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13 Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrate Hispanic heritage in 2020 with virtual content inspired by the 13 departments in the College of Liberal Arts.

By Rachel Knight ‘18

September 15 kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month, and the College of Liberal Arts has composed a list of links from a variety of sources, including the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, to help you celebrate. 

Explore Hispanic, Latinx, and Chicano/a heritage with virtual content inspired by the 13 departments in the College of Liberal Arts. The links selected for this story can be found here along with additional links that celebrate the Hispanic community.

Happy learning, watching, reading, and exploring!

Photographic Urban Life

Photo from the Smithsonian's "Down These Mean Streets" exhibition.

Latinx photographers used their skills to study society and culture of Latinx life in urban environments beginning in the 1960s. These more modern artifacts tell the story of urban life through the lense of Latinx photographers.

Communicating Power

Armor on a horse in the Smithsonian's exhibition titled "Art of Power."

We communicate using both verbal and non-verbal cues. The 15th- to 17th-century armor, paintings, and tapestries from Spain in the exhibition, titled The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain, expresses great strength without uttering a word. Explore the use of these non-verbal communications in a short video narrated by the curator of Italian and Spanish paintings at the National Gallery of Arts. 

An Essential Community 

Graph showing that if the Latino GDP were a country, it would be the seventh largest in the world.

The Hispanic population contributes greatly to the growth and health of the US economy. US Latinos gross domestic product (GDP) is $2.3 trillion. Read this study to learn more. 

Poetic Heritage

Cover art of "Red Hot Salsa."

Poetry has long been used to express more in fewer words. Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States, is a compilation of poems that express the Latinx experience in America. Enjoy video readings of some of these poems in the link above.

Hispanic Studies

Art used in one of the videos created for the Historias collection of Hispanic heritage stories.

Listen to diverse stories and life experiences of Latinx people in the United States. As told in their own voices, these stories help preserve history and honor Latinx heritage. 

Streaming Rich History

You can watch the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinx people, who have helped shape the United States over the last 500+ years and have become the largest minority group in the U.S., for free online! History comes to life in this landmark three-part, six hour documentary series that originally aired on PBS.

Interdisciplinary Critical Studies
Fandango Fronterizo

Large crowds gather on either side of the border fence for the Fandango Fronterizo.

Just as Interdisciplinary Critical Studies brings together many aspects of liberal arts, the Fandango Fronterizo, or border fandango, brings people across the Mexican and U.S. border together. Two movements are celebrated each year at the fandango. One is musical and cultural while the other is social and political. Learn more by checking out this link from the Smithsonian. 

International Studies
Yunsa Celebration

People gather and celebrate around the Yunza tree.

Learn more about the Yunsa Celebration, a tradition in Peru that unites two cultures: the Andean and the African. You can listen to the sounds of the celebration while learning and reading about the tradition using the link above.

Performance Studies
Music for Your Ears

Cover art for Flaco Jimenez record.

Sample some of the music that reflects major areas of musical accomplishment in Latinx America by exploring this playlist from the Smithsonian. It includes flagship regional traditions such as Tejano, New Mexican, Puerto Rican, and regional Mexican traditions planted firmly in the Southwest. 

Artist to Artist

Portrait of Rudolfo Anaya by Gaspar Enríquez.

Two artists, writer Rudolfo Anaya and painter Gaspar Enríquez, use their talents to express the Chicano experience. Enríquez painted the first Latino commissioned portrait of a Latino sitter in the National Art Gallery. Exploring both artists’ works challenges you to answer philosophical questions about the Chicano experience. 

Political Science
Father of Modern Puerto Rico

Portrait of Luis Muñoz Marin by Fransisco Rodon.

A deeper look at the portrait of Luis Muñoz Marin by Fransisco Rodon reveals more than you might initially think. Luis Muñoz Marin was the first democratically elected governor of Puerto Rico. He industrialized the country, but by 1965, the project started to lose steam. The portrait represents the unfinished political project of the Father of Modern Puerto Rico. 

Psychological & Brain Sciences
An Artistic Journey that Starts in the Brain Sciences

Illustration by Juana Medina.

Juana Medina is a Colombian children’s book author and illustrator. She’s also the granddaughter of the first brain surgeon in Colombia. There’s more to her story than you might think. Watch this video in which she discusses life with her family in Colombia and the role it plays in her artistic journey as a Colombian artist living in the United States. “Being creative ensures there is a little sweetness in life.” 

The Living Road

Bridge built using 500-year-old engineering techniques.

Sociologists study the development, structure, and functioning of human society. As depicted in this three-part story from Peru, Inca traditions passed down from generation to generation keep Inti Raymi, the Inka festival honoring the sun, going strong today. Also featured in this video are  a 500-year-old bridge-building technique that uses Inca engineering and one of about 500 Quechua communities that continue to use the Qhapaq Ñan, or Inca Road.