Wright State faculty member Damaris Serrano again wins highest literary honor awarded by her native Panama

For the fourth time, Damaris E. Serrano, professor of Spanish at Wright State, received Panama’s Ricardo Miró Award in the literary essay section.

Damaris E. Serrano, Ph.D., professor of Spanish at Wright State University, has once again received the Ricardo Miró Award, the highest literary honor in her native Republic of Panama.

Serrano was honored in the Literary Essay category for her new volume, “The Literature of Panama in its Globalism.”

It is the fourth time Serrano has won the Ricardo Miró Award in the literary essay section. She previously was honored in 2005, 2013 and 2018 and received honorable mention in the sociological essay section in 2000 and 2004.

In “The Literature of Panama in its Globalism,” Serrano explains the difference between globalization and globalism in Latin America and proposes the aesthetic reinvention of Panamanian literature contrasting the main regions in which the analysis of Latin American literature, art and culture have developed.

“I am grateful to the Dunbar Library specialists and to the Wright State community, who have understood that research brings knowledge to the classroom because I share my findings with my students,” Serrano said. “Why? Sometimes, culture is the only thing that keeps us safe and understanding this global world in which we must live. So, let’s thrive through culture.”

The competition, created in 1942, is named after Ricardo Miró, the national poet of Panama. Sponsored by the National Institute of Culture, it is designed to promote, preserve and disseminate Panamanian culture in the context of the Americas.

One of the judges said that Serrano’s essay “forcefully shows us that constant reinvention of the diverse, socially committed and global traits of Panamanian literature, demonstrated by integrating each of the aesthetic renovations that, thanks to the varied and permanent migration taking place at all stages of Panamanian history, gave its literature the cosmopolitanism molding the country. For scholars of Panamanian literature, this essay will mean understanding how cultural and aesthetic processes show creative continuity present from the dawn of avant-garde movements to this day.”

Serrano has published eight books and has another currently in press. “The Literature of Panama in its Globalism” will be published in August 2024.

Damaris Serrano previously won the Ricardo Miró Award in 2005, 2013 and 2018.

As a lecturer and researcher in Hispanic cultural studies in Latin America and the Caribbean, Serrano prides herself on being a teacher who wants to share Latin American culture with her students.

Serrano was inspired to focus her research on Panama because of the lack of knowledge of her native country.

“This is an opportunity for the research that I have done for a long time to reach people outside Panama so they can learn that we are a great culture,” she said.

She focuses on analyzing and communicating about what she refers to as the “real/the other Panama.” Her work shows that Panama is a hinge, a bridge and a politically engaged culture because of its transformative literature.

“Not the distorted image of a dependent territory manipulated by transnational agents and foreign powers, but the Panama that thrives in a multi-diverse culture, whose literature illustrates topics related to the world,” she said. “Panama, a center of migration, interchange of peoples and innovations.”

Serrano received her Ph.D. in Hispanic cultural studies and her master’s degree in comparative literature from Michigan State University and her bachelor’s degree in humanities, with a specialization in Spanish, from the University of Panama.

She joined the faculty in the Wright State College of Liberal Arts in 2005.

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