WT’s Distinguished Lecture Series to Launch for Fall with Focus on Quinceañeras


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 CANYON, Texas – An award-winning author and folklorist will discuss one of the most deeply-held traditions in the Mexican and Mexican-American communities.

Dr. Rachel González-Martin will speak about quinceañera commemoration and memory at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Hazlewood Lecture Hall at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum as part of a special program for PPHM’s exhibition “Quinceañera Traditions” and the West Texas A&M University Distinguished Lecture Series.

A reception will precede the lecture at 6 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, visit PPHM’s event page.

González-Martin, an associate professor of Mexican American and Latina/o studies at the University of Texas at Austin, will present “Quinceañera: Ritual, Celebration, and Coming of Age.”

Rich with historic and symbolic meaning, the pageantry of the quinceañera marks a 15-year-old’s journey from girl to woman. As a rite of passage, it is a celebration of food, family, and faith that encompasses both the old and the new.

“I will be discussing the social power of memory and material remembering and telling community stories,” González-Martin said. “I’m looking forward to meeting students and community members and discussing what these events and seeing quinceañera artifacts in institutional spaces means to them.”

“The exhibition explores the tradition of the quinceañera and the objects that hold special meaning for families, such as dresses and crowns,” said Deana Craighead, PPHM curator of art. “The exhibition and the lecture will shed new light on traditions not often seen in the museum, leading to new conversations with new audiences.”

On Sept. 16, González-Martin will present “First-Generation Faculty: A Platica-Workshop,” offering students tips on navigating university life, choosing a major and getting into research. The workshop is slated for 10 a.m., also in PPHM’s Hazlewood Lecture Hall.

González-Martin is the author of “Quinceañera Style: Social Belonging and Latinx Consumer Identities,” which won the Emily Toth-Best-Book-in-Women’s Studies from the Popular Culture Association and the Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize in Women’s Studies in Folklore from the American Folklore Society.

The Distinguished Lecture Series will continue with four additional presentations this fall:

Oct. 6: Richard and Shirley Flint, “To and Fro without a Road Map: Which Way the Coronado Expedition Chose to Go, and Why.” In this Garry L. Nall Lecture in Western Studies for the Center for the Study of the American West, the Flints will share their expertise on Coronado’s expedition and their book “No Settlement, No Conquest: A History of the Coronado Entrada.”

Oct. 11: Judith Santopietro and Ariana Brown, “Latinx Voices and the Stories of America.” The poets will share some of their poems and discuss Spanish poetry.

Nov. 2: Poetry reading by George Bilgere for the Dorothy Patterson Poetry Series. The award-winning poet will sign copies of his new book, “Central Air,” following the reading.

Nov. 8: Dr. Daniel Cohan, “Confronting Climate Gridlock: What Climate Solutions are Both Needed and Possible for the State of Texas?” Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, specializes in the development of photochemical models and their application to air quality management, uncertainty analysis, energy policy, and health impact studies. He will discuss ideas from his book “Confronting Climate Gridlock: How Diplomacy, Technology & Policy Can Unlock a Clean Energy Future.”

The mission of the Distinguished Lecture Series is to invite nationally prominent experts to the WT campus to expose students to some of the most important issues of our times and to inspire and enlighten students, faculty and the community. All DLS events are free and open to the public.