Category Archives: Featured Faculty

The CLACS Featured Faculty series highlights one member of our Faculty or Affiliated Faculty members and the new projects s/he is working on.

On “The Cuban Moment”

On “The Cuban Moment: Conversatorio on Cuba”

By Patrick Moreno-Covington

On December 17th President Barack Obama and Cuba’s Head of State, Raúl Castro, made simultaneous announcements of a diplomatic normalization in the relationship between the United States and Cuba. The surprise announcement was the culmination of 18 months of backroom negotiations between the two governments. As part of the new agreement the United States removes or reduces restrictions on travel, remittances, and banking, while Cuba has promised increased internet access, and the release of 53 people identified as political prisoners.

In the first of a series of discussions on Cuba planned by CLACS and the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, a distinguished panel of guests discussed the implications of the new agreement, recent experiences in Cuba, and the potential for a new “Cuban Moment.” The panel, gathered on January 28 at the KJCC Auditorium, included renowned Cuba scholars Odette Casamayor Cisneros, Ariana Hernández-Reguant, Jacqueline Loss, and Noelle Stout, the author Enrique del Risco, artist Coco Fusco, Damien Cave of the New York Times, and Ana Dopico, director of the King Juan Carlos Center, moderated by Jill Lane, director of CLACS.

In a packed house, each speaker had the opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives from their respective fields of expertise. One common thread through each of the presentations was that this “Moment” was not singular or particularly unique in Cuban history. For many on the panel, the opening of diplomatic relations reflects an “American Moment,” one moment in a cyclical period where the American populace has their collective imagination focused on the Caribbean island once again. Another common theme between the panelists was a sense of reserved optimism for the improvement in opportunities for the majority of Cubans. Many on the panel acknowledged that an increase in American banking opportunities, remittances, and the potential to import more foreign goods, could exacerbate existing forms of inequality. In this regard, this “Cuban Moment” could be a repetition of the many previous Cuban moments, as well as potentialities that have yet to be fulfilled.

Below are some pictures of The Cuban Moment: Conversatorio on Cuba.

To stay up to date with our Cuban Moment Series, follow CLACS on Facebook and Twitter. Join our mailing list for updates on all CLACS events. 

Decolonizing Mestizaje Part III


El mundo al reves—a visual essay of the colloquium “Is It Possible to Decolonize Mestizaje.”

The event was organized by Professor Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, current Andrés Bello Chair in Latin American Culture and Civilization at the King Juan Carlos I Center at New York University.

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Focus on Faculty: Edgardo Pérez Morales

edgardo perez morales NYU


Edgardo Pérez Morales  joined the CLACS faculty in the Fall of 2013. Completing a History BA in his native Colombia, an MA in Cultural Studies in Quito, Ecuador, and finally obtaining his PhD in History at the University of Michigan, Perez Morales’s interests are as varied as his places of study.

His undergraduate work in Medellin, Colombia concentrated on history. Professor Perez Morales explained that because Colombia has only relatively recently offered a broad range of graduate programs, most undergraduate programs are very focused. The programs last for five years, and it is not just a major—it is a professional program. “You don’t get to choose what you study,” Perez Morales explains. “Without many options for graduate study, you only have one chance to get good at what you are.”

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A Visual Journey Through Afro-Latin Soundscapes

During the Fall 2013 semester, Professor Dylon Robbins taught the interdisciplinary seminar Afro-Latin Soundscapes. In the accompanying colloquium series, CLACS hosted a series of musicians and scholars that spoke of the way music crosses cultural boundaries.

Without mixers and soundboards the songs have taken on a organic sound that has helped shape hip-hop’s role as a legitimate expression of Cuban culture. Hailing from the industrial suburbs of Havana, the husband and wife team Alexey and Magia formed Obsesión in 1996. Alexey has become a nexus for various forms of artistic expression, promoting the convergence of painting, sculpture, dance, and poetry within the hip-hop scene. Magia is known as an eloquent advocate of women’s rights.

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Teaching in the Freshman Honors Program

Three CLACS professors are going to teach in the Freshman Honors Program next semester. They explained why their field is particularly important to share with first year college students.

pamela calla

Pamela Calla, an anthropologist, Visiting Associate Professor at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU and director of the Observatory on Racism of the Universidad de la Cordillera in La Paz, Bolivia, is going to teach the course Women in Social Movements in Latin America.

The overarching theme of this seminar is the exploration of women’s political agency in terms of emancipatory thought and action in diverse social movements throughout Latin America.
More concretely, the course focuses on indigenous and other popular sectors as well as middle class movements concentrating on the ways in which women bring new meanings and vitality to diverse forms of struggle in these movements. A central consideration in this exploration is the historical relation between movements and states and the gendered logics that enter in the negotiations between the two.

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“Hablemos el Quechua por Placer,” Una Entrevista a Jorge Alejandro Vargas Prado

Jorge alejandro vargas prado

Jorge Alejandro Vargas Prado, Foto: Alfredo Velarde

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

CLACS Featured Faculty: Miryam Yataco

CLACS Affiliated Faculty member, Miryam Yataco

CLACS Affiliated Faculty member,
Miryam Yataco

Miryam Yataco is a professor at NYU who has very diverse interests outside her field of teaching. Born and raised in Lima, she specializes in bilingual-intercultural education in Peru and the United States. She is also a language rights activist through an organization called Linguistic Rights, based in Geneva. From 2010-2011, Yataco worked as a language rights expert with Quechua-speaking congresswomen in Peru’s Congress, and was even in charge of indigenous higher education in Peru within the Commission of Education and Cultural Patrimony within the Congress.

Yataco’s interest in indigenous languages stems from her heritage and as a child, Yataco understood the issues surrounding indigenous speakers in urban cities like Lima. Her mother is a Quechua speaker, and Miryam saw her face hardships due to her language. Although Yataco was educated in a British school in Lima, she still understood the inequalities that were present due to language and how it impacted people and their families. Continue reading