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LASP Lecture Recordings

LASP SEMINAR SERIES VIDEOS FALL 2018
"Neruda: The Poet's Calling" by Mark Eisner, September 4, 2018
Neruda

Mark Eisner spoke about his definitive biography of the poet Pablo Neruda, a moving portrait of one of the most intriguing and influential figures in Latin American history. Few poets have captured the global imagination like Pablo Neruda. In his native Chile, across Latin America, and in many other parts of the world, his name and legacy have become almost synonymous with liberation movements, and with the language of erotic love.  "Neruda: The Poet’s Calling" is the product of fifteen years of research by Mark Eisner, writer, translator, and documentary filmmaker. The book vividly depicts Neruda’s monumental life, potent verse, and ardent belief in the “poet’s obligation” to use poetry for social good. It braids together three major strands of Neruda’s life—his world-revered poetry; his political engagement; and his tumultuous, even controversial, personal life—forming a single cohesive narrative of intimacy and breadth.                                                                                   

Empathetic but unflinching when occasion calls for criticism, Eisner weaves his subject's stanzas that resonate with the poet's personal stories. A real treat is the who's who of intellectual luminaries who make cameos throughout, revealing the synergistic interconnectivity of Latin American, North American, and European literary and leftist traditions.

The fascinating events of Neruda’s life are interspersed with Eisner’s thoughtful examinations of the poems, both as works of art in their own right and as mirrors of Neruda’s life and times. The result is a book that animates Neruda’s riveting story in a new way—one that offers a compelling narrative version of Neruda’s life and work, undergirded by exhaustive research, yet designed to bring this colossal literary figure to a broader audience.                                                                                                                             

Mark Eisner has spent most of the past two decades working on projects related to Pablo Neruda. Neruda: The Poet's Calling, his biography of the poet, was published to critical acclaim in March 2018 by Ecco/HarperCollins. Previously, he conceived, edited, and was one of the principal translators for City Lights' The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems. He also wrote the introduction to City Lights’ first ever English translation of Neruda’s venture of the infinite man, a project he developed. He is now producing a documentary on Neruda, with support from Latino Public Broadcasting. An initial version, narrated by Isabel Allende, won the Latin American Studies Association Award of Merit in Film.

Eisner holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. He earned an MA in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, where he later served as a Visiting Scholar. Eisner was involved with the founding of the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco's Mission district, and continues to help lead Red Poppy the literary-non profit, "dedicated to the power of Latin American poetry to not only evoke emotions, but to shift social consciousness, sparking both individual and collective change." They recently created a multilingual anthology of Latin American resistance poetry, which Eisner co-edited.

"Ñoqayku Xauxakuna: Negotiating Indigenous Identity Through Dance and Music Performance in the Central Andes" by Candy Hurtado, September 10, 2018
Indigenous Dance and Music Performance

Candy Hurtado talked about questions regarding concepts of authenticity and indigeneity which continue to permeate the analysis and production of Andean music and dance performance. Often times these outsider perspectives have resulted in the policing of the indigenous authenticity of central Andean vernacular culture. As a native performer, scholar, and activist, the talk looked at the role of cultural activism, practice, and performance in the central Andes of Jauja and how it continues to embed agency to defy outside impositions by negotiating and redefining cultural products and ultimately indigenous Xauxa identity.

Candy Hurtado Bonilla is a McKnight and Presidential fellow pursuing her Ph.D. in Andean Studies at Florida Atlantic University. She has a Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University and holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science with minors in Economics and International relations. She is currently an Instructor of Latin American Studies, Andean Dance and Music, World Literature and Spanish Language and Culture. Her research Interests include: Ethnomusicology, Ethno history and Cultural Anthropology. Ms. Hurtado has ample experience in cultural development projects, public policy studies, marketing, research, and public relations in the academic, corporate, and non-profit sectors, where she has established important links with key players in the region. 

Candy is a well-recognized Peruvian musician and the Executive Director of the Kuyayky Foundation a federally recognized non-profit organization that fosters the social, political, cultural and economic development of Andean culture through lectures, recordings, cultural productions, performances and fundraising.

 

LASP Video:  https://youtu.be/P9Korixalo4

 

"Indigenous Education in Brazil and Government Policies" by Rondon Adugoenau, September 24, 2018
Brazil Bororo

Rondon Adugoenau, Researcher Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT) --- Bororo Leader

Rondon guided the audience through the history of school education for indigenous peoples in Brazil, starting with the colonial period. He discussed the policies created by the Portuguese Crown, which were aimed at "integrating" indigenous peoples into mainstream society through deculturalization, with the purpose of occupying their ancestral lands. Rondon depicted the fight for the right to have a differentiated, multilingual, intercultural, and community-oriented school system, and described the Principles of Indigenous School Education as defined by a collaborative effort that involved indigenous teachers and leaders from the entire country. He addressed the status of school education for indigenous peoples both at a local and at a national level, and talked about the challenges of creating a school education system that meets the specific needs of Brazil's indigenous peoples. He concluded by questioning the role of interculturality in indigenous school education in Brazil.  

*Co-Sponsored with American Indian and Indigenous Studies & the Romance Studies Department

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu6U6xUvIys&feature=youtu.be

"Latin America: In Search of the Mythical Judicial Independence," by Juan Pablo Albán, October 1, 2018
Peru

Juan Pablo Albán Alencastro addressed the following issues: 1. How Latin American States have historically curtailed judicial independence and hence checks and balances and furthermore democracy; 2. The standards on judicial independence developed by the Inter American System of Human Rights and the obstacles for their effective implementation; and 3. The consequences of the threats against judicial independence for the success of the transitional process in Ecuador and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia.

Juan Pablo Albán, Ecuadorian, holds a Law degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador and a Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from University of Notre Dame where he is also a JSD candidate in International Human Rights Law. For seven years he served as tenured Professor of Law (currently on sabbatical leave) at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) Law School and as Director of the Legal Aid Clinic at the same institution. Previously, for eight years he was part of the professional staff of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. He also directed the Human Rights Clinic and was an Associate Professor of Law at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. Mr. Albán has also taught in Ecuador at Universidad Católica Santiago de Guayaquil and Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, in Perú at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, in Argentina at Universidad Nacional de San Martín and in Hungary at Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem. In December 2017 he was elected as Foreign Expert of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia. Since June until September 2018, he served as Member of Ecuador’s Council of the Judiciary for the Transition (the supervisory and administrative organ of the judicial branch). He is a member of the Inter-American Institute on Criminal Policy based in Mexico, a Doctoral Affiliate of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights, and has been an advisor or expert witness for several Ecuadorian public entities and international organizations in the field of human rights.

LASP Video: Currently with Video Editor, stay tuned!

"Boe: 300 Years of Interaction Between the Bororo and the Scientific Community through Language and Culture," by Felix Rondon Adugoenau, October 1, 2018

Adugoenau is a faculty-researcher working on indigenous education issues alongside the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT). He is visiting Cornell with the help of a grant from the institute for Social Sciences to work with the Department of Linguistics on documenting the Bororo language. Bororo culture was extensively documented by French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, who lived among the Bororo during his first research stay in Brazil bteween 1935 and 1939. The opportunity to hear from Mr. Adugoenau's perspective as both a witness and researcher of Bororo culture is a unique opportunity.

Adugoenau started with a preamble in which he talks about the history of his people: explaining who the Bororo are, and describing their relationship with the universe. His culture relies on three main axioms: unity, reciprocity, and the inextricability of existence and spirituality. The vigor and vitality with which these axioms are experienced by his people to the present day are what keep their memories and traditions alive after 300 years of contact with western civilization. He follows to recount their encounters with the Bandeirantes, the first Europeans his people met approximately three centuries ago, and he then walks the audience through the extermination wars and the splitting of his people into Western and Eastern Bororo.

Adugoenau then moves to the main part of the talk, which comprises the Bororo language in its different forms: the everyday language, the language of the chants, the language of the ritual lament, and the whistled language. Throughout the talk, he depicts interactions the Bororo – and other indigenous peoples of Brazil – have had with researchers over the centuries, and illustrates the impact (positive and negative) scientific work has had, and may have, on indigenous communities.

*Sponsored by the Department of Linguistics and the Cognitive Science Program

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctTWs1bVoeg

 

"Land Reform and Civil Conflict: Theory and Evidence from Peru" by Michael Albertus, October 15, 2018
Peru Land Reform

What are the long-term implications of land reform on civil conflict? Albertus examined this question in the context of Peru, where half of all of private agricultural land was redistributed under military rule from 1968-80. A brutal insurgency waged by Shining Path then cropped up from the early 1980s to the early 1990s, killing some 70,000 people. How was the spread of Shining Path connected to the land reform? Albertus leveraged original data on the universe of land expropriations and data from the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission on rural killings for the duration of Peru's insurgency to answer these questions. Using a regression discontinuity design that takes advantage of Peru’s regional approach to land reform through zones that did not map onto major pre-existing administrative boundaries, he found that land reform helped to dampen subsequent conflict. Although partial and patchwork land reform can generate grievances between winners and losers relative to the absence of land reform, districts in core areas of land reform zones that received comprehensive land reform witnessed less conflict relative to districts in adjacent peripheral areas of these zones.

LASP Video: Currently with Video Editor, stay tuned!

LASP SEMINAR SERIES VIDEOS -- SPRING 2018
Agrarian Politics and the 2016 Rousseff/Temer Coup in Brazil, by Sérgio Sauer, May 7, 2018

Synopsis

Sérgio Sauer talks about recent events in Brazil, with a focus on the relationship between politics and agriculture. He argues that the agrarian elite constitutes the strongest block against progressive change in the country and helped to upend the Workers’ Party (PT- Partido dos Trabalhadores).

