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.

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To Remember Is to Resist

rememberMy research experience in Brazil has been very interesting and unique, as Brazilian artists, art critics, and curators have opened the doors of their ateliers and houses to talk about the experience of the military regime in their country.
Many of the artists told me that the dictatorship did not influence their way of creating art. Nevertheless, the context in which they where living unavoidably influenced the content of their work.
After interviewing the sculptor Carlos Tenius, I met the painter Clara Pechansky, who told me that for her the only possible way to talk at that time was through her art.
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Translating ‘Works of Mas’ Within Trinidad and Tobago

For the past month my mission has been trying to document diverse perspectives on the development of “works of mas.” I have done everything possible such as consulting intellectual property lawyers at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, attending a Calypso/Pan concert, even intruding the spaces of various mas-camps, and having tea with one of the world’s icons, Peter Minshall.
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Researching Agrarian Reform in Cuba

Newspaper article from May 19, 1959: "Tierra para todos los cubanos!"
On May 17th, 1959, five months after the victory of the 26th of July Movement over Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship in Cuba, an agrarian reform law was passed limiting the amount of land that each land owner was allowed to have and nationalizing large estates and companies. From the turn of the century until the implementation of the land reform, concentration of land had been high: the majority of land had been in the hands of a few wealthy Cubans and sugar producing companies from the United States. With its aims of redistributing land to Cuba’s poor campesinos and workers, the land reform was more than a central goal of the revolution. Expressed in this commonly heard phrase during the first years of the revolution, “sin reforma agraria, no hay revolución,” its success was seen as being intricately tied to the success and survival of the revolution.

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Radio Adaptations: Good Books, Bad Books

This is the follow-up to Radio Teatro del Aire, my post about my archival research of radio dramas in Mexico City.

The second part of my project in Mexico City deals with trying to find out which books regularly read in high school are the works that have a positive effect on students, inspiring them to become readers in adulthood. I also want to ask, which are the books that have the opposite effect? I have been doing interviews in person and on the Internet, and the results are pretty close.

The list of books that positively influenced people to become readers as adults:

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Radio Teatro del Aire

Hello again from Mexico City.

During the last couple of weeks I have been doing primarily two things. The first one involves going back several times to the archives of the Fonoteca Nacional in Coyoacán and listening to different kinds of radio dramas, in particular the ones based on written fiction. The Fonoteca has a massive archive, and I would need years and many extra people to listen to each one of the radio dramas they have available in order to make a proper selection. What would be a proper selection in this case? Entertaining archived radio dramas, available to take out of the Fonoteca and free to play at schools for pedagogical reasons, and radio stations, in order to get closer this appealing kind of storytelling to the Mexican population.

What I have found is that the best productions are the ones that were made in the 80s by Televisa, the main media source of the country, which happens to be a private and sometimes vilified corporation, probably the main ideological influence that Mexicans consume through popular culture—television, radio, and cinema.

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Modernismo Criminal in the Dominican Republic


This research trip was “inspired” by the 2013 Dominican Constitutional Court ruling in favor of a previous sentence involving the de-citizenship of all those born to foreign parents who have resided “irregularly” in the country, which is emblematic of what some criticize as the Dominican intellectual elite’s obsession with erecting an imagined racialized border with Haiti, especially during the Trujillato.

In my research, I trace four different aspects of this imagined enemy—particularly the Haitian immigrant and their descendants–as an enemy coming from a very sophisticated and sometimes hateful discourse that has shaped the everyday ethics of the Dominican public, often generating an exclusionary social hypocrisy. Firstly, I put together the history of violence in the Trujillato shown at the Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana with traces of anti-Haitianism; secondly, I analyze the media focus on the 1937 genocide called “Masacre del Perejjil,” a massive killing of peasants in the north border; thirdly, I examine Joaquin Balaguer’s La isla al reves (The Island the Other Way Around) which very well exposes the Trujillo-Balaguer’s hispanophile ideology, and which I call Modernismo Criminal; and lastly, I conduct street interviews on exclusion and violence patterns at the present time that are linked to that discourse.

Below is an excerpt of some conclusions I reached on the street interviews, which greatly exemplify how this hate discourse affects numerous lives in different ways, children in particular. I informally talked to 12 street children, who were between 12 and 18 years of age. I asked some brief standardized questions, getting the following shockingly similar characteristics:

The majority of them work as shoe-shiners;

All of them were not literate or have never attended school;

All of them have some Haitian relative;

The majority of them have Haitian parents;

All of them have been detained by the Policia Turistica at least 10 times;

None of them have a Dominican ID even though all of them are Dominican.

These kids are a disturbing example of what the agambenian sacer looks like in the Dominican Republic: abandoned bodies in the sense they are beyond the protection of the State, outside of what the law considers its subjects. The first alarming fact is how easy they could be jailed. As a matter of fact, the picture I uploaded here was taken when Joel (15) was detained just because he was speaking to me, it did not matter that I said to Policia Turistica that it was okay, we were having a conversation, they just took him away. Policia Turistica has two detention centers in the Zona Colonial where they jail these kids for between eight to 12 hours, or until a colonel comes, hits or shouts at them, and finally releases them.

Posted by Marcelo Carosi – PhD Candidate at the NYU Department of Spanish