Category Archives: Alumni Achievements

Quechua/Kichwa Film Showcase on the Road

From June 17th to the 19th the Quechua/Kichwa film showcase May Sumak! (How Beautiful!) is going on the road  to Washington, D.C. The showcase is a celebration of indigenous and community filmmaking in the Quechua languages spoken throughout the Andes and by immigrants in the United States. Created in 2015 by the CLACS student-led Runasimi Outreach Committee (ROC), May Sumak! will be part of the National Museum of the American Indian’s ongoing exhibition The Great Inka Road The opening night will feature the film Killa  and Q&A with its director  Ecuadorian filmmaker Alberto Muenala. This conversation will be hosted by CLACS alum and former ROC member Charlie Uruchima. Click here for more details on the films, show times and venues.

maysumak ifle invite

CLACS ’03 Alum’s Newest Book on the Lasting Immigrant Legacy of Mexico’s Cristero War

The Catholic University Professor and CLACS '03 Alum and her newest book 'Mexican Exodus'

The Catholic University Professor and CLACS ’03 Alum Julia Young and her newest book ‘Mexican Exodus’

Written by CLACS MA Candidate Patrick Moreno-Covington

In popular conceptions, immigrants are often thought of as poor, huddled masses yearning for the opportunity that awaits them in their new country. More recent images and ideas composed in times where immigration restrictions have increased focus on the sources of violence and poverty immigrants are often leaving. The new dialogue surrounding the criminality of immigrants is a similar continuation of this fixation on violence. In many ways these conversations are not new or novel to our time. Each share the tradition of seeking to reduce these often complex experiences to easily identifiable and digestible narratives.

CLACS ’03 alum Julia Young has sought to investigate the variable and nuanced realities of the immigrant experience in her newest book Mexican Exodus: Emigrants, Exiles, and Refugees of the Cristero War. Young’s interest in migration began as she started her career as a Latin America scholar as part of CLACS. Young’s Master’s thesis provided nuance to the immigration experience by quantifying, from a sociological perspective, how Mexican immigrants have assimilated into American culture. Julia credits CLACS for providing a multi-disciplinary educational opportunity that allowed her to meld her interest in the immigrant experience with studies of contemporary Latin America. After graduating from CLACS, Julia used her expertise in writing as a journalist and editor before deciding that she missed the thrill of research and began to pursue her PhD in History at the University of Chicago and becoming an Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic University in Washington DC.

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CLACS Alumnus Publishes Book Debunking the Myths of the Old West

CLACS Alumnus D.H. Figueredo '88 with his newest book Revolvers and Pistolas

CLACS Alumnus D.H. Figueredo ’88 with his newest book Revolvers and Pistolas

Written by CLACS Master’s Candidate Patrick Moreno-Covington

Does historical reality influence popular narrative or can popular culture construct its own historical reality? In his newest book, Revolvers and Pistolas, Vaqueros and Caballeros: Debunking the Old West, CLACS alumni D.H. Figueredo challenges commonly held perceptions of the American West to reveal the fundamental role of Mexican entrepreneurs, farmers and indeed heroes in settling the American frontier. In a conversation with the CLACS Blog, Mr. Figueredo chronicled the writing of the book and the role that his CLACS education has played in his professional and writing career.

As a small child, D.H. loved Westerns. He can remember reading the great Western novels by Karl May and attending films starring John Wayne, Randall Scott and Gary Cooper and thinking that if he were cast in these movies it would not be as a heroic cowboy but one of the nameless villains fated to be ignored in the background. As he grew older, D.H. began to discover that there was indeed a rich legacy of Mexican cowboys, important businesswomen and miners throughout what is commonly thought of the American Old West. To uncover their stories, D.H. knew that he would need to reject the stereotypes found in popular culture and document the true lives of the Latino figures who shared their knowledge and money in populating the West.

D.H. attributes this drive to view narratives from multiple angles to his time at CLACS. When Mr. Figueredo entered the CLACS Master’s Program, he was already a successful librarian helping to create the Newark Public Library’s Sala Hispanoamericana. Figueredo sought out CLACS to advance in his curatorial and library career but also to combine his interest with history with his passion for literature and popular culture. Beyond the education, Figueredo credits CLACS with helping to develop a strong professional and personal network of friends, scholars and colleagues that continued to challenge him after he graduated with an MA in Latin American Studies in 1988. This professional network would prove to be instrumental as D.H. composed an Encyclopedia of Caribbean Literature and Encyclopedia of Cuba: People, History, Culture as well as A Brief History of the Caribbean.