Brief Biography

Sérgio Sauer, has a PhD in sociology from the University of Brasilia (2002) and is professor at Brasília, at the University of Planaltina (FUP) and in the graduate programs in the Environment and Rural development (PPG-Mader) and sustainability with traditional peoples and lands (MESPT /CDS). He is a master in philosophy of religion by the School of Mission and theology-Faculty of Arts/University of Bergen, Norway (1996), graduated in theology by the Higher School of Theology (1986) and in philosophy from the Catholic University of Goiás (UFG). He was professor of the Catholic Universities of Goiás (PUC-Goiás) and Catholic University of Brasilia (UCB) as well as being a parliamentary advisor in the Federal Senate. He has experience and conducts research in sociology, philosophy and political sciences, with an emphasis on Rural sociology, political sociology and government policies, acting primarily in issues such as land struggle, agrarian reform, land and territory, agriculture Social movements and public policies for the field of agriculture.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/EYlEliBY85k

 

Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity, Fabiola Lopez-Duran, April 23, 2018

Synopsis

As Latin American elites strove to modernize their cities at the turn of the twentieth century, they eagerly adopted the eugenic theory that improvements to the physical environment would lead to improvements in the human race. Based on Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s theory of the “inheritance of acquired characteristics,” this strain of eugenics empowered a utopian project that made race, gender, class, and the built environment the critical instruments of modernity and progress.

Through a transnational and interdisciplinary lens, Eugenics in the Garden reveals how eugenics, fueled by a fear of social degeneration in France, spread from the realms of medical science to architecture and urban planning, becoming a critical instrument in the crafting of modernity in the new Latin world. Journeying back and forth between France, Brazil, and Argentina, Fabiola López-Durán uncovers the complicity of physicians and architects on both sides of the Atlantic, who participated in a global strategy of social engineering, legitimized by the authority of science. In doing so, she reveals the ideological trajectory of one of the most celebrated architects of the twentieth century, Le Corbusier, who deployed architecture in what he saw as the perfecting and whitening of man. The first in-depth interrogation of eugenics’ influence on the construction of the modern built environment, Eugenics in the Garden convincingly demonstrates that race was the main tool in the geopolitics of space, and that racism was, and remains, an ideology of progress. 

Brief biography

Fabiola López-Durán earned her Ph.D in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to joining the Rice University faculty, she was the 2009-2011 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the Department of History of Art at the University of California-Berkeley. Adopting an original transnational and interdisciplinary perspective, López-Durán's works uncovers and interrogates the cross-pollination of ideas and mediums-science, politics and aesthetics-that ignited the process of modernization on both sides of the Atlantic, with an emphasis on Latin America.  Her awards include fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, Dedalus Foundation, CLIR, Harvard Center for European Studies, Camargo Foundation, Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Fulbright Program. More recently she has been recognized by the Sophia Meyer Farb Prize for Outstanding Teaching/Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society at Rice University, and the Society of Architectural Historians/Mellon Author Award for her 2018 book, Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity. Her work has been published in Europe, Asia, South America and the United States. 

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/epUTxorkP5I

Challenges for Venezuela's Democracy: An Exiles Mayor's Tale of Tyranny, David Smolansky, March 23, 2018

Synopsis

Venezuela is facing an unprecedented collapse. Millions of lives are being threatened by food scarcity, medicine shortages, hyperinflation, and rising criminality. Rather than taking steps to end the humanitarian crisis, there are many who believe the government is using it to entrench its political control and to silence dissent. Cornell Latin American Student Society (CLASS), in conjuction with Cornell Latin American Studies Program (LASP), welcomes David Smolansky Urosa, an exiled opposition leader and former mayor of El Hatillo, a municipality in the capital city of Caracas. Smolansky will discuss his forced exile, his expectations for the future of Venezuela, and the role of international community in the solution for the current humanitarian crisis.

David Smolensky is a Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University. Currently he is a refugee in U.S. because the Venezuelan government has threaten to imprison him for allowing peaceful protests while he was Major of El Hatillo, a municipality in Caracas. He will speak about his experience as a Mayor and the current situation in Venezuela.

Brief Biography

David Smolansky Urosa (Caracas, May 27, 1985 ) is a politician, journalist, one of the leaders of the Popular Will party and former Mayor of El Hatillo municipality in Caracas - Venezuela for the period 2014-2017 . He was recognized by the Junior Chamber International as World's Outstanding Young Politician 2015. Threatened with prison, he has been in exile since 13 September 2017.

This event was organized by the Cornell Latin American Students Society (CLASS) co-sponsored by the Latin American Studies Program (LASP).

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/1UM3K0udlkA

Communication for Change: Mass Media, Rural Development, the Catholic Church and the Cold War in Colombia's Radio Sutatenza/Cultural Popular Action Network, 1947-1974, by Mary Roldan, March 19, 2018

Synopsis

Radio Sutatenza/Cultural Popular Action (ACPO) was Latin America’s largest, transnational, Catholic-affiliated, anti-communist, mass media based education and community development network (1947-89).  Founded in 1947 by a recently ordained auxiliary parish priest and amateur radio enthusiast assigned to a largely illiterate, geographically dispersed parish in Colombia during the early years of la Violencia, José Joaquin Salcedo transformed Radio Sutatenza/ACPO from a village based, radio-centered, adult literacy and catechetical project dependent on peasant and diocesan donations, into a multi-pronged (publishing, recording and broadcasting), mass-media and peasant leadership training empire with transnational influence and support by 1962. This talk explores the complex and shifting dynamics of transnational technical expertise exchanges, ideology, financing, secular/religious collaboration, the use of mass media technologies for the promotion of rural economic development (including gender-based, family planning and educational campaigns) and anti-communist propaganda during the Cold War in Colombia and Latin America.

Brief Biography

Mary Roldán is the Dorothy Epstein Professor of Latin American History and Chair of the History Department at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY) and a member of the faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center.  She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and specializes in 20th century Colombian political and social history. She is the author of Blood and Fire: La Violencia in Antioquia, Colombia, 1946-1953 (Duke, 2002), winner of the Fundación Alejandro Angel Escobar Social Sciences Prize (2003).  She has written about drug trafficking, paramilitarism, and grassroots peace initiatives to armed conflict. She is currently completing two monographs, one analyzing the relationship between radio, public opinion and politics in Colombia titled, Broadcast Nation: Radio, Politics, and Culture in Colombia, 1930-1962 and another, the history of Latin America’s largest Catholic, mass-media based peasant educationnetwork (Radio Sutatenza)titled Cold War Parable: Radio Sutatenza/ Popular Cultural Action and Rural Development in Colombia, 1947-1990. Her most recent publications include, “ACPO, Estado, Educación y Desarrollo Rural en Colombia,” Banco de la República, May 2017; “Popular Cultural Action, Catholic Transnationalism and Development in Colombia before Vatican II,” in Local Church, Global Church.  Catholic Transnationalism before Vatican II, edited by Stephen J.C. Andes and Julia C. Young (Catholic University of America Press, 2016); and “Acción Cultural Popular (ACPO), ‘Responsible Procreation’, and the Roots of Social Activism in Colombia” (LARR, v.49 2014).

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/_PYn6rvuwJQ

"Indians, Territorial Consolidation, and Improvised Justice in Late-Colonial Brazil," by Hal Langfur, March 12, 2018

Synopsis

This talk explores relations between legal authorities, both secular and ecclesiastical, and native peoples, especially the Coroado and Coropó, in the Atlantic forest north of Rio de Janeiro during the second half of the eighteenth century.  Despite more than two centuries of colonial occupation along the coast, these mobile Indians continued to dominate the mountainous zone separating the captaincies of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais in Brazil’s southeastern interior.  Crown ministers, military officers, churchmen, and other agents of Portugal’s transatlantic judicial system increasingly targeted them as informants, believing they could provide crucial intelligence about illegal mining operations.  Official investigations ranged from trailside interrogations to proceedings of the Inquisition in Lisbon.  Together, they reveal the centrality of indigenous information networks to the crown’s multifaceted effort to consolidate control over remote territory.

Brief biography

Hal Langfur, associate professor of history at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), completed his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin.  He is the author of The Forbidden Lands: Colonial Identity, Frontier Violence, and the Persistence of Brazil’s Eastern Indians, 1750 – 1830 (Stanford University Press, 2006) and the editor of Native Brazil: Beyond the Convert and the Cannibal, 1500 – 1900 (University of New Mexico Press, 2014).  His current research focuses on wilderness expeditions and the projection of Portuguese power in the Brazilian interior during the late colonial period.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/97zyCbl2XK4

"Economic Crises and the Evolution of Electoral Lefts in Latin America and Southern Europe," Enrico Padoan, February 26, 2018

Synopsis

The dissertation consists in a comparative study of the evolution of the electoral Lefts in Latin America and Southern Europe in the aftermath of economic crises produced by the shortcomings of the neoliberal model. The research inserts in the comparative-historical tradition and relies on in-depth interviews with key partisan, union and social movements’ leaders in four different countries and on secondary literature.

The main goal is to explain why, in most of (but not in all) these countries, the left side of the political spectrum has been shaped by the irruption of new populist parties, and to propose a better categorization of these populist experiences, by focusing on their internal organization and on their relationship with the organised working-class. The research shows that two main macro-factors contribute to explain most of the (dis)continuity within the electoral Left and the different subtypes of ‘anti-neoliberal populisms’.

The first factor consists in the eventual credibility assumed by the existing partisan and unionist structures of intermediation as proponents of successful political projects critic of the neoliberal order (as occurred in Uruguay and Portugal). The second factor is represented by the different forms (‘unified’ or ‘fragmented’) assumed by the protest cycles in reaction to the crisis. I thus propose a categorization of the populist parties emerged as main electoral players: ‘movement (based) populisms’ (the Bolivian MAS-IPSP and the Spanish Podemos), ‘anti-institutional populisms’ (the Venezuelan Chavism and the Italian Five Star Movement) and ‘party-based populisms’ (the Argentine Kirchnerism and the Greek Syriza, which were able to strengthen their linkages to social actors thanks to their ideological and organizational characteristics). Each of these categories show very different relationships with the organizations representing the salaried workers.

