Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead Symposium: Its History and Celebration from Ancient to Contemporary Times

November 7

November 7, 2020 @ 11:00 am 1:00 pm

The Mexic-Arte Museum would like to invite you to a three part symposium and Q&A as part of The 37th Annual Day of the Dead Exhibition with speakers Dr. Carey Rote, Elliot Lopez-Finn, Mary J. Andrade, Dr. Cary Cordova, Dr. Rachel González-Martin, Dr. Charlene Villasenor Black, with Mexic-Arte Museum Education Associate, Jose Martinez and Curator & Director of Programs, Dr. George Vargas as hosts. The discussion will shed light on the traditional holiday, it’s history and celebration, and the role it plays in modern times in the US and beyond. Please join us on Saturday, November 7th from 11:00am – 1:00pm with the Q&A taking place during the last 15 minutes of the online event. The event will stream live on November 7th via Zoom and Facebook Live through the Mexic-Arte Museum Facebook page.

Session One: Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead and the Pre-Columbian World

  • Dr. Carey Rote, Texas A&M Corpus Christi: Feasts and Femurs: Celebrating the Days of the Dead in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
  • Elliot Lopez-Finn, University of Texas, Austin: Ancestral Veneration in Ancient Mexico

The first panel in the Day of the Dead Symposium features Dr. Carey Rote and Elliot Lopez-Finn, in the discussion of Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead and the Pre-Columbian world. Dr. Cary Rote is a professor at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. She is originally from San Antonio and studied Spanish and art in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received her BA from Texas Christian University (TCU), her MA from Tulane, and holds a PhD in Pre-Columbian art from the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). Dr. Rote is an expert in Pre-Columbian art from Oaxaca, Mexico, and Guatemala. She also specializes in Day of the Dead art, Chicano art, and Mexican Colonial art. She is the treasurer of the Pan American Round Table and serves on the board of governors for the Art Center of Corpus Christi. She has also been the leader of the Advanced Placement History of Art Exam for the last twelve years. Dr. Rote has articles in numerous publications and has presented papers across the nation, in addition to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Macedonia. Elliot López-Finn, M.A., is a PhD candidate at UT Austin who is writing a dissertation on the art of Postclassic Central Mexico (c.1200-1500). Their research addresses representations of past civilizations and foreign cultures in the paintings, sculpture, and monuments of the Aztec Empire.


Session Two: Evolution and Development of Day of the Dead

  • Mary J. Andrade, Independent Scholar: Altars of Life
  • Dr. Cary Cordova, University of Texas, Austin: Historical Development of Day of the Dead

The second panel includes Mary J. Andrade and Dr. Cary Cordova in the discussion of the Evolution and Development of Day of the Dead. Mary J. Andrade is an independent scholar who has been researching the tradition of Day of the Dead in Mexico for twenty years. She has presented in over 155 photographic exhibits on Day of the Dead in the United States, Ecuador, Spain, France, Mexico, Egypt, and Chile, and has published eight books on the subject. Her books discuss Day of the Dead in Michoacán, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Mixquic, Morelos, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, and Yucatan. She has received the “Latino Literary Hall of Fame” award under different categories. Dr. Cary Cordova is an associate professor at UT Austin in American Studies. She received her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and holds a PhD from UT Austin. She specializes in Latinx cultural production, including art, music, and performing arts. She has served as an archivist, curator, public historian, and oral historian for various public institutions, including the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. She is also a faculty affiliated with Mexican American and Latinx studies at UT Austin. She has published numerous articles and books.  


Session Three: Contemporary Expression on Day of the Dead

  • Dr. Rachel González-Martin, University of Texas, Austin: En Calavera: Embodying Death, Embodying Memories
  • Dr. Charlene Villasenor Black, University of California, Los Angeles: Ofrendas to Memory: Judithe Hernández’s Juárez Series

The third panel presents Dr. Rachel González-Martin and Dr. Charlene Villasenor Black in the discussion of Contemporary Expressions on Day of the Dead. Dr. González-Martin is a Folklorist and an Associate Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. She is an active affiliate faculty member of the Center for Mexican American Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and the Latino Media and Arts Program at the University of Texas. She holds a PhD in Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. She is the incoming editor of the journal Western Folklore, and on the editorial board of the Journal of American Folklore, Aztlan: The Journal of Chicano Studies, and the Oxford Bibliographies of Latino Studies. Her research focuses on cultural practice and class formation in US Latinx communities, focusing on women, youth, and queer identifying communities. She currently resides in Austin, Texas. Dr. Charlene Villasenor Black is a professor at UCLA, teaching Ibero-American art and Chicana/o Studies. She is the Associate Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center and is editor of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies and founding editor-in-chief of Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture (UC Press). Her research focuses on art of the early modern Ibero-American world, as well as contemporary Chicanx visual culture.