California Pioneer Juana Briones

California Pioneer Juana Briones

In Revolvers and Pistolas, Figueredo departs from the style of his previous works to tell the story the Latino West in an accessible and page-turning style. Part of the excitement stems from some of the important discoveries he is able to bring to light. Stories of powerful businesswomen like Juana Briones whose large estate helped to found San Francisco or Mifflin Kennedy who directed her husband to purchase and settle much of southern Texas. He recounts the Latino origins of the 1848 California gold rush which was spurred on by the expertise of the Mexican, Chilean and Peruvian miners who taught the first Eastern settlers in the region how to pan for gold. Figueredo was also able to challenge the stereotypes surrounding Mexican soldiers and trace the Mexican roots of popular figures like Zorro and the Cisco Kid. In doing so, Figueredo is able to debunk the myths that cloud our vision of the Old West and restore the proud legacy that Latinos shared constructing the American Southwest.

CLACS congratulates Mr. Figueredo on his recent publication. The Newark Public Library will be hosting a meet and greet with Mr. Figueredo on May 30th at 2 pm at 5 Washington Street, Newark. To RSVP or for more information please call 973–733–7772 (Sala Hispanoamericana) or email ibetancourt@npl.org.

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CLACS Students’ Articles Appear on Digital News Networks

A boy plays soccer on a beach in Arnapala, Honduras. Photo by Danielle Mackey, MA '14

A boy plays soccer on a beach in Arnapala, Honduras. Photo by Danielle Mackey, MA ’14

Three Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Journalism dual-degree students had articles published on major digital news outlets this week.

Nicki Fleischner’s article, titled “Alternatives to Detention Leave Some Honduran Immigrants in ‘Schackles appears on the Latin America News Dispatch. In her piece, Fleischner follows a Garífuna woman living in the Bronx who is forced to wear an electronic monitoring device since arriving in the city.

Dusty Christensen examines “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty,” which appears on AlterNet. Christensen’s article addresses the many ways in which defendants are pushed to agree to plea bargains in pre-trial negotiations.

Danielle Mackey, who recently completed her MA Studies in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Journalism, has written a piece that appears on The New Republic, titled “‘I’ve Seen All Sorts of Horrific Things in My Time. But None as Detrimental to the Country as This.’” Her article explores “charter cities,” the Honduran government’s newest development plan, which sprouts from an idea from New York University economist Paul Romer, and has been deemed “a dangerous economic experiment.”

Nicki Fleischner and Dusty Christensen are currently enrolled in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Journalism joint-degree program. Danielle Mackey is a 2014 graduate of the LACS/Journalism joint-degree program. 

CLACS Alumnus Roque Planas: 19 Reasons Latin Americans Come to the U.S. That Have Nothing to Do With the American Dream

Mexico TV Borderland

 

Roque Planas, a graduate from the CLACS MA program, is now an editor for the Huffington Post, as well as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). Planas recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post that has become an internet sensation. In the article Planas explores how U.S. foreign policy and interventionism in Latin America have played a large part in immigration to the United States—from the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo to the current flow of weapons across the border in Mexico.

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Congratulations to CLACS May 2013 MA Graduates!

NYU - TorchThe following graduates completed the CLACS MA program! We offer you our warmest congratulations, and best wishes as you embark on the next phases of your careers. Felicidades graduates, and please Keep in touch!

Samantha Balaban, Melissa Benavidez, Marisa Cadena-Belski, Wendy Muse, Stephanie Noach, Kelly Stetter, and Emily Fjaellen Thompson.

Alumni Spotlight: Kristi Phillips

CLACS Alumnus, Kristi Phillips in Honduras (2013)

CLACS Alumnus, Kristi Phillips in Honduras (2013)

Kristi Phillips is a recent graduate of the CLACS MA Program who is now working as the Trip Coordinator with Central American Relief Efforts. She recently returned to the US, and shares her thoughts and experiences with us below.


CLACS: Can you please provide a brief introduction about yourself?
KP: I came to NYU after receiving my BA in economics and Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa and completed my MA at CLACS in January 2013. At CLACS, I focused on public policy evaluation within and with reference to Latin America. I have experience studying, working, and conducting research in Chile, Spain, Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Honduras and currently work for a Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization called Central American Relief Efforts. Continue reading