Norma Cardenas
Norma Cardenas

UTSA culture, literacy and language student wins conference award

By Chris Johnson
UTSA Culture and Policy Institute

(Aug. 11, 2006)--Norma Cardenas, a UTSA doctoral student in culture, literacy and language, received the Frederick A. Cervantes Graduate Student Premio (award) for a research paper at the annual conference of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, on July 1, 2006.

Her winning manuscript was titled "The Bitter Food of the Aztecs: Food and Gender Colonialism During the Spanish Conquest in Mexico." Acknowledging that "food is perhaps the most distinctive expression of an ethnic group, a culture, or in modern times, a nation," and that the course of Mexican history was altered largely because of its fertile material and cultural elements--chiefly food--when they became vulnerable to food adventurers, Cardenas' paper focuses on rewriting the colonization history from a feminist perspective with a focus on native fare to dispel the European myth of New World inferiority established by Columbus.

"Using food as a heuristic device to study women and their role in historical food production, preparation, and consumption from a Chicana feminist perspective, we can read women's agency in history," writes Cardenas. "A reinterpretation of their roles, activities, and behaviors in the epistemological genealogy since the Spaniard's arrival is essential."

In September 2003, Cardenas accepted a traineeship with the Hispanic Leadership Program in Agriculture and Natural Resources (HLPANR). The program is a collaborative effort between UTSA, the Agricultural Program of the Texas A&M University System, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service dedicated to promoting professional development among graduate students by integrating Hispanic cultures within research and policy issues related to the management of natural resources.

For m ore information about the HLPANR program, call (210) 458-2650.

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