Westfield State University to host Cross-Cultural Symposium “Beyond Our Borders”

Westfield State University will host a Cross-Cultural Symposium titled “Beyond Our Borders” on Friday, March 22, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in Scanlon Banquet Hall.

The event will offer a panel of speakers from various fields discussing journalism, literature, culture, and social activism centered around a focus on immigration, cross-cultural interactions, and their influence on global cultures. The event will also feature a luncheon social with reggae music, beginning at 2 p.m.

Carolyn Cooper, Ph.D., an author, literary critic and cultural analyst, will serve as the keynote speaker. Professor Emerita of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr. Cooper’s work has been featured on several broadcast networks including Al Jazeera English TV, BBC Radio, BBC Television, National Public Radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, she is the editor of the award-winning Global Reggae (2008), and author of two books; Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender and the 'Vulgar' Body of Jamaican Popular Culture (1993) and Sound Clash: Jamaican Dancehall Culture At Large (2004).

Cathy Schlund-Vials, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of English and the Asian/Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut, will provide the opening address at the event. Panelists will include:

Nicholas J. Aieta, Ph.D., professor of history, Westfield State;

Julianna Campbell ’20, a junior majoring in English at Westfield State, she co-authored a paper on the intersection between art, math, and English that is awaiting publication in the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts;

Macarena Hernández, an immigrant rights activist, multimedia journalist, and educator;

Pastor Vicki Kemper, First Church Amherst;

Airín Martinez, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, UMass Amherst, and a medical sociologist of chronic disease disparities among Latinx immigrants and their U.S.-born children;

Nelly Rosario, visiting artist in residence in Latino and Latina studies, Williams College;

Cathy Schlund-Vials, Ph.D. professor of English and the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, University of Connecticut; and president, National Association for Asian American Studies.

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Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

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