The Enduring Legacy of State Violence: Memory and Transitional Justice

Friday, February 6, 2015
12:00pm – 1:15pm
Rechler Conference Room 202, Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Moderated by: Dr. Rebecca Atencio, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Tulane University

Inferno permanente: um olhar sobre a violência na classe média brasileira no século XXI
Antonio Kleber Gomes, University of New Mexico

O estado de exceção que se instaurou no Brasil em 1964 formou, de certa maneira, uma prática de violência que, mesmo após o final da ditadura em 1985 parece ter se perpetuado, chegando até os dias de hoje. A democracia da violência (ODALIA,1984) formou uma violência banalizada, vendida através da mídia comercial. O próprio cinema nacional da atualidade exporta uma violência exótica, uma que normalmente retrata as classes menos privilegiadas e os contextos suburbanos das grandes cidades do Brasil. Essa manifestação faz com que, portanto, o público em geral não percebe que este tipo de violência está fortemente presente também na classe média do Brasil. A partir desta concepção e baseando-se em concepções de pensadores como Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, Idelber Avelar e Giorgio Agamben, tentamos traçar um paralelo com as obras O livro das impossiblididades (Inferno Provisório: Volume IV), de 2009, e Domingos sem Deus (Inferno Provisório: Volume V), de 2011, ambos do escritor mineiro Luiz Ruffato. Os livros retratam a classe média brasileira e como elas funcionam neste século XXI, um reflexo de como funciona essa parcela da população do Brasil. Este trabalho se configura, portanto, como uma análise desta classe média violenta, e de como ela foi formada pela ditadura militar.

A mulher no pós-ditadura: Uma análise das personagens femininas na minissérie Queridos Amigos e no filme Hoje
Marcela Lopes, University of New Mexico

Esta apresentação visa analisar as correspondências sociais, políticas e mnemônicas entre a personagem Bia da minissérie Queridos Amigos (2008) de Maria Adelaide Amaral e a personagem Vera do filme Hoje (2011) de Tata Amaral vividas pela atriz Denise Fraga. Essas personagens compartilham de certos traços característicos daqueles que viveram no pós-ditadura, como a dificuldade em retomar suas vidas após o fim do golpe, e, assim, propõem novas considerações em torno da militância feminina no período ditatorial. Esta análise segue a aproximação teórica de Ferreira (1996), que é a construção da memória social dos anos da ditadura militar através das recordações de ex-presas políticas, ou seja, de mulheres que vivenciaram o cárcere e a tortura nesse período. Esta comunicação demonstrará como Bia e Vera encaram as marcas ideológicas, políticas e sociais que afetam diretamente sua não-resolução com o passado, no sentido de superar as consequências psicológicas e sociais adquiridas na época da ditadura e o efeito desta não-resolução com o presente.

The Hunt for Justice: Examining Traces of Brutality in K: Relato de uma busca by Bernardo Kucinski
Aja Roberts, University of New Mexico

What sustains the memory of traumatic events and why should these memories even be sustained. This presentation will examine how contemporary Brazilian literature – specifically Luis Fernando Veríssimo’s novella A Mancha (2003) broaches both the erasure and the endurance of memory in post-transitional Brazil. A Mancha tells the story of Rogério – a former political dissident who was tortured during the Brazilian dictatorship (1964-85). After the democratic transition, Rogério becomes wealthy by buying old buildings, remodeling them, and later sells them for a profit. Using Idelber Avelar’s (1999) theory that post-boom Latin American fiction employs the allegory of ruins to preserve a memory that challenges neo liberal economic policy in contemporary society, I will discuss the symbolism of ruins in Veríssimo’s A Mancha. I contend that ruins represent both the sustaining of memory, and its erasure. As such, the novella is an apt allegory of the ambivalence of the memory of the dictatorship and its human rights violations in post-transitional Brazil.

