University to host Latinx Shakespeare symposium
What does an English playwright whose life spanned the 16th and 17th centuries have in common with modern-day Hispanic writers, artists, educators and students?
Plenty, say scholars here and at other institutions — perhaps “more things in heaven and earth,” to borrow a line from “Hamlet.”
The Educator Preparation and English programs will host “Latinx Shakespeare: A Borderlands Drama Symposium” 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, April 6, at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. The free event will examine the connections between William Shakespeare and the Hispanic artistic and educational community.
The symposium will showcase the relationship between Shakespeare’s work and Latinx artists. Latinx is a gender-neutral term for Latinos and Latinas, including those who do not identify as male or female.
The events from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. will be on the first floor of Patriots’ Casa. The symposium’s final event, “Performance and Talkback: ‘Creating Latinx Shakespeare’” by Josh Inocéncio starts at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.
The event also will explore the increasing interest in Shakespeare’s work among the Latinx community and people of different backgrounds who don’t typically identify with Shakespeare.
Laurie Ann Guerrero, writer-in-residence at A&M-San Antonio, said she has a “love-hate relationship” with the playwright.
“Shakespeare was one of the first pieces of literature I read. He’s hard to relate to, but I respected his brilliance,” said Guerrero, who will participate in a roundtable discussion at the symposium.
The event is run by Katherine Gillen, assistant professor of English at A&M-San Antonio, along with her colleague Adrianna M. Santos, as well as other staff and faculty.
The symposium is co-sponsored with the University of Texas at San Antonio and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, but is a event unique to A&M-San Antonio funded through a Humanities Texas grant, Gillen said.
The symposium includes roundtable discussions; a keynote by Carla Della Gatta, assistant professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California; a pedagogy workshop; and a performance by Inocéncio, a playwright from Houston.
Roundtable discussions will include Mark Bayer, associate professor and chair in the English department at UTSA; Trevor Boffone, founder of the 50 Playwrights Project; and Kathryn Vomero Santos, assistant professor of English and a co-coordinator of the women’s, gender and sexuality studies program at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.
Topics range from “Hispanic Shakespeare: The Translational and Transnational Makings of Early Modern Drama” and “Teaching Classical Drama Through Latinx Studies” to “Browning the Classics for Young Audiences” and Guerrero’s “When in Disgrace: Stealing the Crown.”
The symposium explores the importance of Shakespeare, what it means to appropriate him and how educators can teach his work to the growing population of Latinos who have found a greater appreciation for The Bard.
Guerrero recalled reading a poem by Shakespeare that opened her eyes to his intelligence. She said it made her want to work harder on her own poetry.
Along with answering questions of diversity, the event gives people of Latinx identification the chance to put a different spin on Shakespeare’s works — such as “Othello,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet” — and make them more relevant to those who haven’t had access to those works.
Community members, students and teachers are welcomed to attend the event, especially students who aspire to be teachers.
Although the symposium is the first of its kind here, it could lead to similar events in the near future.
“More and more Latino playwrights are becoming more prominent and getting more attention,” Gillen said. “With the increased number in growth of the Latinx population in the United States, theater companies are interested in making their plays more diverse.”
The symposium brings together members of the Latinx community and allows them to express their passion for Shakespeare, she said. It also gives them a chance to teach as well as learn.
To register for the symposium, visit https://latinxshakespeare.blog/contact/ and fill out the Google form.
For more information, visit www.latinxshakespeare.blog, look for flyers around campus or contact Gillen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-784-2223.
Morning events on the first floor of Patriots’ Casa:
- 8-9 a.m. Registration
- 9-10:30 a.m. Roundtable: Adaptation and Appropriation
- 10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Roundtable: Performance and Pedagogy
- 12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
- 2- 4 p.m. Workshop: “Teaching and Responding to Shakespeare” Giomara Bazaldua and Josh Inocéncio
- 4:30- 6 p.m. Keynote: “‘Hear All, All See’: Aural and Visual Dramaturgies of Latinx Romeo and Juliet(a)” Carla Della Gatta, University of Southern California
- 6:15-7:15 p.m. Dinner
Evening event in the auditorium:
- 7:30-9 p.m. Performance and Talkback: “Creating Latinx Shakespeare” Josh Inocéncio