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NCSU professor speaks on 'Globalization and Culture in Latin America' at CCCC

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Click to enlarge,  Dr. Greg Dawes, a distinguished professor at North Carolina State University, spoke on 'Globalization and Culture in Latin America' on Feb. 27 at Central Carolina Community College.

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Dr. Greg Dawes, a distinguished professor at North Carolina State University, spoke on 'Globalization ... (more)

03.13.2017College & CommunityCollege General

SANFORD - Latin America's struggle to adopt globalization and come to terms with a changing world has led to a fairly bleak contemporary culture as reflected in literature and film.

That was the assessment of Dr. Greg Dawes, a distinguished professor at North Carolina State University, in his presentation on Feb. 27 to high school and college students packing the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center auditorium.

"Globalization and Culture in Latin America" was based on a senior undergraduate seminar Dawes is teaching this spring. His appearance in Sanford was part of an ongoing series bringing notable researchers and scholars to enrich the perspectives of university transfer students at Central Carolina Community College.

Dawes specializes in Latin American literature and culture, having spent much of his childhood in Argentina, but also having lived in Spain and a number of Spanish speaking countries throughout South and Central America.

Against a backdrop of economic turmoil and political conflict, Dawes says, common themes have emerged in artistic work throughout the region. "As you can see, it's primarily negative," he admitted, pointing to a list projected on the large screen behind him. Unrequited love. Exploitation. Submission. Violence. And many others.

For the better part of an hour, Dawes noted significant examples of these themes in Latin American literature and film, before moving across the region to mention works created in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador and Cuba.

"Not all is so bleak," he said, offering a brief counterpoint. "There are certain cultural artifacts, let's call them, that show a different story." But after highlighting a couple, Dawes admitted that you need to look fairly hard to find them.

"Globalization and Culture in Latin America" was organized by Sarah Kitchens, the Spanish teacher at Lee Early College, a high school operated by Lee County Schools in partnership with CCCC that allows students to earn their high school diploma and an associate degree in five years or less.

Kitchens said academic presentations like the Dawes lecture are important for all students preparing to study at a four-year university because they offer a taste of the university experience and allow students to interact with outstanding scholars.

Dawes' presentation touched on topics that Kitchens teaches as part of her own course. The Friday before Monday's lecture, in fact, she discussed works by Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and one of Dawes' favorite writers. The professor has already published two books on Neruda, one in English, the other in Spanish.

While Dawes speaks often at conferences around the world, he doesn't make as many presentations to student audiences away from his own university. But he was enthusiastic about the opportunity and anxious to see how his topic connected with the audience.

"I'm hoping that discussion of this particular time in history -- globalization -- and the themes that are covered in contemporary narrative, film and student protests in Latin America will be of interest to them," he said before the event. "I hope it will help them reflect on the situation here in the U.S."

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