This Month in the Spanish Department:

Posted on December 2nd, 2016 by

by Leah Mott

From calavaras and papel picado to violence and gender, the Spanish department’s November was equal parts celebration of Latin American culture and critical examination of one of the region’s current challenges.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a well-known holiday that originated in Mexico and is celebrated each year as a way of honoring loved ones who have died. What makes Día de los Muertos especially unique is the way in which it reflects the Mexican perspective on death- that it is a natural part of our life cycle and should be celebrated rather than feared. Families from St. Peter joined Gustavus students at the festive Carnival, which included skull face painting, crafts, treats, and the opportunity to learn about all of the student organizations that stem from the Spanish department. Following the Carnival, participants were invited to partake in a candle-lit processional to the Chapel, where there was a memorial service with music, a space to share and reflect on the impact of death and loss, a folkloric dance presentation, and more typical Mexican treats. This event was an important way for Spanish students and the whole Gustavus campus to learn about the importance and meaning behind Día de los Muertos, while sharing these traditions with the larger St. Peter community.

Later in the month, the department welcomed Dr. Ana Forcinito, a professor in the Spanish and Portuguese department at the University of Minnesota, for her presentation; “(In)visible violences; Gender, Impunity, and Justice in Argentina”. Her lecture focused on forms of gendered violence that occur in Argentina, both through state terrorism and during times of peace. She spoke to the power of the new movement, “Ni una más”, which makes violence against women a public issue and unites activists around the country on social media and in protests. Sigma Delta Pi, the Gustavus chapter of the national Spanish honor society, hosted the presentation. Both events were critical campus learning experiences not only for Spanish language students, but for all Gustavus students interested in gaining a more well-rounded perspective on Latin America and its rich culture as well as its current challenges.


The Carnival for the Día de los Muertos celebration- face painting, crafts, games


Dr. Ana Forcinito presenting on the invisible violence against women in Argentina



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