Raphael Folsom ’00 Publishes Book

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Raphael Folsom received his MA from CLACS in 2000, and recently authored The Yaquis and the Empire: Violence, Spanish Imperial Power, and Native Resilience in Colonial Mexico, published by Yale University Press.

His groundbreaking new study examines the history of the Yaqui people and their interactions with the Spanish Empire. In his book, Folsom examines three ironies of this relationship: how the Yaquis both resisted yet eventually came to value their link to the empire; that the processes of violence and negotiation were ongoing and intertwined throughout the colonial period; and how the empire, though weak in manpower and distant from its military bases, was surprisingly effective in its aim to transform the Mexican northwest. Folsom relies on extensive and newly unearthed documents from archives in Mexico, Spain, the United States, and Italy, and illuminates the dreams, struggles, and tragedies of all participants in the drama of this encounter.

CLACS sincerely congratulates Raphael on his impressive achievement.

An Alternative Narrative of Development

Photo by Jose Raul Guzman

Photo by José Raúl Guzmán

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Bolivian President Evo Morales called for a more inclusive “people-centric” global development agenda that included acquiring control of natural resources for the benefit of all. The day before, CLACS students and guests heard a very different story about the Morales government’s inclusion of indigenous groups in Bolivia’s economic development from 5 indigenous Bolivian women and one ally as part of the “Dialogue on Indigenous Rights: The Issues of Autonomy and Consultation in the Plurinational State of Bolivia” event held in the King Juan Carlos Center.

Organized by CLACS professor Pamela Calla, the women, Nilda Rojas Huanka, Toribia Lero Quispe, Clara Victoria Ramos Aillón, Judith Rivero, Wilma Mendoza, and Sarela Paz, representing indigenous groups from across Bolivia, came to CLACS prior to their attendance at the United Nations Indigenous Peoples World Conference. Each woman spoke on a different element of indigenous relationships with the Morales government and economic development including the lack of environmental protections, the preeminence of laws that protect the mining industry over constitutional safeguards for indigenous rights, and the political co-option and subversion of the alliance between CIDOB and CONAMAQ—the two largest confederations of indigenous governing bodies in Bolivia.

Each of these moving testimonials revealed the challenges that remain for indigenous groups in Bolivia. In a country that adopted a new constitution in 2009 and declared itself “plurinational” in order to promote increased autonomy for its indigenous groups, the women told how these rights have been rolled back or overridden in the following years. The question remained whether the plurinational government of Bolivia could be inclusive while developing the country’s economy and resources.

One of the persistent threads in each presentation was the need to have indigenous voices heard in the Bolivian legislature and public and, where that is not possible, to raise consciousness on an international scale. Through our academic work and community events, NYU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies seeks to give a platform for voices that would otherwise go unheard.

Photo by Jose Raul Guzman

Photo by José Raúl Guzmán

Find out more about the work going on at CLACS and our events here.

Posted by CLACS-MA student Patrick Moreno-Covington.

The Bolivian Salteña

Bolivian Salteñas

Photo Credit: Ross Lewin

When I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in Food Studies, I started a food and travel blog that highlighted some of my most memorable exploits in the Americas. One of these particular experiences happened during my very first trip outside the United States, in the country of Bolivia, when I was 19 years old. In Bolivia, the locals eat salteñas for a morning snack — a very different breakfast to my typical eggs and pancakes — so I was delighted to come across a food stand selling these savory pastries my first morning in La Paz. I took one into my hands and, disregarding any thought of etiquette or sophistication, I munched into that salteña like I hadn’t eaten for years; hot juice running down my chin, bits of flaky crust sticking to the edges of my mouth; I didn’t care. It was one of those foods that wasn’t just delicious; it was mind-numbingly good. I quickly whipped around, turning to the man who sold me that heavenly treat. “¡Delicioso, señor!” I exclaimed, my mouth absolutely stuffed to the brim, cheeks bulging. The man, surprised, looked slowly over my messy, food-stained face and started to laugh. It was obvious I had never eaten a salteña before and he decided to help me, showing me the proper way by holding one upright, nibbling at the top corner and eating downwards without spilling a single drop of juice. After thanking him profusely, he gave me a wink and a knowing smile. “Bienvenidos a Bolivia, amiga,” he answered. That connection — a brief, fleeting moment of a local man welcoming me into his country — resonated deeply within me. It was the first time I realized that food had the power to connect people, regardless of what country they were from or which language they spoke.

