Newsletter, June 2020

Pre-Texts News

Pre-Texts in Paraguay
The Development Institute (Instituto Desarrollo, ID) and USAID/Paraguay launched the program Rule of Law and Cultural Integrity (ROLCI) on May 29th. Prof. Doris Sommer and Margo Abarca gave the keynote address on “Innovative Education to Stimulate Civic Culture.”


The Instituto Desarrollo was awarded a USAID grant to strengthen Paraguayan higher education institutions to improve the rule of law, decrease corruption and increase support for democracy. As part of this project, ID has partnered with Cultural Agents to use Pre-Texts as a training platform to establish a culture of accountability and creativity across Paraguayan organizations and rule of law institutions. Doris Sommer and Human Rights expert Marco Abarca will facilitate an online Pre-Texts training (5 sessions, 3 hours each) starting on July 2nd.

Casa Walsh Pre-Texts Seminar

Casa Walsh in Buenos Aires, Argentina has been offering digital Pre-Texts seminars led by Tálata Rodríguez. The next seminar will be held over 5 sessions starting on June 23rd. More information is below and on the Pre-Texts calendar.

Seminario de Pre-Textos digital
El seminario es gratuito y ofrece certificación. Las vacantes son limitadas. Los días de cursada en línea son 23, 24, 25, 26 y 30 de junio de 10 a 13 h (hora Argentina), 9am-12pm (EST). La asistencia a las quince horas de cursada en línea es obligatoria para completar el seminario. Para obtener la certificación, además de completar la cursada, se requiere la acreditación -a través de informes descriptivos- de la aplicación de 15 horas del protocolo. Facilitado por Mixtli Cano Moreno y Tálata Rodriguez. Información e inscripciones:
More Digital Pre-Texts

In Mexico with the Secretaría de Educación Pública, thirty teachers and librarians of Normal Schools in Coahuila were trained in Pre-Texts in May 2020. This month, teachers are being trained in Sonora, Mexico. The training is facilitated by Enrique Márquez and Ines Benítez.

Marcela Mendez is facilitating digital Pre-Texts workshops in Argentina. Marcela is a graduate of the 2020 Global Leaders Program. Read more about the program and her work here.

Pre-Texts in Kolkata, India

In order to appreciate the magic of Pre-Texts, Prof. Doris encouraged me to try it with my six year old daughter and some of her friends. As a reference, she shared the experiment by Tálata Rodríquez who is a teacher based in Argentina. Her note was in Spanish so I translated it to English and Prof. Doris was kind enough to make the edits and that became the blueprint for me to conduct my own experiment. 
– Manonita Bhattacharya

Read more about digital Pre-Texts in Kolkata, India here.

Pre-Texts in Galicia

In January 2020, as part of the Erasmus + KA1 project “Trilingual: Reading in Action,” Elva González, professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University, led a Pre-Texts workshop in Galicia. Read more here.

Cultural Agents News

El arte obra en el mundo

El arte obra en el mundo: Cultura ciudadana y humanidades públicas by Doris Sommer was published by Metales Pesados in Santiago, Chile. It features artwork by Pedro Reyes from his series “Disarm.”

Futebol Viral

Futebol Viral is an interactive platform designed to engage men and to mitigate the Covid19 spike in domestic violence. All the programs we have seen in this area are designed to protect women by enabling denunciations [very difficult in these circumstances] and getting them out of abusive households [also difficult]. Hardly anyone is addressing men who can change their behavior. Our soccer player friends know that change is possible, through pleasure and peace at home. With Brazil as a starting point, we plan to launch in other countries too.

Stay tuned for new content that will be added to these social media channels very soon!




Hello World Exhibition Opening and Artists’ Reception

On June 20th, 11am-12pm EST, TransCultural Exchange will host a live ‘zoom’ launch party for everyone who participated in Hello World. Cultural Agents participated with the project Futebol Viral. All the artwork is now online at:

Hello World is a response to the lockdown by TransCultural Exchange. The coronavirus pandemic brought a slowdown, if not a downright halt to artistic and cultural gatherings, exchanges and cross-border productions. Inspired by singers singing from the balconies in Italy, TransCultural Exchange proposed a virtual, global art project with the aim of continuing to encourage international exchange among artists, showcasing works to new audiences and fostering dialog among peoples of different cultures – without anyone having to leave their homes. Read more here.

Featured News

Tom Osborn: Helping African teens thrive

When Tom Osborn arrived at Harvard, he was already an internationally recognized entrepreneur. When he graduated in May, Tom Osborn ’20 had developed a successful mental health intervention for teens in Kenya. Read more about his story here:

Teaching Spanish: A multi-day “finale” instead of a final exam

Read about Samuel Jaffee’s experience Teaching Spanish: A multi-day “finale” instead of a final exam.

I have studied the work of linguists Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger, and Claire Kramsch, and artist-scholars Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), and I use their approaches to invigorate my assessments. The SPAN 303 course methodology is anchored in the scholarship and practice of Pre-Texts by Doris Sommer (Harvard University) and the work of Sommer’s Cultural Agents initiative, which offers educators programming, training, and workshops — most recently, an April webinar via Zoom in “Social (Distant) Practice” — that I have found inspirational for my course design.

Samuel Jaffee is a lecturer in Spanish & Portuguese Studies and teaches courses in writing, literary studies, and visual culture. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, with a specialization in Andean literary and cultural studies from the colonial period through the present day. He presents widely and leads workshops for high school and college instructors on strategies for teaching classes of heritage and second-language learners, writing pedagogies, and incorporating less-commonly taught languages, such as indigenous languages, into a Spanish curriculum.

Lectura de cuentos a través de parlantes en la vereda Pasquillita, de Ciudad Bolívar

La biblioteca rural de la vereda Pasquillita, en Ciudad Bolívar, presenta un programa de lectura de cuentos a través de parlantes, con la participación de niños y adultos mayores. Aquí el informe completo:

Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Department of Architecture Doris Sommer Italia Launch Videos Mental Health Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now Social Equity
June 4, 2020
by Rodriguez