Leading Humanists Honored by the University of Puerto Rico

Five intellectuals and leading figures in the Humanities were honored by the University of Puerto Rico this week: Myrna Casas Busó, Carlos Fuentes, Fernando Picó, Luce López-Baralt, and Manuel Maldonado Rivera.

Carlos Fuentes, the prolific and world-renowned Mexican writer, received an honorary degree. Fuentes is a central figure in Latin American literature, known for his numerous novels and short stories—such as Aura (1961), La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962), Terra Nostra (1975), Gringo Viejo (1985), and Diana o la cazadora solitaria (1995)—and essays on Latin American literature and history, as well as many that address current global issues. Paradoxically, his early novel Aura has been banned by the Department of Education from Puerto Rico’s high school curricula, as El Nuevo Día points out.

At the same ceremony, former professors Myrna Casas Busó and Manuel Maldonado Rivera were recognized for their contributions and trajectories, receiving the title of Professor Emeritus. A drama professor, actress, playwright, director, Casas Busó is one of the major figures of Puerto Rican theater. She also founded her own theater company, Producciones Cisne. Professor Maldonado Rivera was honored for his profound dedication to humanistic and philosophical studies and his commitment to Puerto Rican and international education. He has served on education reforms committees on the island and in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Honduras, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Panama.

Professors Luce López-Baralt and Fernando Picó were honored or their work with the title of Distinguished Professor.  Noted Hispanist and specialist in Golden Age, mystical literature and religious practices of Renaissance and Medieval Spain including al-Andalus, and aljamiado studies, López-Baralt has been the cornerstone of the UPR’s Department of Hispanic Studies for decades. Her books, translated into nine languages, are examples of “the utmost sense of intellectual daring and a clear sense of cultural identity, eloquence, and [analytical] rigor.”

Father Fernando Picó, researcher, Jesuit priest, and historian has offered the most comprehensive and significant corpus of work in what is known as “New Puerto Rican Historicism.” He is “distinguished by his total dedication to the cause of the less fortunate and the study of Puerto Rican history from diverse perspectives.” His work has contributed to the transformation of traditional historiography, also successfully linking academic life with important social work education projects in the prisons of the island.

For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/lauprreconocehoyacincohumanistas-691223.html

Photo of Luce López-Baralt from http://www.revistaarabe.com.ar/noticias_La-huella-Islamica.asp

Photo of Fernando Picó from http://www.ciudadseva.com/obra/2008/12/14dic08e/14dic08e.htm

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