Judicial Activism and Human Rights in Colombia: An Appraisal of Colombia’s Constitutional Court
Jessica Webb, Tulane University

Over fifty years of violent armed conflict between guerilla, paramilitary and military groups has led to the internal displacement of over six million Colombians and a civil society that has been terrorized and fragmented by the continued violence. In this paper, I explore the origins and current state of the implementation of the Justice and Peace law and the Victim’s Law in Colombia amidst continuing violent conflict. I evaluate the ways in which civil society has responded to the measures as well as the ways in which efforts to reintegrate paramilitary groups and internally displaced persons may help foster cohesiveness in an historically fragmented civil society. I then analyze these findings in the context of the substantive quality of democracy in Colombia, particularly in regards to human development and human rights and also in the context of critical procedural measures of democracy, particularly the judicial independence of Colombia’s Constitutional Court. What has emerged in Colombia is a mixed picture: robust democratic institutions marred by continuing violent conflict alongside a transitional justice program that may be premature. However, I examine several marginal, though significant, sources of increased participation of civil society. These include increased civil participation in peace talks, the establishment of victims’ engagement as a crucial aspect of the peace process, and the importance of social movements in support of current peace talks. The engagement of civil society and marginalized victims of violent conflict in legislation and peace negotiations with the FARC and ELN represent an important shift in Colombian policy towards transitional justice. Moving away from the elite model of negotiation, Colombia may be in a position to incorporate and even help consolidate a more cohesive civil society that has long been terrorized by armed conflict.

On the Move: The Construction of Cultural Identities

Friday, February 6, 2015
4:00pm – 5:15pm
Rechler Conference Room 202, Lavin-Bernick Center
Moderated by: Dr. Josefa Salmón, Department of Languages and Cultures, Loyola University

Ride to Live, Live to Ride: Motorcycle Dispatches from Maceió
Katherine Layton, University of Texas at Austin

Though motorcycles are commonly associated with risk taking behavior, male aggression and rebellious independence, the truth is much more complex. These are totalizing tropes constructed through state and other majority attitudes towards motorcyclists, which in fact reveal underlying social anxieties about counter-hegemonic attempts to engage with normative structures. The ubiquity of these stereotypes contributes to transnational imaginaries and subsequent physical infrastructure that marginalizes motorcycles, among other non-automobiles, on and off-the-road. Over several months of field work, I investigated the ways motorcyclists in the Northeastern city of Maceió – AL, Brazil negotiate the city space in the face of these prejudices, in a daily struggle to stay alive. I collected anecdotal testimonials about on and off-the-road structures that influence motorcycling practice in Maceió and the reciprocal tactics that motorcyclists employ in order to navigate them. I engaged in participant observation and conducted interviews among motorcyclists (motorcycle clubs, motoboys & mototaxistas, riders in general) as well as individuals otherwise related to motorcycling practice (officials from police, health, agriculture, and labor sectors).
Using the information I gathered and an anthropological theoretical framework, I explore two major struggles for citizenship and survival in which these motorcyclists are engaged: (1) the guarantee of free mobility, access, safety, security, and inclusion on Maceió’s roads and highways; and (2) the legalization of professional motorcycling activities including delivery and taxi services (motoboy & mototaxi), which are currently permitted by federal law in Brazil, but titularly prohibited at state and municipal levels in Maceió, Alagoas (though still widely practiced). This paper discusses the alternative realities of motorcycling, and the unconventional assertions of citizenship that their riders employ, in the face of normalized exclusion.

Reinterpreting Regionalisms: The Use of the Terms “Kolla” and “Camba” in a Rural, Andean Town in Bolivia
Jennifer North, University of Miami

The Andes today is a region in motion, as people permeate regional divides and images slip through borders. Migration and international media force contact between the urban and the rural, between different ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes, and nationalities. This study considers the interpretation of a Peruvian ethnic comedy program, El Cholo Juanito y Richard Douglas, in a rural Quechua community in Bolivia as a tool for understanding the construction of ethnic identities in this dynamic context. El Cholo Juanito y Richard Douglas, produced in Cuzco, Peru, comically portrays the conflict-ridden relationship between a Quechua migrant to the city and a self-declared non-indigenous urbanite. Despite its ethnic slurs and portrayal of the very real discrimination many indigenous migrants face, the program enjoys widespread popularity in Andean Bolivia. By considering the ways by which Quechua-speaking villagers in Bolivia judge and interpret this program, this study illuminates the continued negotiation of ethnic, regional, and national identities in the region. Specifically, the use of the Bolivian regional identifiers “Kolla” (highlander) and “Camba” (lowlander) is examined. In the Andes, ethnic groups are crossed by national borders, and each nation is further divided by deep regionalisms. This study reveals the ways in which Quechua-speaking Bolivians expand and adapt the Bolivian regional identifiers “Kolla” and “Camba” to interpret their own and others’ ethnic identities on both a transnational and localized scale.

