Mina Garcia presents research at the Cervantes Society of America

Associate Professor of Spanish Mina Garcia presented a paper on "Cervantes and the Immigration Crisis" on Sept. 29.

Mina Garcia, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages & Cultures, presented a paper on “Cervantes and the Immigration Crisis” at the Cervantes Society of America in Calgary, Canada, on Sept. 29, 2018.

Garcia’s paper explores the connections between one of Cervantes’ plays, “El Trato de Argel,” written in 1581-83 right after his release from five years of captivity in Algiers to the current immigration crisis. In the aftermath of the Cervantes’ centenary the Centro Dramático Nacional (Madrid), in an attempt to make the author relevant again, proposed a new approach to “El Trato de Argel.” They reflected on the desperate situation of many immigrants in today’s world, who in search of a better life, leave their places of origin and venture across their borders.

This is the premise of “Tratos,” a 2016 performance of the Cervantes’ play where this connection was explored. Instead of the African jail where Cervantes lived for five years, we are transported to a center for undocumented immigrants in Spain where the poor treatment of the newly arrived is brought to center stage and where the immigration policy is questioned with every word. All of a sudden, a play from the 16th century becomes contemporary again and its claim for social justice, more relevant than ever.

This presentation is part of a bigger project, a collaboratively edited volume on social justice in early modern drama that was just sent out for publication.