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Crossing the Boundaries of Race, Religion, and Desire: The Life of Ramón Novarro

Thursday, November 3, 2011
12:00 AM
3512 Haven Hall

A Lecture by Ernesto Chavez <br> Associate Professor <br> University of Texas, El Paso <br> Department of History

This talk explores the categories of race and sexuality by examining how film star Ramón Novarro negotiated his place and leveraged power within the Hollywood star system in early twentieth-century America. Given that Novarro was a native of Mexico, a devout Roman Catholic, and gay, his life serves as a nexus for, and allows one to examine, the overlapping subjectivities of race/ethnicity, Catholicism, the performative body, and sexuality/masculinity. Three basic questions guide this study: Who was Novarro and how did he forge his career and achieve his fame? How did race and sexuality function in his life and career? How does examining Novarro’s life help us understand the intersections of race, sexuality, and the body in transnational Latino/a communities?

About the speaker: Professor Ernie Chavez received his Ph.D. in U.S. history at UCLA in 1994. His specialization is Mexican American-Chicano/a history with an emphasis on the construction of identity, culture and community. He is currently working on a critical biography of Mexican-born actor Ramón Novarro. An article on this subject will appear in the Journal of the History of Sexuality in 2011. A past member of the editorial board of Aztlán, he currently serves on the National Council of the American Studies Association and is the Ford Diversity Fellowship’s regional liaison for Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas.

The lecture is sponsored by: Latina/o Studies, the Center for the History of Medicine, the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures, the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Lesbian Gay Queer Initiative (LGQRI) and Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG).