Posted by Jason Ahlenius — PhD Student of Spanish and Portuguese at NYU
She grew impatient when I did it for the second time. «¡Ay! Por favor, no hagas eso». Please don’t do that. But I did it. I broke the rules. I touched the photographic originals. I desecrated Mexico’s visual patrimony.
I have finally before me a physical object from the archive, a national relic, and it is as if the object itself is reaching out to me to connect with it, to make an affective connection through the body. Yet like the disciplinary-religious space of the art museum, however, there is an invisible barrier between my unclean hands and the sacred object. I retract my hands. I can only make the connection through the visual field.
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.
Posted by Juan C S Herrera – PhD Student at Steinhardt / Food Studies and Food management at NYU
After three weeks in Bogotá, Colombia, I took a stroll through one of the city’s main roads, 7th Avenue. There you can find several food options ranging from international food chains to Colombian food corporations, as well as affordable local adaptations of international foods to traditional corn on the cob and fresh fruit vendors. The availability of food options is linked to the preferences of Colombian consumers.
Food preferences have changed over the last decades. The reasons underlying the changes can be found in the relationship between the macro economic, social, and political space and how those macro variables play a role in the individual formation of food preferences. At the macro level, one can find four major changes that affect the availability of food products and therefore influence individual’s food preferences.
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.
Posted July 26 by Colette Perold — PhD Student in NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication
AMA_ACE_6928_87_0001; Arquivo Nacional
On May 18, Brazil’s interim Foreign Relations Minister José Serra used his inaugural address to lay out Brazil’s new foreign policy plan, a ten-point schema that resisted an easy close, to the surprise of many: “But if I had to add one more,” he said, “I would name one that we have to act on…the protection of our borders.” He argued that Brazil’s landed borders are where Brazil’s organized criminal networks develop, where arms and goods smuggling meet drug trafficking, harming the Brazilian people and Brazil’s economy.
A week later, on May 25, the interim government announced the creation of an Executive Committee of Border Coordination and Control, composed of the ministries of defense, justice, and international relations, with support from at least twenty agencies, including the federal police, the federal reserve, the intelligence agency (ABIN), and the armed forces. Interim Defense Minister Raul Jungmann announced the committee would bring an additional 15,000 troops to the border, with additional arms and resources, at a total projected cost of R$9 billion.
On July 8, interim Minister of Justice Alexandre de Moraes announced in an interview with news outlet Istoé that the ministry would be augmenting the size of Brazil’s National Force from 1,500 troops to 15,000, and—once the Olympics are over—focusing their work also on Brazil’s landed borders.
Posted by Dusty Christensen – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU
Inti Raymi festivities in the village of San Roque (Photo by Dustin Christensen)
For many indigenous residents of the Andes, the Inti Raymi festival is one of the most important celebrations of the year. Celebrating the summer solstice, this festival has its origins firmly rooted in pre-Colombian times. In Cotacachi, Ecuador, where I conducted my summer research, this was the most important festival of the year. Members of the 40 something indigenous communities surrounding Cotacachi dance house-to-house in the nights preceding the festival. Then, for several days, they gather and dance down to the town’s central plaza, where they dance, sing, play music, drink, and occasionally engage in violent confrontations with other communities.
I originally came to Brazil and more specifically, Salvador, Bahia because I wanted to write about the conflict between FIFA and the displacement of a particular type of street vendor prominent in the region: Baianas de acarajé.
I knew my research would have to change because the Baianas were allotted 6 spots within all of the FIFA games to sell the regions’ traditionally African-rooted food acarajé. I knew I’d have to gather information and begin to head into a more specific direction with my thesis.
I started working with the Association for Baianas (ABAM) a lot—everyday during the week and then spending time with the street vendors themselves on the weekend. Throughout my five weeks of fieldwork, I learned two main things. (1.) I don’t have an “in” and “out” time. Unlike a historian, I can’t close the archives and decide to pick up where I left off tomorrow. I was doing a lot of ethnography, although I wasn’t exclusively an ethnographer. Thus, I did have “time off.” I can only imagine the intensity of a full-time ethnographic fieldwork project. As I worked more and more at the association, doing all sorts of tasks from answering the phone, writing official documents to the state, to sitting in on meetings with secretaries—I had to learn to be flexible and soak in the intensity. The association lacks funds, staff, structure, and so on; thus, although people agreed to be interviewed and help me with my research, they also expected me to help them and apply any skills that I had. For a while, I was confused about whether I was focusing too much on the association, focusing too much on its relationship to the state, and getting too close to the women in the organization. What about the women who were not apart of the Association? What about the evangelical Baianas? And the conflict between them? What about working alongside a Baiana and learning to make acarajé step by step? What about the World Cup? Why weren’t they so eager to talk about the World Cup as I was eager to know about it? Am I missing perspectives? Should I distance myself from the association? Are they expecting too much out of me? Continue reading →