Tag Archives: Religion

Chilean Popular Poetry and Biblical Psalms

Martinez, Chile, Santiago Figueroa

Santiago Figueroa. Folklorist, researcher and expert in popular music.

by Fernanda Martinez Varela, MA scholar at MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish. 

Shortly after arriving in Chile, I went to the public library of Doñihue in order to search for bibliographic material and, fortunately, there I met Santiago Figueroa Torres; a folklorist, researcher and expert in popular music. Talking informally while drinking coffee, I explained to him my thoughts about this investigation and he gave me his vision as an expert on the subject. Consequently, aided by this chance, his insights have served me as a guide for reading the bibliographic material found and redefining my research question.

What similarities exist between the Cantus to the divine cultivated in Chile and the Christian psalms in the Latin American version of the Catholic Bible? This is the question the present research will try to answer. For this purpose, in addition to ponder on some similarities, I will analyze and contrast two songs by the Chilean musician Violeta Parra (Maldigo del alto cielo and Volver a los 17) with the psalms 143 and 148.

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African Diaspora Spotlight at CLACS this Week

On Monday, April 18th CLACS will be hosting and co-sponsoring events that focus on the culture and current affairs of the African diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America.

IMG_62571We begin at 5:00pm with the opening of The Free Black Women’s Library: NYU CLACS Pop-up, as part of the Kreyòl at NYU initiative. Installed at KJCC’s Portrait Room through the evening, this edition will feature a conversation with its founder Ola Ronke and will focus on Caribbean Women authors. Visitors to the pop up are encouraged to bring books and/or make donations to The Free Black Women’s Library. For more information click here.

colloquium final (2)

At 6:00pm CLACS will host the last edition of the 2016 Spring Colloquium Political Imaginaries Across Latin America and the Caribbean, with a lecture by Elizabeth McAlister titled “The Militarization of Prayer and Evangelical Spiritual Warfare in Haiti.” The lecture by Professor McAlister of Wesleyan Univesity, describes how Americans engage evangelicals in Haiti to fight against the creole religious tradition called Vodou, which they consider a Satanic enemy. This event will be held at the KJCC Auditorium. To learn more about the lecture and to rsvp, please follow this link.

blacklivesmatterAt 6:30pm, CLACS is proud of co-sponsoring the event titled “#Blacklivesmatter: Race, Space, and Consciousness.” Organized by a committee of NYU graduate students, including Larnies Bowen of CLACS, the event features a panel of renowned experts from the US and Latin America moderated by Arlene Davila Professor of Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. For more information and to rsvp click here.

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.

CLACS ’03 Alum’s Newest Book on the Lasting Immigrant Legacy of Mexico’s Cristero War

The Catholic University Professor and CLACS '03 Alum and her newest book 'Mexican Exodus'

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.

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