On Monday, February 22nd at 6:00pm in the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, CLACS will welcome Columbia University’s Joshua Simon, who will present the second lecture of the Spring 2016 Colloquium Series, Political Imaginaries across Latin America and the Caribbean. Professor Simon’s talk, entitled “The Ideology of Creole Revolution: Imperialism and the Independence in American and Latin American Political Thought,” will explore the similarities that existed among Creole revolutionaries during the independence movements that swept the American continent in the 18th and 19th centuries. Monday’s lecture is based on Simon’s work for an upcoming book, The Ideology of Creole Revolution: American Political Thought in Comparative Perspective (Columbia University Press).
Professor Simon explains the themes of his lecture and book:
“This book manuscript proposes a new, unified interpretation of the leading ideas of the independence movements of the United States and Latin America. It takes as its point of departure the fact that all of the American independence movements were led by Creoles, the American-born descendants of European settlers. Creoles occupied a distinctive position within the social structure of the empires, simultaneously dominating fellow Americans of indigenous and African descent and dominated by fellow Europeans from the metropoles. I argue that this shared social position imposed common dilemmas on the independence movements’ political theorists, explaining key ideological similarities in their defenses of revolution, constitutional designs, and ideas about inter-American relations. I illustrate my claims in three carefully chosen case studies of important Creole revolutionaries: Alexander Hamilton of the United States, Simón Bolívar of Venezuela, and Lucas Alamán of Mexico.”
Joshua Simon (Ph.D., Yale) is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, specializing in political theory. He has held positions at King’s College London and the New School for Social Research. His research focuses on American and Latin American political thought, especially the ideas underlying the Americas’ revolutions, constitutions, and approaches to foreign policy. He has also studied American and Latin American adaptations of European traditions of political thought, including republicanism, liberalism, positivism, and Marxism. His work draws on the theories and methods of comparative political science and historical institutionalism, offering systematic accounts of the co-evolution of political ideologies and political institutions with both explanatory and critical intents.
After the lecture, Professor Simon will be joined by CLACS Faculty Fellow Edgardo Pérez Morales for a discussion and Q&A with the audience. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here to see the event page and RSVP here.
Next Monday, October 5th is about Venezuelan films. At 6:00 p.m. the King Juan Carlos Center’s auditorium will screen four short independent films (Nostalgia; La mula muerta, Colmillo, I Want to Shine) that address the everyday life, dreams, and stories of the people of the South American country. The event hopes to give an insight about the new routes and styles that are being taken by the Venezuelan film industry. At the end of the screening there will be a conversation with Haydeé Chavero González, Chair at the Cinema and Communications Department in Universidad Central de Venezuela.
The following are the four shorts that are going to be screened along with their descriptions and trailers.
With the rise of the Pink Tide during the last decade and due to the current unrest in a post-Hugo Chavez Venezuela, the question of populism has become ever more prominent for Latin American academics. On March 7th, CLACS invited nine guest scholars to share their recent research surrounding the issue of populism in Latin America. Coming from diverse academic background, these experts delved into a wide range of issues, ranging from “popular” politics to popular music. The goal was to produce an engaging medium for academic discourse on current Latin American issues and certainly by the end of the day many attendees felt that their understanding of current Latin American issues had expanded.
The morning presentations did not hesitate to jump straight into the substance of Latin American populism by discussing popular politics, parties and leaders. This series of lectures helped viewers get a better understanding of who and what is the popular in Latin America. A memorable quote from Raul Madrid of UT Austin was that “leaders shape the popular by bringing out and aligning grievances among the majority.”
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.
Alejandro Velasco is assistant professor of Latin American history in the Gallatin School at New York University, and a CLACS affiliated faculty member.
Velasco teaches interdisciplinary courses that incorporate cultural studies, urban social movements and human rights, and 20th-century revolutions.
In a recently published article, titled “ ‘Weapon as Powerful as the Vote’: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Venezuela, 1978–1983,” Velasco challenges popular notions regarding “popular passivity” in Venezuela in the decades immediately following the founding of democracy in 1958. Velasco argues that street protest played an important role in evolving conceptions of democracy outside of those in urban popular sectors.
Through street protest, the meaning of democracy is expanded to incorporate “dynamic interplay of institutional and extrainstitutional, legal and illegal protest.” According to Velaso, considering street protests as evidence of popular activity reveals a stronger interaction between popular and elite-level actors in redeveloping Venezuelan democracy.
Alejandro Velasco’s article was published in the November issue of the Hispanic American Historical Review.
Read Velasco’s article
Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU
The week of July 18th was a very busy one. Since I found out that the Archdiocese’s archive was about to close to move to another site in about ten days I decided to focus on their material which I had never explored before. Exploring this archive also gave me the opportunity to make a list of the type of index titles that could hold documents relevant to my research interests. This exploration expanded my understanding of the role the Catholic Church played during the colonial period. The Church in the Province of Caracas functioned not only as a mean to manage the spiritual development and the moral behavior of its parishioners, it also served as a secular court mediating payments dispute, and thefts. Not surprisingly, the ecclesiastical courts also served enslaved people’s claim for freedom. During this week I was able to take digital photos of several of these cases that took place at the Province of Caracas from 1780 to 1790. I will have to return to this archive to continue collecting more cases and exploring other types of documents that contains Afro-descendants’ claims of honor.
The week went by before I could meet any of the historians I had planned to meet. However I was able to establish e-mails contacts with most of them, hopefully, I will meet at least some of them next week.
The anecdote of this week was the exhumation of the remains of Venezuelan and South American independence hero Simón Bolívar. His remains had been placed in an old church with the rest of other major independence heroes. This took place few days before the celebration of his birthday (July 24th). According to the official version the exhumation took place to find out the real causes of his death in 1830 (natural or poisoned). In addition, the government spokespersons affirm that it was about time to find out if those are the remains of Bolívar. A rumor claims that the government wants to find out if Bolívar was of mixed heritage, contrary to what the official version had always claimed. Opposition sectors find the exhumation as an abomination. However, supporters of the government feel exited about the possibility to learn more about the “Father of the Nation.”
I have been in Caracas for a week now. I traveled with my two daughters last Sunday on July 11th, while following the final game of the FIFA World Cup on monitors located both at the Philadelphia and Miami International airports. My plan is to stay in Caracas until Thursday August the 12th, a week longer than what I had originally planned.
We are staying at my parent’s place located in the eastern part of the city in a neighborhood called “California Norte.” While Caracas is the city where I grew up, it is in constant change. The currency the “Bolívar-fuerte” for instances was devaluated after my last visit this past January, so I had to become familiar with the new exchange rate and values.
During this past first week I had two main objectives. The first one was to visit the “Archivo de la Academia Nacional de Historia” (from where I had previously collected materials). I owed them digital copies of the material I had photographed in 2008 and I wanted to give them these materials at my first visit. I also wanted to establish the research relationship with the “Archivo Histórico de la Arquidiócesis de Caracas,” to visit the new site of the “Archivo General de la Nación,” and to explore the content of the little private “Archivo John Boulton.” My second objective to find summer programs where my girls could go near the four archives I am planning to work with during this visit. While information of this nature is available on-line, most of it had not been posted yet because this was the last week of school for Venezuelan children, so I had to go to these places and see what would work best for us. These processes went very well; at the archives staffs were very helpful and willing to make my time here productive. Likewise I was able to register my daughters in fun and creative summer activities. The only drawback was to find out that most of the archives, are closing at 1:00PM due to a national electric energy shortage. Luckily the “Archivo General de la Nación” works long hours, from Mondays to Fridays, and on Saturday mornings.