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ARSC 1492 (Ramirez): Acevedo-Munoz

Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz

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Professor Acevedo-Munoz has a Ph.D. in Film Studies/Communication Studies from University of Iowa and is currently the chair of the Film Studies Program here in Boulder.
Dr. Acevedo Muñoz's research, teaching and publications focus on film theory, film & literature, Latin American and Spanish cinemas & culture, Hollywood genres, and on directors Luis Buñuel, Pedro Almodóvar, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Professor Acevedo Munoz has written many books/book chapters/journal articles including West Side Story as Cinema: The Making and Impact of an American Masterpiece.
He is also the writer, producer & director of Hillmon’s Bones, a 56-minute documentary film on work of Professors Mimi Wesson & Dennis Van Gerven on the identification of the remains in “The Hillmon case.”

Dr. Acevedo-Munoz has been awarded a multitude of accolades such as:

  • the Eaton Faculty Awards for Outstanding Achievement (Center for Humanities and the Arts) (2007)
  • Award of Excellence for Outstanding Teaching with Technology (2013)
  • Marinus G. Smith Excellence in Teaching Award (2008)
  • Residence Life Academic Teaching Award. National Residence Hall Honorary. Committee on Learning and Academic Support Services, University of Colorado (2008, 2006, 2002)
  • is listed in the National Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (2005)
  • Minority Arts and Sciences Program, Faculty Appreciation recognition (2000)

Professor Acevedo-Muñoz has also taught film studies at a great variety of prestigious universities around the world, such as:

  • New York University
  • New York University at Madrid, Spain
  • State University of Zulia (Maricaibo, Venezuela)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • At “Semester at Sea” program for the University of Virginia

Challenge & Exploration

Over the course of the history of West Side Story on Broadway and in Hollywood films there have been numerous arguments about the movie’s proper (or improper) representations of Latino/a minorities, and/or its treatment of ethnicity, identity, and “Puerto Richness.” Prof. Acevedo-Munoz’s recent book West Side Story as Cinema is part of that debate.

For this challenge, students should do some research to look up arguments, publications, or public forums where this matter of “the Puerto Rican thing” has been debated in order to answer some of the questions below.


Research Questions

  • What is "the Puerto Rican Thing"? How is it debated?

  • Should we “defend” West Side Story’s representation of Puerto Ricans and “latinidad”? Why or why not?

  • Is there really any controversy left out there about Puerto Rican representation in West Side Story? What is the controversy?

  • Is this something for an academic debate? Why or why not?

  • Is there continuing significance to the West Side Story arguments found in Alberto Sandoval Sánchez article (posted under Readings above)?

  • Must we burn West Side Story because of its representation of ethnicity, identity or Puerto Ricans?

Tools & Resources


Background Readings:

Explore these sources to gather ideas and background.


Search Tools: 

Recommended databases and search engines.

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