Cinco de Mayo is celebrated across the U.S. as a festive Mexican holiday, but it also has deep historical and cultural significance. At a CLACS K-12 Outreach event, author David Hayes Bautista presented his recently published book, El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition, which looks at the shifting meanings of Cinco de Mayo in historical perspective. According to the author, Cinco de Mayo’s roots are in U.S. Latino culture, not Mexican, and reflect the aspirations and cultural changes in this community. His work is particularly rooted in California’s Mexican cultural history, and he is working on curriculum that will be made available to the California school system.
The event also featured presentations by Elizabeth Frankel-Rivera, a 3rd grade teacher at PS 333, Manhattan School for Children, and Marisa Cadena Belski, a CLACS M.A. candidate and coordinator of the K-12 Outreach Program. Elizabeth talked about her experience teaching the class, and feeling personally connected to the subject because of her husband’s Mexican nationality. Her curriculum is intended for elementary school students.
Marisa’s curriculum is intended for 6th – 12th grade students, and is more contextual and thematic, and is complemented by online and video resources. “150 years later, there continues to be a lot of confusion about the importance of Cinco de Mayo. By focusing on this era, it opens a space for investigating the ‘parallel histories’ of the U.S. and Mexico,” she says.
As a complement to David Hayes Bautista’s emphasis on California, both Elizabeth and Marisa created materials that put Cinco de Mayo in a national historical context. Learn more about K-12 Outreach initiatives at CLACS and review our extensive online curricular materials.
Arlene Davila is an award-winning Anthropologist and a CLACS affiliated faculty member. She teaches classes in Anthropology and Social and Cultural Analysis. Her research focuses on race and ethnicity, media studies, globalization, visual culture, political economy, consumer culture, and Latinos in the U.S.
Originally from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, Arlene has been committed to studying Puerto Rico since early in her academic and professional career.
She studied Anthropology at Tufts as an undergrad, and came to New York to focus on museum studies. She went on to work at the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art (MOCHA), and later to El Museo del Barrio. Throughout, she found she was increasingly interested in the politics of identity and representation, which led her to study Anthropology at CUNY.
After CUNY, her first teaching position was in Anthropology and Latino Studies at Syracuse University. She says she had been skeptical about academia, but was drawn to it after doing research for her first books on Puerto Rican culture.
“I was really hooked. Researching and interviewing people and doing ethnographies – that’s what made me stick to academia,” she said.
A coconut vendor surveys his prospects on Port-au-Prince Bay, near Léogâne, Haiti – Image courtesy of Kelly Stetter, CLACS MA student, 2011
nexo, the annual magazine that provides news about CLACS programs and articles by faculty and students, is now available in print and online.
In addition to exciting CLACS news and events briefings, this year’s nexo features articles spanning from Haiti to Uruguay that highlight “Cultural Producers, Regional Networks and State Reforms. Fabienne Doucet, Sarah Sarzynshi, Alexandra Falek, Cristel M. Jusino Diaz, and Sarah Szabo contributed article on these topics.
Visit the CLACS website to instructions on how to download or request a print version of nexo.
CLACS Alum Franklin Moreno is the Schools Programs Manager at El Museo del Barrio, where he has worked since 2009. El Museo del Barrio is a Latino cultural institution dedicated to promoting Latin American and Caribbean art and culture.
He was recently accepted to a PhD program in Human Development and Education at UC Berkeley, where he will be studying Cognition and Development with Elliot Turiel.
“I feel that museums offer so much, and have been creating spaces to approach education in a more flexible ways. I’m trying to better understand the ways our minds develop to better understand trauma and education, and then connect that to museum practices,” he says.
At CLACS, Franklin’s research focused on museum studies and El Salvador. His thesis looked at El Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE), where he explored the role of the museum in relation to post-war conflict and social and psychological trauma. He graduated from CLACS in January 2011.
He says his experiences at CLACShelped shape his career and future research.
“I am still working out a lot of ideas that came out of my time at CLACS, and drawing on work by some of the authors I read,” he says.
The CLACS Teacher Residency Program is a unique opportunity for New York City educators interested in professional and curriculum development on Latin America and the Caribbean. The program aims to provide a space for teachers to grow their own knowledge base, gather and create accessible and engaging teaching materials, and share materials with other educators.
Are you a K-12 educator? You are eligible to participate in the Teacher Residency Program, through which you gain access to NYU faculty, staff, library and resources! Learn how to apply.
This year, CLACS will be running two concurrent Residency Programs, one on US-Mexico topics and one on Andean topics. Past Residency Programs have focused on Teaching the Cold War and Latin America, and Latin American Migrations. The first section of the residency on US-Mexico topics will give teachers the opportunity to collaborate with the Indocumentales/Undocumentaries: US/Mexico Interdependent Film Series project, and will be run concurrently with a graduate-level design course entitled Public Project at the Pratt Institute.
Participants pursuing the second residency theme, topics related to the Andes, will expand their own knowledge base, gather and create accessible and engaging materials for a Middle or High School audience, and share materials with other educators. Residents will have the opportunity to connect with programming initiatives stemming from the CLACS Andean Initiative. Topics of focus could include indigenous movements, colonization, multiculturalism, power, natural resources and land rights, quechua and kichwa languages.
Visit the Teacher Residency Program page on the CLACS website for more information and to apply.
Learn more about the CLACS K-12 Outreach Program and K-12 curricular materials.
Omni-ZonaFranca is an innovative poetry, music and performance collective from Alamar, Cuba. In their first U.S. tour, this internationally renowned group performed for an enthusiastic audience in NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life on March 28, 2012.
The group’s performance was an explosive ensemble of music and poetry, complimented by videos and interspersed with dance and dramatic performances. They also featured a typewriter symphony. Each episode in the show was seemingly spontaneous, but the fluidity made clear the performance was orchestrated.