Orange Alert

Ray Smith Symposium explores issues of displacement with “Moving Borders”

Architect Teddy Cruz, sociologist José Manuel Valenzuela Arce headline activities

Sept. 18, 2012, by Rob Enslin

Teddy Cruz
Teddy Cruz
“Displacement” is the focus of this year’s Ray Smith Symposium, sponsored by The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University.

Titled “Moving Borders: The Culture and Politics of Displacement in and from Latin America and the Caribbean,” the symposium kicks off with a series of fall events thematically tied to “Borders.” (Other themes throughout the year are “Homeland,” “Citizenship,” and “Movement.”) Everything is free and open to the public, but some events require pre-registration. For more information, contact Elane Granger Carrasco, associate director of the Slutzker Center for International Services, at 315-443- 2457, or visit

“Changes in global conditions, brought on by political, military, cultural, and economic crises, have caused mass movements of people,” says Sydney Hutchinson, assistant professor of art and music histories, who is co-organizing the symposium with Granger and a team of nine other faculty members. “These movements, in turn, have sparked intense debates over identity, politics, economic policy, and immigration. ’Moving Borders’ will examine issues of borders and displacement through various disciplinary perspectives and forms of representation, including film, music, dance, and literature.”

Adds Granger: “We seek to understand how cultural, political, and economic displacement affects individuals and nations, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean. With displacement comes emerging notions of borders, homeland, citizenship, and movement that need to be explored, questioned, and redefined.”

The symposium is organized and presented by faculty members of the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean, and is enabled by a major bequest from the estate of Ray W. Smith ’21, administered by The College of Arts and Sciences.

The “Borders” schedule is as follows:

Screening: “Sin Nombre” (2009)
Thursday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m.
Newhouse 3 (141)

Keynote Lecture I: “Political Equators: Migrant Urbanizations of Retrofit”
Teddy Cruz, professor of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego
Keynote Lecture II: “Border Re-Creations: Art, Culture, and Identity at the U.S./Mexican Border”
José Manuel Valenzuela Arce, professor of cultural studies at the College of the Northern Border (Mexico)
Thursday, Sept. 27, at 6 p.m.
Maxwell Auditorium

Art Exhibition: “Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena: A Graphic History”
Reception and celebration, featuring live music and dance
Thursday, Sept. 27, at 8:30 p.m.
La Casita Cultural Center (109 Otisco St., Syracuse)
RSVP with

Mini-Seminar: Teddy Cruz and José Manuel Valenzuela Arce
Friday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m.
Bowne Hall (308)

Screening:  “Postcards from Leningrad” (2007)
Thursday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m.
Eggers Hall (220)

Teddy Cruz

Cruz has a humane vision for metropolitan areas across the country--breaking down physical and cultural barriers and mixing wealthy and poor, old and new, and public and private. Known for his urban research on the Tijuana (Mexico)-San Diego border, he helps poor, minority, and immigrant communities by creating affordable, quality housing and public infrastructure for them. Cruz is on the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, where he is a visual arts professor and co-founder of the Center for Urban Ecologies. Cruz is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the inaugural James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City prize, awarded by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, in collaboration with the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has been profiled by numerous publications, including The New York Times, which included them in their 2010 “Nifty 50” list.
José Manuel Valenzuela Arce
José Manuel Valenzuela Arce

José Manuel Valenzuela Arce

Arce is a cultural studies professor at the College of the Northern Border (Mexico), which he founded in 1982. Much of his work has been published worldwide and involves culture and identity, cultural boundaries, social movements, youth culture, and popular urban sociology. At the College of the Northern Border, Arce has twice served as director of the cultural studies department, chaired various academic units of popular culture, and edited an institutional journal. He has published nearly 30 books, the most recent of which is “The Boss of Bosses” (2011).

Additional support for “Moving Borders” comes from the Office of the Chancellor; the Department of Art and Music Histories; the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; the Latino/Latin American Studies Program; and The SU Humanities Center, all in The College of Arts and Sciences; the departments of history, sociology, and geography in the Maxwell School; the Centro de Estudios Hispánicos and the Lino Novas Calvo Fund; Arts Engage, the Office of SU’s Performing Arts Presenter; the Slutzker Center for International Services; La Casita Cultural Center; the Fulbright Association, CNY Chapter; and the Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society.

The Special Collections Research Center at SU Library is also presenting a Ray Smith Symposium titled “Positions of Dissent.” More information is available at

The Ray Smith Symposium Series was established in 1989 as the result of a bequest from the estate of SU alumnus Ray W. Smith '21 to support symposia on topics in the humanities in SU's College of Arts and Sciences. The symposium is named for the Auburn, N.Y. native who, after graduating from SU in 1921, was a highly respected teacher and administrator.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin