Entre las decenas de salas teatrales que alberga el barrio de La Candelaria, en el centro histórico de la ciudad de Bogotá, una de las que condensa más de cuatro décadas de historia es la casona del Teatro La Candelaria. Este grupo fue fundado en 1966 por un grupo de artistas e intelectuales que buscaban nuevas líneas de experimentación teatral y de práctica política. De más está decir el lujo que representa haber tenido la oportunidad de visitar este espacio, y de entrevistar a actrices y actores que hoy en día no solo son admirables por su maestría como artistas, sino que encarnan en sí mismos una tradición teatral. Patricia Ariza, Nohora Ayala, César “Coco” Badillo y Francisco “Pachito” Martínez tuvieron la generosidad de conversar conmigo sobre la historia del Teatro La Candelaria, su propuesta estética y su compromiso político.
La casona del Teatro La Candelaria
Patricia Ariza recuerda la conciencia que siempre tuvo el grupo del carácter fundacional del trabajo que estaban haciendo: el Maestro Santiago García, fundador y director del Teatro La Candelaria, columna y guía de sus proyectos, tomó el riesgo de retirarse de la Universidad Nacional y empezar una empresa quijotesca que no se ha detenido hasta el día de hoy. Desde sus inicios, La Candelaria ha promovido un diálogo entre artistas, sindicatos de trabajadores, ciudadanos en situación de desplazamiento y el movimiento estudiantil. De estas conversaciones surgió un nuevo público teatral, que exigía obras propias, que hablaran de lo que pasaba en Colombia. Patricia Ariza explica el paso de una dramaturgia de autor a procesos de creación colectiva, en los que la puesta en escena nace de la colaboración entre todos los miembros del grupo; frente a un darse cuenta de que “nosotros somos dramaturgos también”, el camino hacia una nueva forma de hacer teatro se empieza a definir. Desde entonces, La Candelaria emprende sistemáticamente la creación de obras originales de dramaturgia nacional con el método de creación colectiva.
“Unite Against Racism” banner displayed during the 2012 Euro Cup
Not only is Spain facing an economic crisis but the people here are expressing angst and frustration towards the government for its incompetence to aid its people. The current Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy Brey, was sworn into office this past December. While he has only been in office for 8 months, he has not been popular among the people, especially the immigrant community. One Ecuadorian immigrant expressed that the former Prime Minister worked to get immigrants documented and legalized, while “Rajoy is racist and doesn’t do anything” for them.
Much has been speculated about the correlation between the growing economic crisis in Spain and the racism and xenophobia directed towards immigrants. It has been argued that the tension caused by “la crisis,” as the locals call it, has only intensified fears of job loss, which could then cause Spaniards to resent those who could potentially take jobs away from Spanish citizens. Continue reading
Benedict Anderson, best known as the author of Imagined Communities, asserts that newspapers can provide the “technical means for ‘re-presenting’ the kind of imagined community” that an immigrant community has created – in terms of my project, that the Bolivian community has created in Buenos Aires. Therefore, one of the facets of my research is to analyze the newspapers that are created for and by the Bolivian community to determine how they cover and describe sports. However, as most things tend to happen, this hasn’t gone exactly how I had planned. (Foreshadowing: it’s been better!)
First, I came to Buenos Aires with a list of about six Bolivian newspapers that I had found by scouring the web for mentions of them (as many don’t have an online presence). Upon arriving and speaking with Dr. Manuel Cervantes, he informed me that all but two of them were out of business. Luckily, he just so happened to be on the editorial board of one of those two (funny how these connections work!) so he set me up with a meeting with another editor. A few days before that interview, I googled Bolivia Unida and came up with not only their website, but their facebook page. The most recent post immediately caught my attention – there was going to be an academic conference at the Universidad Nacional de San Martin entitled “Seminar about Migrations, Cultural Identity, and Human Rights: The Actuality of Immigrants in Argentina.” Oh hey! That’s precisely what I’m looking at! I scrambled to fill out the registration form (this is around 11pm on Wednesday night, and the conference was on Friday) and prepared myself for my first international conference.
Ready for a bus ride across town.
Last year’s Tinker grant recipients stressed the importance of persistence while in the field. For the most part, I’ve been getting in touch with exactly the contacts I’d been hoping to find, but some people have been more difficult to track down. What really brought me to my research question, whether or not Asignacion Universal por Hijo empowers women, was an annual report put out by a private organization indicating that deaths from domestic violence are on the rise in Argentina. I wondered if this had any connection to the implementation of AUH, so I come to Buenos Aires with high hopes of meeting with the director of the organization. She was quite difficult to hunt down, but when I finally did get to meet with her, she shared some great information with me. Persistence in the field really does pay off!
When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I got in touch with a woman named Majo who has a great network of people working on social programs and women’s rights in the local area. Majo has been an incredible help in getting me directly connected with all the right people. I had tried calling and emailing the research organization several times with no response. Majo had not been able to get in touch with anyone at the center either, so she suggested that I accompany her to her weekly meeting the last two Wednesdays. Every week, the Buenos Aires Legislature hosts a meeting of approximately 35 women’s rights-based organizations where these groups can collaborate, plan events and awareness campaigns, and all stay in touch about developments in women’s rights in Argentina. Majo said that the founder of the research organization attended this weekly meeting, so I was excited to finally have an in. Continue reading
One of the things that I love the most about my thesis topic is the reaction I get to the inevitable “so, what are you writing your thesis on?” question. When this question is asked by a professor or fellow grad student, I have a slightly longer response prepared, but when it’s asked by a casual acquaintance, my first answer is simply: “Soccer.”
I first started playing soccer when I was three years old; while I was never the fastest (by far) or the most skilled at footwork, I continued to play and love the sport through high school and onto college (and grad school!) intramural teams. I attended the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, obsessively follow Spain as a national team and Barcelona as a club, and yet had never really considered studying fútbol in a more academic way until I started at NYU. As it turns out, soccer is heavily studied by various academic fields – sociology, anthropology, history, ethnic studies, and even mathematics (statistical analysis), economics (the sport brings in billions of dollars worldwide), and science (does heading a soccer ball damage your brain? Are successful soccer players better thinkers than non-players?). For a sport that originated in mid 19th century Britain, it has spread across the world remarkably, and it would be hard to imagine modern-day Spain, Brazil, or Argentina without also picturing their fervent dedication to club teams, national teams, and the sport at large.
The research I’m doing while in Buenos Aires, then, somehow managed to work its way from “I want to go to South America and talk about soccer” to my current working research question: “With full awareness of the implications of the intersection of race, nationality, identity, and soccer within the Bolivian community in Buenos Aires, how and to what extent does this particular immigrant population use soccer to either negotiate integration into the local society or to sustain their distinct ethnic identity?” In brief, I hope to use soccer as a lens to understand the issues of transnationalism, migration, and discrimination that inevitably arise in this context. Continue reading
Puerto Rican Revolutionary Flag in Río Piedras
Around Christmas time it’s a tradition in Puerto Rico to go from door to door until the wee hours of the morning singing and playing music—with guitars, trumpets, and panderos often accompanied by instruments of the pot and pan variety—until your friends open the door and give you food and refreshments. One of the most known songs chronicling this Puerto Rican style caroling, known as a parranda is about the host giving the group of singers, or the trulla, an adult beverage or else they will cry. One of the lines in this song goes, “Los Tres Santos Reyes juntos a Santa Claus (2x) Tienen en Las Vegas montado un night club (2x). Or “The Three Wise Men along with Santa Claus/Have a nightclub set up in Las Vegas.” This has to be one of the best examples of the hybrid nature of Puerto Rican culture. Like most Latin American countries, Three Kings Day, also known as the day of the Epiphany, is the most celebrated Christmas related holiday. While Christmas Eve is time for food, singing, dancing, and getting together with the family, Three Kings Day was historically the day children received presents, one from each King if they left some grass for the Kings’ camels of course. With the attempted Americanization of the island came Santa Claus and the importance of cookies and Christmas day, although the lack of chimneys on a Caribbean island often caused logistical problems in the story—my grandparents told my mother he slipped in through the front door, pretty stealthy guy that Santa—Christmas did indeed become a major day, second only to Three Kings Day. Like creolization and syncretism of the indigenous populations once the Spanish imposed their culture in the “New World”, Puerto Rican culture didn’t disappear with the introduction of American culture, but rather the latter was absorbed and became part of the celebration, along with Las Vegas and night clubs apparently. I’ll get to what this has to do with Castro in a bit.
CLACS Alum Amy Risley
Amy Risley is an Assistant Professor in the International Studies department at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and a CLACS alum. She graduated from CLACS in 1998 and focused her research on Latin American politics.
While at CLACS she received a Tinker Field Research Grant to do field research in Argentina, where she studied civil society and activism. She’s been interested in the topic ever since.
The good news is that Amy was recently offered a tenure track position at Rhodes College, so she’ll have the opportunity to continue the research she began at CLACS!
Amy was thrilled with her experience at CLACS, and says that the inclusion of Caribbean studies, in addition to South and Central American and Mexico, distinguishes CLACS from other Latin American studies programs. She also liked the interdisciplinary nature of the program and the access she had to faculty. “I took excellent courses from Jeff Goodwin, Christopher Mitchell, Marty Weinstein, Elisabeth Wood, and others. I found everyone to be remarkably accessible and encouraging,” she says. “And, of course, the endless opportunities of New York City. I was able to take a class at Columbia, intern at Trickle Up, and listen to so many fascinating speakers who were passing through. It was just wonderful,” Amy says.
Visit the CLACS Alumni page on the CLACS blog to learn more about our alums. If you are a CLACS alum, please join the CLACS alumni network!
El Museo del Barrio - Photo by gfhdickinson on Flickr
On February 3rd East Harlem came together at El Museo del Barrio to explore the relationship between East Harlem and immigration. The event was coordinated by the education department of El Museo in collaboration with parent coordinators and school administrators in East Harlem. This event was the first part of a two-session program including a screening of Los Que Se Quedan, a 2008 documentary about families sharing their stories of loved ones leaving to the United States. The event was organized as a part of CLACS’s K-12 Outreach program and as part of the Indocumentales film series, co-founded by CLACS, Cinema Tropical, and what moves you?
Following the film, parents were encouraged to share their thoughts on the film. In particular, the group discussed elements of religious or family tradition they maintain today that are rooted in their place of origin.
“The discussion allowed the attendees to reflect on memories, traditions, and icons that have accompanied their own family trajectories,” says Jen Lewis, CLACS Assistant Director.
Early this past December, CLACS and what moves you? hosted a series of two K-12 Educator Workshops which focused on two films from the Indocumentales / Undocumentaries US-Mexico Film Series. The December 5th event included a screening of Farmingville; and the December 14th workshop focused on the film Which Way Home.
The events featured an introduction to CLACS resources for educators about Mexico- U.S. issues, followed by a film screening. Educators then had the opportunity to discuss the issues addressed in the film with colleagues and what moves you? facilitators. These workshops opened a space for educators to discuss current events, and how film can be used to teach Mexico-U.S. relations in the classroom.
Farmingville, a 2004 film by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini, documents the attempted murders of two Mexican day-laborers in Long Island. The movie features first-hand accounts from residents, day-laborers and activists, and underscores the continuing relevance of undocumented immigrant issues. Which Way Home, a 2009 film by Rebecca Cammisa, focuses on immigrant children from Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico, who must overcome tremendous odds in their journey to the U.S.
These are two of many K-12 events that are part of the CLACS K-12 Outreach Program. Learn more about CLACS K-12 Outreach on the CLACS website. You can also sign-up to our K-12 Outreach email list, which will send you notices only about K-12 educator-related events and programs.
Photo courtesy El Museo del Barrio - Artist: Nicolás García Uriburu
CLACS alum Christine Weible was recently awarded a one-year fellowship at El Museo del Barrio. El Museo is a Latino cultural institution dedicated to promoting Latin American and Caribbean art and culture.
Christine will be working in the education department where she will develop curriculum, organize events, and design and lead gallery tours in both Spanish and English.
At CLACS, Christine’s research focused on ESMA, formerly known as the Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada. During the Argentine Dirty War, ESMA was the largest detention center implicated in human rights crimes such as torture and disappearances. This facility now functions as a museum of memory, officially the Espacio para la memoria y para la promoción y defensa de los Derechos Humanos. The “Museo para la memoria” came together as a collaboration between numerous human rights organizations, such as the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. Christine was interested in the role of collective memory in this and other such facilities in Argentina.
Christine has a long history of work and research in the field of Latin American art. As an undergraduate student she completed a dual B.A. in Spanish and Art History. She has also had several internships in the field – notably with the Fundación Cisneros.
Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU