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Welcome 2017 CLACS MA Cohort!

Big smiles and enthusiasm in the air characterized the mood this week as we welcomed our 2017 cohort with a series of events beginning  Monday, August 28. From registering to class and meeting advisors, to familiarizing with the Latin American and Caribbean City of New York, these activities were designed to help our new cohort get settled in school and getting a broader perspective of their new home.

Day 1 – Included an overview of CLACS with faculty, students and alumni, as well as a “nuts and bolts” session with the new cohort and a campus tour.

Day 2 – Two museum visits. One to El Museo del Barrio that included a guided visit to the NKAME and Debtfair exhibits. The other, to the Museum of the City of New York‘s exhibit Rythm and Power. This last one was guided by its curator and this year’s CLACS Visiting Scholar Derrick Leon Washington. The activities ended at the New York City Mayor’s West Indian American and Caribbean Heritage reception at the Gracie Mansion.

Day 3 – Started with the new cohort’s meetings with academic advisors. This was followed by a walking tour of the historic sites of the Puerto Rican community of Loisaida in the city’s Lower East Side neighborhood. Led by community leader and activist Iyawó Pepe Flores, the sightseeing tour took the group through various blocks that included lunch at Casa Adela, stops at gardens and casitas, the Nuyorican Poets Café, and a view of the current exhibit at Loisaida Inc.

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Recap of an Evening with Honduran Indigenous Leaders Conversation

On July 12, 2017, CLACS hosted a timely event with two of Honduras best known indigenous leaders. The night’s conversation featured Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, daughter of the late Lenca community leader Berta Cáceres and General Coordinator of  the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and Miriam Miranda who is General Coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (ONAFREH) and a well-known Garífuna community leader.

The night’s events began with a presentation of two short clips honoring the memory Berta Cáceres, which also served to contextualize the conversation to come. The first clip, was from the Berta Vive documentary, followed by a part of the acceptance speech by the Lenca leader from her acceptance of the Goldman Prize (2015). With this, the stage was set for the conversation with the featured speakers moderated by Grassroots International‘s Latin America Program Coordinator Jovanna Garcia Soto.

With a capacity room, the conversation featured insights on current affairs in the struggles of the indigenous communities in Honduras. Bertha Zúniga spoke about the legacy of her late mother, the importance of unity in resistance struggles, and denounced current anti-terrorism laws. Miriam Miranda, on her part, highlighted the importance of her people’s cultural traditions and spirituality in resisting the current crisis in favor of of life in Honduras.

This event was co-sponsored by Grassroots International and NYU’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.

El Salvador Accords 2016 Conference Videos and Transcripts Now Available

Link to Videos and Transcripts

A year in the making on Spring 2016, NYU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and Columbia’s Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) presented “From War to Politics: An International Conference on El Salvador’s Peace Process.” This was a remarkable convening of stakeholders in the signing of the peace accords that ended the civil war in El Salvador. The conference, which was sponsored by various institutions including the Department of History at NYU, the Office of the Provost at NYU and Columbia University, provided the opportunity for a candid public conversation between sometimes opposing parties and regional players in the war and to reflect about the conflict, share insights about the historic resolution and explore the current consequences in El Salvador of the vestiges of war.

ElSalvador2

Almost a year after the three-day gathering that included 20 participants, the full videos that were live streamed worldwide at the time and the transcriptions of those conversations are available for all to see and explore through this link. We understand these documents to be sources for a new understanding of the process and a contribution on scholarship in topics such as History of the Americas, the Cold War, Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Human Rights, among many others.

Special thanks to Will Hogue of Fordham University and CLACS Graduate Assistants Michael Cary and Diego Cristian Saldaña for their work in these efforts.

Next Week at CLACS: PoeTea, NYPL Oral History, CineCLACS and Revolutionary Feminism!

