Claudio Lomnitz Lecture, “Ideological Incoherence and Ideological Purity in the Mexican Revolution”

Image

On Thursday, April 10 at 6pm, Dr. Claudio Lomnitz will give a lecture entitled, “Ideological Incoherence and Ideological Purity in the Mexican Revolution” in Jones Hall 102. A reception will follow the lecture.

Claudio Lomnitz is the Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. One of the most distinguished anthropologists and historians of Mexico and Latin America, Lomnitz received his PhD from Stanford University and, before joining the faculty of Columbia University, taught at the University of Chicago and at the New School. His groundbreaking body of scholarship – which includes the books Exits from the Labyrinth (1992), Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico (2001), and Death and the Idea of Mexico (2005) – has impacted the study of Latin American history, politics, and culture across disciplines. In this lecture, Lomnitz will discuss his most recent book, The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón (Zone Books, 2014).

Sponsored by the Tulane University Office of Academic Affairs and Provost, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies, and the Tulane Anthropology Students Association.

For more information, please contact João Felipe Gonçalves, Department of Anthropology, jgoncal@tulane.edu.

Blurred Borders: Transnationalism, Identity, and Cultural Formation

Friday, February 6, 2015
10:30am – 11:45am
Race Conference Room 201, Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Moderated by: Dr. Yuri Herrera, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Tulane University

Sagas of Resistance Versus Acts of Rebellion: Alfredo Véa Jr.’s The Silver Cloud Café as an Attempt Toward “the Beyond”
Cynthia Martinez, Indiana University

“Juxtaposing the real with the fantastical, the narrative world created in Alfredo Véa Jr.’s 1996 novel The Silver Cloud Café explores the contemporary constructs of difference through history, memory, crime, and spirituality. Set primarily in modern-day San Francisco, the novel traverses the borders of space and time through its diverse cast of Mexican, Filipino, Hindu, European and African-American characters. Véa’s semi-autobiographical characters serve as representations of varying categorizations of racial, ethnic, sexual, and physical difference. As each character navigates the complexities of difference both within and outside of the confines of national boundaries and reality itself, the novel seemingly privileges its narrative space of San Francisco’s “Rafael’s Silver Cloud Café” as a place to comfortably perform the difference condemned outside of its confines.
Considering the novel’s thematic treatment of difference, this project seeks to dialogue with current criticism on The Silver Cloud Café that privileges its narrative world as a resistant response to U.S. multiculturalism as an essentializing cultural policy, proposing that the novel offers heterogeneity and hybridity as alternatives. Providing an analysis of the origin and development of the notions of heterogeneity and hybridity, I propose that Véa’s novel, rather than provide a resistant alternative within the confines of the U.S. system of cultural policy, creates rebellious moments existing outside the novel’s mimetic hegemonic system, thereby actualizing and illuminating the very limits present within current negotiations of difference. To this end, through an analysis of the novel’s genre and language, which cannot be contained by easily definable and comprehensible constructs, I suggest that, rather than an idealized heterogeneity, the novel can be aligned more closely to Alberto Moreiras’s notion of savage hybridity, offering an alternative reading to a binarizing resistance.”

Poéticas de emergencia: Rafa Saavedra, nueva ciudadanía e identidad fronteriza
Jorge Ramirez, University of California San Diego

Rafa Saavedra (Tijuana, 1967-2013), creador de la frase “Tijuana Makes me Happy” es autor de una obra narrativa que abarca dos décadas en las cuales los discursos mueven su base de la posmodernidad y el multiculturalismo hasta la necropolítica y el horrorismo. Durante los últimos años del siglo pasado y hasta el día de su muerte Saavedra, a través de su narrativa, generó un ejemplo de identidad fronteriza y promovió un tipo de ciudadanía ejercida desde la periferia. La obra de Rafa Saavedra no ha sido aun muy estudiada por diversas razones de las que destaco el que sus libros fueron publicados en editoriales independientes de poca distribución y el que su obra sea marginal en relación al centro cultural mexicano: la ciudad de México. De igual forma el concepto de ciudadanía fronteriza del norte de México ha representado históricamente un ejercicio complejo que pretendo abordar en mi ponencia. Buten Smiley (1997), Lejos del Noise (2003) y Dios me persigue (2013) son tres de los libros de relatos con los que intentaré trazar un desarrollo de identidad y ciudadanía fronteriza paralelo al intento del Estado mexicano de tomar el control cultural de esta ciudad fronteriza. Poéticas de emergencia son esas herramientas que le permiten a un autor determinado producir desde un espacio y tiempo de conflicto. En el caso de Rafa Saavedra estas poéticas versan desde los nuevos medios hasta la interdisciplinariedad, herramientas determinantes en su creación del imaginario fronterizo. La narrativa de Rafa Saavedra ejemplifica cómo se puede vivir el espacio público tijuanense con las ventajas y desventajas de abordar como escenario esta ciudad de flujos migratorios, y proyectada bajo un sistema neoliberal hacia una elusiva idea de modernidad.

