A CULTURAL LEADER
Using letters as vessels, readers and writers travel through time and space to learn more about the world we live in. Sara Poot-Herrera is one of these travelers, and a Mexican cultural center just honored this venturing UCSB professor in a unique way: naming the center after her.
The Dra. Sara Poot Herrera Cultural House sits in Temax, the hometown of Dr. Poot-Herrera’s mother. When the cultural center team approached Dr. Poot-Herrera about the naming, Dr. Poot-Herrera could not believe it.
“Meee? It’s not a mistake?” asked Dr. Poot-Herrera.
A part of her wondered why the town’s leaders did not consider naming the venue after her mother, Sara Maria Herrera-Arceo, who worked as a teacher in the town. When she expressed the question out loud, one of the townspeople told her, “Your mother was very important to education, but now we are trying to work on culture.”
And the people of Temax believe Dr. Poot-Herrera to be the perfect choice. Afterall, she is a leader in the realm of culture and literature.
Dr. Poot-Herrera co-founded and directs UC-Mexicanistas Association, an intercampus research program of the UC system focusing on Mexican literature. The conferences held by UC-Mexicanistas often attract Mexican culture scholars from the U.S., Mexico, Asia and Europe, and Dr. Poot-Herrera has made her mark in this literary realm in her own way.
Among her more than 200 publications, Dr. Poot-Herrera’s focus falls on Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a nun, scholar, philosopher and poet who wrote during the 1600s in the region that is now Mexico.
“Intelligence does not have a gender,” said Dr. Poot-Herrera, and for the 21st century professor, the 17th century literary icon demonstrated that.
And Dr. Poot-Herrera has paid homage to Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz through her work: “Homenaje internacional a Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz,” “Sor Juana y su mundo: Una mirada actual,” and “Los guardaditos de Sor Juana.”
For her work, Dr. Poot-Herrera has been recognized internationally, and the cultural house is not the only venue to bear her name. In the Hoctun Cultural Center near the Mexican city of Merida, for example, there is the “Dr. Sara Poot-Herrera” Reading room. She has also been named one of the “Protagonists of Mexican Literature” by one of Mexico’s biggest arts organizations, the National Literature Coordination of Fine Arts of Mexico Bellas Artes. Dr. Poot-Herrera, however, has more up her sleeve.
In September, UC-Mexicanistas will launch a satellite location of the Culture House and the Reading Room. This satellite spot will be in the Mayan archaeological center of Uxmal near Merida. And next January, UC-Mexicanistas will have a poetry festival in Merida. Renowned writers and researchers, such as Portuguese poet Nuno Judice, will attend.