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.
Gaspar Yanga – First Liberator of the Americas – section of mural located in the Palacio Municipal of Xalapa, Veracruz
Written by Patrick Moreno-Covington CLACS MA Candidate
Stepping out of customs and into one of the many cabs queued up outside of Mexico City’s Benito Juárez airport, I became immediately consumed by all things Chilango. Street performers and vendors at traffic lights, insane amounts of traffic, delicious spits of marinated pork known as al Pastor slowly rotating on the sidewalk and so. many. people. The sights, smells and sounds of the megalopolis almost subsumed my attentive capabilities so that I barely caught the taxi driver asking me where I was coming from. My Spanish accent (or the fact that I was leaving an airport) must have given me away.
‘The United States, Texas’, ‘Ahh the United States, there are a lot of racist problems over there, right?’ ‘And that politician, he said a lot of bad things about Mexicans’. While trying to avoid an elongated discussion on why Donald Trump lowers the political standards of the country with his shameful and inflammatory rhetoric, I did want to engage my driver’s interpretation of America’s race problems.
On Monday, CLACS hosted the first event of the Spring 2012 Research Colloquium series. Ronald Briggs, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures at Barnard College, presented on “Independence Pedagogy and the Cult of the Perfect Book.” The event was well attended, and was a strong kick-off to the spring series!
Each semester, CLACS hosts a Research Colloquium series that combines a graduate level course with a speaker series. The course is co-taught by faculty of distinct disciplines, bringing together different academic fields of study. CLACS Director Sinclair Thomson (NYU History) and Sibylle Fischer (NYU Spanish) are teaching the course this spring.
Mónica Moreno Figueroa launches the fall colloquium with her talk on, "Naming Ourselves: Recognising Racism and Mestizaje in Mexico." Photo: courtesy Juan Victor Fajardo
Each semester, CLACS hosts a research colloquium, featuring diverse themes related to Latin America. The colloquium series pairs graduate level courses with a speaker series, and is often a platform for scholars to share new research.
This fall, the CLACS Colloquium is titled “Contemporary Racisms in the Americas.” As stated on the CLACS website, “This colloquium will explore emergent racisms in the Americas as integral to the multicultural and what some have called “post racial” present defined within larger processes of economic and cultural globalization and transnational migration. It will also deepen the understanding of different theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of contemporary forms of racism as major obstacles to the construction of intercultural relations, racial and economic justice, and democracy.”
Pamella Calla, a Bolivian anthropologist and visiting Associate Professor at CLACS, is leading the series.
“I wanted to connect CLACS with a larger initiative – the formation of a network of racism observers in the hemisphere. And I wanted CLACS to be a model for academic thought and activism, where students would have the opportunity to become a part of the network, mixing advocacy and academia, and also deepen academic thought and scholarship,” Calla said.