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Fulbright to Bring SUNY Plattsburgh Professor to Spain

A SUNY Plattsburgh professor of English has been named a Fulbright scholar and will spend his spring semester teaching the multiethnic literatures of the United States to students and faculty in Spain.

Dr. Jose Torres-Padilla will split his time between two colleges in Barcelona – the University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Barcelona is in Catalonia, a region known for its distinctive nationalistic identity, separate from the rest of Spain. Torres-Padilla compares it to Quebec in Canada, noting that its citizens even speak their own language – in this case, Catalan.

Torres-Padilla was drawn to the region, in part, because of its separate identity. He notes that when Spanish Military General and Head of State Francisco Franco was in power (from 1939 until 1975), he oppressed the region.

“The Catalonians were anti-Franco, and he came down on them. and he came down on them,” Torres-Padilla said. “So, ever since he died, they’ve been ‘in-your-face’ about their desire for independence and autonomy.”

Because of that history of marginalization and struggle for autonomy, Torres-Padilla is hopeful that the multiethnic literatures of the United States – of people who have been marginalized here – will speak to the students in Barcelona.

A Puerto-Rican, himself, Torres-Padilla continues to explore topics of identity and marginalization in his own writing. He is the author of “The Family Terrorist and Other Stories” and a number of culture-themed essays. He is also the co-editor of “Writing off the Hyphen: New Perspectives on the Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora.” 

He is a founding editor of The Saranac Review, SUNY Plattsburgh’s literary magazine. He was also one of the primary forces in putting together the college’s relatively new bachelor in writing arts program and has worked with Dr. Tracie Church Guzzio to enhance SUNY Plattsburgh’s offerings in American literature through the addition of multiethnic, African American and Latino literature courses.

He earned his bachelor’s at Vassar College, a Master of Fine Arts at Columbia University and both a master’s and a doctorate at the University of Southern California.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program. It sends some 800 U.S. faculty and professionals to 140 countries to lecture, research or participate in seminars and, at the same time, brings around 800 foreign faculty to the United States each year.

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