Tag Archives: race

Announcing the Spring 2016 Colloquium

By Brendan Fields, CLACS MA Student

Beginning on February 1st at 6pm, CLACS will be hosting its research Spring colloquium series where top scholars will present current research in the field of Latin American Studies. The theme of the colloquium is “Political Imaginaries Across Latin America and The Caribbean.” “We chose this theme because it should allow us to think about processes and dynamics of power, ethnicity and state formation. Citizenship, race or gender are ways of thinking and forms of interdependence unfolding within power relations, not essences or monoliths,” says CLACS Professor Edgardo Pérez Morales who is one of our faculty members organizing the series. “That’s what we aim to grasp in this colloquium.”

To help attendees grasp the complexities involved in understanding these imaginaries, CLACS has invited a diverse group of scholars to present their work from disciplines ranging from anthropology to political science to religion. With such a collection of renowned scholars present, attendees will surely gain a lot from the talks. “If you attend the whole series, I think you can begin to really see the state of Latin American and Caribbean studies and what the new frontiers are,” says CLACS Professor Katherine Smith. “Plus, there’s always a reception, which is often when the best conversations and insights happen!” The opportunity to share time and conversations is invaluable as a way for individual students to participate in a community of knowledge. “Focusing on our political imagination is something worth considering. Coming to these talks can help take this normally individual endeavor and make it a bit more collective,” says CLACS Professor Pamela Calla.

To kick off the series on February 1st Irene Silverblatt, of Duke University, will give a talk entitled Stained Blood in the Old World and the New: New Christians and the Racial Categories of the Colonial-Modern World.

Professor Silverblatt will explore the racializing of human beings and its repercussions for colonial categories of rule and the cultural ordering of the modern world. The lecture and following discussion, moderated by CLACS faculty member  and Associate Professor of History at NYU Sinclair Thomson, is framed on the following abstract by the presenter:

Hannah Arendt, among others, understood 19th century European colonialism – a form of governance which, like twentieth century fascism, supported the world-wide dominance of a master race – as key to understanding the brutal, submerged underside of modern, Western experience. However, it was 16th century Europe’s first wave of colonial expansion, spearheaded by Spain, that provides a more elaborate picture. The first wave was forged during the turbulence of modern state-making when many (but not all) officials of Church and Crown believed the Iberian Peninsula’s “New Christians” (or conversos of Jewish and Moorish descent) could not be loyal subjects because they were cursed by the “stained blood” of their ancestors. Transported to the Americas, the New Christian syndrome, with its obsession with blood purity and its political language of stains, fertilized the racial bent of modern, colonial geopolitics. The point of entry into this discussion will be the meanings of “New Christian” in the New World.

Irene Silverblatt is a Professor of Cultural Anthropology, History, and Women’s Studies at Duke University. She researches the cultural dimensions of power; specifically, state-building and colonization in Latin America and the politics of memory in central Europe. Her published works include Harvest of Blossoms: Poetry of a Life Cut Short (Collected Poetry of Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger) (edited and with an introduction by Irene Silverblatt and Helene Silverblatt 2008); Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the Colonial Origins of the Civilized World (2004); Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (1987) as well as articles on related themes. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University), and the Social Science Research Council, among others. Professor Silverblatt has also served as President of the American Society for Ethnohistory.

For more information about the event and to RSVP, click here.

Class and Color Blindness in Mexican Consumer Segmentation

Advertisement from upscale department store in Mexico City

Advertisement from upscale department store in Mexico City

Posted by Marcel Rosa-Salas – doctoral student in Sociocultural Anthropology  at NYU

The trade organization responsible for developing los niveles socioeconomicos, the Mexican approach to consumer segmentation, takes inspiration from French and British consumer segmentation models. Whereas traditional consumer segmentation models in the United States rely more explicitly on conceptions of race, several global ad agencies have their own based entirely on class status. What distinguishes class-based consumer segmentation in Mexico is the particular social, cultural, economic and political dynamics that maintain a staunch commitment to color blindness. This commitment shapes the way this socioeconomic stratification looks as well as the way it is discussed by marketers in Mexico.

Continue reading

Participation in PBS Series “Black in Latin America”

CLACS at NYU Prof Ada Ferrer - PBS Black in Latin America

Professor of History and Director of CLACS at NYU, Ada Ferrer participates in the recent PBS series Black in Latin America

PBS recently aired Cuba: The Next Revolution, the second episode of a four-part series titled Black in Latin America. The latest production effort of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this series explores the influence of African descent on Latin America, looking specifically at the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. Enriching the episodes with interviews with scholars, overlooked or underrepresented historical moments, and recent research on the region, Prof. Gates has created a series which “celebrates the massive influence of millions of people of African descent on the history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, and considers why and how their contribution is often forgotten or ignored” (PBS website).

Last summer, Professor Gates interviewed Ada Ferrer about ideas of race in Cuba during the mid to late 19th century. This interview has been included in the Cuba: The Next Revolution episode (starts at minute 7:00), and helps describe sentiments toward racism and nationalism in Cuba at the time of the War of Independence. Ada Ferrer is Associate Professor of History at NYU and Director of CLACS, and has written extensively on Cuba. The French translation of her highly acclaimed book Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898 is forthcoming this year.

Among the online resources which accompany the series are curricular materials developed by Karen Michels through the Fall 2010 CLACS Teacher Residency Program.  Part of CLACS’ K-12 Outreach initiatives, the Teacher Residency Program offers NYC teachers the chance to work with NYU professors and access NYU library resources as they investigate a Latin America or Caribbean-related topic of interest to them.  A teacher at the Beacon School in New York City, Karen had proposed to study Race and Government Policy in Revolutionary Cuba while participating in the program.  Prof. Ferrer served as Karen’s principal advisor, offering her intellectual guidance and support throughout Karen’s time on the NYU campus.  While Karen’s lesson ideas can be found on the CLACS website along with other K-12 curricular materials, they have also been included on the PBS website as educational resources which complement the Race in Latin America series.

Watch the Full Episode: Cuba: The Next Revolution
View Race and Government Policy in Revolutionary Cuba curricular materials

Posted by Christine Mladic – Program Administrator at CLACS at NYU