- Department of Linguistics
- Department of Spanish & Portuguese
- Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Graduate College
- Hancher Auditorium
- Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs
- Interdisciplinary Programs
- International Studies Program
- Latina/o/x Studies Program
- Obermann Center
- Office of the Vice President for Research
- University of Iowa Press
Obermann Around the Table: A View of Bilingual Education in Iowa
Dec 9, 2020
07:00 PM - 08:15 PM
The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies has launched a new series called Obermann Around the Table--in honor of much missed in-person conversations in our library. Our hope is that the series will provide a welcoming, nonjudgmental space in which colleagues, neighbors, and new friends can address difficult subjects that impact our communities and reflect on ways to move toward more just and generous communities. We hope you'll come to listen and learn and stay to share your thoughts and responses in small group, facilitated conversations.
In 2011, West Liberty became the first Iowa community to have a Latino-majority population. The state's population trends suggest that it will not be the last. As other Obermann Center programs have explored, Latinos are now a driving force in Iowa and the Midwest, influencing sectors of work, education, the arts, healthcare, and more. In this second Obermann Around the Table event, we'll hear a performative reading from Chuy Renteria's memoir-in-progress about his experience of growing up in West Liberty as the child of immigrants. Chuy brings us into his relationship with his father, who was not a native speaker, and the emotional baggage of the gulf this created. This excerpt provides a taste of what he'll be reading:
Here’s a truth a lot of first-generation kids grew up with. They assume they’re smarter than their parents. It stems from language barriers. Communication issues from parent to child. It’s in the same Venn diagram of horribleness that could occur when someone in the wild talks to our parents. I recall people getting annoyed at our parents. Raising their voices as if they were talking to children. Grocery store clerks or teachers, coworkers and bank associates. We internalized that young. Saw how people treated our parents like they were beneath them. I’m not proud to say that it rubbed off on me.
University of Iowa linguistics professor Christine Shea will then give a short talk, "Ways of Being Bilingual." She is from Toronto, studied in Montreal and lived in Mexico City before coming to Iowa, which means that bi-/multilingualism has been a constant in her life. Christine examines how people who speak more than one language acquire, organize, and store their linguistic knowledge. Her research asks how bilingual and bicultural individuals maintain languages such as Spanish in an English-dominant society. In her talk, she'll invite the audience to consider what it means to be bilingual in such a context? And in a broader sense, for children who grow up in bilingual communities, should we even think about two separate languages?
From there, we'll move into small, facilitated groups to unpack what we've heard and our personal relationship to the topic.
Obermann Around the Table is intended as a welcoming, nonjudgmental space in which colleagues, neighbors, and new friends can address difficult subjects that impact our communities and reflect on ways to move toward more just and generous communities. It is hosted by Teresa Mangum, director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and a faculty member in the departments of Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies and English.
All are welcome to this free event, but registration is required. Please register to receive the Zoom link.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS
Jesus “Chuy” Renteria [pictured above] is an author, dancer, artist, storyteller, and teacher raised in the town of West Liberty, Iowa. A central figure in the local Hip Hop dance scene, Chuy is currently on staff at the Hip Hop Dance studio, All the Way Up in North Liberty, IA. His stories are featured in the Iowa Writer’s House anthology “We the Interwoven.” Chuy’s performance background, as well as his past work in advocating for special needs individuals in connecting them to the larger community, led him to Hancher Auditorium, where he works as Public Engagement Coordinator. He is working with the University of Iowa Press on his first full length book, a collection of stories about growing up in Iowa’s first majority Hispanic town.
Christine Shea is an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Department of Linguistics. She is from Toronto, studied in Montreal and lived in Mexico City before coming to Iowa, which means that bi-/multilingualism has been a constant in her life. Christine’s research examines how people who speak more than one language acquire, organize, and store their linguistic knowledge. Inherent to her research are issues related to how bilingual and bicultural individuals maintain languages such as Spanish in an English-dominant society. What does it mean to be bilingual in this context? And in a broader sense, for children who grow up in bilingual communities, should we even think about two separate languages?
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at