When Carlos Alejandro Sánchez-Tatá, CC ’24, began his studies at Columbia in fall 2020, he did not join any student organizations. But by his second semester, he was desperate to connect with other art students. Thinking back on his extracurriculars from high school, Sánchez-Tatá decided to create a club where art students and enthusiasts could meet and create art together....
Responding to faculty pressure, Bollinger establishes Faculty of Arts and Sciences fundraising campaign
Updated, 7/24, 7:07 p.m.
When you think of the quintessential Ivy League man, images of impeccably tailored jackets, sweaters, and argyle prints inevitably come to mind. Carlos Barksdale, SEAS '14, perfectly embodies this style. From his preppy wardrobe to his high-profile internship, Barksdale makes sure the classic "Ivy" aesthetic is alive and well at Columbia. Katie Best-Richmond: How would you describe your personal style? Carlos Barksdale: It's a mix between an urban aesthetic and southern culture with a bit of prep....
PrezBo today announced that Carlos Alonso, previously interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, will be appointed as the permanent dean. Before taking on the interim dean position in Sept. 2010, Alonso was chair of Columbia's department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. Alonso, originally from Puerto Rico, has held positions all over the Ivy League. He received his bachelor's degree from Cornell, earned his doctorate from Yale, got a faculty position at Penn, and now, he's the big man at our grad school. Good stuff. Check out the full press release after the jumpmore...
A new film by a Columbia alumnus is offering an intimate look at the lives of two men in an unconventional relationship in a small town.
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Carlos Fuentes in May of this year. He was 83 years old. Our constant expectations of a new novel have been shattered and we feel the loss. In a Proustian way I flashed back more than 30 years ago to the time when Fuentes, then a Mexican ambassador, accepted the invitation of the Barnard Spanish and Latin American cultures department to come to Barnard for a week as a Gildersleeve Professor. When he arrived, accompanied by his wife and two children, Fuentes charmed everyone with his presence, his lucidity, his knowledge of history, literature and culture, and of course, his perfect command of the English language. Under the chairmanship of Mirella Servodidio, everybody in the department (then) worked hard so that Fuentes' visit would be a success—and it was indeed. Encouraged by the outcome of this visit, we proceeded to invite other Latin American writers of the '60s and '70s who were known as the "Latin American writers of the Boom." Among those that accepted our invitation after Fuentes were the Argentine Julio Cortázar, the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, the Mexican Juan Rulfo, the Argentine Manuel Puig, and the Chilean Isabel Allende. At the time, they represented the wealth and diversity of Latin American fiction. They were translated into numerous languages and favored by commercial success. Their writing resulted in an incredible outpouring of creative energy. They produced narrative structures and techniques that allowed them to give meaning to their ideas. They depicted reality and the limitations of reality. Their writings were an attempt to compensate for the failures and inadequacies of the historical and political realms from which they came. They traveled between continents and were deeply concerned with the problem of national identity (which we discuss every year during Latino Heritage Month). The Virginia Gildersleeve Professorship at Barnard allowed our invited guests to reside at the University for a week. They had to give a public lecture and attend some classes to interact directly with students. Symposiums were organized in which writers, critics, journalists, and academics from Barnard, Columbia, and other universities gathered with enthusiasm. For teachers and students at Barnard and Columbia, it was a period of exuberance: We treasured the fact that these well-known Latin American writers were alive, close to us, and that their message could be heard across continents. We read them, we taught their sometimes difficult works, and we deconstructed and analyzed them. We were mesmerized by their knowledge, their humor, their vision of their own countries and other ones, including the U.S. The students at the Morningside campus were directly exposed to ideas that emerged from the Latin American writers who visited. Some anecdotes come to mind: Manuel Puig arrived as a "rock star" following the success of the film "The Kiss of the Spider Woman," which was based on his novel. When I found him before the lecture, I realized he had no essay in his hands and I panicked. "Where is your lecture, Manuel?" I asked. His reply was, "Do not worry, I do not need a script." He was sensational. The consensus among the students was: "What we loved about his presentation is that he talked directly to us—we were his chosen audience." Mario Vargas Llosa enjoyed his visit to our campus, and was very pleased with our performance of one of his plays. We were extremely happy and proud when we learned in 2010 that he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mario has said that in his works he wanted to create a kind of prism, refracting the social, political, and intellectual life of Latin America. One time, my colleague Marcia Welles and I went to pick up Isabel Allende at the airport and brought her to her apartment at Barnard. We were enchanted by her humility. The first phone call she made was to her daughter. Isabel has written a beautiful novel called "Paula," in honor of that daughter who died years later. She does not want to forget her. Inspired by the "Boom writers," Latin American women writers like Isabel Allende, Elena Poniatowska, and Rigoberta Menchú, among others, have given a voice to those who do not have one. They have, in particular, created narrative structures relevant to women's experiences. Many of the conflicts that Latinos in the U.S. face today were already envisioned by the writers I mentioned. It was their concern for human rights in their own countries that led them to tackle global conflicts. They were deeply worried about inequalities. They wrote with the hope that one day they would be read and understood by people from all walks of life. A constant concern for Latinos is the idea of the "melting pot." Latinos in the USA face the dilemma of either assimilating into the dominant culture or developing a dual identity. In his novel "The Old Gringo," Fuentes presented a character who fights in the American Civil War and dies in the Mexican Civil War. "To melt or not to melt, that is the question," Fuentes once said. The complexities of the different Latin American countries are felt by the many people that live in the United States and come from those countries. We should always remember the legacy of the writers that I had the pleasure to meet during the '60s and '70s. They believed that a writer had to lay the foundation of another world where social justice would not merely be a utopian ideal. We have learned recently that the Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz has won the MacArthur Fellows award. The legacy goes on. The author is a professor emeritus from Barnard's department of Spanish and Latin American cultures. She is currently writing a play about Cuban-American relations. To respond to this professor column, or to submit an op-ed, contact firstname.lastname@example.org....