Canto y pluma: Mexican Corridos Amid the Great Depression (1929-1949)
Michelle Salinas, University of California, Los Angeles

This study attempts to create a more holistic historical account of the Mexican and Mexican American communities’ experiences in the United States during Great Depression (1929-1939). Abraham Hoffman contextualizes the Great Depression in the Mexican and Mexican American community by discussing the repatriation. He describes repatriation as an initiative led by both federal and private community committees that organized to send immigrants back to their countries as a supposed attempt to relieve public resources and the labor market (1974). I center Mexican and Mexican American perspectives as expressed through alternative media such as Mexican-origin music and Spanish language publications to discuss a less visited account of the Great Depression in the United States. Thus, I analyze six corridos written between (1929-1949) found in the Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings digital archive. I define corridos as a traditionally Mexican song form reinterpreted in the United States Southwest to express the Mexican diasporic experience. In addition, I explore relevant articles from the Los Angeles local Spanish language newspaper La Opinión. I examine these primary sources through Lindsay Perez Huber’s (2010) Latina/o critical theory (LatCrit) and the concept of racist nativism to demonstrate how this alternative media provides collective historical counterstories to the mainstream accounts given by government and Anglo American media. Time can be rewritten: critical archaeology, onto-politics, and the un-extirpation of idols

The Foreign Gaze: Reimagining Culture and Identity

Friday, February 6, 2015
4:00pm – 5:15pm
Race Conference Room 201, Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Moderated by: Dr. Annie Gibson, Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Tulane University

Black Faces: uma reflexão comparada entre o Cavalo-Marinho (Pernambuco- Brasil) e os Zulus do Mardi Gras de New Orleans (EUA)
Beatriz Brusantin, Universidade Católica de Pernambuco

Neste texto construiremos um estudo comparado entre a manifestação cultural do Cavalo-Marinho (Bumba-meu-Boi) realizada na zona da mata norte de Pernambuco (Brasil) e o Mardi Gras (EUA). Em estudo realizado, dialogamos com as pesquisas de Reid Mitchell (2005) sobre o carnaval afro-creole em New Orleans e aprofundamos uma análise entre os personagens Mateus, Bastião e Catarina do folguedo Cavalo-Marinho e os Zulus do desfile do Clube Zulu de Ajuda Mútua e Diversão no século XX. Os personagens brasileiros e americanos trazem significações da cultura africana e esteticamente se utilizam do rosto pintado de preto para ridicularizar estereótipos brancos numa repetição e revisão das formas culturais brancas. Assim, aprofundaremos considerações a respeito dos processos de “crioulização” e “transculturação” dos povos africanos na América, compreendendo suas formas de (re)significar seu cotidiano e reinventar sua realidade através de expressões culturais como o Cavalo-Marinho e o Mardi Gras (Rei dos Zulus). Para desenvolver tal perspectiva analítica utilizaremos como base teórico-metodológica os estudos em História Social, como de Reid Mitchell e Robert Slenes, os estudos dos historiadores britânicos E.P. Thompson e Peter Burke sobre cultura popular e as reflexões sobre a cultura africana na América de Mintz e Price e Lovejoy.

The Victory of the Baianas and FIFA: a look at the opening of political opportunities in wake of the 2014 World Cup
Vanessa Castañeda, Tulane University

Baianas de acarajé are often referred to as “the postcard of Salvador”. These almost exclusively female street vendors are ubiquitously found within Salvador, Brazil, wearing turbans, white blouses and rounded skirts complimented with colored beaded necklaces. They are regarded as traditional and authentic icons of Afro-Bahian identity. Baianas have been selling their West African foods (acarajé) on the streets and beaches of Salvador da Bahia since the 19th century, originally as wage-earning slaves. In 2004 Baianas de acarajé were officially recognized as symbols of national Brazilian heritage and cultural patrimony. In 2013, FIFA announced for the first time in the history of the World Cup, permission for Baianas de acarajé to sell their historical and infamous fritters in the arenas of Salvador during the Confederation and World Cup games. This research paper is an interdisciplinary and intersectional study that examines how and why the Baianas were able to achieve this victory. I examine the historical relationship between Baianas and the local and federal governments, Brazil’s articulation of both a national and regional identities in the first half of the twentieth century and the emergence of a vibrant Afro culture, including cultural civil society groups and black intellectuals. I argue that Baianas were successful in achieving the victory as the first street vendors to sell within the FIFA games because of their official national status as cultural patrimony, the political opportunities afforded to them from the local and federal governments and the kinds of resources presented to them at this particular time in history. Using a mostly quantitative research method of historical and sociological methodology, I argue that this victory was possible because of the specific circumstances of the political environment during that time which partially explains the Baianas’ continuous struggle to address larger social movement agendas.

Sociolinguistic Coloniality and Decolonization in Haiti’s Political and Educational Institutions
Heather Frost, Tulane University

While former colonies often have complicated linguistic relationships with their colonial, indigenous, and creole languages, in Haiti, these relationships have been further complicated in the last hundred years. In the twentieth century, notably since the American occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934 during which French was established as the sole official language of the Caribbean nation, the dynamics between Haiti, its former colonizer, France, and the United States have shifted. Today, these international dynamics reflect the complicated web of dependence, exploitation, and cultural hegemony which continuously renews and displaces political, economic, and linguistic bonds between the three nations. As language has been and continues to be one of the principal tools of cultural hegemony, in this paper I examine how the marginalization of the Haitian Creole language in Haiti is perpetuated by Haitians based on a colonial model in order to limit social mobility and to preserve elite privilege, particularly in political and educational institutions. Additionally, I examine how foreign influence comes into play in this sociolinguistic policy. I explore what is at stake in linguistic policies and practices that marginalize the language spoken by the majority and evaluate alternative policies and practices that have been proposed in terms of the extent to which they work towards the decolonization of Haiti’s political and educational institutions.

Indigenous, Afro-descendent, and Mestizo: Tourism Development and National Narratives
Gabriela Galeano, George Mason University

The national narratives espoused by Central American governments have historically been based on a mestizo (defined here as indigenous-white mixed) image, notorious for homogenizing indigenous and afro-indigenous identities in an attempt to assimilate minority groups into the dominant society. However, recent scholarship points to a shift from mestizaje to a celebration of multiculturalism in the telling of national narratives, where previously marginalized minority groups – such as indigenous and afro-descendant populations – are now pressed to emphasize their cultural difference, particularly for tourist consumption. The Garifuna afro-descendant communities of Honduras represent one such population currently engaging with the rapid growth of tourism development as well as redefining citizenship and civic participation. My initial fieldwork on tourism development and land rights among the Tornabe Garifuna community in Tela, Honduras focused on the process through which the community organized and obtained an agreement with the Honduran national government and national/international investors regarding the development, construction, and management of a nearby, large-scale tourism resort. Interviews with community members at the time pointed to a successful collaborative relationship, though interviews and participant-observation conducted two years later exposed more complex dynamics between the major actors and during a different – more tense – sociopolitical and economic context. Thus, while the overall objective of my research still consists of analyzing the ways in which the Tornabe Garifuna community in the Tela Bay area of Honduras is resisting and adapting to the growing tourism industry (e.g. socio-political organization and framing of interests), I also seek to explore the potential role Garifuna communities could play (and have played) in the Honduran economy as well as bring into question the long-held perception that Afro-Hondurans and other minority groups are not contributors (or are marginal) to the mestizo-based ideal of Honduran citizenship.

Embodying the Beauty of a Nation: negotiating identifications in the Miss Haiti competition
Eva Heppelmann, University of California Los Angeles

Beauty Pageants, particularly national and international pageants, offer insight into representations of the nation and femininity. In the case of the Miss Haiti beauty pageant, contestants participate in a performance of citizenship. Competing to represent Haiti on a national and later on an international stage, the women negotiate personal opinions of beauty and comportment with international perceptions. The pageant serves as a platform that illustrates tensions surrounding cultural values, identifications, and aesthetics, demonstrating a corporeal enactment of these questions of identification. By comparing competitions in several Caribbean countries as well as competitions in the United States, I will investigate the intersection of pedagogic and performative narratives of nationality. What does it mean to embody or represent a nation? In past competitions, contestants who have lived most of their lives outside of Haiti have been selected to represent the nation. In the most recent 2014 Miss Haiti competition, contestants choose to answer questions in Kreyol rather than French, causing shock and admiration among the audience. Finally, how does the fact that these contests were founded and now run by western nations influence the presentation of nationality and beauty? I will analyze past and recent contestants’ performances, the structure and customs surrounding the competitions, as well as the politics of the competition to investigate representations of nationality on an ‘international’ stage.

