April 15, 2013
Juan Armando Rojas Joo, associate professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature and its Cultures at Ohio Wesleyan University, will present a lecture titled "Blood of Mine, Blood of All: The Poetic Conception of Ciudad Juárez, A Mexican Border City" at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 22, in Pellegrene Auditorium, Saint John's University.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Latino and Latin American Studies program at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.
Ciudad Juárez is a Mexican city that lies on the Rio Grande, just south of El Paso, Texas. Since 1993, at least one woman per week is killed and dumped in the desert around Ciudad Juárez.
In 1998, a local poetry festival initiated a movement which emerged as an intellectual and social justice movement, and defined the literary conception of the city. "Chant to a City in the Middle of the Desert" (2004) was published with the objective to poetically denounce, through the work of more than 90 authors, the violence of Ciudad Juárez. On Jan. 6, 2011, the murder of poet and activist Susana Chávez, who wrote the poem "Blood of Mine," frequently read during protests by the civil rights organizations and their supporters, gives name to the forthcoming anthology as it represents the current phase of the literary movement.
Born in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, Rojas received his bachelor's and master's in Spanish from the University of Texas at El Paso. He completed his doctorate at the University of Arizona in 2002 and was the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Amherst College, Mass., from 2002-04. Rojas has also been invited to teach literature seminars at the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca and at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, México.
Rojas also serves as department chairperson at Ohio Wesleyan.