Vanderbilt is hosting an international conference April 8–10 to celebrate the centenary of Manuel Zapata Olivella, noted Afro-Colombian novelist, anthropologist, folklorist and physician. Vanderbilt Library’s Special Collections houses the papers of Manuel Zapata Olivella and that of his sister Delia, dancer, choreographer, and folklorist. The program features scholars from Colombia and the US who explore themes that address race, political activism, culture, literature, and the performance arts. Most panels will be in Spanish. The virtual conference is sponsored and organized by the Center for Latin American Studies, the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, and the Afro-Hispanic Review. For program details and registration please see the conference webpage.
The Colombian government named 2020 the year of Manuel in honor of Manuel Zapata Olivella. Since then, there have been a host of conferences and programs in Colombia. Due to COVID-19 Vanderbilt’s planned November 2020 international conference could not take place. Colombian scholars will participate virtually now and visit campus in 2022 to use the Zapata Olivella collections, which consist of unpublished literary manuscripts, the World Congresses of Black Culture, radio programs on Afro-Hispanic folklore, ethnographies, and Delia’s collection of African dance traditions and performance arts.