Brief Biography

Enrico Padoan is a LASP Graduate Student Visiting Scholar PhD candidate at Pontificial Catholic University of Chile. He holds a BA and a MA in Political Science at University of Padua, Italy. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation, a comparative research about the emergence and the internal organization of antineoliberal populist parties in Latin America and Southern Europe, and the relationships between these parties and the organised working class. He has recently published two conceptual papers on populism in peer-reviewed Italian journals Quaderni di Scienza Politica and Partecipazione e Conflitto.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/MGCDSmvLst4

"Brazilian Politics and the Judiciary's Involvement in the Coup D'Etat," by Mariella Pittari, Cornell Law School, February 12, 2018

Synopsis

The new Civil Procedural Code, effective in Brazil in 2015, accompanied broader challenges to Brazilian democracy in recent years. In this presentation, I will analyze the background, intent, and consequences of this new Code, specifically with reference to how it changes how cases are heard by Brazil's most vulnerable populations. I argue that the Brazilian judiciary's efforts to reduce Brazilians essential "litigious" behavior are in effect targeting certain populations whose revindications of rights they do not wish to consider.

Brief Biography

Mariella Pittari received her law degree from the Federal University of Bahia. Since 2006, she has been a public defender in the state of Ceará, where she has worked on everything from criminal defense to land rights and consumer protection. Several of her appeals have made it to Brazil's Supreme Court. She is currently researching the consequences of the new Civil Procedural Code with respect to access to justice and Brazil's legal system in a comparative framework.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/0J3Q--nFWeE

LASP SEMINAR SERIES VIDEOS -- AY 2016-2017
Growth, Employment, and Poverty in Latin America by David Jaume and Gary Fields, November 6, 2017

Synopsis

Has economic growth resulted in gains in standards of living and reductions in poverty via improved labour market conditions in Latin America in the 2000s, and have these improvements halted or been reversed since the international crisis of 2008? How do the rate and character of economic growth, changes in the various employment and earnings indicators, and changes in poverty and inequality indicators relate to each other?

Brief Biography

David Jaume is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Cornell University and a research affiliate at Center for Distributive, Labor, and Social Studies (CEDLAS).  His research interests are in Labor Economics, Development Economics, and Economics of Education.

Gary Fields is the John P. Windmuller Professor of International and Comparative Labor and Professor of Economics at Cornell University, Program Coordinator of the IZA Program on Labor and Development, and a WIDER Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow. He is the 2014 winner of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics, the top world-wide award in the field. He has been an Ivy League teacher and professor for more than forty years. After receiving Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Michigan,

LASP Video:  https://youtu.be/cQLMqXvYsRM

Climate Change, Land Use, and the Contradictions of Forestry Development in Chile and Sweden," Cristián Alarcón Ferrari, October 16, 2017

Synopsis

The changing meanings and materiality of forests, forestry and land use constitute a fundamental political process today at both national and world levels. Within this context, climate change has become a fundamental historical conjuncture revealing the social and ecological conflictivity and contradictions associated with forest use and land use for tree planting.

This seminar is based on a comparative study of land use and forest use for forestry in Sweden and Chile. The presentation will explore current processes linking forestry and climate change politics and how they are materialized in the geographical areas of the Ñuble Province in Southern Chile and Jämtland- Västernorrland in Northern Sweden. Processes of forestry development in the two countries will be placed and analyzed in relation to world forestry, political ecology and environmental communication relations. The presentation aims at analyzing and explaining the conflictive nature of forestry in Chile and Sweden and how and why this is greatly entangled with use value and exchange value contradictions.

Brief Biography

Cristián Alarcón Ferrari holds a PhD from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala. In addition, he holds a Master Degree in Political Philosophy and a Law Degree from the University of Chile. He defended his PhD dissertation in 2015, which was based on a comparative study of forestry, land use and climate change in Chile & Sweden from political ecology and environmental communication perspectives. He is affiliated with the Law School at Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano in Chile where he teaches Epistemology of the Social Sciences, Philosophy of Right and Master´s courses on Political Ecology.

Currently he is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the department of Development Sociology at Cornell University for which he was granted a scholarship by Chile´s National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research – CONICYT. His postdoctoral research project centres on water and land use changes in the context of climate change adaptation, for which he is comparatively studying cases in Chile and the US. Prior to coming to Cornell he combined his academic work with his work as a lawyer specialized in employment and labor law in Chile.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/bwAf8b4_fNw

"Brazilian Race Relations and French Late Colonialism: A Connected Intellectual History" by Ian Merkel, New York University PhD Candidate, October 2, 2017

Synopsis

From a political and economic perspective, the relationships between Brazilian social organization and French late-colonialism appear unrelated. But French intellectuals in institutions as varied as UNESCO and the École Pratique des Hautes Études found Brazilian race relations to be a model for "harmonious" coexistence and mixing in the 1950s. Brazil, in a sense, might help to de-escalate colonial conflict. This presentation analyzes this ambiguous connected history between intellectuals such as Gilberto Freyre, Florestan Fernandes, Roger Bastide, and Fernand Braudel.

