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Latin American Research Forum

The Latin American Research Forum is an interdisciplinary lecture series led by recognized IU professors and distinguished visitors. The Forum exhibits the extensive quality and diversity of research of IU faculty in the region.

The Latin American Research Forum is open to the public.

  • Location: Student Building 150
  • Time: 2:00-3:20 PM.

9/13/2013: Daniel Suslak, IUB

Chronicle of a Language Death Foretold

A contrastive exploration of two related languages, spoken in Southern Mexico and the politics of speaking indigenous Mexican languages in the 21st century. The first one, Ayöök, is spoken by a small but vibrant and highly organized community. The second, Nuumte Oote, has become a sort of poster child for the cause of dying languages.

Presented by Daniel Suslak, Associate Professor at IU Anthropology

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9/20/2013: Jeffery Gould, IUB

Desencuentro in the Port: packinghouse workers and fisherman in Puerto El Triunfo, El Salvador, 1970-1990

The talk analyzes the rise and fall of the El Salvadoran shrimp industry and its unions. It also discusses labor resistance to flexibilization, a global management strategy that emerged with force in the 1980s.

Presented by Jeffery Gould, Rudy Professor at IU History

9/27/2013: Stuart Schwartz, Yale University

The Rains of Lares: Sovereignty, Disaster, and Revolution in the 19th Century Caribbean

Schwartz examines the political impact of the 1867 hurricane that ravaged Puerto Rico which, he argues, was a contributing factor to the insurrection known as the Grito de Lares in 1868.

Presented by Stuart Schwartz, George Burton Adams Professor, Yale University History

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10/11/2013: Sylvia Martinez, IUB

The K-16 Educational Pipeline for Latino/a Students

Presented by Syliva Martinez, Assistant Professor, IU School of Education

This forum will focus on the K-16 Educational Pipeline for Latino/a students in the United States. By highlighting the structural barriers that Latino/a students encounter in the educational system we begin to understand their continued underrepresentation in higher education. Dr. Martinez will also present some of her newest research on the college information seeking patterns of Latino/a youth.

10/25/2013: Eduardo Brondizio, IUB

"The Land Above, Within, and Below": Institutional Complexity and Form of Attachment to Land in the Amazon

The last two decades has witnessed a myriad of new types of property systems and institutional arrangements related to common pool resources including indigenous and conservation territories, carbon storage contracts such as REDD+, and concessions of land and resource use to expanding agropastoral and mining industries. Using examples from the Brazilian Amazon, we show how these processes are leading to a complex social-territorial matrix whereas land and common pool resources represent at the same time symbols of local cultural identity and territorial rights, global agendas of conservation and climate change mitigation, and the economic frontier of global resource chains.

Presented by Eduardo Brondizio, Professor, IU Anthropology

11/1/2013: Bradley Levinson, IUB

The Anthropology of Education Policy and Reform in Latin America

This talk will outline some of the main policy trends in Latin American school systems, propose some principles for a democratic anthropological approach to educational policy research in the region, and exemplify an approach with his own reserach in Mexican secondary and civic education reform.

Presented by Bradley Levinson, Professor, IU School of Education

11/8/2013: Elizabeth Roberts, University of Michigan

White Beauty: Gamete Donation in a Mestizo Nation

This talk analyzes how the kin-making practice of anonymous egg donation in Ecuador’s infertility clinics makes whiter children, within the context of nation building in a land of “racial impurity”. In the new practice of anonymous egg donation, both race and kinship are enacted within the specific political and economic history of malleable bodies in the Andes. This history, involves the sexual domination of darker women by lighter men, producing lighter illegitimate children. The history of sexual dominance and lightening persists in the practices of IVF physicians and sperm donors. Egg donors are women who have become new actors in this ongoing project, participating in illegitimately whitening the nation through the bodies of other women. While IVF practitioners and sperm and egg donors use genetic material to create children, they don’t view that material as producing claims to kinship. Rather, care and cultivation of children are the most important markers of connection in this continent, with its history of mass illegitimacy. Gamete donors possess the valuable ability to transmit beauty, a trait seen as inseparable from whiteness. At the same time, beauty is also considered cultivatable through the kinds of care that families invest in their children

Presented by Elizabeth Roberts, Associate Professor, University of Michigan Anthropology

11/15/2013: Jonathan Risner, IUB

Shifting Margins and Streams: Contemporary Latin American Genre Cinema and a Wave of Horror

Over the last ten years and for various reasons, there has been an increase in Latin American genre film releases in particular countries such as Argentina, Mexico, and Chile. Latin American horror cinema, both mainstream and underground releases, exemplifies this trend and broaches a range of issues such as distribution, generational tastes, and collective memory.

Presented by Jonathan Risner, Assistant Professor, IU Spanish & Portuguese

11/22/2013: Christopher Gaffney, Universidade de Federal Fluminense

A Maravilha Perdida:Rio de Janeiro's Olympian Troubles

Projected as an urban dystopia in the film City of God at the beginning of the 21st century, Rio de Janeiro is now portrayed as an urban fantasy land that will host the world's largest sporting events. The discourse of sustainability permeates the planning documents of the World Cup and Olympics, both of which promise to leave "enduring legacies" for the city. The realities of urban life in Rio have come into sharp relief with a series of protests that have called into question the ability of mega-events to create a more sustainable city. This talk will look at the on the ground realities of Rio de Janeiro as it enters more fully into its mega-event cycle.

Presented by Chrisotopher Gaffney, Visting Professor, Universidade de Federal Fluminense Graduate School of Architecture and Urbanism

12/6/2013: Debbie Cohn, IUB

The politics of translation

This session will focus on the politics of translating and publishing Latin American novels in the U.S. in the years following the Cuban Revolution, when the so-called literary Boom, represented by authors such as Cortázar, Donoso, Fuentes, García Márquez, and Vargas Llosa, rose to international acclaim. In particular, I will examine the politics motivating philanthropic organizations such as the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, whose political interests were often aligned with those of the Cold War State, as they funded translation subsidy programs, which, in turn, paradoxically supported the publication of works by writers whose politics were often antithetical to those of the foundations.

Presented by Debbie Cohn, Professor, IU Spanish & Portuguese and American Studies

12/13/2013: Javier León, IUB

Heritage Policy and Cultural Ownership in Peru

Throughout the 20th century, Latin American states have been invested in the promotion and management of different forms of expressive culture, in particular music and dance, as a means of fostering specific forms of ethnic pride and/or national belonging that are consistent with a particular regime’s political ideology and their accompanying social and economic agendas. Cultural policy has been a favorite, although not always effective, tool with which to shape and imagine the nation in the state’s image, most often through the use of symbolic declarations, the regulation of expressive culture through legislation, and the creation of cultural and educational institutions. This presentation will explore the transformation of cultural policy at the start of the twenty-first century, using a number of recent and interrelated case studies from Peru. In particular, the talk will focus on the impact that international cultural policy regarding Intangible Cultural Heritage and the emergence of a new neoliberal form of multiculturalism in Peru are having on the articulation and implementation of cultural policy.

Presented by Javier León, Assistant Professor, IU Folklore & Ethnomusicology

For more information on location and scheduled speakers, see a PDF of the event flyer or contact us at clacs[at]