Friday, November 17, 2023 - 3.30 pm
Free event, No reservation needed - Followed by food & drinks reception
Musical performance by Kiri Escalante, lead singer of Aztral Folk
ENR2 Building, Room S107
Zoom Link: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/82396295059
You are cordially invited to join the School of Geography, Development and Environment, and the Southwest Center for the 15th annual My Arizona Lecture, given by native Tucsonense and senior lecturer in the University of Arizona English department Melani Martinez. The title of Melani’s talk is, “Circling the Presidio: A Tucsonense Food Map.” Please also join us for a nacho-bar reception to follow.
Borderlands communities have been creating a dynamic food landscape providing a system of sustenance around generations of shared tables, but throughout the generations there has also been a great deal of loss. Today we continue to watch as family recipes, mercados, farms, eateries and restaurants go extinct. What happens to families when these food hubs expire? One example comes from a family who moved across borders and between rancho and pueblo spaces to create a tiny food store in the Presidio. Though the store closed its doors more than 20 years ago, it provides a mental map and a flavor memory that still reverberates in Tucson.
Melani “Mele” Martinez is a native Tucsonense; her family has lived in the Sonoran desert for at least nine generations. She is a first-generation graduate of UArizona with a BA in Creative Writing and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Her research interests include U.S.-Mexico Border, Chican@ / Mestiz@ studies, Testimonio Writing, and Southern Arizona history, folklore, and traditional foodways. Her forthcoming book, The Molino: A Memoir (UA Press 2024), tells the story of her family’s molinería, an early 20th Century hub for tamales and tortillas in Tucson’s historic Presidio District. Melani teaches Borderlands-focused courses and Food Writing at the University of Arizona. She is also Writing Program Lead for Project ADELANTE, a 5-year $3M HSI grant aimed at strengthening retention, degree completion, career readiness and post-graduation success for Hispanic first-generation and low-income students.