Category Archives: Recent Research

Pride Controversy in El Salvador: Initial Observations in the Documentation of the History of LGBT Movement

In my first few weeks of interviews with activists to document the history of the LGBT movement in El Salvador, several things have become apparent:

  1. It is more accurate to say LGBT “movements.” The way that organization has broken down over time so far seems to be: gay men, transgender women, transgender men, lesbians, and feminist-lesbians. There has been some, but not much, collaboration between these groups. It does seem however, that transgender women first organized within gay men’s groups, and that feminist-lesbian organization came mostly from demobilized women guerrillas from the Salvadoran Civil War.
  2. I have only concentrated on the feminist-lesbian bloc so far. It has been interesting to hear the same dates come up in the interviews with activists from various generations. For instance, everyone has so far cited an international feminist conference held in El Salvador in 1993 as the starting point for the public feminist-lesbian movement in the country. Being able to start to draw a timeline from these women’s memories—to start to etch out the movement’s history—is thrilling.

LGBT activists flank the former Ombudsman for Human Rights, Oscar Luna, at a press conference in El Salvador on May 17, 2013.

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Bagua Not Forgotten


June 5 marked five years since the bloodshed in the Peruvian city of Bagua, situated in the Amazon. The Peruvian government negotiated a Free Trade Agreement with the United States that came into effect in February of 2009. It gave mining corporations special rights to access the Amazon for oil exploration and subsequent exploitation.  There were numerous protests that year from multiple indigenous groups, like the awajun and wampis. In June, President Alan Garcia declared a state of emergency and sent in the Peruvian National Police to stop the protests.  At least 33 people were killed, including members of the police and indigenous groups.  Although some politicians resigned their posts, like the then Prime Minister Yehude Simon, no politicians have been brought to justice as being the intellectual perpetrators of the crime. Many Peruvians now view both the police and the awajun and wampis peoples as victims of a game in which the players care much more for the benefit of transnationals and their own pockets than the lives of “second class citizens,” as  President Garcia defined them when asked what he thought of the happenings on June 5, 2009.

Starting at around 5:00 at the Plaza San Martin, a wide array of different organizations began a a demonstration in commemoration of the day of the Earth and the fifth anniversary of the bloodshed at Bagua.


Many different leaders spoke to the crowd of about 100 people at the Plaza San Martin that evening. Between every speaker the crowd cried out in unison: “Conga no va! Conga no va! Toromocho tampoco! Toromocho tampoco!”  The first is a protest against a gold and copper mining project led by Newmont Corporation in Cajamarca, the second a copper and molybdenum mining project led by Minera Chinalco Peru.  Newmont is U.S.-owned, while Chinalco’s roots go all the way to China.

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Cardboard Books and Sexual Work


Marguch Argentina Cardboard books

I arrived to Córdoba, Argentina in June to write about La Sofía Cartonera (La Sofia Cardboard Publishing House), part of a project from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, that works with AMMAR (Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices), a female sex workers union that advocates for regulations and rights to protect women who engage in this work.

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Avoiding the Copa

Out my window

Out my window

Although most people that I’ve talked to who are not Brazilianists have been jealous about my ability to do research in Brazil this summer, I have, from day one, been quite unenthused about the prospect of being here for the World Cup.  This is not because I am uninterested in futebol, but rather, because of the many practical difficulties that it arouses for getting around and getting things done.  Roads are congested, lanes are closed, bus and metro workers around the country are striking over their working conditions (when public money is going to stadiums and the like), and many public institutions have special holiday hours.

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Researching at the Carter Center

Blog Carter Center

Greetings from the humid and very welcoming city of Atlanta! I have decided to conduct research and devote the next ten weeks working as an intern at the Carter Center’s Americas Program.
The Carter Center focuses on giving a new angle towards what Humanitarianism and Development look like. As their mission statements says, “[The Carter Center is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.” As such, the Center does not try to duplicate work; rather, it tries to reach and analyze new issues affecting various regions of the world. The Center has done a stellar job trying to partner with different organizations, political and social groups, so it has nonpartisan approach.

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Totalizing Violence and Experience in Mexico

Maya Aguiluz Ibargüen

Maya Aguiluz Ibargüen

Maya Aguiluz Ibargüen, senior research fellow at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), has been a visiting scholar at NYU this past semester. As a sociologist, she has published widely on the discourse of modernity and social theory. In 2012, she received the UNAM’s “Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz” Award.

Aguiluz-Ibargüen studies violence from historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives following integrative streams for transdisciplinary fusions. She began to intertwine perspectives through the integration of social sciences with anthropological and cultural studies.

In the beginning of the nineties, Aguiluz-Ibargüen did her Masters in La Paz, Bolivia, during which she was fascinated with her immersion into Bolivian pluralistic society. According to her, the Andean identification processes are continuously built in a plural process: cultures, politics, projects, and ideas from different parts of the world mix together, and the Andean culture learns how to embrace them. In 2005, she conducted research for a collaborative project about the work of Arturo Peralta Miranda. Known under the pseudonym of Gamaliel Churata, he is a writer who was exiled from Peru to Bolivia in 1919, but became an acknowledged journalist in the 1950s. Aguiluz- Ibargüen’s first work on Churata used Quechua and Aymara narrative to express social experiences through mythical stories and parables.

She decided to come to CLACS because of the Center’s focus on her region of  main interest: the Andes. But another important reason that motivated her is that CLACS Director, Jill Lane, is an expert in Performance Studies, and Aguiluz-Ibargüen is currently focusing on social suffering, the politics of love, and the performance of violence. Continue reading

Imperialist Musical Chairs: the U.S. and Brazil in Morales’s Bolivia

Brazil's Dilma Rousseff and Bolivia's Evo Morales. Photo Credit: The World Outline

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. Photo Credit: The World Outline

This article first appeared on on December 24, 2013. Reposted with Permission.

Evo Morales’s 2005 election brought an end to a long period of U.S.-Bolivia relations. Since at least 1952, the United States held Bolivia under its sway as a client state. The end of U.S. imperialism through an insidious client-patron relationship that traded large sums of U.S. money for Bolivian adherence to capitalist development and democratic principles was a momentous occasion. Although it is important to acknowledge Morales’s push-back against U.S. imperialism, other forms of imperialism not only loom large, but also happen to coincide with Morales’s interests. No longer is imperialism a cultural and political project shepherded by one nation-state that becomes the patron for client states; to the contrary, it is becoming a reflection of the messiness and instability of our transnational and globalized era. A look at the TIPNIS road controversy in the heart of Bolivia, a country always on the receiving end of imperialist projects, illustrates the emergence of one particular form of new imperialism: Brazilian subimperialism.

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Why Does a Dutchman Living in Denmark Care About Cuba? An Interview With Visiting Scholar Sjamme Van de Voort

“Why does a Dutchman living in Denmark care about Cuba? And why would you come to New York to study Cuba?

Sjamme van de Voort

“Theses questions were posed to me by the Outreach Administrator of CLACS, when she was preparing for my talk at the center. And she was not the first one to ask that question. Let me explain.

My name is Sjamme van de Voort, PhD student at the Department of Culture and Society at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. In Denmark, the position as a PhD student is somewhat different then here in the US. First of all, you are considered a part of the faculty rather then a part of the student body. This means that you have a say in faculty politics, curricular design, and coffee room gossip. Secondly, instead of following graduate courses, taking exams, and drawing up the research prospect during the process, your acceptance into the program will depend on the prospectus that you would have prepared beforehand. This means that you are invested in your research on a daily basis from the very beginning.

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Stories of El Salvador: The Civil War and Its Aftermath

Photo by Lyn McCraken

Photo by Lyn McCraken

Next April the Graduate Association of Latin American Studies (GALAS) at NYU will open an exhibition entitled Stories of El Salvador: The Civil War and Its Aftermath. Raúl Guzmán and Camilla Querin, two students of the joint degree Master’s program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Museum Studies will be curating the exhibition that will be exhibited at the Stovall Gallery in the Kimmel Center.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between GALAS, CLACS, NACLA, Museum Studies, the Mujeres de la Guerra project and the Stovall Gallery. The photo exhibition will focus on the Civil War in El Salvador and the role of women during and after the conflict. The exhibition will present a historical view of the Salvadoran Civil War through portrait photos, videos and oral histories of women involved in the conflict.

The intention is to educate people about the Salvadoran Civil War, about the power of women, their resilience and their organizational abilities. The aim is to tell their inspiring stories and share their hope, wisdom and dedication with the world, to make people reflect upon different forms of activism and to reach not only an NYU audience, but also the Salvadoran community in NYC, people interested in activism, feminism, community organization, photography and resilience after armed conflicts.

Posted by Raúl Guzmán and Camilla Querin – MA Candidates at CLACS / Museum Studies

NACLA-CLACS Conversation with Carlos Pérez Guartambel: Indigenous Resistance in the Andes

carlos perez guartambelThis article first appeared on on November 18, 2013. Reposted with Permission.

Ecuador’s  indigenous movement has a strong legacy of resistance in Latin America. After the national uprising of 1990, the indigenous movement directly entered electoral politics with the creation of the electoral party Pachakutik in 1996. Ecuador’s indigenous movement is a milestone in the region, fueling an ethnopolitical climate of resistance across the Andes that resulted in the election of indigenous President Evo Morales in Bolivia in 2006. Today the movement resists extractivism on indigenous lands, pursuing its strategy of resistance despite systematic repression from the government.

In a NACLA-CLACS co-sponsored event on October 31, Manuela Picq spoke with Carlos Pérez Guartambel, the current leader of Ecuarunari, (Ecuador Runacunapak Rikcharimui, Confederation of the Kichwa of Ecuador), the historically powerful indigenous organization in the Ecuadorian highlands. The event was translated by Antonia Carcelén.

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