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Untold Stories of Spanish Immigrants the Focus of the 2017 Woodyard Lecture

Monday, April 10, 2017

LAWRENCE — The crowdfunded effort to recover ephemera, reveal untold stories of 20th century Spanish immigration and connect immigrant communities are some topics to be explored at the 2017 George and Eleanor Woodyard Lecture.

James Fernández, professor of Spanish & Portuguese at New York University, will present “Invisible Immigrants: Spaniards in the U.S. (1868-1945).” The lecture will trace an understudied portion of immigration history between Spain, U.S. and Latin America through archival records, photographs, testimony and more. 

Fernández has been collecting stories and documenting materials from Spanish immigrant communities throughout the United States since 2010. From personal and family experiences, he has seen firsthand the tendency to lose contact with one’s Spanish heritage. As a result, Fernández argues this episode of diaspora from Spain is at risk of being forgotten. Therefore, Fernández has endeavored to convince individuals and immigrant communities of the historic value of personal archives and to consider contributing to a digital transnational multi-media project. 

At the Woodyard lecture, Fernández will discuss the process of gathering materials and creating a project crowdfunded and curated by individuals and communities in several countries. He will also show some of the thousands of archived photographs, recordings, newspapers and other items from family reunions, weddings, picnics, and more. Signed copies of his book will be sold before and after the lecture.

The event will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union. A reception with light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will follow the lecture. The event is open to the public.

Made possible by funds endowed by the late George Woodyard, the first dean of international studies, and his wife, Eleanor, the University of Kansas Department of Spanish & Portuguese will host the annual lecture in their honor.

For more information, please contact Alexandria Fraser at 785-864-3851 or spanport@ku.edu.

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