Podcast 53: Taco Literacy with Dr. Steven Alvarez
Dr. Steven Alvarez teaches in the University of Kentucky's WRD department: Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies. He has introduced his students to cultures and issues of justice, first in a class called "Mexington," which engaged students in considering opportunities and issues connected with Lexington's growing population of Latinx people and families. For the spring 2016 semester, he taught a class called "Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the US South." Fittingly, for a course that includes a focus on digital communication, news about the topic of the course went viral, attracting widespread attention. Here are just three examples:
You Can Now Study Tacos at the University of Kentucky (Munchies/Vice)
There's A 'Taco Literacy' College Course, But It's About More Than Food (Huffington Post)
We enjoyed having Steve Alvarez as our guest so much. Topics flew! Connections between rhetoric, debate and tacos and (yes that one) Nate Silver got us all talking fast. We learned, too, a bit about the recent Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium, which focused on corn. Steve attended the 2016 Symposium last week in Oxford, Mississippi. He had some responsibilities there, including introducing David Shields, who received the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame award. He will return next year as well, when the Symposium topic is El Sur Latino.
We sleuthed together, seeking the origins of the astonishing finalist status Lexington's Tortillería Y Taquería Ramírez achieved in Nate Silver's Burrito Bracket (yes, that Nate Silver). We learned that Southern Foodways Alliance has completed an oral history with Laura Patricia Ramírez about her family's lives in central Kentucky.
Next year Steve Alvarez will begin teaching at St. John's University in Queens, New York. We regret losing this bright spirit and positive, inquiring mind from central Kentucky—but we want St. John's students to have good teachers, too!