About 25 students, faculty members and community members gathered in the Reading Room of Cowles Library on Tuesday for the third installment of the semester’s Writers and Critics Series: “The Bareness of the Face: Latino Encounters in Iowa, via South Africa.”
“It was a very interesting approach on trying to understand how cultural tensions can be addressed in the interest of revitalizing communities socially, economically and culturally,” Professor Jody Swilky said.
Jane Juffer, a Drake grad, gave an insightful lecture on the examination of how religion is shaping the Latino and Latin American migration in the United States. Juffer focused on the communities in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.Juffer’s lecture was broken up into four parts highlighting the work of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. The 40-minute talk was bookmarked by stories of her and her husband, a native of Cape Town, South Africa.
“It was an interesting commentary on immigration that creatively weaved in ideas of intimacy,” junior Amber Boston said. “I thought it was really interesting.”
This was Juffer’s first visit to her alma mater in years. She explained how her journalism degree from Drake has helped her with her many accomplishments and ongoing research she conducts.
“It’s nice, it feels both very familiar and quite strange,” Juffer said. “I went to Meredith Hall today and it felt like I never left.”
Juffer first got involved in social issues in 1983 during the height of the apartheid in South Africa. She was editor-in-chief of The Times-Delphic and led the paper’s staff in an investigation of the investments Drake had in South Africa.
The staff wrote editorials urging Drake to digest its investments in South Africa. However, Drake did not think it should be held accountable like the public universities were. Eventually Drake University did eliminate some of the campus’ investments.
“It really informs my scholarship. Although I am an English professor, I do a lot more stuff out in the world. I do a lot of interviewing, a lot of books and articles I have written are about social issues which has started here,” Juffer said about the impact her journalism degree from Drake has on the life she leads today.
Juffer is an associate professor in the department of English at Cornell University and is the director of Latino/a Studies Initiative. She has written two books: “At Home with Pornography: Women, Sex and Everyday Life,” and “Single Mother: The Emergence of the Domestic Intellectual.” She has also written many articles.
Juffer earned a degree in journalism from Drake University, earned her master’s degree in English from Loyola University of Chicago and her doctorate in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The next lecture for the Writers and Critics Series will be on March 24 at 7 p.m. in the Cowles Library Reading Room. The presentation, “My Holy War: A Former Missionary Kid Recalls Life in Marxist Ethiopia,” will be presented by Tim Bascom. Bascom is a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at Drake University.
March 24, 7 p.m.
Cowles Reading Room
April 6, 7 p.m.
Cowles Reading Room
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