We’ve got amazing events planned for next week here at CLACS at NYU! It’ll be a busy week–from having the New York Public Library’s Community Oral History Project on site to hosting an important discussion on feminism in Latin America–and we want to invite you along! All our events are free and open to NYU students and faculty as well as the general public. Read below for short descriptions on the upcoming events, and we hope to see you here next week!

On Monday, join us in celebrating National Poetry Month at PoeTea! We’re collaborating with the Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York to showcase the work of young local Haitian poets and spoken word artists and also sharing traditional Haitian teas. This is the perfect opportunity to witness the power of poetry and storytelling all while learning about a part of Haitian culture that has been around for centuries! Additional refreshments and drinks will also be served. Event starts at 6:30pm, for more info visit the event page on our website.

On Tuesday, we’re hosting a brown bag lunch talk featuring the NYPL Community Oral History Project! We’ve invited Alexandra Kelly, Manager of Adult Programming and Outreach Services at the NYPL and director of the Community Oral History Project, to present and lead discussion around the project model and the challenges around maintaining oral history standards in a large-scale volunteer-driven project. Event starts at 12:30pm, for more info visit the event page on our website.

Also on Tuesday, CineCLACS presents a collaborative documentary produced by filmmaker and faculty member Peter Lucas. We’ll be screening The Rules, a film shot in Rio de Janeiro that prompts participants to answer the question, “If you could break the rules… what would you do?” The screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmaker. Event starts at 6:30pm, for more info visit the event page on our website.

On Friday, CLACS and Ni Una Menos NYC is hosting Verónika Mendoza, last year’s Peruvian presidential candidate and women’s rights advocate, in a conversation about the power of intersectional feminist leadership in the process of ending feminicides and gender inequality in Peru and Latin America. This conversation will also feature Claudia Salazar, author of “La Sangre de la Aurora, and will be moderated by CLACS faculty member Pamela Calla as part of her Feminist Constellations and Intercultural Paradigms working group. The event will be held in Spanish and simultaneous interpretation will be provided. Event starts at 5:00pm, for more info visit the event page on our website.

We hope you can join us next week! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more information on our events; there’s always something happening at #CLACSatNYU!

Wynnie Lamour on The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series

SaniteBelair

At CLACS at NYU we’ve been celebrating International Women’s Month by hosting The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series all this month. So far, we’ve hosted Black Afro-feminist activist Fania Noel and rapper and spoken word artist Theresa Sophia Alphonse. Later this month we’ll be hosting Stephani Saintonge, an award-winning filmmaker & documentarian. To give the CLACS at NYU’s community more insight about the inspiration behind the series, Haitian Creole Language Institute founder Wynnie Lamour talks about Sanité Bélair and the deep historical roots that ground the events:

“Despite the invaluable contribution of many women in Caribbean history, their voices and stories have often been left by the wayside, having fallen prey to the whims of a society that often undervalues women. From providing the nurture needed by their communities to blazing new pathways, women have always lead the way for movements of great change.

The Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series was born out of a desire to celebrate and center the visionary work of contemporary Caribbean women. Sanité Bélair was a Haitian freedom fighter and revolutionary, and one of the few women soldiers who fought during the Haitian Revolution at the turn of the 19th century. Sanité, whom Dessalines described as “a tigress,” is formally recognized by the Haitian Government as a National Heroine of Haiti.

Just as the Haitian Revolution led the way for so many others in the Caribbean, the courage and fortitude displayed by Sanité during the Haitian Revolution was unparalleled and continues to echo in the spirits of many Haitian women today. Her passion and fire serve as inspiration for the three Modern-Day Revolutionary women being featured this month in the Sanité Bélair Women’s Empowerment Series: Fania Noel, Black Afro-Feminist Activist; Theresa Sophia Alphonse, Rapper & Spoken Word Artist; and Stephani Saintonge, award-winning Filmmaker & Documentarian.”

Thinking Through Milanich’s Children of Fate in Contemporary Times

By Amanda Sommer Lotspike, MA candidate at CLACS

“No Charges Filed Against Off-Duty LAPD Officer,” the headline reads. A video shows a grown white man bearing a gun, clutching the shirt of a child. Another grown white man stands away with his hands in his pockets, while children rush to support the child, who is being dragged by the hands of the grown white man. In the news, the perpetrator’s name is concealed to protect his identity. As he walks free, two children are detained in the Orange County Juvenile Hall.

Today’s February 26. This weekend, forensics teams searched the periphery of the home of the grown white man to protect his private property from future damage. Today’s February 26, and five years have passed since Trayvon Martin’s death. His murderer, a grown man, still walks free. In response to the most recent shooting, The LAPD labor union releases a statement: “an officer has the right to self-defense no matter the age of the offender.”[1]

To talk about recognition and intelligibility under liberalism means engaging with the present. In our Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Studies II seminar this week, Nara Milanich was invited to speak to our class on the topic of law, filial relations and the production of social inequalities in late nineteenth century Chile. In Children of Fate: Childhood, Class, and the State in Chile, 1850-1930, Milanich traces the paradoxes of liberalism and the ways in which transformations in civil law regarding the family actually re-instated social inequalities. Here, continuity with longstanding social practices rather than rupture, marks the trajectory of the liberal state. One example is the increasing secularization and growth of state power matched by a contradictory emphasis on private rights and personal freedom. Another more pointed example is the function of judicial authorities who characterized children as “too young to ‘determine the use of his person,’” yet acknowledged their self-determination.[2]

During class discussion we drew on contemporary examples of racialized, classed and gendered discourses that castigate certain types of child rearing, and which wield the legal classification of “child” (like “citizen”) as a tool to construct and reinforce social and political hierarchies. I thought about our discussion as I read the news headline today. I thought about the reach of state power in the form of an officer’s gun on a child, while the same state (the legal system) asserts the perpetrator’s private rights by protecting his identity. I thought about how legal definitions of childhood and adulthood fall away when a pillar of the liberal state is held up to scrutiny, when “an officer has the right to self-defense no matter the age of the offender.”

Notes

[1] No Charges Filed Against Off-Duty LAPD Officer, Anaheim Mayor ‘Deeply Disturbed’ By Video. February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/02/23/anaheim-protest-arrests

[2] Milanich, N. B. (2009). Children of fate: Childhood, class, and the state in Chile, 1850-1930. Durham: Duke University Press, 123.

CLACS Faculty Pamela Calla Wins Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award

 

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It is with great honor that we share with the #CLACSatNYU community that our faculty member Pamela Calla recently won the Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, leadership, social justice advocacy, and community building.

Professor Calla is a distinguished anthropologist, cherished member of the #CLACSatNYU community, and a mentor to many of our students. She grew up in a mining town in southern Bolivia. Her understanding and construction of collaborative political, pedagogical and research approaches dealing with difference and inequality were shaped by this life experience.

Before coming to CLACS at NYU, she was the co-founder and director of the Bolivian Observatory on Racism. This observatory had the mandate of research, capacity-building, and grassroots action against current manifestations of racism. She was later co-founder and co-coordinator of the “Red de Investigación Acción Anti Racista en las Américas,” an initiative which linked organizations with similar mandates across the Americas, as well as focused on capacity-building and comparative-action research in the creation of pertinent anti-racist strategies.

Professor Calla’s research has also focused on indigenous women in social movements in Latin America. Black feminism’s intersectional analysis and Chicana feminism’s border analysis in the U.S. became crucial to her action-research with indigenous women in Bolivia. This experience led to the co-creation, alongside colleagues and students, of a working group on Feminist Constellations and Intercultural Paradigms at CLACS. She is now writing a book, “Indigenous women and the hegemony of a cultural revolution in Bolivia.”

We are honored to have Professor Pamela Calla at #CLACSatNYU and celebrate her achievements and the positive impact she continues to have among our students.

¡Felicidades profesora!