Supe sobre Jorge Alejandro Vargas Prado cuando leí su entrevista a Cesar Itier en la Revista Parlante Si no quiere desaparecer, el Quechua tiene que dar el salto a las ciudades, “Jorgicha” como lo llaman sus amigos es un joven cusqueño, literato, y editor de solo 25 años. Es también, un gestor cultural, su trabajo se refleja en el arte plástico, la intervención urbana, la video-poesía, la música, las producciones plurilingües. Es editor de la primera revista completamente escrita en quechua y en Asháninka: Noqanchis. Es egresado de la Escuela Profesional de Literatura y Lingüística de la Universidad Nacional de San Agustín de Arequipa. Ha publicado los libros Cuentos (2006), Para Detener el Tiempo (2008) y Kunan Pop (2010). Ha editado varias recopilaciones de poesía y narrativa entre las que destaca Qosqo qhechwasimipi akllasqa rimaykuna (2012) junto a Luis Nieto Degregori y César Itier. Continue reading
Making friends in Peru
As a veteran participant of the NGO Amigos de las Americas in Honduras, Panama and the Dominican Republic, I was used to walking into host communities and being offered piles of food, a place to sleep, a drink. I was used to finding three, sometimes four, host families per community. You could say that I was very much accustomed to a certain level of acceptance – immediate, welcoming, hospitable, generous acceptance. This meant that I was also not very accustomed to having to think too hard about why I was being accepted, or even if I should be accepted in the places where I was asking for food, housing, protection for two or three volunteers for a period of two months. People were nice, I was nice, they said yes, I said thank you, what was there really to think about?
This all worked very well until I went to Peru, where everything was suddenly flipped on its head. And here is where I want to talk about one of the struggles I faced conducting research in indigenous Peru.
No quería dejar pasar la oportunidad de postear sobre una grata sorpresa que me trajo mi viaje de investigación durante el verano. Aunque la generosa beca Tinker solamente pudo cubrir mi viaje a Lima y Bogotá, quiso la casualidad que el tercer país que anhelaba visitar viniera a mí. Gracias a coordinaciones con dos amigos teatreros peruanos, Lucero Medina y Michael Joan Gómez, y al Grupo Panparamayo Teatro, tuve la oportunidad de formar parte del taller de teatro “Memoria y olvido en la acción dramática”, ofrecido por el grupo Malayerba, de Quito, Ecuador. Dos de los miembros fundadores de este emblemático grupo, Arístides Vargas y Charo Francés, fueron hasta Lima a compartir su conocimiento y su pasión por la creación colectiva. Continue reading
En otro texto, sin embargo, en el contexto de la radicalización del movimiento, Cordorcanqui imagina un cuerpo político poscolonial compuesto por diferentes naciones, en el que los criollos y los indios “vivan como hermanos y congregados en un cuerpo, destruyendo a los europeos” (374). La naturaleza anticolonial de esta nueva comunidad es muy marcada: es una suerte de reacomodo de las naciones anteriores que debe primero extirpar al elemento foráneo-peninsular. Lo que tendrían en común los miembros de este cuerpo político sería el origen del nacimiento, la tierra natal, que los opondría a los a los europeos. Vemos aquí que la comunidad que emerge de la fusión de las naciones anteriores no solo está marcada por la fraternidad de los miembros que la integran, sino también por el odio ante quienes no la pueden ni deben integrar. La nueva entidad que surge del reacomodo de las comunidades anteriores depende de la cesura que separa entre naturales y extranjeros: se trata de un corte que hace pensables los límites de la nueva comunidad, como también identifica aquellos a los que esta nuevo sujeto comunitario debe oponerse.
En cambio, en el discurso de la sentencia contra Túpac Amaru, el visitador José Antonio Arreche se refiere a “la nación de indios, llenos de supersticiones” y a “la ilusa nación de indios” (766). Arreche trata de volver a las delimitaciones étnico-culturales de la nación del Antiguo Régimen, es decir, a los límites anteriores a los de la nueva entidad comunitaria que el levantamiento buscaba crear. La represión de la gesta anticolonial pasa por reafirmar límites étnicos muy marcados y por cancelar la imaginación de una comunidad que rechace el poder peninsular.
En suma, el levantamiento de Túpac Amaru II empezó como una demanda particularizada, cuya retórica respetaba estrictamente los canales de negociación para los reclamos en el Antiguo Régimen. Esto se evidencia en los límites semánticos que tiene el empleo del término “nación” en sus textos iniciales. Sin embargo, cuando el levantamiento adquiere una tonalidad más radical, su cariz anticolonial se liga a una nueva imaginación del cuerpo político de la sociedad: se trata de hacer pensable una comunidad que aún está por venir en el que los límites entre las “naciones” étnica-culturales para dar paso a una nueva entidad colectiva. El punto que integraría a los integrantes de esta comunidad no solo sería la fraternidad, sino también el odio compartido ante un enemigo en común: los peninsulares.
Posted by Emmanuel Velayos, Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese at NYU
During my last two weeks in Ecuador I was feeling somewhat lost with all the new information I had gathered. One of my initial hypothesis as I prepared for my trip was that the proliferation of rights under the new constitution was based in individual rights, and a careful avoidance of collective rights. I was trying to make an argument that because the Ecuadorian economy is dependent on oil extraction and the mining of heavy metals, it purposely undermines the establishment collective rights that might challenge the extractivist economy. I was aware that amidst all the flourishing of social rights there was also a strong government campaign against several environmental groups and that President Correa had gone as far as labeling them “developmental terrorists.”
