Latin American Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

GMU students invited to present their collaborative research projects in the 2017 Engaged Scholar Symposium at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Rachel y jenniffer april 2017 foto

GMU students invited to present their collaborative research projects in the 2017 Engaged Scholar Symposium at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

In the fall of 2016, students of Spanish for Heritage Speakers (SPAN 315) at George Mason University worked on a cross-country project entitled “Hey! Tell me about tu gente!” with Spanish Heritage Students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). The collaborative work on this project allowed the participants to explore and then compare insights from their respective Hispanic/Latino communities. Three of the GMU students who enthusiastically participated in this project submitted proposals to participate in the 2017 Engaged Scholar Symposium at UTRGV to be held on April 18 and 19 in Edinburg, Texas. On April 6th, the symposium’s committee announced the acceptance of the three research topics briefly explained below.

Jenniffer Andino Cruz (class of 2020), who is majoring in Spanish and Criminology, will present a poster that compares the different gastronomic preferences of the residents of Northern Virginia and those of Southern Texas as an additional area of the diversity that underlies the label of Hispanic or Latino.

Diane E. Flores (class of 2017), who is majoring in History, is collaborating on a presentation that will expose the local and distinctive nature of the impact of immigration policies on Hispanic/Latino communities in Virginia and in Texas.

Rachel Orga (class of 2019), who is majoring in Spanish and Global Affairs, will be giving a presentation on the celebration of Halloween and Día de los Muertos ‘Day of the Dead’ in Northern Virginia and in Southern Texas as a measure of the assimilation and identity of the Hispanic/Latino communities in these geographic areas of the United States.

Jenniffer, Diane and Rachel, in their role as researchers, will have the opportunity to meet their UTRGV peers and present their findings beyond the GMU campus. For more information about their collaborative studies, read the abstracts below. We wish them every success with these presentations!

Short abstracts

“WHAT NATIONALITY PREDOMINATES IN THE GASTRONOMY OF VIRGINIA AND TEXAS?”

We examine the gastronomic preferences of Hispanic residents in Northern Virginia and compare them to those of Hispanic residents in Southern Texas as an additional measure of the diversity that underlies the label of Hispanic or Latino. We also show how important it is to venture out into the communities themselves to learn about their gastronomic diversity, as well as the impact this diversity has on U.S. society’s gastronomy as a whole.

“THE IMPACT OF LOCAL IMMIGRATION POLICIES ON THE DYNAMICS OF HISPANIC COMMUNITIES”

In this research we compared local immigration policies that directly affect the Hispanic community in the states of Virginia and Texas. We also explain how they affect the Hispanic community in general. In Virginia these policies laws negatively affected the Hispanic community while in Texas they generally did not harm Hispanics The more informed communities are the better prepared they will be to deal with the anti-immigrant forces that have always existed in the United States, even though they now seem to be more prominent than in the past.

“DAY OF THE DEAD AND HALLOWEEN:

WHAT DO THESE CELEBRATIONS SHOW ABOUT SOUTHERN TEXAS AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA?”

The objective of our research was to examine the celebrations of the Day of the Dead and Halloween and their tendencies to either dominate or surrender to Hispanic culture in Southern Texas and Northern Virginia. After analyzing the conclusions of authors Stanley Green in “The Day of the Dead in Laredo” and Christine Stoddard in “Hispanic and Latino Heritage in Virginia,” we found that the assimilation of Hispanic immigrants directly impacts the continuity of these cultural practices in the United States.

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