Hi! My name is Elizabeth Con and I am a first year M.A. student at CLACS. I just graduated from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, with degrees in Political Science and International Studies and a minor in Spanish. I moved to New York City three weeks ago and living in Bushwick (Brooklyn) has proven to be a fun and interesting change. The past few weeks, I’ve been busy learning subway lines, checking out touristy spots (while trying to appear as a local), and savoring the last weeks of summer by trying out ice cream shops with my roommate.
As a first year student, new to CLACS, NYU, and NYC, I’m perpetually confused and anxious, but also enthusiastic and eager to be in a new place, to meet new people, and to challenge myself academically and personally.
From how I ended up at NYU and highlights from CLACS lectures to the best coffee shops around campus and goings on around town, I’ll be using this space to reflect on my daily experiences as a grad student. I look forward to sharing some of these experiences with you, and maybe even offering some tips on thriving in the labyrinths of NYU and NYC.
Elizabeth Con is an MA Candidate at CLACS at NYU
In keeping align with my methodological approach utilizing multimedia to conduct collaborative ethnography; the latest installments of the project were interview workshops. In general, skill development workshops are a major component of this project. The workshops focus on creative reconnaissance and technological skill building activities. The participants and I work together (and with local experts) to learn more about different aspects of photography, video, and audio equipment and techniques, editing programs, blogging, creative writing, and more. Furthermore, another purpose of the meetings and workshops is to familiarize the participants with the greater New York City area.
Last week, I met with the young ladies, in groups of two, at Washington Square in Manhattan. Throughout the day, each participant was able to enter and observe New York University’s Bobst Library (where they were granted limited access to the stacks and facility!), the Tisch School of Art’s ITP lab (the Interactive Telecommunications Program, where we borrow the 5D camera and audio recording equipment), and the CLACS office and rooms (the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, where the footage was actually recorded). Each pair played artistic directors in setting the stage for their interview session. Unfortunately, a light decided to begin its slow, blinking decline during the “talk show” style interview, but the cameras kept rolling in order to maintain the “flow” of the conversation. Claritza and Valin decided that a conversation style would be the most comfortable and effective approach. Continue reading
“Study and Disobey,” graffiti from the Plaza de Bolivar
I wasn’t in Bogotá for last year’s spate of student strikes and protests, nor have I seen its student movement in action. Its wake, however, is everywhere.
The graffiti doesn’t last long in the ritzier areas of the city. It’s wiped off advertisements rather quickly; the pretty woman declaring her desire to “estudiar” from the wall of the bus stop by my hostel was, by morning, yearning once more for the “solidez” of the cell phone network Claro. It lasts longer on university walls, but the artistic vandalism is at its most rambunctious and its most visceral in the Centro, where colonial architecture becomes a platform for modern conflicts and paintball protests have turned government buildings into Jackson Pollock paintings.
Sometimes it’s hard to discern who’s responsible for what when conducting graffiti archaeology; Bogotá is a city with protests in its mortars and a lot to be discontent about. Continue reading
Graduating high school is an emotional time for any teen. It can be a simultaneously scary and exciting experience, a mix of anxious emotions to embark on a new life outside the confines (and safety) of the school, to tread the waters of the ‘real world.’ The story incurs an added twist when that apprehensive teen happens to be an English Language Learner who immigrated only a few years prior. The opportunities and obstacles that that youth will encounter upon graduation are daunting. Many newcomer youth have had interrupted schooling and have immigrated during their high school years. They have been uprooted for a multitude of reasons by their families (or own volition) and landed in New York City with hopes of finishing their education and commencing a new life full opportunities. The reality they encounter is not an easy one; most have not learned English prior to migration and many have to repeat years of schooling because records or curriculum from the home country do not transfer (Suárez-Orozco, Suárez-Orozco and Todorova, 2008). This is all paired with a cultural and linguistic shock on top of the stressful (and sometimes violent) process of migrating. Currently, an estimated 30% of 68 million youth are of foreign descent in the U.S. Subsequently, these youth and their children will have a great impact on the trajectory of higher education and the labor market, as well as the cultural and political landscape of this nation (Rumbaut and Komazie, 2010:45; Flanagan and Levine 2010; Lopez and Marcelo 2008; Stepick, Stepick and Labisserie 2008).
It is important to understand this growing population to ensure they have the chance to positively contribute to the U.S. economy and society, as well as have the chance to accomplish any goal that they set forth. By following the decision-making processes of these youth coupled with an insider view of their lives will provide a vital understanding of what institutional and societal obstacles and opportunities exist to help or hinder them in accomplishing their goals. In my preliminary assessment of the students’ situations and recent research, it has become apparent that there remains a dearth of understanding of the particular needs and experiences of newcomer young adults in the U.S, especially as they transition out of the high school educational institution. Continue reading
CLACS is committed to supporting – and disseminating – cutting-edge research on Latin America and the Caribbean across disciplines. In addition to ongoing events like the CLACS Research Colloquium, CLACS also co-hosts WiPLASH.
Works in Progress in Latin American Society and History (WiPLASH) provides an interdisciplinary space for NYC Consortium students and faculty to present and discuss their ongoing research on different topics concerning Latin America. Papers are pre-circulated, and then presented to a small group of students and scholars. After a brief presentation related to the pre-circulated paper, those in attendance partake in an in-depth (and supportive!) discussion. Because the focus of the event is on works in progress, presenters have a chance to test out ideas, and attendees have access to groundbreaking scholarship in a rather informal, workshop setting.
The most recent WiPLASH event featured Alexandra Delano’s research on “Mexico and Its Diaspora in the United States: Past and Present.” Delano is Assistant Professor of Global Studies at The New School for Social Research. Her discussant was Alyshia Galvez, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies, Lehman College/City University of New York.
The following graduates completed the CLACS MA program in three semesters. We offer you warmest congratulations, and best wishes as you embark on the next phases of your lives. Felicidades, graduates! Keep in touch!!
Kate Bedecarre, Katti Wachs, Sam Ginsburg, Sofia Huizar, Esther Mares, Yesenia Fernadez, Daniel Tate
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.