Writer Carlos Fuentes and former heads of state from Chile and Spain join dozens of historians, literary scholars, and writers from Europe and the Americas at Brown University April 9-12, 2008 for a conference to celebrate the bicentenary of Latin American independence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Former Spanish President Felipe Gonzalez and former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos will join Mexican writers Carlos Fuentes and Elena Poniatowska at an international conference on Latin American independence to be held at Brown University from April 9 to 12, 2008.

Nearly 120 historians, literary scholars, and writers from Europe and the Americas will discuss the bicentenary of Latin American independence, the new internationalism, post-colonial issues, and authors and texts that represent transatlantic interaction.

“The conference’s goal is to advance research on the back-and-forth interaction between Europe and the Americas,” said Julio Ortega, professor of Hispanic studies and the conference organizer.

“The Atlantic is a laboratory of migrations, languages, and experimentation,” Ortega said. “Also, it is a horizon of the future, produced in the dynamics of exchange and mixture.”

The conference will dedicate sessions to such writers as Poniatowska, Alfredo Bryce Echenique and Mario Bellatin. Special sessions will explore Catalonian writers, the Portuguese literature of the Macaronesian Islands (such as Azores and Madeira), and cross-Atlantic critical readings.

Fuentes, the acclaimed novelist and essayist and a professor-at-large at Brown, will deliver the keynote lecture in English on the bicentenary of Latin American independence. The lecture, which is open to the public, will be held at 5:15 p.m. on April 9 in the Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 101.

Some conference sessions will be held in Spanish, others in English. A full schedule is online at Hispanic Studies (pdf).

The Transatlantic Project at Brown and the Department of Hispanic Studies organized the conference with sponsorship from the Office of the President, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. Spain’s Ministry of Culture and the Mexican universities of Guadalajara and Tecnológico of Monterrey are also sponsors of the event. Other contributors include the Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico; the Instituto Cervantes, Nueva York; and the Institut Ramon Llull, Barcelona.