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Institute Faculty

Institute Faculty

Director María Hernández-Ojeda specializes in transatlantic literary and cultural relations. She has taught Spanish language and literature at Hunter College since 2004.  Her book, Insularidad Narrativa en la obra de Nivaria Tejera: Un Archipiélago transatlántico, was published by Editorial Verbum In 2009. Her second book has been accepted for publication at the Spanish publishing house Torremozas.  She has published articles in Hispamérica, Ínsula, Gaceta de Cuba, Encuentro de la cultura cubana, Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos and other journals.

Co-Director Tena Cohen teaches Spanish at Brooklyn Technical High School. She has an M.A. from Hunter College and Bread Loaf School of English. She has taught Spanish and ESL in New York City for fifteen years. She has written extensive curriculum and taught staff development in poetry, theater, and film in New York and New Orleans. As one of the directors of H2O Theater Company, Tena Cohen directed bilingual theater pieces based on the work of Federico García Lorca and Jaime Sabines at Nuyorican Poets’ Café and WBAI Radio. She performed her one-woman show, Harry’s Hat at Home Theater and WBAI as well. Her latest publication was a chapter from Heat Wave for Podium.

María Eugenia Santana has co-authored two books on the teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language and was the academic coordinator and teacher of Applied Linguistics for Spanish as a second language at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, Spain.  She has published two textbooks for teaching Spanish and is very excited to be involved in the institute.

Rolando Pérez is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romances Languages at Hunter College. His areas of interest include Latin-American literature, the relationship between philosophy and literature, and U.S. Latino Literature.  He has published articles on José Asunción Silva, Octavio Paz, Alejandra Pizarnik, César Vallejo, Severo Sarduy, and others. Selections of his creative work appeared this year in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. His latest book, Severo Sarduy and the Neo-Baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts will be published late Fall 2011 by Purdue University Press.

Silvio Torres-Saillant, Distinguished Professor at Syracuse University, is an internationally acclaimed scholar who has received several fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, Syracuse University and has published essential books, book chapters and scholarly articles on Caribbean and Dominican Studies. Dr. Torres-Saillant will lecture on Dominican immigration in the United States.

Milagros Denis is an Assistant Professor at the Department of African and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College. Her research of interest includes: race, racial identity, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean history, Latino Studies, African Diaspora in Latin America, labor movement and gender issues. Dr. Denis will give NEH Summer Scholars an overview of Latino immigration.

Teresita Martínez teaches at Hostos Community College. In 2008, she presented her theatrical adaptation of When I Was Puerto Rican at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her plays, For Mi Chichi and My Last Night with Rubén Blades, have been produced by Pregones Theatre, and she gives playwriting workshops in New York City and teaches drama for College Now. Ms. Martínez will facilitate a playwriting session.

Albor Ruiz has been a columnist for the New York Daily News since 1997 where he was hired in 1993, becoming the first Latino member of its Editorial Board. Ruiz was also the Editor-in-Chief of El Daily News, the first bilingual newspaper in the country, and Chief Editorial Writer and columnist at New York's El Diario-La Prensa. Albor Ruiz will participate in a round table on Latino media.

Mario Picayo is Executive Director of LART- Latino Artist Round Table and Producer of “Gente y Cultura”. He has worked for the Smithsonian Institution and the Dominican Republic's Institute of Folklore. Mario Picayo is our second presenter for a round table on Latino media.

Nancy Mercado has a doctoral degree from Binghamton University-SUNY. She is the author of It Concerns the Madness and editor of if the world were mine, a children’s anthology published by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Her work appears in numerous anthologies of both poetry and fiction. Mercado is the author of seven plays (one co-written with Pedro Pietri) and was an editor of Long Shot magazine for 11 years. She is featured along with such eminent writers as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, in the documentary film Yari Yari Pamberi: Black Women Writers Dissecting Globalization directed by Jayne Cortez. Inducted into the Museum of American Poetics, she is profiled in Latino Leaders Magazine as “one of the most celebrated Puerto Rican literary figures in New York City.Dr. Mercado’s biography also appears in the Encyclopedia of Hispanic American Literature published by Facts on File. She has presented her work throughout the US and abroad as a featured poet and conference panelist.

Juan González, an American investigative journalist, has been a columnist for the New York Daily News since 1987. In 1988 he won the George Polk journalism Award. He co-hosts the radio and television program Democracy Now! and has published, among others, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America, the central text for our institute. Mr. González will lecture on Latino media and Latino immigration in New York.

Elena Martínez is staff folklorist at City Lore: The New York Center for Urban Folk Culture. From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, which she co-produced, aired on PBS, winning the National Council of La Raza’s ALMA Award for Best TV Documentary in 2007. Ms. Martínez will present her documentary and lead a question and answer session afterwards.

Tato Laviera is one of the most important Nuyorican poets living today. His poetry addresses language, cultural identity, race, and memory, particularly as it affects the transculturated lives of Puerto Ricans living in the USA. His most recent publication is Mixturao and Other Poems.  Mr. Laviera will read from his groundbreaking poetry for our second “Meet the Writers” session.

Willie Perdomo is the author of Smoking Lovely, which received a PEN America Beyond Margins Award. He has been a Woolrich Fellow in creative writing at Columbia University and is a 2009 fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Mr. Perdomo will read from his poetry for our second “Meet the Writers” session.

Josefina Báez is a writer, performer, teacher, and founder and director of Latinarte/Ay Ombe Theatre troupe collective. Her innovative written work Dominicanish, published in 2001, has been presented locally, nationally, and internationally. She is presently touring New York City with her performance dialogue project Apartarte/casarte. Ms. Báez joins Mr. Laviera and Mr. Perdomo for our second “Meet the Writers” session.

Tomás Urayoán Noel teaches at SUNY Albany. He is a poet and performance artist and author of  Nuyorican Movements: Poetry and Counterpolitics from the Sixties to Slam which will be published in December of this year. Dr. Noel will facilitate our second “Meet the Writers” session.

Alicia Ramos is an associate professor of Spanish at Hunter College and Coordinator in Romance Languages. She has been a collaborator of the ANLE (Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua) since 2009 and has reviewed both manuscripts and programs for Spanish teaching pedagogy. Dr. Ramos will give a session on Spanish pedagogy.

Lisset Martínez Herryman is an art critic and independent curator. She is also a guide and lecturer in museums and galleries around New York through EN NUEVA YORK, an organization to promote arts in New York that she founded with the artist Diego Ponce. She will lead two walking tours: the first to the Lower East Side, the second of El Barrio.