Brief Biography

Ian Merkel is a PhD Candidate in History and French Studies at New York University. He received funding for his dissertation from Fulbright-Hays (Brazil) and the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), among others. This spring, he will be teaching a course on Brazilian intellectual and cultural history here at Cornell.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/riMBITQNiPI

"The Woman in the Window: A Tale of Mystery in Several Parts" by Sylvia Sellers Garcia, History, Boston College, September 25, 2017

Synopsis

The Woman in the Window is the contextualized history of a sensational crime that took place in Guatemala in 1800. It draws on a cluster of related topics: social violence; the history of medicine; gender and sexuality; and early modern policing. It also draws on several narrative traditions: though researched in the archive and anchored in traditional historiography, the story is narrated in the first person and incorporates elements of memoir, fiction, and “true crime” writing. This project offers the incredible opportunity to tell a gripping story about an obscure place, but it also confronts challenges that often haunt the border of literature and history: Are there any “truths” to be found in this story? In the telling of it, how much invention is allowable? And how much of the author’s own story belongs in the narrative?

Biography          

Sylvia Sellers-García is an Associate Professor of History at Boston College. She holds an MPhil in Latin American Studies from St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and a PhD in History from UC Berkeley. Sellers-García’s publications include When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep (Riverhead, 2007), Distance and Documents at the Spanish Empire’s Periphery (Stanford, 2013), and, as a co-editor, Imagining Histories of Colonial Latin America: Synoptic Methods and Practices (University of New Mexico Press, forthcoming in 2017). Her current research focuses on social violence in Guatemala in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/_u_2o-brW5E

"Housing Pathways, Elective Belonging, and Family Ties in Middle Class Chileans' Housing Choices" by Joel Stillerman, Sociology, Grand Valley State University, September 11, 2017

Synopsis

Much of the research on culture and stratification has focused on cultural consumption. In contrast, this paper addresses the housing field, an important arena for the reproduction of social inequality. Models of housing choice often assume individuals are rational actors functioning in free markets. In contrast, scholars combining the concept of “housing pathways” with a Bourdieusian framework demonstrate that the state shapes housing markets, and families deploy different forms of capital to access housing. Additionally, scholars use the concept of “elective belonging” to understand middle class housing tastes and identities. For Chile’s middle classes, extended family is an important source of housing wealth and a key influence on housing decisions.

Biography

Joel Stillerman received his PhD in Sociology (with a minor in Historical Studies) from the New School for Social Research in 1998. Before teaching at Grand Valley State University, Stillerman taught and was the chair of the Sociology Department at the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile, as well as teaching at the University of Arizona. He is the author of The Sociology of Consumption: A Global Approach (Polity Books, 2015), his articles have appeared in Latin American Politics and SocietyPolitical Power and Social Theory, and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, to name a few, has published several book chapters, and co-edited three special issues of International Labor and Working-Class History.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/yP99IdCrb38

"Public Ritual, Temple Construction, and the Origins of Maya Civilization," Takeshi Inomata, Anthropology, University of Arizona, May 1, 2017

Synopsis

Throughout their history, including the modern and colonial times, the Maya people have strongly emphasized public ceremonies, in which political authorities have played central roles. In this talk, I will trace this tradition back to the Preclassic period around 1000 BC when sedentary communities were initially formed. Our research at the Maya site of Ceibal, Guatemala, has revealed evidence of temple constructions at the beginning of a sedentary village. The importance of public ritual and its close connection to political authorities significantly shaped the later course of Maya society.

Brief Biography

Takeshi Inomata is professor and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair at the School of Anthropology, University of Arizona. He has been directing archaeological investigations at the Maya sites of Augateca and Ceibal, Guatemala. His publications include the Aguateca Archaeological Project monograph series (University of Utah Press), The Classic Maya (Cambridge University Press), as well as articles in journals, such as Science, PNAS, Current Anthropology, and American Anthropologist.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/FvXezM8la7M

"Can Intrastate Accountability Reduce Local Capture? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Mexico," Ana de la O, Yale University, April 24, 2017

Synopsis

Improving accountability in public service provision is one of the most pressing challenges that young democracies face. One of the most difficult challenges is ensuring efficient and effective spending at the local level. Presenting results from a field experiment conducted in Mexico, Dr. de la O shows how central government oversight of local expenditures induces local governments to reallocate spending to programs which are harder to audit.

Speaker Affiliation

Ana de la O, Associate Professor of Political Science and the Institute for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/XncvT20Vv60

"Soccer Chants, Heteronormativity and Participatory Sounding-In-Synchrony," by Eduardo Herrera, April 10, 2017

Synopsis

In local Argentine soccer matches one can find anywhere between two hundred to fifty thousand people chanting together, accompanied by large ensembles of percussion and brass instruments. Public mass participatory singing allows fans to actively partake in a performative social space that establishes a non-hegemonic shared system of meaning. This system, under a logic locally known as aguante (endurance), frames locally rooted interpretations of heteronormative, patriarchal, homophobic, and sometimes violent values and actions in a positive manner, in a way that might not be voiced by single individuals.

Brief Biography

Eduardo Herrera is Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology and Music History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He specializes in contemporary musical practices from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin America. He has done historical and ethnographic research in topics including Argentinean and Uruguayan avant-garde music, soccer chants as participatory music making, and music and postcoloniality in Latin America. Herrera is currently working on a book titled Elite Art Worlds: Philanthropy, Latin Americanism, and Avant-Garde Music. In this work, Herrera explores the history of the Centro Latinoamericano de Altos Estudios Musicales (1962–1971) as a meeting point for local and transnational philanthropy, the framing of pan-regional discourses of Latin Americanism, and the aesthetics and desires of high modernity. Also forthcoming from Herrera is a co-edited volume with Alejandro Madrid and Ana Alonso-Minutti titled Experimentalisms in Practice: Music Perspectives from Latin America. This volume discusses a wide variety of artistic and musical traditions from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos/as in the United States, conceived and/or perceived as experimental.

LASP Video: https://youtu.be/uTiOZqhMnFY

"Wandering in a Labyrinth of Indians: Uncertain Alliances in the Colonial Brazil Borderlands," Heather Roller, Colgate University, March 27, 2017

LASP Seminar Lecture VIDEO: "Wandering in a Labyrinth of Indians: Uncertain Alliances in the Colonial Brazil Borderlands" (LASP), Heather Roller, Colgate University, March 27, 2017

Webpage:https://youtu.be/QjtZ_VzEcmg

"Presidential Elections and Democracy in Latin America in the Trump Era," Patricio Navia, Liberal Studies, New York University, March 24, 2017

Synopsis

The effect of Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 in the U.S. will have consequences on presidential campaigns and democratic practices elsewhere in the world. In this talk, I will discuss some of those effects  and how they have already affected presidential elections in Ecuador and presidential campaigns in Chile, Brazil and Mexico.

 

Speaker Affiliation

Patricio Navia is a professor of Liberal Studies at New York University and Profesor Titular de Ciencia Política at the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.

LASP Videohttps://youtu.be/hq9CxKaRh-4

"Clandestine Cattle and Community Forestry: Unraveling the Conservation Paradox in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve" by Jennifer Devine, March 6, 2017

Synopsis

A spatial paradox characterizes 25 years of conservation in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve.  In the western half of the 8,300 square mile reserve, high deforestation rates plague national parks with strict land use regulations.  By contrast, deforestation rates are much lower in the eastern half of the reserve home to community forestry, but conservation outcomes between the 12 community concessions are highly uneven.  My research asks: what dynamics are driving deforestation in the strictest areas of conservation in the reserve?  And, what factors explain the unequal conservation outcomes defining community forestry?  Unraveling this puzzle using ethnographic and remote sensing methods illuminates the role drug trafficking and “narco cattle ranching” play in environmental degradation in Central America’s protected areas, and thus, the inseparable links between conservation and drug policy in the Americas. Furthermore, I argue the remaining forest cover in the Maya Biosphere’s east reflects twenty years of successful, albeit uneven, community forestry efforts that illuminate the political possibilities and challenges of community based resource management. Rather than blaming reserve residents for forest concession “failures,” as many stakeholders do, I illustrate how drug trafficking threatens the sustainability of community forestry in the reserve and how issues of impunity, insecurity and inequality in the rest of the region dramatically impact the protected area’s ecologies.

Brief Biography

Jennifer A. Devine is an assistant professor of geography at Texas State University. Her research and teaching interests include US-Latin American geo-politics, community-led resource management, drug policy and impacts in the Americas, grassroots development and critical social theory. She received a PhD degree in geography from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2013. She has published and forthcoming articles in Latin American Research Review, the Journal of Peasant Studies, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Antipode, the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, and L’Espace Politique.

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBchx_E9B_g

"The Politics of Conservation in the Galápagos Islands” by Renu Saini, 13 Feb 2017

Renu Saini was our first guest speaker for LASP's Spring 2017 Seminar Series. The event will took place on Monday, February 13th. 

Renu Saini is a Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Conservation Program. In this role, she develops and implements grantmaking strategies in Madagascar and Galápagos, and the Marine portfolios. She also contributes to program-wide strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluation of all the program’s geographic focal areas- Madagascar, Galápagos, Myanmar and Mexico. 

Other areas of specializations include:

* Maintenance and expansion of marine and terrestrial protected areas

* Promotion of sustainable fisheries

* Creation of alternative livelihoods 

* Eradication of invasive species

* Capacity building of local community groups and not-for-profit organizations

Before joining the Trust, Renu spent nine years at the Kohlberg Foundation, where her grantmaking portfolio included initiatives in environmental conservation, cancer research, human trafficking prevention, and supports for at-risk youth. In prior roles, she developed a philanthropic program for a family foundation based in Mumbai, India, and supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s field biology program in New Jersey. 

