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U of M Will Celebrate Latin American Independence with Music, Dance, Lecture on Sept. 29 University News
For release: September 15, 2010

For press information, contact Jonathan Judaken, 901-488-7475

In recognition of Hispanic Awareness Month, the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities at the University of Memphis will host a Bicentennial Celebration of the Independence of Latin America. The event will be held Wednesday, Sept. 29, beginning at 6 p.m. in the University Center Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public.

The evening will explore the profound impact of the Latin American revolution on the history of the Americas. The program will feature Latin American jazz, dance, and a lecture by Jeremy Adelman, Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor of Spanish Civilization and Culture at Princeton University.

Adelman, author of several books and winner of the American Historical Association’s Atlantic History Prize, will open the event by delivering the Department of History’s annual Sesquicentennial Lecture, “Violence and Freedom in Latin America, 1789-1822.”

His public address will explore the role of violence, which has been a neglected aspect of the “wars of independence” in Latin America. He will argue that what brought down the Spanish and Portuguese empires was a civil war, or the threat of one. Civil wars, driven by an intensified crisis of sovereignty, changed the understanding of personal rights, the conduct of public affairs, and the legitimacy of rulers, and they introduced new forces onto the political stage. The talk will conclude with comparative thoughts about the relations between sovereignty, violence, and politics in the Atlantic world.

Following the lecture, the University of Memphis Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra, led by Dr. Jack Cooper and featuring local Latin vocalist Marcela Pinilla, will continue the theme by exploring the impact of Latin American music on the American jazz tradition. Their performance will conclude with a salsa number featuring the dancers of Salsa Memphis.

Parking is available in the Zach Curlin garage or the Southern Avenue parking lot.

More information about events and programs of the Marcus W. Orr Center is available online at

For details specifically about this event, call Jonathan Judaken at 901-488-7475.

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