Big Read Lecture Series to begin at Scotch Plains Public Library
Saturday, February 23, 2013 • 1:18pm
The Big Read continues at Scotch Plains Public Library on February 28th, with a series of lectures designed to provide context and richer understanding of the book the community will read and discuss, In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez.
The lecture series will include the following, all beginning at 7:00 PM:
- Thursday, February 28. Recent History of the Dominican Republic.
Jahaira Arias, of Rutgers University, will focus on the period of Dominican history in which the real-life events which Alvarez fictionalized took place, including the prelude to, and aftermath of General Trujillo’s 30-year dicatorship, which ended in 1961. She will also entertain questions from attendees. Her talk will lay the groundwork for reading, future book discussions, and more lectures by historians, educators and writers. Arias is a seventh year doctoral student in the department of History at Rutgers University. She specializes in the history of Latin America and is interested in the politics of race, nation, region and gender in the Caribbean.
- Monday, March 4. Protest Art
Andrea Karanik is a Social Studies teacher at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. In her discussion, she will explore aspects of the history, symbolism and diversity of protest art. Karanik graduated from Rutgers College, Rutgers University with a double major in history and art history and earned her master’s degree (Ed. M.) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She currently teaches AP Art History and Global Perspectives. Karanik has presented art history programs at the Scotch Plains Public Library in the past, on topics such as “Monuments and Memorials” and “Sacred Spaces”.
- Wednesday, March 6. Béisbol—The World of Dominican Baseball
Sportswriter Eric Fisher will discuss the importance of baseball in the Dominican Republic, its ties to Major League Baseball in the United States, and the biggest Dominican-born stars, past and present. Eric Fisher is a staff writer for SportsBusiness Journal, a national trade journal covering the more than $200 billion sports industry. A 20-year sports journalist, Fisher previously worked for the Washington (D.C.) Times and Easton (Md.) Star-Democrat, and has covered many major events including the World Series, MLB All-Star Game, World Baseball Classic and NBA All-Star Game in addition to serving as a regular moderator in SBJ’s own annual series of industry conferences.
- Thursday, March 21. The Latin American Novel as History.
Professor David Blackmore of New Jersey City University will discuss his experiences learning about Latin American literature as a field outside his own fields of expertise and his first time teaching NJCU’s “Latin American Fiction as History” course. He will suggest approaches to reading Latin American literature and to thinking about the interrelationships of literature and history in Latin American contexts.
Educated at Harvard (B.A.) and UCLA (M.A. and PhD), Dr. Blackmore now lives in Jersey City and has been an enthusiastic professor of English at New Jersey City University since 1994. He teaches courses in linguistics, U.S. and world literature, and LBGT studies.
- Thursday, April 11. The Women in Julia Alvarez’s Fiction.
Professor Grisel López-Díaz of New Jersey City University will explore the strong female characters in Julia Alvarez' novels. Her focus will be on the four Mirabal sisters from the novel In the Time of the Butterflies, but references will also be made to other characters in this author's novels. The characters will be discussed in the context of the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo regime and the Dominican community in exile in New York. The cultural and social expectations of women, both in the Dominican Republic and the United States, will be examined using excerpts from Julia Alvarez' work. The participants will be encouraged to interact with the presenter through question and answer and discussion formats.
Dr. Grisel López-Díaz holds a B.A. in Modern Languages from Fordham University, an M.A in Comparative Literature from New York University, and a Ph.D. from Fordham University in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in second language acquisition. Dr. López-Díaz has over thirty-five years of experience in education that includes teaching at the elementary, secondary, and higher education levels. She is presently working as Associate Professor of Modern Languages at New Jersey City University where she is the Coordinator and Graduate Advisor of the Masters Program in World Language Education.
- Monday, April 22. Butterflies in Art.
We welcome back Andrea Karanik, who teaches AP art history and Global Perspectives at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, as she discusses some of the ways butterflies and other insects have figured in painting, drawing, and sculpture in different cultures and historic periods.
In addition to the lectures, The Big Read includes music, art projects, book discussions, and festivities at the Scotch Plains Public Library, and interdisciplinary studies for students in grades K-12 in our district’s schools. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest. Scotch Plains is one of 78 communities nationwide participating in the current Big Read.
The Big Read partners welcome all participants to the many free events planned through mid-June. More information may be found on the web site of Scotch Plains Public Library (http://www.scotlib.org) and on the library’s Big Read blog (http://bigreadsppl.tumblr.com/ ).
Scotch Plains Library
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