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SU professor earns Puerto Rican PEN Club award

Myrna García-Calderón wins research essay category

Jan 9, 2014 | Article by: Rob Enslin

Photo of Myrna Calderon

Myrna García-Calderón


A professor in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences was among the winners at the Puerto Rican PEN Club awards ceremony, recently held at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan.

Myrna García-Calderón, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (LLL), won on the strength of her essay, “Espacios de la memoria en el Caribe Hispánico insular y sus diasporas” (“Spaces of Memory in the Hispanic Caribbean Islands and Its Disaporas”) (Ediciones Callejón, 2012). She was one of four winners in the essay category of the ceremony, which annually recognizes the best in Puerto Rican literature. Her category was "Best Research Essay in the Humanities--Literary Criticism."

“We are extremely proud of Professor García-Calderón, whose accomplishment bears witness to the excellence of our faculty,” says Gail Bulman, associate professor of Spanish and chair of LLL. “As a teacher, scholar, and author, she brings international distinction to our department, while inspiring our students in new and imaginative ways.”

“Espacios de la memoria” draws on García-Calderón’s interest in Hispanic-Caribbean and Spanish-American literatures and cultures. Contemporary in scope, the essay is divided into five sections that explore memory at the intersection of urban studies and cultural geography. 

Special attention is paid to the writings of the Dominican author Angela Hernández; Puerto Rican novelist and essayist Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá; and Cuban novelist and playwright Abilio Estévez, among others. Writers from the Spanish Caribbean diaspora are prominently included, as well.

“I’ve tried to create a theoretical framework, in which to study memory in urban and rural space,” García-Calderón says. “By looking at memory in a variety of interdisciplinary contexts, I argue that it may be used as a rhetorical, ideological, and political instrument and as a tool of domination.”

In addition to SU, García-Calderón has taught at Cornell University; Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe in Puerto Rico. She has written dozens of scholarly articles and essays, as well as the book Literature and Cultural Imaginary in Contemporary Puerto Rico (Editores Latinoamericana, 1998). García-Calderón earned a Ph.D. in contemporary Hispanic literatures from UC-Berkeley.

LLL is one of SU’s largest, most diverse academic departments, providing instruction in 18 languages to more than 6,000 students. The department offers 10 majors, including a new joint degree with the School of Education in Spanish education, and three master’s degrees in French, Spanish, and linguistics. Most of LLL’s academic programs are interdisciplinary and experiential, offering additional study opportunities through SU Abroad. 

With 140 centers in 101 countries (including Puerto Rico), PEN International is a global association of writers that sponsors civil society programs, literary events, and initiatives designed to promote literature and defend freedom of expression.

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Contact Information

Rob Enslin
315-443-3403
rmenslin@syr.edu