Charis and Agnes Scott College welcomes Rafael Ocasio in conversation with Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt for a celebration of Ocasio's, Folk Stories from the Hills of Puerto Rico. This exciting new anthology gathers together Puerto Rican folktales that were passed down orally for generations before finally being transcribed beginning in 1914 by the team of famous anthropologist Franz Boas. These charming tales give readers a window into the imaginations and aspirations of Puerto Rico’s peasants, the Jíbaro. This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.
Some stories provide a distinctive Caribbean twist on classic tales including “Snow White” and “Cinderella.” Others fictionalize the lives of local historical figures, such as infamous pirate Roberto Cofresí, rendered here as a Robin Hood figure who subverts the colonial social order. The collection also introduces such beloved local characters as Cucarachita Martina, the kind cockroach who falls in love with Ratoncito Pérez, her devoted mouse husband who brings her delicious food.
Including a fresh English translation of each folktale as well as the original Spanish version, the collection also contains an introduction from literary historian Rafael Ocasio that highlights the historical importance of these tales and the Jíbaro cultural values they impart. These vibrant, funny, and poignant stories will give readers unique insights into Puerto Rico’s rich cultural heritage.
Rafael Ocasio, Charles A. Dana Professor of Spanish at Agnes Scott College, is the author of two books on dissident writer Reinaldo Arenas: Cuba’s Political and Sexual Outlaw (University Press of Florida, 2003) and The Making of a Gay Activist (University Press of Florida, 2007). His other books include Latin American Culture and Literature (Greenwood Press, 2004), Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo: From Plantations to the Slums (University Press of Florida, 2012), and The Bristol, Rhode Island and Matanzas, Cuba Slavery Connection: The Diary of George Howe (Lexington Books/ Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). Recently published are his books: Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico (Rutgers University Press, 2020) and Folk Stories from the Hills of Puerto Rico/Cuentos folklóricos de las montañas de Puerto Rico (Rutgers University Press, 2021).
Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt is vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college emerita at Agnes Scott College. She is author of Franz Boas: The Emergence of the Anthropologist (2019) and the forthcoming Franz Boas: Establishing Anthropology and Working for Social Justice, both with University of Nebraska Press. She is co-author with William Shedrick Willis of Franz Boas and W. E. B. Du Bois at Atlanta University, 1906 (American Philosophical Society, 2008), and the author of numerous books, including Elsie Clews Parsons: Wealth and Rebellion, Anthropologist and Folklorist (University of Illinois Press, 1992) and American Folklore Scholarship: A Dialogue of Dissent (Indiana University Press, 1988).
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
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This exciting new anthology gathers together Puerto Rican folktales that were passed down orally for generations before finally being transcribed beginning in 1914 by the team of famous anthropologist Franz Boas.
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Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico explores the historic research trip taken to Puerto Rico in 1915. As a component of the Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Boas intended to perform field research in the areas of anthropology and ethnography while other scientists explored the island’s natural resources.