On Wednesday, April 3, the Department of English Language and Literature presented a lecture by Assoc. Prof. Dr. RoseAnna Mueller, a faculty member at the Columbia College Chicago in Humanities and Foreign Languages, Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences. She worked as the Humanities Coordinator from 1996 to 1999, and is currently the Director of Women’s/Gender Studies Minor.
Our guest Professor Mueller came a long way from Chicago to introduce “Women Narrating Latin American Women’s Lives” with the goal of inspiring the interest of the Bilkenters in Latin American Literature. Firstly, Mueller talked about the Venezuelan author Teresa de la Parra’s Three Lectures: Women’s Influence in the Formation of the American Soul (1930), which defined women’s active roles in Latin American History. De la Parra believed that it was her duty to inform her audience about women’s contributions to Latin American History through action in the past and writing in the future. Secondly, Mueller discussed an important literary genre, testimonio which allows women, excluded from the society because of class, race and gender distinctions, to have a voice among public. Mueller delivered an overview of three melodramatic testimonies of Rigoberta Menchú (Guatemala), Domitila de Chungarra (Bolivia), and Reyita de los Santos (Cuba). In these testimonies, three upper-middle class women depict the harsh lives of three ordinary women, who faced race, class and gender distinctions as well as financial problems in their patriarchal societies. Finally, Muller talked about the importance of film-making in the depiction of women’s lives. The Argentinian filmmaker María Luisa Bemberg’s movie Yo la peor de todas is about the life of the intellectual colonial Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and the movie Camila tells us the dramatic story of Camila O’Gorman, who fights against her family and society to be with her Lover.
At the end of the Seminar, a lively discussion started with the contributions and questions of many interested- participants. The discussion also brought up the significant issues of magical realism, post-modernism and postcolonial literature. The interaction between the very large number of enthusiastic participants and Assoc. Prof. Dr. RoseAnna Mueller, remarkably eager to lecture, proves that the goal of inspiring interest in Latin American Literature is successfully achieved. We offer sincere Gratitude to Assoc. Prof. Dr. RoseAnna Mueller and all the participants for the effective seminar.
(Yeşim Kurşunlu ELIT IV)