Professor Araceli Tinajero (the Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures (LAILAC) at the Graduate Center) has built her career around the study of Latin American literature, particularly Caribbean and Mexican literature. But it was a formative experience as a young Latina in Japan that paved the way for her academic career. Please join us as she discusses her memoir, Kokoro: A Mexican Woman in Japan (translation by Daniel Shapiro; Escribana, 2017). She will be in conversation with Professor H. Aram Veeser on October 22 at 4:30. Register here
This event will be recorded. Please turn off your cameras and mute your mics if you don’t want your image or voice in the recording.
Tinajero was born and raised in Mexico City. In the early 1980s as an adventurous 18-year-old, she saved up some money and went to Japan. She ended up staying for several years, working as a waitress and learning the language. “That opened the door for the rest of my life,” she said. She majored in Japanese at Rutgers University, but had a change of heart in her final semester, deciding to concentrate on Spanish literature instead. She went on to get a Ph.D. in that field, writing her thesis on representations of the Far East in Latin American literature. When the University of Wales asked if she could speak any other European languages, she said, “I only know Japanese.” Turned out they needed a Japanese teacher. She later taught Spanish and literature at Yale for five years. Tinajero wrote a memoir about her experience as a Latina in Japan called Kokoro [escribanabooks.com], which means “the spirit of Japan, the heart, the essence of Japan. Originally published as Kokoro, una mexicana en Japón.(Verbum 2012), it has recently been translated as Kokoro: A Mexican Woman in Japan (translation by Daniel Shapiro; Escribana, 2017).
H. Aram Veeser is Professor at the City College of New York (English Department) and the CUNY Graduate Center (Middle East and Middle-Eastern American Center). His publications include four volumes he has edited on literary theory as well as his own book, Edward Said: The Charisma of Criticism (2010). In addition, he has worked as a journalist and addressed, in print, a nonacademic readership. He has conducted interviews that were published in books and magazines. His latest book is The Rebirth of American Literary Theory and Criticism: Scholars Discuss Intellectual Origins and Turning Points (November 6, 2020). He is now working on a new book to be co-authored with Tau Battice, a professional photographer and critic.