Regional Seminar Series brings together Latin-Americanists in Wales

After a successful first seminar held at Aberystwyth University earlier this year (24th January), Swansea University hosted the second seminar in the series on the 27th June 2014.

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Scholars from Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea University presented on a range of topics related with Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Spain and United States, providing the audience, which included graduates, current PhD students and former LTC staff, with a fascinating window into the dynamics of Latin-American life, culture, society and politics.

The guest speakers, Amanda Villepastour (Cardiff) and Jessica Gibbs (Aberystwyth) both spoke on Cuba. Dr Villespastour’s presentation dealt with Cuban religious practices (The Branding of Iyanifa in Cuba: The Initiation of Women into an All-Male Cult) and Dr Gibbs’ presentation was on Cuban film in the 1990s (The Director as Social Critic: ‘Guantanamera’ and ‘Barrio Cuba’).

On the subject of politics, Tanya May (Swansea) spoke about Venezuelan youth organizations (Interpreting Chavismo: ‘Causa’ and its Role in Spreading the ‘Revolution’ among Young Venezuelans). On the subject of music, Flavio Sanza’s (Swansea) presentation explored the role of Brazilian rhythms and jazz in the music of Spanish guitar master Paco de Lucía (Paco de Lucía, Flamenco Master).

Finally, on the subjects of Latin-American language and literature, Lloyd Hughes Davies (Swansea) spoke on the Argentinean writer Abel Posse (Deleuzian Resonances in Recent Latin American Writing: the Case of Abel Posse) and Patricia Rodríguez-Martínez (Swansea) gave a presentation in Spanish on Afro-Colombian poet Juan Zapata Olivella (El mar como símbolo de la poesía afrocolombiana ‘The sea as a symbol of Afro-Colombian poetry’). Rocío Pérez-Tattam (Swansea) spoke on the child migrant experience of learning Spanish in the United States (When World Languages Meet: the Case of Heritage Spanish).

Given the success of this series, a follow-up seminar has been proposed to be held at Cardiff University in 2015. This seminar would involve the participation of graduate students as well as scholars from Welsh universities.

Lloyd DaviesThis Regional Seminar series was organized by Lloyd Hughes Davies (Swansea) (shown left) and Lucy Taylor (Aberystwyth) and funded by the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), London, through its Regional Seminar Series Grant Scheme. It was supported institutionally by Aberystwyth University and the staff of the Department of International Politics, and Swansea University and the staff of the Department of Languages, Translation and Communication, especially the members of the Centre for the Comparative Study of the Americas (CECSAM).

To listen to some of the talks, go to