Struggles for Place: Citizenship and Inclusion Among Migrant Communities

Saturday, February 7, 2015
10:00am – 11:15am
Jones Hall 102
Moderated by: Dr. Jimmy Huck, Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Tulane University

Paths and Obstacles to Cosmopolitan Solidarity Among Excluded Immigrant Workers in Rural Tennessee
Tristan Call, Vanderbilt University

Dispossessed Latin American migrants are among the most recent wave of immigrant and refugee workers to fill ‘precarious’ jobs in rural Tennessee, where they have joined African American and white workers in the fields, slaughterhouses, and factories that employ precarious labor in the South and set the diminishing standards for working conditions throughout the region’s low-wage economy. Based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in Tennessee laboring alongside migrant Latino farmworkers and embedded in a union organizing drive with Latino migrants in a rural sweatshop, I trace how the historical exclusions of farmworkers and formerly-incarcerated workers from basic labor protections in the US intersect with citizenship exclusions used to discipline undocumented workers, dividing and racializing the workforce and impeding broader solidarity. I also explore the tactics employers use to maintain divisions in the workforce, and ways that legal exclusion and the underfunding and deregulation of state agencies negatively impact workers’ health and family lives. Finally, I outline the difficulties these workers face as they reach out to potential allies and mainstream ‘business’ unions in their attempts to organize, and suggest paths forward for multilingual and multiethnic solidarity in the rural South.

Immokalee Farm workers and their Social Crisis on Education and Health
Mary Cano, University of Miami

As the immigration movement has gained momentum over the years, many have been the impacts it has had on both authorized and unauthorized immigrants and their families. This paper examines factors that have led to human right violations on adequate health care and proper education in Immokalee, Florida; a town that has always been under the shadows due to its high unauthorized immigrant population has not been shy of the effects the lack of immigration reform has caused. I will build on the knowledge of the factors that have shaped this situation. In particular, I explore how the role of the anti-immigrant sentiment has enabled an environment for human right violations, with particular consequences for issues such as education and health and how its effects on the farm workers in Immokalee. This paper exposes a larger context on the systematic violations of human and labor rights towards one of the most vulnerable segments of the population. I focus on labor market changes, political aspects and the role of the media. Methodologically, this work combines a historical perspective on immigration policy influencing immigrants with field observation research and the use of a wide range of sources of analysis and data. I adhere to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights according to which, access to both health and education are considered to be fundamental human rights. In a town where human rights in education and health seem to be violated, these issues have seen themselves compromised according to the Articles stated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The issues discussed not only present a human rights problem but also a social justice problem. In Immokalee, the absence of legal rights has made this undocumented population exposed to exploitation, crime and social problems including those relating to health and education.

A Legacy of Resistance: The Spatial Politics of Barrio Logan’s Built Environment

Manuel Guadalupe Galaviz, University of Texas at Austin

Barrio Logan, City of San Diego, California is one of many Mexican-American communities that suffered the detrimental impacts of displacement via the construction of both the Coronado Bay Bridge and California’s Interstate-five freeway in 1967. Since the establishment of Chicano Park in 1970 and the initial painting of the Chicano Park murals in 1973, Barrio Logan experienced a social-cultural transformation that positioned Barrio Logan and Chicano Park as a space of political and cultural liberation within the Chicana/o social-spatial imaginary. Barrio Logan’s legacy as a cultural and political space that generates social capital stems from a contentious history including racial segregation, environmental injustices, and capital driven industrial maritime development under the auspices of San Diego City planners, The California Department of Transportation, and The U.S. Navy. In order to establish a clear understanding of the political economy of this US-Mexico borderlands, global port, and militarized Mexican-American neighborhood, my paper examines how Barrio Logan’s residents, artists, and activists negotiate spatial transformations and conflicts, and how their negotiations are articulated in oral narratives and visual artistic Chicana/o representations of the barrio built environment. I examine themes of race, urban development, and place making to explore the sentiments Barrio Logan cultural workers foster towards ideas of cultural citizenship, ethnic identity, and environmental justice.