As I began my research I came to understand that this argument did not translate well because the terms “collective rights” were very explicitly written into the constitution as the rights of indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian citizens. These collective rights include reparations, land rights, anti-discrimination legislation, affirmative action in education and employment, and some degree of political autonomy for small ethnic enclaves. Furthermore, the rights of nature and the indigenous concept of “Living Well” are also written into the constitution. Following the establishment of the new constitution in 2008 many state funded research groups known as “observatorios” are working to track the how well these new laws and social rights are being implemented. The re-drafting of the constitution in 2007 was extraordinary political moment for its inclusion of a diverse array of social activists and intellectuals who wrote, debated, and approved the constitutional articles and amendments through a democratic process. This accounts for why the Ecuadorian constitution is so expansive in the realm of social rights. After careful consideration I was able to discern that to frame my investigation as a comparison between collective and individual rights was not going to be particularly useful in examining the relationship between social rights and political economy.
In considering the development of individual rights, especially anti-discrimination laws, we have to also look towards the social movements that reinforce these laws or in some case dismantle them. On July 28th, I attended a panel presentation on Afro-Ecuadorian feminism hosted by FLACSO University’s Women and Gender Studies program. The panel consisted of two presenters Olivia Cortez and Sonia Viveros. Olivia Cortez is a professor at San Fransisco University and well-established leader & consultant among women’s organizations in Quito y Guayaquil. The second presenter, Sonia Viveros, is a professor at the University of Guayaquil. Francia Jenny Moreno, a graduate student from the Women and Gender Studies department, moderated the panel. The event was to serve as a space of reflection and analysis on the status of what is black or Afro-Ecuadorian feminism, and whether it can be considered a movement here in Ecuador.
Both presenters began their speech by identifying as Black women and asserting the value of that statement over other terms like mulata or Afro-descendant which serve to dissimulate and distance women from their blackness. They each affirmed that black women’s issues include the issues that are most commonly associated with feminism, such as sexual and reproductive freedom, and then when on to expose how racism and questions of poor women’s basic survival need to be more thoroughly incorporated into the mainstream feminist agenda. Black women have participated in a number of struggles in the coast, urban regions, and rural outskirts and have held leadership positions in these struggles, yet often find issues specific to Afro-Ecuadorian women unmentioned. Olivia Cortez spoke of the influence of black feminists in the US as a prime influence for her political development as a black feminist in Ecuador.
After the panel discussion I met with Francia Jenny Moreno to talk about the panel discussion
Claudia Garriga-Lopez PhD Candidate in American Studies Dept. of Social and Cultural Analysis of New York University
A community asamblea in Peru
Photo credit: Claudia Behnke
Since I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, I thought I would give a brief description of what a community asamblea is and why it is so important in Cusco and for my organization, Amigos de las Americas.
host community in Cusco, Peru
When I first started my research on turismo vivencial, or homestay tourism, I thought that Amigos de las Americas, the NGO I work for, was correct to not pay host families in cold hard cash for hosting volunteers for a summer. According to the traditional AMIGOS model, host families agree to house and occasionally feed volunteers for two months. In return, the volunteers work on behalf of the community. In most places, this means the volunteers hold educational activities and organize the community to support a development project funded in part by AMIGOS. In our Peruvian communities, this also meant that the volunteers did manual labor for various people in the community. Ideally, the entire community benefits from hosting the volunteers.
In addition, the theory goes that not paying host families benefits the volunteers by weeding out any family that would agree to host a volunteer just for the money. Since volunteers are sometimes as young as 15 years old, AMIGOS wants to select families who will act as families and provide cultural exchange, support and guidance during the summer. The idea is that if you don’t pay someone, they must be doing it out of the kindness of their heart and not for monetary gain.
Understanding access to education for Colombia’s lower-income students – “estudiantes de escasos recursos” seems to be the most common, politically correct term while “los pobres” is the most frank – has required reconsidering certain assumptions based on the U.S. education system. There are plenty of similarities on the surface: racial minorities and poor students are at a greater risk of dropping out; affirmative action programs have noble intentions and difficult goals; everyone has a four-letter word to share about student loans. Stringing these issues together is a ubiquitous debate about the privatization of higher education, and what sort of education reform the country really needs.
Again, much like in the U.S., the “scarce resources” of the students in question refer to more than income. Key amongst these resources are solid primary and secondary education and “social capital” – which is, loosely speaking, knowing how to dress, talk, and behave in order to successfully navigate society. This can include things as simple as a parent showing a child how to shake hands before an interview, or knowing how to write and speak in proper Spanish – that is, the Spanish that employers and university professors want to hear. This is why, if I have to generalize, I use the term “disadvantaged” students. “Lower-income” implies that the problem is merely a lack of money, and can thus be solved with more money (spoiler alert: it can’t). Continue reading
In keeping align with my methodological approach utilizing multimedia to conduct collaborative ethnography; the latest installments of the project were interview workshops. In general, skill development workshops are a major component of this project. The workshops focus on creative reconnaissance and technological skill building activities. The participants and I work together (and with local experts) to learn more about different aspects of photography, video, and audio equipment and techniques, editing programs, blogging, creative writing, and more. Furthermore, another purpose of the meetings and workshops is to familiarize the participants with the greater New York City area.
Last week, I met with the young ladies, in groups of two, at Washington Square in Manhattan. Throughout the day, each participant was able to enter and observe New York University’s Bobst Library (where they were granted limited access to the stacks and facility!), the Tisch School of Art’s ITP lab (the Interactive Telecommunications Program, where we borrow the 5D camera and audio recording equipment), and the CLACS office and rooms (the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, where the footage was actually recorded). Each pair played artistic directors in setting the stage for their interview session. Unfortunately, a light decided to begin its slow, blinking decline during the “talk show” style interview, but the cameras kept rolling in order to maintain the “flow” of the conversation. Claritza and Valin decided that a conversation style would be the most comfortable and effective approach. Continue reading