Marie Arana Examines Two Americas

April 08, 2011

Marie Arana
Photo by David Noe

On Tuesday, April 5, Winter Park Institute Scholar Marie Arana presented her research on historic and current U.S./Latin American relations to the Rollins community. In two presentations in the Bush Auditorium, Arana discussed the cultural and political differences and similarities between North and South America, and how biculturalism plays an increasingly influential role in the lives of Americans today.

Introduced by Associate Professor of Modern Languages Gabriel Barreneche, Arana was described as “embodying the spirit of lifelong learning and global citizenship.” As a multicultural polyglot, acclaimed author, journalist and distinguished scholar, Arana exemplifies the type of global citizenship which Rollins aspires for its students.

“Rollins provides students and faculty with an extraordinary opportunity to gain great worldly and self-awareness through its international programs and diverse array of liberal arts courses offered,” commented Arana after a conversation she had with several students prior to Tuesday afternoon’s informal presentation. During that presentation titled American Bridgework: How Different Are the Two Americas, Arana discussed her research on an upcoming biography of Peruvian revolutionary Simon Bolivar. “This was the first time I have publicly discussed Bolivar. It allowed me to communicate the impact Latin American history has on our lives.”

That evening, Arana gave a presentation titled American Chica: A New Kind of American, speaking on the growing phenomenon of biculturalism in America. Answering the question on what it means to be loyal to two ethnic identities, Arena described how multicultural Americans are constantly traveling between the two. “It’s like you have two heads and you are never 100 percent in control of either,” described Arena. “Both your language and culture shape the person you are.” Arena also described the resulting advantages and tensions associated with biculturalism and how having a president who is bicultural and biracial affects our civil mindset.

With the unexpected cancellation of presentations by American playwright Tony Kushner, Arana’s brief tenure at Rollins wraps up the Winter Park Institute’s spring season of events. Find out more information on the Winter Park Institute.

By Justin Braun (Class of 2011MBA)

Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
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