California Professor to Lecture on WWII Internment of Japanese Peruvians in U.S.

March 18, 2009

by Lauren Venegas, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Dr. Ignacio López-Calvo, professor of Latin American Literature at the University of California, Merced, will present a lecture on "Adios to Tears: The Hidden History of the Internment of Japanese Peruvians in U.S. Concentration Camps During WWII," at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in Draper 116 on the Baylor campus. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Global Issues Lecture Series and presented by Baylor's Center for International Education and the department of Latin American studies.

López-Calvo is the author of four books, Imaging the Chinese in Cuban Literature and Culture, "God and Trujillo:" Literary and Cultural Representations of the Dominican Dictator, Religión y militarismo en la obra de Marcos Aguinis 1963-2000 and Written in Exile: Chilean Fiction from 1973-Present. He also is editor of two books and has published numerous articles on 20th century Latin American narrative and culture.

"A prolific writer, his latest manuscript is a rigorous analysis of the cultural production dealing with the Chinese presence in Peru and its significance for the formation of Peruvian identity," said Dr. Lilly Souza-Fuertes, coordinator of the Global Issues Series and director of Latin American studies at Baylor. "Overall, he concentrates on the relations between Latin American thought, human rights, authoritarianism and ethnicity."

"Adios to Tears" is the testimonial of Seiichi Higashide (1909-1997), a Japanese who migrated to Peru and became a successful community leader and owner of several stores, only to end up being betrayed by his host country. After living in hiding for some time, he was forcibly deported to the United States and interned in a concentration camp in Crystal City, Texas, for more than two years. After his release, he found economic success in the United States and devoted the rest of his life in obtaining redress from the American government for violation of human rights of the Peruvian Japanese internees.

"Anybody with an interest in Latin America and issues of the Japanese in the U.S. during World War II will find this lecture eye-opening," Fuertes said.

This is the second lecture for the Global Issues Lecture Series of spring 2009.

"The goal of these lectures is to expose and inform students, faculty and staff to events that have had a global impact," Fuertes said. "Many of the speakers are from other parts of the world as well, and it is always a unique opportunity to have a different perspective on issues that affect us all."

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