Guerrero blends her love of dance and Mexican culture in her latest research interest, an intellectual biography of Nellie Campobello, writer, dancer, and founder of the Ballet of Mexico City.
Even if you've never spoken a word of Spanish, spend five minutes talking to Elisabeth Guerrero, associate professor of Spanish, and you'll walk out the door rolling your "r's" and wanting to come back for more.
Guerrero’s passion for Mexican, Argentine, and U.S. Latino/a literature is evident in her recent publications. She is co-editor of the 2007 book, “Unfolding the City: Women Write the City in Latin America,” and author of “Confronting History and Modernity in Mexican Narrative.”
“In the Mexican narrative, they are confronting their own history,” she says. “They are reconciling tradition with modernity and re-centering figures who were marginalized, particularly people of color and women.”
She frames her most recent book with two angels of history: Walter Benjamin’s interpretation of the Klee painting angelus novus and Mexico City’s key monument, the Angel of Independence, both symbols of redemption and destruction through history. Guerrero draws from these angels to highlight three major themes in contemporary historical novels from Mexico – the humanization of heroes, the renegotiation of Mexico’s European legacy, and the recovery of secondary figures lost to history.
But Guerrero’s interest in Spanish language and culture isn’t relegated to the page. In January she joined the Bucknell Brigade for a week in Managua, Nicaragua, in the village of Nueva Vida, where she helped with language translation in a medical clinic and assisted in building a spinning co-op with students.
“I was just so proud of them,” she says. “They used their youthful energy to do something so positive.”
The only thing that exceeds Guerrero’s enthusiasm for her subject is her enthusiasm for her students. Not only did she take students on a semester-long study-abroad program to Granada in January 2006, but she also takes dance classes with them on campus.
“I love to dance,” she says. “It’s a great way to stay creative and healthy and to interact with students outside of class. I’m not assigning grades, and there I can learn from them.”
Guerrero has blended her love of dance and Mexican culture in her latest research interest, an intellectual biography of Nellie Campobello, writer, dancer, and founder of the Ballet of Mexico City. Guerrero’s interest in Campobello was sparked in a Mexican Revolution capstone course where her students were reading Campobello’s short stories about being a girl during the Mexican revolution.
“She fascinates me because of her literary and dance contributions,” Guerrero says. “And she disappeared in her later years.”
Whatever Guerrero’s interests are, be they research or travel, dancing or teaching, you can guarantee that her infectious enthusiasm will inspire students and colleagues alike to say, Me gusta el Espanol!
Guerrero is the 2007-08 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Updated Feb. 24, 2010
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