This podcast is presented in conjunction with our new virtual exhibit, American Voices, which you can explore at NationOfWriters.org.
In this episode, we’ll discuss the life and work of Américo Paredes. Paredes was an esteemed scholar and storyteller of the Mexico-U.S. border, a champion of its history, peoples, music, and mythologies. He grew up in Brownsville, Texas, in the borderlands along the Rio Grande, giving him a deep understanding of how, as he said, “two cultures mingled and clashed.” He wrote in both Spanish and English, in some poems mixing the two. Paredes was the co-founder and first director of the Mexican American Studies department at the University of Texas, Austin. He also helped create a center for folklore at the university.
Now, a little bit about our guests. Today we’re joined by scholar Dr. José E. Limón and writer Oscar Cásares.
José E. Limón is the Notre Dame Foundation Professor of American Literature and concurrent professor of anthropology emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. He is also the Mody C. Boatright Regents Professor of American Literature and professor of anthropology emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the author of the book Américo Paredes: Culture and Critique.
Oscar Cásares is the author of the story collection Brownsville, and the novels Amigoland and Where We Come From. His fiction and non-fiction focus on Rio Grande Valley and the U.S.-Mexico border, where he grew up and his family began to settle as far back as the mid 1800s. His stories and novels have earned him fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America, and the Guggenheim Foundation. And most recently, the Harry Ransom Center is establishing an archive of his work. He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin.
José and Oscar are interviewed by Nate King, Content and Communications Coordinator for the American Writers Museum.