AUSTIN, Texas—Distinguished scholars from Uruguay, Mexico, Spain and the United States will share insights on Ariel and the phenomenon of arielismo during a conference Feb. 18 and 19 in the Thompson Conference Center at The University of Texas at Austin.
The conference, sponsored by the Institute of Latin American Studies and the department of Spanish and Portuguese, is free and open to the public. It will be held in Room 3.122 of the Thompson Conference Center on Feb. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continues on Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. until noon.
In 1900, the Uruguayan writer José Enrique Rodó published an essay titled Ariel. Framed as the farewell speech of a distinguished older professor counseling the future leaders of Latin America, the essay achieved instant success and was widely read throughout Latin America and, to some degree, in Spain.
Rodó advises his young charges to seek their true identity in their Greco-Roman past and to disavow the materialist and utilitarian thought of England and the United States. Rodó denounces the excessive admiration of previous generations of Latin Americans for the United States, claiming that as heirs of the Greco-Roman past, Latin Americans already possessed qualities visible in their art and literature that made them spiritually superior to the commercial and materialist Anglo-Saxons.
However controversial or questionable its arguments, the essay was a huge success throughout Latin America. The arielistas played prominent roles in developing Latin American nationalism, reforming educational systems and, in some cases, influencing government policies.
For additional information about the conference, contact Joanne Gully of the Institute of Latin American Studies, (512) 232-2409.