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  • Editor’s Preface
  • Melissa A. Fitch

It is with great pride but also with a measure of sadness that I present volume 30 of Studies in Latin American Popular Culture (SLAPC). One of our senior scholar contributors to this issue, Professor Jack Child of American University, died last June. The author of Miniature Messages: The Semiotics of Latin American Postage Stamps (Duke UP, 2008) had only recently sent me the final corrections to his submission, one that was based on a keynote address he gave at the annual Symposium of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, on September 30, 2010. Professor Child, known for his wit and eclectic intellectual pursuits, had contributed to SLAPC before. He was a specialist in cultural studies and a prolific scholar, authoring more than 100 articles and chapters and 13 books. He received grants from the US Institute of Peace, the Tinker Foundation, the International Peace Academy, and the Organization of American States. Many of these grants were connected to his work as a specialist in conflict resolution in Latin America. His particular passion was Antarctica and the Falklands/Malvinas islands. As it happens, the former lieutenant colonel in the US Army had served as a guide and lecturer on 14 cruises to the region and had developed a deep and abiding love of penguins, much to the delight of his students and colleagues. Professor Child was also devoted to teaching and had won the University Award for Teaching in the General Education Program in 1998 for a course he regularly taught on Latin American popular culture.

I am certain that Professor Child would have been very happy with the company his final publication keeps in this latest issue of SLAPC. Indeed, the range of topics and geographical areas represented in many ways mirror the very eclectic, international focus of Jack Child’s own work.

The diversity is not merely present in the topics and countries represented, but also in the countries from which our submissions came, in particular in the case of two young scholars, Etsuko Toyoda, working at the University of Melbourne in Australia, who writes about Japanese dancers of Argentine tango, and İrfan Cenk Yay, a pioneer in the field of Chicano Studies at Istanbul University in Turkey, who writes on film. After reading his essay, I assumed, given his fluidity in the English language and his knowledge of the topic, that, if not a Turkish American, he had still spent a considerable amount of time in the United States. I was very surprised to find that he has never been to the United States at all, but still felt a deeply personal connection to Latino culture. Caryn Connelly is another young scholar who examines border identity in film, analyzing Patricia Riggen’s 2007 film La misma [End Page 1] luna. Hugo Hortiguera, another scholar from Australia, provides our third examination of film in this issue with an illuminating analysis of the Academy award winning film El secreto de sus ojos. Other essays in this volume 30 deal with music in Colombia (Morello) and Mexico and Chile (Mularski). Cuban scholar and professional pianist Cary Aileen García Yero writes on the topic of Filin music in her home country and investigates the role it has played in social and political change. Other essays deal with Brazilian detective fiction (Jacovkis), Puerto Rican tabloid television (Camacho), and an Argentine telenovela (Sueldo).

This issue has three interviews, each providing a unique optic on popular culture—one from a documentary filmmaker, another from a novelist, and the final one from a scholar. University of Kentucky’s Alice Driver offers us a moving discussion with border activist and documentary filmmaker Lourdes Portillo, widely know for her film about the femicides of Ciudad Juárez, Señorita Extraviada (2001). Raúl Rodríguez Freire from the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile provides us with an interview with Jorge Franco, Colombian author of Rosario Tijeras (1999), a novel that was made into a feature film in 2005 and became Colombia’s second highest grossing film ever. Finally, Daniel Holcombe shares a conversation with scholar David William Foster, who, as author of From Mafalda to Los Supermachos, published...


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