WHAT: A memorial service will honor Professor Emeritus Américo Paredes of UT Austin, who died in an Austin hospital on May 5 following a recent illness. He was a noted author and one of the founders of the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Center for Intercultural Studies of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at UT Austin. He was 83. The public is invited to attend the service.
WHERE: Thompson Conference Center next to the Lyndon B. Johnson Library near Red River Street, south of Manor Road. Free parking is available.
WHEN: 2 p.m. on (Sunday) May 23
WHO: Dr. Ricardo Romo, president designate of The University of Texas at San Antonio, will host the memorial service. Speakers will include Dr. Richard Bauman of Indiana University; Dr. Raymond Paredes of the University of California at Los Angeles; Patricia Jasper, director of Texas Folklife Resources; Dr. Olga Najera-Ramirez of the University of California at Santa Cruz; Dr. Jose Limon of The University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Ramon Saldivar of Stanford University and Dr. Manuel Peña of California State University at Fresno. Participants will include singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa, Conjunto Atztlan, and Mariachi Jalisciense Azteca with members from UT Austin’s Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlan. Dr. Vicente Paredes will read a poem.
BACKGROUND: Paredes challenged the writings of legendary and contemporary historians and their versions of life along the Texas-Mexico border. His scholarly work about valiant working class people along the Rio Grande borderlands set in motion a revolutionary approach to writing about the way things and people had been in early Texas. In so doing, he helped to shape a positive cultural identity among Mexican-Americans and influenced a new generation of Texas scholars.
Paredes was a founder of Mexican American studies, border studies and the post-modern movement in anthropology. To recognize his lifelong contributions to literature and folklore, Paredes was awarded the Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Orden del Aguila Azteca (Order of the Aztec Eagle), Mexico’s highest honor given to scholars from other countries.
As an anthropology and English professor, Paredes had taught literature, folklore and creative writing to thousands of undergraduate and graduate students. His appointment to the Raymond Dickson, Alton C. Allen and Dillon Anderson Centennial Professorship spoke to his eminence as a scholar and teacher.
Private graveside services were held recently by the Paredes family.
The public memorial service, organized by friends of the family, is an opportunity for those who knew him and his works to express their admiration for the talented writer and scholar. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, people donate to the charity of their choice or to a student assistance fund in care of the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Austin.
CONTACT: For additional information about the memorial service, contact Patricia Jasper at (512) 441-9255. For media information, call Robert Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, (512) 475-7847.