History books on the immigration of Slovenians to America have frequently noted the lively community in Pueblo, Colorado. A professor from Maribor University is spending his sixth research trip to Pueblo as a visiting professor at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Matjaz Klemencic will teach a course in Eastern and Southeastern European immigration, a survey of certain groups in addition to an in-depth look at Slovenes in America. The class will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1:50 P.M. in Pscyhology 223.
In previous trips to Pueblo, Matjaz had conducted oral histories with community leaders and leaders in the Slovenian community. During previous visits, he supervised several students who completed graduate degree requirements with their research of historical documents in Pueblo. He will utilize their findings along with his own original research as the foundation for a future book on the Slovenes of Pueblo. He already has written or edited books on the Slovenes of Cleveland, San Francisco, and Leadville, Colo.
The construction of churches and the establishment of organizations by ethnic groups in order to preserve their identities are part of the story of Americanization. Three components are necessary for a Slovenian community to be recognized as significant: A strong church, a national hall or lodge, and a respected newspaper or active fraternal organization. Pueblo’s Slovenian community could lay claim to all three.
The assimilation into American culture and the preservation of ethnic identity might appear to be contrary processes, Matjaz said, but it was possible to be a good Slovene and a good American.
Dr. Mark Gose, chair of the department of history, political science, philosophy, and geography, said Matjaz’s presence in town this fall reaffirms the community’s strong cultural diversity as well as provides students with an opportunity to tie local history to a global perspective.
“Professor Klemencic’s presence in Pueblo and at CSU-Pueblo illustrates both the vibrant ethnic history of Pueblo and the current globalization occurring at all levels,” Gose said. “We are extremely happy to take advantage of this wonderful academic resource while he is in the region.”
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