Cinematic Construction of Touristic Voyeurism in Elia Sulieman’s “Diary of a Beginner”
Krista Weirich, Indiana University

Contemporary Havana is often conceptualized as a city in transition, caught in between socialism and the free market, ruins and renovation, splendor and decadence, stasis and change, age and vitality. The foreign eye seems to be perpetually fixed on this urban space, fascinated by the splendor of its ruined architecture, perplexed by the contrasting resilience and resourcefulness of its citizens, and speculative about its future. During the economic crisis of the 1990s, the government instated loosening measures to stimulate the stagnant economy. One of these, the creation of a ministry of tourism in 1994, significantly influenced Cuban cultural production by introducing a pronounced awareness of and interaction with foreign markets and the transnational construction of Cuban identity in this transitional period. The voyeuristic curiosities of foreigners who visited the island inspired widely circulated travelogues, photography books and documentaries that disseminated images of Cuba. Simultaneously, Cuban writers, filmmakers and artists found themselves entering a global market for literature that could reflect the daily Cuban “reality” that seemed so removed from that of the rest of the world. The presence of the tourist and the economic and aesthetic implications of the arrival of the tourist industry to special period Cuba have important implications for Cuban cultural production. In this paper, I analyze Elia Suleiman’s short film Diary of a Beginner, part of the collaborative transnational production 7 días en La Habana, as a transnational response that confronts problematic foreign-produced representations of Cuban identity. By studying the figures of the tourist and foreign photographer in in this short film, I explore how national identity is reconfigured vis-à-vis the foreign gaze and how the urban space of Havana is reimagined against the aesthetic of ruins that characterized much of the foreign cultural production in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Writing National Imaginaries and Indigeneity: Race, Nation, and Politics of Inclusion

Thursday, February 5, 2015
12:30pm – 1:45pm
Rechler Conference Room 202, Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Moderated by: Dr. Judith Maxwell, Department of Anthropology, Tulane University

Voces Silenciadas: Una examinación de la erradicación de los pueblos originarios de argentina para establecer una idea de identidad nacional
Written by Andrea Arce-Trigatti & Florencia Beatriz Santucho
Andrea Arce-Trigatti, University of Tennessee

En la identidad nacional que perpetúa Argentina, es casi imposible identificar un pasado ligado a las comunidades originarias en el imaginario colectivo. Insistiendo en que una identidad nacional influenciada por tradiciones Europeas era el camino hacia el progreso, la generación intelectual del siglo XIX impuso una idea de civilización que se basa en suprimir toda identidad no occidental/europea. Esta idea está tan arraigada en la formación de la identidad argentina que incluso ha sido consolidada en la Constitución. En un esfuerzo para reivindicar las voces silenciadas de éstas comunidades en la construcción de la identidad nacional, nosotros examinamos los incentivos que justificaron su exclusión y de qué manera permanecen actualmente en el imaginario social: principalmente, la dicotomía civilización/barbarie y lo que ésta implica en las lógicas fundantes de las naciones en formación durante el siglo XIX. Focalizando en el papel que la campaña del desierto (1870-1884) -el genocidio más grande de los pueblos originarios de Argentina- desempeñó en el establecimiento de la identidad nacional, éste trabajo combina una investigación histórica y política con un análisis literario de dos textos formativos en la generación del ideal argentino: Facundo de Domingo F. Sarmiento y Una excursión a los indios ranqueles de Lucio V. Mansilla. Perpetuando las motivaciones políticas y sociales de la campaña contra los pueblos originarios, las obras de estos hombres “determinaron” la identidad étnica y cultural específica de quienes permanecerían como los “legítimos” representantes de la sociedad argentina. Finalmente, con este trabajo esperamos recalcar las raíces aborígenes argentinas y hacer tomar conciencia de la injusticia de que fueron víctimas, habiendo sido por completo desplazadas en la búsqueda de una identidad nacional. Hasta que aquellos que fueron excluidos sean respetuosamente reconocidos como orgullosos contribuyentes de la identidad nacional, Argentina no puede proclamarse como un país democrático y representativo de sus habitantes.

