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

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.

Challenges to Development: Education, Exclusion, and Accessibility

Saturday, February 7, 2015
1:30pm – 2:45pm
Jones Hall 102
Moderated by: Dr. Laura Murphy, Department of Global Health Systems and Development, Tulane University

Identity and the Millenium Development Goals: Consideration for the post-2015 Agenda 
Shauna Lewis, Tulane University

This paper explores the relationship between legal identity, social exclusion, and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and uses this relationship as a backdrop for evaluating whether a rights-based focus in the post 2015 agenda — with specific inclusion of citizenship-related targets — could improve development outcomes for marginalized and vulnerable populations. Widespread MDG-motivated social programs and interventions related to poverty reduction and access to health and education systems are analyzed to determine the extent to which they are accessible and relevant to indigenous groups, populations of African descent, and those without birth certificates (the argument is also presented that these first two categories are disproportionately represented in the third). The 2013 ruling of the Supreme Court in the Dominican Republic and the resulting statelessness of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent is discussed in the context of comparison of the national policies throughout the region that govern the provision of identification documents and citizenship rights to individuals. In addition, the continued struggle around birth registration and the strengthening of civil registry systems throughout the region are considered, with an eye toward distinguishing legitimate capacity challenges from exclusionary practices. The conclusions of these analyses, and of examinations of the guidelines of existing international agreements such as the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons will serve as the foundation for recommendations concerning the construction of targets and indicators for a citizenship goal addressing birth registration and statelessness.

Ciudadanía y modernidad en Memorias del subdesarrollo
Héctor Alfonso Melo Ruiz, University of Notre Dame

La efervescencia política y cultural que concentró la década de los sesenta en Cuba, producto del triunfo de la Revolución castrista, dio lugar a uno de los reductos intelectuales más importantes de la izquierda latinoamericana, europea, e incluso, norteamericana. Dos grandes debates ocupan de lleno la intelectualidad del momento: la idea de la descolonización y la idea del subdesarrollo. La descolonización de todas las estructuras sociales, económicas y culturales, como una necesidad de primer orden, ocupó sin duda la agenda revolucionaria en torno a temas tales como la dependencia, la soberanía y la libertad. Por su parte, la idea de subdesarrollo, como una condición también económica, intelectual y cultural inherente a los países “post-coloniales” reflejaba justamente el viejo paradigma colonial civilización-barbarie y lo reinstalaba ahora en el centro del contexto capitalista bajo la premisa del desarrollismo. En el ámbito de dichos debates se sitúa la novela Memorias del subdesarrollo de Edmundo Desnoes y la posterior adaptación cinematográfica hecha por Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. Novela y filme exploran la subjetividad de un habanero burgués que, imbuido en sus concepciones de clase, interpreta los vertiginosos cambios sociales que trae consigo la Revolución y su marcha hacia la construcción del hombre nuevo. La tensión entre el personaje y la sociedad (entre el individuo y la colectividad) se plantea a través de una racionalidad europeizante––representada en Sergio y su intelectualismo diletante––y las masas “subdesarrolladas” que remplazan la vieja burguesía cubana, ahora en el exilio. En esta ponencia me propongo analizar los problemas de las masas y la ciudadanía desde dos ópticas: (1) la representación de las masas desde el locus modernizador de la Revolución, y (2) la crisis del letrado frente a esta problemática modernidad.

When Teaching and Research Aren’t Enough: Extensão in Modern Brazilian Universities
Miranda Stramel, Tulane University

Article 207 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution of 1988 states that universities should obey “the principle of indivisibility of teaching, research and extension,” with extensão in the Brazilian context meaning the relevance of the university to the local community, or, the ways in which universities facilitate a connection between those with access to higher education and those who do not have the same access. As described by José Ernandi Mendes and Sandra Maria Gadelha de Carvalho in “Extensão universitaria:
compromisso social, resistência e produção de conhecimentos,” Brazilian universities have suffered many transformations in the neoliberal context that threaten the purposes of education as related to citizenship and full participation in society. Ideally, universities create dialogue through presenting varying perspectives and play a social role by facilitating the sharing and co-creation of knowledge. Institutions now run like for-profit businesses, however, with goals limited to the production of a workforce for the global market, compromise the role of universities in modern Brazil. Looking at various case studies, this work investigates the purpose and work of offices of extensão within Brazilian universities and within Brazilian society to uphold Article 207 of the Constitution of 1988, and some of the ways that social activists and academics work together to solve community problems under the umbrella of extensão. Using various interpretations of Article 207 that connect the purposes of higher education to full participation and citizenship, these case studies demonstrate how the modern university can remain relevant to the larger community by fostering dialogic knowledge production.

Sexual Citizenship: Defining, Defending, and Expressing Sexuality

Saturday, February 7, 2015
1:30pm – 2:45pm
Greenleaf Conference Room, Jones Hall 100A
Moderated by: Dr. Elizabeth Steeby, Department of English, University of New Orleans

Movilh-Ization: Diversidad Collective Action Framing in Santiago’s LGBTI movement
Baird Campbell, Rice University

Santiago, Chile’s capital and home to roughly a third of Chile’s population, has both a longer established and more diverse LGBTQ social movement industry (SMI) than the rest of the country. This paper, thus, will focus specifically on my interviews with leaders from six major LGBTQ rights groups in Santiago: Movilh, MUMS, Acción Gay, Fundación Iguales, CUTS, and OTD.
Movilh presents itself as the oldest LGBTQ rights social movement organization (SMO) in Chile. While it is technically true, today’s Movilh is a different organization than the one originally founded, the latter now referred to by many as “Movilh Histórico.” This conversion from Movilh Histórico to today’s Movilh has created ruptures in Santiago’s LGBTQ SMI. According to my interviews, this rupture is largely due to personal tensions with Rolando Jimenez, Movilh’s current president and one of the initial founders of the group. In general, the activists I interviewed (with the exception of Movilh’s representative, Jaime Parada) bear a notable animosity toward Jimenez.
Through analysis of field interviews, I will assess Movilh’s political legitimacy both in the eyes of the Chilean state and in the eyes of the remaining SMOs that make up Santiago’s LGBTQ social movement industry. Although this SMI has been fragmented for years, its current step into the spotlight has aggravated tensions among the city’s various SMOs. I believe that in the coming years this inter-group dynamic will become increasingly salient as LGBTQ rights gain more traction and political clout in Chile. It is important to begin to understand this SMI now, while it is still in the early stages of societal legitimation. An understanding of the dynamics between Movilh, the government, and the rest of the SMI will be crucial to understanding LGBTQ rights in Chile in the near future.

‘Ni plus, ni moins.’: (Re) Examining Questions of Sexual Citizenship in the French Caribbean
Ryan Joyce, Tulane University

In recent years, the nascent field of Citizenship Studies has been explored, expanded and problematized throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. However, relatively little attention is given to the French Caribbean, and even less to the role and interactions of sexual marginalization and citizenship within and across that space. My project challenges this gap in scholarship by examining representations of marginalized LGBT communities within the French Caribbean surrounding the PaCS (Civil Solidarity Pacts) and same-sex marriage debates. Arguably, these political and social representations force us to reexamine what it actually means to be a “citizen” under the banner of the French republican model of universalism. More specifically, my paper gestures towards the peripheries of the French nation by addressing citizens who are doubly marginalized as sexually and racially inferior subjects. In this context, focusing on the modes of representation in popular print media, or lack thereof, of LGBT minorities in relation with the French métropole helps to frame a wider discussion about the realities of ‘sexual citizens’ in the 21st century. Indeed, rethinking the role of sexual citizenship in the French Caribbean vis-à-vis Europe reveals the contradictions and tensions inherent within the transnational, and trans-Atlantic, constructions of modernity and democracy. Extending the discussion to subaltern LGBT minorities also forces the representations of these groups to be considered and debated in the public sphere. Finally, this issue operates across a wide variety of discourses, ranging from the political, the economic, the social, the cultural, and the historical.

Gender in the City: Reading Judith Butler in Havana
Maile Speakman, Tulane University

A great deal of literature exists on exiled queer Cuban authors like Reinaldo Arenas. However, little research has been done about the theoretical, cultural, and political ties that queer and feminist Cuban authors who live in Cuba have to theorists and writers in the United States. Using historical methods, qualitative interviews, and discourse analysis, I trace the cultural currents that exist between Havana’s queer and feminist authors and gender theorists in the United States. In doing so, I highlight the delayed, fragmented, and localized nature of these exchanges and theorize that the unique temporal space that habanero writers create with North American queer theorists disrupts the logic of globalized cultural imperialism and North American queer hegemony. This analysis is in dialogue with scholars such as Emilio Bejel, Eduardo González, José Quiroga, and Ricardo Ortiz and uses a theoretical framework that includes the work of Michel Foucault, Gloria Anzaldúa, and José Muñoz.

Cartografías queer: Género y sexualidad en una comunidad del México rural
Raziel Valiño, Columbia University

Este trabajo describe como se encontró en el Morelos rural, un amplio y rico terreno donde se mapeo la geografía sexual y el espacio público y privado del pueblo. El análisis principal se ubica en el local de Mario, el que se puede describir como un bar gay al aire libre, ubicado en el centro del pueblo. La loca del pueblo es una figura conocida en el México rural, pero lo que brinda el local de Mario es que las locas y sus amigos se han apropiado y reclamado el centro del pueblo, en donde crean un contra publico queer. Las prácticas nocturnas representadas en los cuerpos y sociabilidad vista en el local de Mario, ubica lo escondido e ilícito en el centro del pueblo. Los espacios públicos queer crean un mundo cuyos contornos son expresivos y afectivos, en lugar de ser creadores de argumentos y opiniones. Este mundo y sus formas de ser mexicano, campesino, hombre y mujer hacen declaraciones publicas que pertenecen en y al pueblo, pero también son practicas de ciudadanía cultural.