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“Postcards from the South” kicks off new lecture series

Marjorie Agosín

Lehigh’s Department of Modern Languages and Literature will introduce a new International Scholars Lecture Series on April 8, when Marjorie Agosín, professor of Spanish at Wellesley College, presents “Postcards from the South.”

The lecture, which will take place at 4:10 p.m. at 102 Maginnes Hall, is free and open to the public.

“Our department believes the initiative to internationalize Lehigh is crucial to its future as a distinguished institution of higher education, and it is imperative that we give our students the means to become globally literate and aware of other cultures and world views,” said Marie-Hélène Chabut, professor of French and chair of Modern Languages and Literature, who added that the lecture series will increase the on-campus presence of diverse and international scholarly perspectives.

Agosín is a poet, critic, and human rights advocate whose works include Miriam’s Daughters: Jewish Latin American Women Poets, Writing Toward Hope: The Literature of Human Rights in Latin America, The Alphabet in My Hands: A Writing Life and Lluvia en el desierto/Rain in the Desert, among others. She has received the Jeanneta Rankin Award for Achievement in Human Rights, the Letra D’Oro Prize, the Latina Literature Prize, and the United Nations Leadership Award on Human Rights.

The descendant of European Jews who fled the Holocaust and settled in Chile, Agosín writes poetry that focuses on her multicultural heritage and the struggles of women in contemporary society. Her concerns include the problems faced by Jewish Latinos, especially the difficulties associated with hiding their religion and establishing community.

In “Postcards from the South,” Agosín will reflect on how her writing is informed by major historical events such as the Holocaust and the Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Agosín considers herself “a product of these events” and her writings intend to address them. She will speak about being a Jew in Chile as well as an exile in the United States. During her lecture she will describe the cultural influences of her works as well as the historical situation that has informed them.

Each year, the new International Scholars Lecture Series will invite a prominent international creative writer or literary scholar to speak to and engage with the Lehigh community.

--Tricia Long

Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008

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