Lesvy Osorio was killed next to a telephone booth on the UNAM campus, long considered a sanctuary by students and the intellectual community. (Nidia Bautista)
Posted by Nidia Bautista – MA Candidate in Global Journalism and CLACS at NYU. This post was written in August, 2017, based on summer research funded by the Tinker Grant.
Mexico has become a dangerous place for everyone. This summer, during the time I spent investigating feminicide in Edomex, has been terrible for human rights and crime in the country. Ten journalists have been killed this year and Mexico is fast becoming the deadliest country for journalists in the world. Candido Rios, a crime reporter, is the latest journalist killed this month in Veracruz. He was murdered despite being placed under government protection. Mexico’s murder rate has also reached a record high this year. The government has recorded more than 12,100 homicides, with 2,234 murders in June alone. It was the deadliest month in twenty years.
The violence is also ravaging Mexico City, ranked New York Times number one city to visit in 2016. Just this month, patrons of a trendy theater and restaurant called Cine Tonala in the Roma Sur neighborhood were robbed by armed gunman. I used to live in the neighborhood and would often visit Cine Tonala and like many others, up until this summer, I didn’t think this kind of violence would happen in the capital. Previously, it has been easier to relegate this sort of violence to the peripheries. I have spent this summer monitoring and compiling a long list of stories and cases of extreme violence against women in one such periphery. The stories are appalling.
High school students participate in performace protest in Hank Gonzales, Edomex (Nidia Bautista)
Posted by Nidia Bautista – MA Candidate in Global Journalism and CLACS at NYU
Feminicide is defined as the extreme violence against women due to their gender, marked by impunity that violates their human rights and results in death. It’s a word that names the violence inflicted on women who were strangled, raped, tortured, mutilated, and killed. I’ve been researching how and why this is happening in Ecatepec, Edomex. The more I research and interview the issue, the more I notice that women, in addition to living in a context of continual violence, are doing the work to denounce and end this violence.
I have interviewed women family members of victims of feminicide, survivors of violence, and women human rights defenders. I have also interviewed feminist academics that focus on the issue. I have taken a course on Feminicide in Mexico sponsored at Mexico City’s Museum of Memory and Tolerance. I have attended another similar conference at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). While I have found and spoken to a few men that work to denounce the violence, the majority of my sources are women. What is striking, and admittingly overwhelming, is that fighting feminicide has become women’s work.
Posted by Alejandra Vela- PhD Student at Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, NYU
Uno de los elementos más importantes de mi viaje a México era no sólo encontrar las revistas femeninas que conformarán mi principal archivo para la tesis, sino analizar los espacios de sociabilidad en los que éstas se encuentran y conservan. Como parte de mi búsqueda, y también en un esfuerzo por ampliar mi investigación más allá del centralismo de la Ciudad de México, viajé a Puebla de los Ángeles.
Capital del estado que lleva el mismo nombre, la ciudad se encuentra a dos horas en autobús. Famosa por la cantidad de iglesias que tiene (y por ser el lugar en donde se inventó el mole), la principal razón del viaje era visitar su barrio de antigüedades, “Los sapos”, y tratar de encontrar revistas que no fuera posible hallar en la Ciudad de México. Una vez instalada, y después de un breve paseo por el centro, me dirigí a las tiendas de antigüedades.
Al entrar en la tienda “El retablo” me recibieron dos mujeres. Una de ellas estaba limpiando el piso y la otra se encontraba leyendo una novela cuyo título sólo pude ver que contenía la palabra melancolía. La primera, mucho más joven, fue en realidad la que me dio la bienvenida y me dijo en qué parte de la tienda podría encontrar revistas y periódicos. Conforme me adentraba en los salones rebosados de sillas, mesas, lámparas, sentía los pasos de la mujer joven detrás de mí. Empezó entonces a decirme que muchas de esas cosas eran en realidad originalmente de la señora, haciendo referencia a la lectora que encontré en la entrada de la tienda. Me señaló un vestido vintage y me dijo en un susurro “ese por ejemplo, era de la señora”. Sorprendida por el dato, le pregunté de forma respetuosa que cuántos años tenía la señora, “pues ella siempre responde que 82, pero yo sé que tiene 91”.
Posted by Alejandra Vela- PhD Student at Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, NYU
Mexican Miracle was the name given to the years that extend from 1940 to 1970 in Mexican recent history. Years of development, industry and a strong economy, Mexico was in a moment of unprecedented growth. Within this growth and restructuring of the country, the role of women was gradually modified: she went from being the selfless mother, housewife, concentrated in domestic work, to, as early as the early seventies, the working woman, the informed student, reader of feminist texts that came from France, the United States, or Spain. In the middle of this story there are many key moments. In the late forties the University City was inaugurated, which would allow a greater number of students (among them many women) to get in the country’s “máxima casa de estudios”; in 1955, Mexican women exercised the right to vote for the first time, and in the 1960s the contraceptive pill began to be commercialized. The journals, specifically addressed to women, published throughout these decades constitute a great barometer for measuring these changes.
Precisely because these are limited editorial and textual spaces (a literary genre dedicated to a specific gender), they allow us to delve into the ways in which not only the publishers, but also the subjects who consumed these cultural products were negotiating their presence and permanence in the public domain. This was the scenario before which I decided to embark on the search for these magazines, rarely preserved by their fragility and tendency to disappear, but also largely ignored for being considered frivolous, banal, “cursis”, women’s things that have no literary or academic value.
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.
validación de agenda nacional, incluyendo creacion de plan de proteccion de promotoras y plan de incidencia politica.
Prior to arriving in Nicaragua, I was convinced I was going to research how women organize a pro-feminist women’s agenda to overturn restrictive reproductive rights policies. One such law that I was intent on researching was Nicaragua’s Codigo Penal, Articulo 165 that outlaws all forms of abortion, including therapeutic abortion, which means that women are not allowed to interrupt their pregnancies even if their lives are at risk. The ban and broader issues of abortion rights played a key role in the 2006 election that resulted in the return to power of former revolutionary and FSLN commander, Daniel Ortega. I originally planned on looking at this issue singularly and to assess it from a historical lens, to analyze top-down responses such as las casas maternas, which have sprouted throughout the country in response to the law that “prepare” women for parenting (even if their pregnancies were undesired), I intended to look at the Instituto Nicaraguense de la Mujer to analyze how the state approached reproductive rights, and, of course I was going to research women (feminists) organized response.
An interesting side note for readers, the right to a therapeutic abortion was a part of the 1893 Nicaraguan Codigo Penal, which means that Nicaragua has retrogressed over 100 years with this ban.
I arrived in Quito on Friday June 17th and hit the ground running. I met with professor Mercedes Prieto from the Gender Studies department of FLACSO university. Professor Mercedes Prieto was incredibly kind and generous to me. We met for a little under an hour. She listened carefully to what I had to say and then suggested that there are two themes to my work: women’s organizing, and the relationship between NGO’s and the state. She then gave me the names of at least 14 people she thinks I could contact, professors, FLACSO students, feminists, and LGBT activists. Towards the end of our meeting she said that she had been very generous with me, which she was, and that she only wished that professors in the US showed her students equal generosity. I knew what she meant. She had never met me before I wrote her a brief email stating my research interests, my stated research interests were very broad, and yet she took the time to really brainstorm with me about who I should contact. She also suggested several doctoral thesis as reading material during my trip. After she gave me the lists of names she introduced me to the departmental administrator and asked her to provide me with the contact information for the people on that list.
The following Monday I met with a friend of a friend who informed me about a conference happening in Cuenca starting on June 21st and invited me to join her. She said that given my interests in women’s organizing the conference would give me an opportunity to meet with indigenous women organizing in defense of their environment and community. The conference had about 12 different breakout groups and one of them specifically addressed the participation of women in environmental struggles. I attended the breakout meetings for this group on June 21st and 22nd and found that they had a very clearly articulated position on the direct impact of mining on women in affected communities. These included, the devaluation of women’s artisanal labor for men capacity to bring in cash from their work in the mines, less access to clean water forces women to travel longer distances to access it, wherever mines set up there is a large increase in alcoholism and brothels, the health impacts on family members and especially children increases women’s caring labor in the home. They also addressed how women are at the forefront of this struggle because often times men work for the mines and so cannot protest them without getting fired. Women are involved in the day-to-day organizing against mining companies and for that reason they are often targeted by police and private paramilitary troupes for rape in retaliation for their activism. The conference was an eye opening experience in seeing the hostility between the environmentalist movement and the administration of President Rafael Correa. The women presented their finding to the larger conference of about 400 hundred people. By attending the conference I was able to tap into an activist network of people in Quito that I would find very helpful in the coming weeks.
Posted by Claudia Garriga Lopez — PhD Student in Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU