Diana Taylor, a world-renowned expert in the fields of performance studies and Latin American studies, will speak at this year’s Herbert P. and Mary Jane Lefler Lecture at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Taylor’s lecture is titled “Performing Democracy in Mexico,” and will address the Mexican cabaret artist Jesus Rodriguez and her work in organizing political action following the contested national elections of 2006. The lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 15 in Alumni Hall, located in the O.J. Johnson Student Union. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Rodriguez has been called the most powerful woman in Mexico by the New York Times. After she served as performance advisor to Andres Manual Lopez Obrador, the leftist candidate for Mexico’s presidency in 2006, Rodriguez organized cultural events during the days following the contested election for over two million people who gathered in the country’s political center. During the tense months in which the electoral process was being debated, she organized 3,600 cultural activities for the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets.
Taylor is a professor of performance studies and Spanish at New York University where she is also Founding Director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in creative writing in 1971 from the University of the Americas, Mexico; she earned her master’s degree in comparative literature in 1974 from the National University of Mexico; and she earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature in 1981 from the University of Washington.
Taylor has been the recipient of many prestigious grants and awards including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005-06 and a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship in 2003-04.
Her publications have also received critical acclaim. Her book Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America received the Best Book Award by the New England Council on Latin American Studies and an Honorable Mention in the Joe E. Callaway Prize for the Best Book on Drama. Her book The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas received the Oustanding Book Award from the Association of Theatre in Higher Education and the Kathleen Singer Kovaks Award from the Modern Language Association.
The Herbert P. and Mary Jane Lefler Lecture was established in 1993 by Mary Jane Lefler in memory of her husband Herbert. By bringing outside speakers, professors, lecturers, artists, historians, and theologians to the Gustavus campus to meet with classes and address the community, the program is intended to enrich the academic experience for students as it carries on the Lefler family’s tradition of pursuing truth and integrity through curiosity, inquiry, discussion, teaching, and learning.
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