Narrative 2016: Canon Perdido

November Thursday 10, Friday 11 & Saturday 12, 2016
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
UC-Santa Barbara-UC-Mexicanistas

Canon Perdido
20 years ago, at the fifth Colloquium on Mexican literature, held at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese of the University of California, Santa Barbara, a new era began for these annual (and later also international) colloquia. At that time, October 1996, accompanying the Mexican writers (Hernán Lara Zavala, Emmanuel Carballo, Beatriz Espejo, among others), and specialists in Mexican literature (Edith Negrín, Tatiana Bubnova, Merlin H, Foster, among others), we also published a book, titled El cuento mexicano. Homenaje a Luis Leal (México: UNAM, 1996), handed to don Luis Leal at the inauguration of the Colloquium.
Years later, in 2001 –a decade and a half ago–, these colloquia entered a more formal phase with the establishment of UC-Mexicanistas (Intercampus Research Program). After that year there was an increase in the formal relations with other academic and cultural institutions, mainly in Mexico, where UC-Mexicanistas periodically organizes meetings and cultural and literary activities (like those at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, or in Mérida, Yucatán, and recently in conjunction with the National Literature Coordination of Bellas Artes).

Some of these colloquia have produced publications. As an example, again in honor of Luis Leal, an outstanding figure in Mexican and Chicano studies, there is the voluminous book Cien años de lealtad. En honor a Luis Leal/ One Hundred Years of Loyalty. In Honor of Luis Leal. Coeds. Sara Poot Herrera, Francisco A. Lomelí & María Herrera Sobek, México: University of California, Santa Barbara-UC- Mexicanistas-Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey & Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, 2007. 1456 pp.
We are now close to celebrating twenty years –1996 to 2016– of what we could call the peak of these activities, a celebration to be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Once more, the University and the Santa Barbara community will participate in the occasion. Year after year, the colloquium starts in UCSB and ends in the Santa Barbara Casa de la Guerra (a museum downtown). This time (November 10-12, 2016), the theme of the reunion will take an episode of the Santa Barbara history known as Canon Perdido. The loss of the Spanish letter “ñ” creates a different meaning –fom cañón to canon. Thus reinforced with the adjective perdido (lost), the expression produces a play on words with the literary canon and its historical change: from being ample, it becomes shortened and gives room to substitutions and permanent changes achieved by the readers.
The title “Canon perdido” –history of the city street/frame of reference in the cultural and literary studies– and the readings of what the title suggests, will bring the Santa Barbara community closer to the academic community that studies, systematizes and relates history to literature, while also responding to the Hispanic context within UCSB.
It should be noted that the UC-Mexicanistas colloquia are not held by public announcement (not for call for proposal), but by invitation. We cover full expenses for invited writers –Elena Poniatowska, Juan Villoro, and Hernán Lara Zavala this time–, and the universities (already 35) cover the expenses of their respective scholars.
It should also be noted that accommodations in Santa Barbara are quite expensive, and more so on weekends (from Thursday night to Saturday night), and those days it is not feasible to obtain discounts. All participants in the colloquium are invited to the welcome dinner, the beach picnic on the second day, and the closing lunch, and all of them receive attentions that many times require financing. During the three days we have ample attendance by the participants, professors, students, family members, and the Santa Barbara community (not only Hispanic), plus outside visitors.