That salteña was the first thing I ever ate in Bolivia, or in any country outside the U.S., for that matter. I consider the salteña, and the memory that it invokes, the beginning of a fiery passion for food, culture, and travel that has stayed with me ever since that first trip to Bolivia. I don’t know if I would be where I am today, an aspiring culinary anthropologist, had I not discovered food’s remarkable ability to bring people together, back at that food stand in La Paz years ago.

Posted by Elizabeth Unger—NYU Food Studies graduate student

Welcome Back

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Welcome back to our students and faculty, and happy Fall to all of our followers!

We kicked off the semester by enthusiastically welcoming our newest MA students at orientation. We are excited to have such a dynamic group begin a new academic year.

Stay tuned for CLACS events this fall by joining the CLACS email list, liking CLACS at NYU on Facebook, and following us on Twitter at @clacs_nyu!

Becoming a Paulista… for now

A memorial to the trailblazers of Brazil in the Parque Ibirapuera in São Paulo.  For an excellent analysis of this sculpture and the bandeirantes more generally, look forward to Barbara Weinstein's forthcoming work, the Color of Modernity.

A memorial to the trailblazers of Brazil in the Parque Ibirapuera in São Paulo. For an excellent analysis of this sculpture and the bandeirantes more generally, look forward to Barbara Weinstein’s forthcoming work, the Color of Modernity.

I’ve been in São Paulo for only about a week, but it’s been enough time to get a feel for a Brazilian city that is much more like New York or Los Angeles than it is to anything I’ve experienced until now.  Until this research trip—in which I am not only delineating my thesis but also researching various archives at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and across the city—my entire perspective of Brazil was that of the nordeste and the Amazon, indeed the poorest regions of the country.  Now I’m in the land of skyscrapers, more intense social segregation, and chic hamburger joints like one in which everything on the menu is named after a Tarantino character or movie.

My project, which deals with the foundational period of the social sciences in Brazil (roughly 1930-1960) lies at a critical moment for understanding the tensions between nationalism and internationalism that colored the ways in which elite Brazilians—and Paulistas in particular—imagined themselves and the broader national polity.  Continue reading

The National Seminar on Copyright in the Carnival Industry

Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photos inside the seminar room, but here is a photo of the programme

Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photos inside the seminar room, but here is a photo of the programme

Yesterday I attended the National Seminar on Copyright in the Carnival Industry in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect considering that the government of Trinidad and Tobago has not made any headway in negotiations with the World Intellectual Property Organization to recognize the terminology works of mas, which encompasses carnival arts, performances and song, as Traditional Cultural Expressions. However, yesterday’s seminar not only demonstrated how important the protection of works of mas is to Trinidadians, regardless of the lack of international support, but also conveying the ritualization of bureaucracy.
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Are Peace Treaties Enough?


This summer, I have embarked on a journey of archival research. Looking at peace agreements from the last 20 years, I have read the endless processes of peace and transition. Aside from guarantees for equal participation, freedom expression, and a process of “truth seeking,” peace agreements suffer from what I have categorized  as the “paper syndrome.” The “paper syndrome” is a phenomenon which I characterized as the following: The vision  of a Peace Treaty failing to accomplish its vision, since once it is put on paper, it does not translate into immediate action. Rather, it becomes faded as soon as  its recommendations are put into practice. Governments and Commissions prepare endless amounts of reports with hundreds of recommendations of possibilities and resolutions to which few take effect. The endless agreements for participatory politics and the reign of human rights within the country become once again forgotten when power is obtained. I will say that in over the ten peace agreements I have read, the proposal for policies account for about 130 pages at their largest; yet, the results account for about 5% of these policies being adopted.

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