Dr. Melita M. Garza teaches courses on media history, business journalism, and diversity in the media as an assistant professor at the Texas Christian University Bob Schieffer College of Communication. A journalism historian who focuses on how English- and Spanish-language media socially construct our world, Dr. Melita Garza has received numerous awards for her work in Mexican-American and Latino studies. In 2015, the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) presented her with the Latino/Latin American Communication Research Award.
The award goes to the top three research papers submitted to the International Communications or Minorities in Communications divisions and recognizes Hispanic, Latino, and Latin American scholars for their research efforts in journalism, mass media, and international communication as it relates to their communities. Papers may feature any research methodologies and address a variety of topics, ranging from Inter-American and Iberian-American communications to critical media and cultural studies. Eligibility is limited to members of the Hispanic, Latino, and Latin American communities, although papers authored by multiple scholars are permitted if the first scholar listed belongs to one of thoe groups.
Sponsorship for LARA comes from the University of Arizona School of Journalism (U of A), the FIU Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC), and the Florida International University College of Communication, Architecture and the Arts (CARTA). The U of A sponsors one award, while CARTA and the FIU LACC sponsor the other two.
Dr. Melita M. Garza, a widely published assistant professor of journalism history at Texas Christian University, concentrates on the study of social media and the intersection of media and civil rights. She has received recent acclaim for her work in the field of Latino and Mexican-American studies. In 2017, Dr. Melita Garza appeared twice on the program Movies That Matter Latino, a film series sponsored by the city of Fort Worth.
Each quarter, the free film series invites the public to the screening of a distinguished movie that highlights a Latino experience. After the screening, a panel of experts deepens the context of the film by bringing out additional meanings and interpretations.
Dr. Garza served as a panelist for the films Las Marthas and Ella Es el Matador (She Is the Matador). Las Marthas is a documentary on Laredo’s distinctive debutante ball. Many of the young women who participate are descendants of the region’s first Spanish land-grant holders, and they attend dressed as women from the Revolutionary War era.
Ella Es el Matador documents the struggles of a woman attempting to defy gender stereotypes and be accepted into the ranks of the matadors of Spain. Artes de la Rosa Fort Worth Cultural Center for the Arts collaborates with the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission to present the film series, with additional support from the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, Fort Worth.
A sought-after speaker on Mexican American and Latino studies topics, Dr. Melita M. Garza is an associate professor at Texas Christian University. A panelist at the City of Fort Worth’s Movies that Matter Latino: A Human Rights Film Series, Dr. Melita Garza guided a discussion on the film Ella Es el Matador in March 2017.
Ella Es el Matador is a documentary about the journeys of two women determined to dominate Spanish bullfighting. Mari Paz Vega is a Spanish native and the only professional female matador in the country, while Eva Florencia, an Italian runaway, is a novice. In pursuit of their dreams of stardom in the arena, the women learn that their biggest threat is not the bulls but the patriarchal system that surrounds the quintessentially male sport.
Vega comes from a family with a long line of aspiring bullfighters. His father and five brothers all wanted to be matadors but none ever made it past the apprentice stage. Only Vega succeeded in becoming a matador. However, she has never joined the top ranks or found mainstream fame because her male colleagues look down on her and promoters refuse to book her in the grand arenas.
Florencia grew up in Italy and found inspiration to become a bullfighter in pictures from magazines and books. When she turned 16, she ran away to Seville to train as an apprentice bullfighter. Though she’s good, Florencia struggles to get the 25 official matches she needs to become a matador.
Dr. Melita M. Garza is an assistant professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. As a historian of 20th-century journalism, she teaches courses in business journalism, media history, and diversity and the media. Known for her expertise in Mexican American and Latino Studies, Dr. Melita Garza has also served as a panelist and commentator for the film series Movies That Matter Latino (MTMLatino): A Human Rights Film Series.
MTMLatino events celebrate cultural diversity by screening Latino films. Held quarterly in March, June, September, and December, the free screenings are followed by expert-moderated discussions. The Artes de la Rosa Fort Worth Cultural Center for the Arts hosts the screenings in the Rose Marine Theater thanks to a partnership with the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission and support from Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Women’s Network of Fort Worth.
A Mexican restaurant, Taco Diner, provides food and beverages for the receptions that precede MTMLatino evenings.