American Studies Association of Texas


Home About Us Membership JASAT Conferences-Events Links

2016 ASAT
Conference and Events
Sam Houston State University,
Huntsville, Texas

Friday, November 11, Keynote Presentation

Lunch time began calmly enough, with the usual excellent spread, as attendees gathered for the event.

Abbey Zink (left), Dean, SHSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences, gave a warm welcome, and Cassy Burleson began her enthusiastic introduction of what was anticipated to be an academic lecture.

But in the middle of the introduction, a confused elderly woman looking for a certain room wandered in, asking for directions. She was helped and quickly escorted out.

As Cassy finished the introduction, and the applause went on a bit longer as the audience awaited the speaker, the old woman again appeared in the doorway. By then it was realized by all that this was in fact Carmen Tafolla, in character, and the vehicle for the presentation, one full of humor, wisdom, poetry, and spot-on cultural analysis. Tafolla went through about half a dozen personas to make her points about education and educators, inequality and access, and above all, the power of thought, word, and deed as given and received on a human level.

ASAT was fortunate and honored to have one of Tafolla’s full presentations, and the openness of her personal style is such that many stayed after the event to speak with her and have pictures taken. More on Tafolla can be found at her website and here.

Friday afternoon sessions are next, here