This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

News Bureau   Schofield Hall 201  Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900
Latin American Studies Conference
To Be Held April 19-21
MAILED: April 2, 2001

          EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host the Midwest Conference on Latin American Studies April 19-21 at the Holiday Inn Campus Area, Eau Claire.
          This regional conference provides an opportunity for scholars and individuals who work within Latin American studies to examine the numerous nations, cultures and languages of Latin America. The event will help to establish a strong network of scholars from throughout the academic disciplines who can act as a resource for students and communities in the Midwest.
          “We have a diverse representation of Latin America in the conference and in our community, and it is a magnificent way of sharing with one another and of learning and teaching,” said David Gregorio Fleitas-Velez, Hispanic/Latino program coordinator, English and history lecturer, and conference coordinator. “Recent demographic shifts in the Midwest make this conference a necessity in order to promote an educated understanding of Latinos and all Latin Americans in the United States.”
          This year’s theme, “Teaching (Latin) America,” seeks to strengthen ties between K-12 and post-secondary institutions and to promote a venue where all instructors can share their experiences as teachers and as people.
          The conference will open with a banquet and entertainment from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19. UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Donald Mash will offer a welcome and introductory remarks. Dr. William O. Ney, UW-Madison assistant director of Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian studies, will present the keynote speech, “Developing a New Paradigm for University K-12 Outreach and Beyond: Utilizing Latin American Studies as an Instrument for Change,” which looks at how Latin America can be used as a catalyst for social change within society.
          The following events will take place Friday, April 20:

  • 10-11 a.m. — Gladys Wisnefski, foreign language teacher with Oshkosh Public Schools, will present “Chile in Democracy: Books Published Since 1998,” which examines the recent shift toward democracy and the dynamics of family and honor in the chaos of transition.
  • 10-11 a.m. — Jackie Stroud, assistant professor of history at Winona State University, and Sylvia Anderson, a senior history major at Winona State University, will present “Teaching the History of Mexico: A New Approach to Greater Mexico.” Through teaching, discussions, film lectures and monographs, they will share their innovative way to connect Midwest students to Mexico.
  • 11 a.m.-noon — Jim Oakley, Badger Middle School, West Bend, will present “Cuba: Imagenes y Ritmos.” Oakley will use music, words and photographs to describe his experiences during a recent visit to Cuba.
  • Dr. Cecilia Bustamante, assistant professor of Spanish at UW-River Falls, will examine women’s struggles in Latin America through the obstacles they encounter and current initiatives in the Organization of American States and the United Nations in her presentation, “The Status of Women in Latin America in the 21st Century.”
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. — Greg Medina-Rivera, assistant dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at UW-Madison, will present “The Voyage to Santa Banana: Iconic Passages Toward Authentic Identity Within the Contempo Mythology of the Hispanic/Latino,” which looks at common misrepresentations of Latinos in majority and Latino communities.
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. — Dr. Nelia Olivencia, director of Latino Student Programs at UW-Whitewater, will speak about the various approaches to Latino/Latin American studies in “Latino and Latin American Studies: Common and Differing World Views.” A panel, which includes students, will discuss topics of identity, curriculum development and bilingualism.
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. — Dr. Rose-Marie Avin, professor of economics at UW-Eau Claire, and Cristiana Oliveira, a UW-Eau Claire senior from Brazil with a double major in journalism and Spanish, will speak about Brazil and its economic dynamism and challenges.
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. — Kelly Miller, Sauk Prairie Middle School, Sauk City, will present “Viva Latin America! Famous Latinos/as and the Internet as a Pedagogic Tool,” giving special emphasis to the definition of Latinos/as and using the Internet in research.
  • 3:30-4 p.m. — Ana Mercedes Perez and Olga Halina Sosinski, instructors at the University of Buenos Aires, Instituto Gino Germani, will speak on teaching in impoverished neighborhoods in Argentina, with a special focus on teaching young girls.
  • 3:30-4 p.m. — Dr. James E. Hundley, associate professor of modern and classical languages at the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, will explain the informal economy of Latin America and why it is vital to the social and economic development of the region in his presentation, “Teaching Business Spanish: The Informal Economy in Latin America.”
  • 4-4:30 p.m. — Alma Rivera, Appleton Area School District, will discuss the concept that it is not necessary to create a division between foreign language instruction and cultural/historical instruction in K-12 Spanish instruction in her presentation, “Voces de Latinoamerica.”
  • 4-4:30 p.m. — Dr. Sheldon Smith, professor of sociology and archaeology at UW-La Crosse, will present “Blocked Transition to Democracy: Caciquismo in Puebla, Mexico,” an essay that looks at the tradition of caciquismo in Puebla, Mexico, and how it impacts the growth of democracy, social stability and peace.
  • 4:30-5 p.m. —Joel Hinrichs, graduate student at the University of Connecticut, will explore parallels in the development of baseball in Cuba and the Dominican Republic in his presentation, “Teaching Foreign Relations Through Baseball.”
  • 4:30-5 p.m. — Dr. Jaime Zighelboim, Luther Midelfort, Eau Claire, will give a light-hearted presentation, titled “A Guide to Gastrointestinal Illness in Latin America: The Myth of Montezuma’s Revenge,” about the preventative measures one can take to avoid internal and social discomforts when traveling abroad.
  • 5-5:30 p.m. — Dr. Kimberly Contag, chair of the modern languages department at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Dr. Jim Grabowska, assistant professor of modern languages at Minnesota State University, Mankato, will present “The Americas Clean House: Nazi Germany, Ecuador and the ‘Bargain Nationals,’” which examines the expulsion of German-American citizens from the Western Hemisphere to release U.S. citizens in Germany during World War II.
  • 7-8:30 p.m. — Dr. Silvia Lopez, assistant professor of Spanish at Carleton College, will present her dinner address, “The State of Latin American Studies Today,” examining where recent economic and social developments will take Latin America and the studies of the region.
          The following events will take place Saturday, April 21:
  • Dr. Brett Greider, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at UW-Eau Claire, will look at the rise of indigenous rights movements in the Western Hemisphere and the growth of information dissemination through the Internet in his presentation, “Indigenous Rights in the Americas.”
  • 9-9:30 a.m. — Deborah Hamill, Rebecca Nelson and Nichole Weinfurtner, senior Spanish majors, will present “The Experience of Complicity: Guilt and Innocence in ‘La historia official.’” They will examine Argentina’s “Dirty War” and the dismantling of the abuses of human rights in military dictatorships.
  • 9-10 a.m. — Fleitas will present “Between God and Propaganda: The Failings of Liberation Theology,” which looks at the role of liberation theology in Latin America and how it confuses Christian theology and polarizes society into a structure of envy and hatred.
  • 10-11 a.m. — Dr. Alberto Rincon, senior sales engineer at Extrusion Dies Inc., Chippewa Falls, will present “Doing Business in Latin America,” discussing the effective styles of communication he has learned through his business experiences in Latin America.
  • 10-10:30 a.m. — Jason Wiegand, a senior English and American Indian studies double major, will speak about the roots of rebellion in Latin America’s Zapatista movement.
  • 10:30-11 a.m. — Jessica Lopez, a freshman Spanish and communication double major, will give a presentation on NAFTA and how the industrial development on the “frontera” affects women.
  • 11-11:30 a.m. — Contag and Grabowska will present “Language Learning in the K-12 Classroom,” examining the communication, culture, connections and communities of language learning.
  • 11-11:30 a.m. — Rodolfo Vesely, sales support manager, Newcom Honduras S.A., Tegucigalpa, Honduras, will explore the growth of media infrastructure in Central America and its importance in relation to regionalization/globalization in his presentation on the telecommunication development in Latin America.
          Cost for the conference is $45 for the general public and professionals, $30 for full-time students, $10 for full-time students without the Friday dinner, and $15 for the Thursday night banquet only. Unless otherwise noted, all fees include instruction, materials, Friday banquet dinner and refreshment breaks.
          Registration deadline is Friday, April 13.
          The conference is sponsored by UW-Eau Claire’s Chancellor’s Office, Office of Academic Affairs, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Continuing Education, departments of foreign languages, English, history, political science, economics, philosophy and religious studies, and foundations of education, American Ethnic Coordinating Office, UW-Extension and UW-Milwaukee’s Latin American Studies Center.
          UW-Eau Claire offers a comprehensive and liberal arts major in Latin American studies codirected by Dr. Obika Gray, professor of political science, and Dr. Eva Santos-Phillips, assistant professor of foreign languages.
          For more information on the conference, contact Fleitas at (715) 836-3367 or For more information on registration or lodging, contact La Vone Sneen, Continuing Education office, at (715) 836-2031 or

UW-Eau Claire Home [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: April 2, 2001