Originally from Texas, Renu holds a master’s degree in Global Affairs from Rutgers University and bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University. She serves as a member of the board of I-MAK (Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge) and a member of the Pleiades Network. 

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUr-yGO7PZ0&feature=youtu.be

LASP Fall '16 Seminar: "Challenges of Party-Building in Latin America" by Steve Levitsky, November 14, 2016

A video recording of this lecture from the Latin American Studies Program, click here. 

More than three decades after the onset of the Third Wave of democratization, parties remain weak in much of Latin America: parties have collapsed in much of the region, and most new party-building efforts have failed. Yet the party-building experience in the region has not been universally bleak. Of the 308 parties that were created in Latin America between 1978 and 2005 (and which received at least one percent of the legislative vote), 11 succeeded in taking root. Why do some new parties succeed while most fail? Our book challenges the widespread belief that democracy and elections naturally give rise to strong parties and argues that successful party-building is more likely to occur under conditions of intense conflict than under routine democracy.  

Steve Levitsky is Professor of Political Science at Harvard University. He focuses on authoritarianism and parties in Latin America - specifically Peru. 

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqmacEUSaLw

"Impeachment in Brazil: Coup or Accountability?" by Anibal Perez-Liñan, September 26, 2016

The Impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil has ignited a debate. Is impeachment the functional equivalent of old-fashioned military coups or is it an effective mechanism for presidential accountability? Professor Aníbal Pérez-Liñán will discuss the proliferation of presidential impeachments in Latin America since 1990, analyze their similarities and differences with traditional coups, and explore their limitations as a mechanism of accountability.

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of Presidential Impeachment and the New Political Instability in Latin America. He is Editor in Chief of the Latin American Research Review.

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M8sekxRiQo

'Real Tobacco for Real People: Lacandon Maya Nicotine Trade in the Lowland Frontier" by Joel Palka, October 24, 2016

Lacandon Maya engaged in brisk trade with outsiders in the lowland rainforest frontier of the burgeoning colonial powers in Petén, Guatemala, and Chiapas, Mexico. Documents describe Lacandon economic exchanges and archaeological investigations recovered abundant foreign goods in nineteenth-century Lacandon sites. This presentation focuses on the transformational effects of cross-cultural interaction through one indigenous product: cheap, excellent tobacco.  The tobacco trade eventually restructured the local Lacandon economy and exposed these unconquered Maya to foreign influences, which brought changes in indigenous religion, agriculture, and social organization. This kind of domestic trade and inherent symmetrical interactions were based on indulgences and random encounters not controlled by states. These classes of small scale social and economic exchanges with a reduction in power differentials were typical in peripheral regions of expanding world systems in Latin America.

Joel Palka is Professor of Anthropology and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quQeIPJzriI

"Muisca Sounds: Indigenous Politics of Recognition in Multicultural Colombia" by Beatriz Goubert, Columbia University, September 19, 2016

Through an emphasis on the Andean musical practices of the Muisca community, this talk analyzes the conflictive production of an indigenous identity within the indigenous politics of recognition in multicultural Colombia. It includes the questioned legitimacy of the music and of the subjects who produce it. Also, it will also examine the contrast between the wish for an autonomous self-government and the type of indigeneity in multiculturalism which must be sanctioned by government officers and academics to be valid. Finally, it will discuss the self-recognition of indigeneity as an alternative path to becoming Muisca nowadays, which bypasses and somehow undermines the effort of officially-recognized cabildos towards achieving and maintaining legal recognition as indigenous groups entitled to positive rights.

LASP Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKIQcigfzGU

"Decentralizing Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs on Coupled Human and Natural Systems in Mexico " by Mariana Nava, October 31, 2016

Synopsis

Use of payments for watershed services (PWS) programs as a policy tool for enhancing water quality and supply has gained momentum in recent years. One of the oldest PWS programs, Mexico’s Federal Payment for Hydrological Service (PHS) was initiated in 2003 by the National Forestry Commission as a government-financed program. It was envisioned as a mechanism for providing financial incentives to land owners to conserve their forest cover in key watersheds identified on the basis of the presence of priority ecosystems. In 2008, an additional mechanism was created by the government to transition from the national program funded by the government to a local program funded by the government in combination with the private sector. With this new scheme, the Matching Program, Mexico wanted to evolve from a government-financed to a user-financed PES program, by creating a more direct link between water users and providers and by fostering local participation in the creation, design and implementation of PHS programs. Based on two case studies in Veracruz, Mexico, and informant interviews with institutional actors, this research examines whether and to what extent community participation of both service providers and service users has been fostered in local matching programs in Mexico, as a way of understanding challenges faced by each program and possible solutions.

Brief Biography

Dr. Mariana Zareth Nava-Lopez is a research scientist at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). She graduated from the Faculty of Science of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where she studied Biology and earned a master’s degree in Restoration Ecology. From 2006 to 2009, she was a professor at UNAM teaching Natural Resources courses covering topics relevant for the understanding of current global environment issues.