On April 4th, CLACS welcomed a visit and lecture by famed anthropologist Sidney W. Mintz. He was speaking as part of the Our America course and speakers series organized by Professors Aisha Khan and Millery Polyne. Born in 1922 in New Jersey, Mintz received his BA from Brooklyn College in 1943, and his PhD from Columbia University’s Anthropology department. Mintz’s work has influenced anthropology, history, and particularly Latin American / Caribbean studies. His books Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History, Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom: Excursions into Eating, Culture, and the Past, and The Birth of African-American Culture: An Anthropological Approach among others, have established Mintz as a seminal figure in the study of on slavery, peasantry, labor, and food. He is one of a group of prominent anthropologists from Columbia who developed under Julian Steward and Ruth Benedict, including Marvin Harris, Eric Wolf, Morton Fried, and Stanley Diamond.
Mintz’s lecture reflected the ongoing primacy of his subject matter, based upon field work he had begun in 1948. His continued engagement with issues of race, ethnicity, creolization, dislocation, linguistics, relationships of power and dominance, and the economies of colonialism are an integral to academic study across several disciplines. His delivery was pithy, witty and grounded in his competence as a life-long scholar, educator, sincere and honest human being.
Felicidades to our 2011 CLACS M.A. graduate students!
Franklin Steven Moreno
Cristina Tamara Diaz-Carrera
Lee Ann Evans
Mariana Judith Pardes
Karla Paola Reyes
Ashley Georgia Roseberry
Maria Piedrahita Trimble
Rachel Elizabeth Brooks-Ames
Roque Daniel Planas
Andrew Collin O’Reilly
Rebecca Lynn Fisher
Festival in Leticia, circa 1945 - Photo courtesy archival holdings at the Biblioteca Publica del Banco de la Republica in Leticia
Sarah Sarzynski is a CLACS Associated Professor Faculty Fellow, and began teaching at CLACS in fall 2010. She brings an eclectic and rigorous teaching style to the CLACS M.A. program, and is responsible for the Introduction to Latin American Studies core class, which explores the colonial history of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Sarzynski’s academic research focuses on visual culture and Brazil. Her dissertation focused on rural social movements in northeastern Brazil during the cold war. Sarzynski investigated how agrarian social movements in the region coincided with a historic moment – specifically, the 1959 Cuban Revolution – which caused these social movements to be influenced by cold war politics. She also looks at the dialectical relationship between cultural production, social activism and identity formation created by these political circumstances.
Puerto Nariño, Colombia - Photo courtesy Sarah Sarzynski
Most recently, Sarzynski has been doing research on the “Tres Fronteras” region in the Amazon, a point where Brazil, Peru and Colombia meet. According to Sarzynksi, this region is incredibly diverse and marked by both a conceptual fluidity in national identity, and a physical fluidity of transportation via the Amazon River. Because of these same characteristics, the area is also rife with issues such as drug and human trafficking. But, since it is the meeting point between 3 countries, it is also a particularly interesting area in which to study representations of transnational identities.