Tag Archives: bilingual education

CLACS Alumnus Publishes Book Debunking the Myths of the Old West

CLACS Alumnus D.H. Figueredo '88 with his newest book Revolvers and Pistolas

CLACS Alumnus D.H. Figueredo ’88 with his newest book Revolvers and Pistolas

Written by CLACS Master’s Candidate Patrick Moreno-Covington

Does historical reality influence popular narrative or can popular culture construct its own historical reality? In his newest book, Revolvers and Pistolas, Vaqueros and Caballeros: Debunking the Old West, CLACS alumni D.H. Figueredo challenges commonly held perceptions of the American West to reveal the fundamental role of Mexican entrepreneurs, farmers and indeed heroes in settling the American frontier. In a conversation with the CLACS Blog, Mr. Figueredo chronicled the writing of the book and the role that his CLACS education has played in his professional and writing career.

As a small child, D.H. loved Westerns. He can remember reading the great Western novels by Karl May and attending films starring John Wayne, Randall Scott and Gary Cooper and thinking that if he were cast in these movies it would not be as a heroic cowboy but one of the nameless villains fated to be ignored in the background. As he grew older, D.H. began to discover that there was indeed a rich legacy of Mexican cowboys, important businesswomen and miners throughout what is commonly thought of the American Old West. To uncover their stories, D.H. knew that he would need to reject the stereotypes found in popular culture and document the true lives of the Latino figures who shared their knowledge and money in populating the West.

D.H. attributes this drive to view narratives from multiple angles to his time at CLACS. When Mr. Figueredo entered the CLACS Master’s Program, he was already a successful librarian helping to create the Newark Public Library’s Sala Hispanoamericana. Figueredo sought out CLACS to advance in his curatorial and library career but also to combine his interest with history with his passion for literature and popular culture. Beyond the education, Figueredo credits CLACS with helping to develop a strong professional and personal network of friends, scholars and colleagues that continued to challenge him after he graduated with an MA in Latin American Studies in 1988. This professional network would prove to be instrumental as D.H. composed an Encyclopedia of Caribbean Literature and Encyclopedia of Cuba: People, History, Culture as well as A Brief History of the Caribbean.

California Pioneer Juana Briones

California Pioneer Juana Briones

In Revolvers and Pistolas, Figueredo departs from the style of his previous works to tell the story the Latino West in an accessible and page-turning style. Part of the excitement stems from some of the important discoveries he is able to bring to light. Stories of powerful businesswomen like Juana Briones whose large estate helped to found San Francisco or Mifflin Kennedy who directed her husband to purchase and settle much of southern Texas. He recounts the Latino origins of the 1848 California gold rush which was spurred on by the expertise of the Mexican, Chilean and Peruvian miners who taught the first Eastern settlers in the region how to pan for gold. Figueredo was also able to challenge the stereotypes surrounding Mexican soldiers and trace the Mexican roots of popular figures like Zorro and the Cisco Kid. In doing so, Figueredo is able to debunk the myths that cloud our vision of the Old West and restore the proud legacy that Latinos shared constructing the American Southwest.

CLACS congratulates Mr. Figueredo on his recent publication. The Newark Public Library will be hosting a meet and greet with Mr. Figueredo on May 30th at 2 pm at 5 Washington Street, Newark. To RSVP or for more information please call 973–733–7772 (Sala Hispanoamericana) or email ibetancourt@npl.org.

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CLACS Alum Christine Weible at El Museo del Barrio

Photo courtesy El Museo del Barrio - Artist: Nicolás García Uriburu

CLACS alum Christine Weible was recently awarded a one-year fellowship at El Museo del Barrio.   El Museo is a Latino cultural institution dedicated to promoting Latin American and Caribbean art and culture.

Christine will be working in the education department where she will develop curriculum, organize events, and design and lead gallery tours in both Spanish and English.

At CLACS, Christine’s research focused on ESMA, formerly known as the Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada. During the Argentine Dirty War, ESMA was the largest detention center implicated in human rights crimes such as torture and disappearances.  This facility now functions as a museum of memory, officially the Espacio para la memoria y para la promoción y defensa de los Derechos Humanos. The “Museo para la memoria” came together as a collaboration between numerous human rights organizations, such as the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. Christine was interested in the role of collective memory in this and other such facilities in Argentina.

Christine Weible

Christine has a long history of work and research in the field of Latin American art.  As an undergraduate student she completed a dual B.A. in Spanish and Art History. She has also had several internships in the field – notably with the Fundación Cisneros.

Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

Teaching Through the Arts

K-12 CLACS SBETAC MoMA

Students are inspired by Native American Storyteller Dolls

Over the last 4 years, CLACS has developed a strong partnership with the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Together we have organized comprehensive K-12 professional development programming which brings together pedagogy training for educators and Latin America and Caribbean-related content for use in New York City classrooms. Specifically, CLACS partners closely with the New York State Spanish Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (SBETAC) to support educators working with English language learners (ELLs), Spanish speaking students, ESL students, and students attending bilingual schools.

CLACS and SBETAC have also connected with organizations across New York City such as The New York Times, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF TeachUnicef Program, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) K-12 program  to offer professional development workshops for K-12 educators.

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