This past November 8 – 12, 2017, Professors Carmen Sanchis-Sinisterra and Christina Baker traveled to Santo Domingo to attend the annual conference, Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica.
Professor Sanchis-Sinisterra has attended the conference the previous two years, having even been awarded recognition as a doctoral candidate.This year, Professor Sanchis-Sinisterra presented on Thursday, November 9th, 2017 on the topic of Podemos. Her talk, “A nosotras todavía no nos representan: Feminismos en Podemos” discussed the feminist approach of Podemos, the Spanish political party that was born after Spain’s Occupy movement, called “el 15 M.” Podemos embraces a populist feminism which has is many detractors among feminist theorists.
Professor Baker presented on the morning of Friday, November 10th, 2017. Her talk, “Como la flor: Queer Performances of Memory, Mourning and Selena Quintanilla,” was performative in nature, blending her intellectual interests in the world of performance theory with theoretical concepts. She discussed the living memory of slain singer, Selena Quintanilla by recounting her own trips to Corpus Christi, Texas and acts to remember and revive the singer enacted by queer bodies throughout the Southwest.
Professors Sanchis-Sinisterra and Baker also coincided with W & M alumna, Professor Elena Lahr-Vivaz (’96), who just published a phenomenal contribution to Mexican Studies and Film & Media Studies. Her book, Mexican Melodrama: Film and Nation from the Golden Age to the New Wave, was released at the University of Arizona Press in 2016 and she is working on a follow-up book project that explores Cuban identity. Professor Lahr-Vivaz gave a wonderful talk, “Disappearing Acts: Gender and Gaze in ¿Quién diablos es Juliette?” prompting conversation about Mexico-Cuban cinematic relationships and popular culture.
When Professors Sanchis-Sinisterra and Baker were not attending academic talks, the two explored the beautiful colonial zone of Santo Domingo. Walking through the cobblestone streets and museums, the two thought about the connectedness between colonial cities; one the site of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the New World; the other, Williamsburg, the heart of colonial United States. The two hope to soon return and incorporate cultural lessons learned about the Dominican Republic, its people, literature, music and culture.
*This trip is part of a collaborative teacher-scholar initiative that combines Prof. Sanchis-Sinisterra and Baker’s intellectual work, courses and student research. It was supported by the generous support of Dean Donahue and the Annual Fund.