The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced that The University of Texas at El Paso’s Zita Arocha, associate professor of practice in the Department of Communication, will be one of 30 NEH Summer Scholars to participate in a four-week study seminar at the University of Tampa in Florida.
Arocha, an award-winning bilingual journalist, will be part of the summer institute titled “José Martí and the Immigrant Communities of Florida in Cuban Independence and the Dawn of the American Century.”
The Center for José Martí Studies Affiliate will direct the program that will run from June 17 to July 12, 2019.
Marti, a journalist, poet and politician, was a Cuban revolutionary hero. Considered by some the father of the nation, he lived most of his life in exile to include at least a decade in New York City, where he published the pro-independence newspaper Patria.
Arocha said she planned to use her time as a scholar to study the role immigrant newspapers in Florida had in building public support for the cause of Cuban independence.
She plans to share what she learns with her UTEP students to help them understand the role and significance of the immigrant press in U.S. democracy.
“I have spent most of my journalism career writing about Latino and other immigrant communities in the United States, and the institute will allow me to study the significant role played by immigrant newspapers throughout our history to present an alternative reality than that presented by mainstream newspapers,” Arocha said.
The NEH will conduct 10 seminars and institutes this summer around the country that will involve approximately 220 participants. The endowment will cover the travel, lodging and other study-related expenses of its summer scholars, who must be college or university teachers.
Arocha, who worked as a reporter for more than 20 years at such publications as The Washington Post, has taught at UTEP since 2004. The native of Cuba is the director and founder of borderzine.com, a multimedia web magazine produced by UTEP students.