“Yawar mayu, río de sangre:” Translation and the Construction of a More Inclusive National Identity in Los ríos profundos by José María Arguedas 

Sarah Booker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Translation plays a significant role in the incorporation and representation of the multiplicity of voices that exist across the globe and is integral to the creation of a national identity. Translation is fundamental to the creative process of José María Arguedas, who uses it to construct a multilingual narrative that reflects the criollo reality of his native Perú as well as his own experience growing up in such a society. This paper examines the use of translation within the Peruvian writer’s most often canonized and semi-autobiographical novel, “Los ríos profundos.” Translation appears on various levels: in the incorporation and explication of Quechua terms and phrases, in the bilingual transcriptions and translations of huaynos and in the overall syntactical structure of the language, which takes advantage of the metaphorical possibilities of the Quechua language while being accessible to the Spanish-speaking reader. Upon an exploration of the various elements of translation in the novel, it becomes clear that moments of translation appear in a variety of ways in the novel, but all connect the narrative to a personal, cultural and national identity and, in particular, to a past that contributes to the formation of that identity. Translation moves the narrative to the moment of creation or expression of identity, which, for the protagonist, is located at the confluence of the linguistically hegemonic, Spanish-speaking realm and the marginalized Quechua one. I argue that Arguedas’ use of translation in a way that integrates both Spanish and Quechua into his novel is pivotal to the construction of a more inclusive Peruvian national identity. The acceptance into the literary canon of “Los ríos profundos” along with other translations of indigenous texts, such as the “Popul vuh” or “Ritos y tradiciones de los Huarochiri,” puts tension on preconceived understandings of identity and opens the canon up to begin to include a multiplicity of voices.

Todos somos mexicanos: Hecho en México y la representación de los pueblos indígenas

Alejandra Marquez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

El documental Hecho en México (2012), del director británico Duncan Bridgeman, intenta servir como una amalgama de la diversidad cultural mexicana por medio de entrevistas y música de diversos personajes. Si bien esta cinta podría parecer bien intencionada, no está de más considerar su agenda política, sobre todo teniendo en cuenta que ésta se estrenó en México unos meses después de las últimas elecciones presidenciales y que uno de sus productores es Emilio Azcárraga Jean (socio mayoritario de Televisa que fue acusado de apoyar la campaña del actual presidente, Peña Nieto). Debido a diversas implicaciones, el documental contiene un mensaje unificador, mostrando a diversas celebridades, intelectuales y pueblos indígenas, y buscando convencer a su público de que existe una mexicanidad que les une. Es por ello que este estudio analiza el proyecto de homogeneización del filme y la manera en la cual los pueblos indígenas son vistos como parte de una colectividad mexicana, restándoles individualidad y minimizando la discriminación y los problemas que éstos han sufrido desde la época colonial. Para este fin, mi marco teórico yace en textos tanto de Fausto Reinaga como de Alberto Muyolema para problematizar los conceptos de mestizaje y nacionalismo. Asimismo, para contextualizar el análisis se utiliza el discurso de Guillermo Bonfil Batalla sobre la existencia de distintos Méxicos y la jerarquía colonial que los une.

 Enlightenment Implications, Bourbon Influence and Character Construction in Comedia nueva del apostolado en las Indias martirio de un cacique: An Alternative Approach to the Life, Works and Ideology of Eusebio Vela

