criticize the Maya one, urging students to de-exoticize their readingContinue reading “Cartas de América #4: teaching culture with the Nacirema”

Cartas de América #3: my favorite language is the one I forgot

I may not have retained Quechua from my professor, but I learned how much I had to learn from him. That’s why I look back on that class with such gratitude. It fundamentally changed my attitude toward language learning, which I used to consider mainly in terms of grammar manipulation and vocabulary translation. There’s onlyContinue reading “Cartas de América #3: my favorite language is the one I forgot”

Cartas de América #2: Power and his people

We always want to believe that injustice is simply inconsistency, that punishing those weaker than us is simply not who we are, that it is a betrayal of our identity to exploit. In the second issue of my LatAm newsletter, I revisit an Irish-Basque-Catalan legislator (oh yes) who argued for Puerto Rican interests in theContinue reading “Cartas de América #2: Power and his people”

Cartas de América #1: learning empathy from Mister Danger

The Anglo-American media smugly denouncing the latest disaster as evidence of socialist harakiri should know that Venezuelans are perfectly aware that Mister Danger isn’t the villain of Doña Bárbara. They know it’s a story about domestic demons, not imperialist ambitions. He’s there, but he’s a sideshow. They know this because they’ve read it. They knowContinue reading “Cartas de América #1: learning empathy from Mister Danger”

Episode 29: Our Lady of Guadalupe (with Catherine Addington)

As guest star supreme, Catherine Addington, tells us, Our Lady of Guadalupe is “a thing that is both.” Mexican and Catholic, native and foreign, we dive deep into a story of devotion, roses, snake skirts, widowers, adult-born gods, human sacrifice, and the power of very pious grandmas. Stick around for some hot takes on mythology-inspiredContinue reading “Episode 29: Our Lady of Guadalupe (with Catherine Addington)”

The politics and poetry of Copa América Centenario

It’s true that a non-South American country has never hosted, and that the choice of the United States couldn’t be more loaded. But as we will see, poetic cash grabs are the American way. I’m at Unusual Efforts dissecting the symbolism of the South American championship being held in the United States. ⚽ (Rejected title:Continue reading “The politics and poetry of Copa América Centenario”

To the memory of Xipaguazin Moctezuma

Sant Jaume de Toloriu, Alt Urgell, Catalunya There’s a story—half legend half history, as these things go—that I love and hardly ever see around in English. Mondays are good days for storytelling. Start your week sipping on this: in the part of Spain that isn’t Spain and isn’t quite yet France, there’s a town soContinue reading “To the memory of Xipaguazin Moctezuma”

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