PULLMAN – Linda Heidenreich-Zuñiga will present, “Día de los Muertos: Text and Context/Texto y Contexto,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in Smith CUE 203 as part of the Common Reading Tuesdays program at WSU.
Her presentation addresses Day of the Dead as a text and places it in its historical context. The event will be the ninth Tuesday presentation for students and WSU community members related to the common reading book for freshmen in the 2008-09 academic year. The current theme explored in Common Reading Tuesdays is “Ways in Which We are Called to Remember.”
Heidenreich-Zuñiga, chair and associate professor of Women’s Studies at WSU, chose her topic because as celebration of Día de los Muertos grows in the U.S. “non-Latinas/os are trying to understand what the holiday is about and some are learning about its significance and making connections to their own community holidays.”
Her presentation aligns with several current exhibits at the university. Mujeres Unidas, a student group representing the interests and issues of Chicanas/Latinas, has created a Día de los Muertos altar in the Compton Union Building first floor that will be on display through Nov. 2.
WSU Libraries and the WSU Museum of Art created a collaborative exhibit in the Holland-Terrell Library atrium display case. Trevor Bond, director of the museum’s Manuscripts, Artifacts, and Special Collections unit, calls the exhibit “an old-fashioned cabinet of curiosities.”
The case contains artifacts including a death mask of President Abraham Lincoln (a plaster casting made from a mask of Lincoln’s face upon his death), and some cloth items worn to his funeral. Also in the case is a life-sized replica of a human skeleton and two prints by artist Alex Gray of human anatomy. The exhibit will be available to the public through Nov. 7.
The WSU Common Reading program is designed to unite a large freshman class with a common book that they discuss in and out of class. This year’s book is “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers,” by best-selling author Mary Roach.
The Common Reading Tuesdays series has engaged more than 3,500 students in academic inquiry and discussion through lectures, panels and other events so far this semester.
Heidenreich- Zuñiga’s lecture and the exhibits are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit commonreading.wsu.edu.