Megan Oleson, Vanderbilt University

A general disregard for literary works of eighteenth-century Latin America continues to characterize scholars’ attitudes towards the era. The prevailing past and current scholarly approaches to these works have portrayed them as second-rate, overly Baroque and valueless. I argue that these negative perceptions have remained stagnant not because of their innate inferiority, but rather because of many scholars’ inadequacies in correctly interpreting their intentionality. To further this assertion, I focus on the analysis of the famed eighteenth-century playwright Eusebio Vela and his play Comedia nueva del apostolado en las Indias martirio de un cacique (Comedia nueva del apostolado). I analyze the ways in which the intentionality within Comedia nueva del apostolado becomes more apparent when it is understood as a participant in the large-scale cultural indoctrination campaign promoted by the Bourbon monarchy and influenced by the Enlightenment. The primary sources I reference that allow for enlightenment-influenced elements to surface within the play include José Antonio Maravall’s Politica directiva en el teatro ilustrado and Ignacio de Luzán’s La Poética o reglas de la poesía en general y de sus principales especies. My textual analysis covers the ways in which Comedia nueva del apostolado indoctrinates Bourbon values through historical revisionism and character construction. By appropriating a foundational story and manipulating characters to reflect model subjects, Vela was able to promote an ideal Bourbon society where monarch-vassal relations were redefined, natives were given a societal role and traditionally powerful sectors of society were limited in their authoritative scope.

Technologies of Power: Media and Democracy

Friday, February 6, 2015
9:00am – 10:15am
Race Conference Room 202, Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Moderated by: Dr. Mauro Porto, Department of Communications, Tulane University

La Reina del Sur: Ten Chapters of Transnationalization in a Neoliberal Global Economy
Hannah Artman, University of Miami

During the wave of authoritarian rule in Latin America, the media industries were heavily influenced by the interest of their nations’ government. Although democracy has wiped out most traces of bureaucratic authoritarianism in the region today, we can still see how media industries reflect neoliberal trade policies in the production, dissemination, and reception of their products. The wildly popular telenovela, La Reina del Sur, is bursting with evidence that redefines Chicana/o identity within the context of a global culture. The contained cultures of authoritarian regimes by and large tried to push out the heavy economic influence of the United States, but the neoliberal policies of contemporary Latin America strategize this goal in a different way. Telenovelas and other media industries have found a way of integrating local capital with global corporate alliances to make a product relevant and successful on the local and global scale (Castañeda, 11). By doing so, Mari Castañeda affirms that, “The liberalization of economic structures has thus opened the possibility for companies located in the global south to participate in the highly competitive world stage, particularly against the hegemonic force of the United States” (Castaneda, 10). The plot of La Reina del Sur involves a Mexican woman who flees the country in fear of the cartels who have killed her boyfriend. She escapes to Melilla, North Africa and finds a Galician boyfriend and the audience is exposed to cultures and languages that go beyond Spain and Latin America, as well as many production nuances that indicate production in the U.S. By identifying aspects that are particularly Mexican and then analyzing the novela in its broader Hispanic and global context, we are able to see how La Reina del Sur cleverly maintains its Chicana/o identity while globally competing in the cross-cultural production, dissemination, and reception of telenovelas.

Painting the Public Sphere: Creative Expression as Democratic for Young Yucatec Maya-Speakers
Phillip Boyett, Tulane University

The Battle over the Marco Civil da Internet: The Limits of Participatory Democracy
Daniel O’Maley, Vanderbilt University

The signing into law of the Marco Civil da Internet (MCI), the so-called Constitution of the Internet, on April 23, 2014 represented a monumental victory for Brazilian Internet freedom activists not just because the policies it included safeguard an open Internet, but also because of how the law was drafted collaboratively via an online web platform. Yet, even in a country where participatory democracy has been embraced by the ruling Worker’s Party, the bill had lingered in congress for almost three years and was almost tabled indefinitely. In this paper I show how the logic of participatory democracy embodied in the creation of the MCI collided with the existing framework of representative democracy implemented in the mid 1980s in Brazil. Drawing on the work of Santos and Avritzer (2007), I argue that liberal representative democracy as currently constituted worldwide is dominated by elites and is closely linked to neoliberal globalization because of the tremendous influence corporations have in the governance process. In other words, the open, transparent method of policy elaboration that encouraged citizen participation that was employed to draft the MCI bumped up against the traditional legislative process that includes back-room deals, political favors, and corporate lobbying. Based on data collected through ethnographic research among Brazilian Internet freedom activists, I illustrate the unique combination of street demonstrations on online protests they used to demand change. I show how they linked their goals to the massive Brazilian street protests of June 2014 and I place their work within the larger framework of movements to strengthen the Brazilian democratic in ways that benefit citizens rather than corporations.

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