Right to the City: Mobilizing in the Urban Periphery

Thursday, February 5, 2015 2:00pm – 3:15pm
Rechler Conference Room 202, Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC)
Moderated by: Guadalupe García, Department of History, Tulane University

Where Power Technologies Collide: The Production of Violence in Northern Honduras
Leanna First-Arai, Tulane University

In The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre writes that diversion and appropriation of a given space for a new purpose “call[s] but a temporary halt to domination.” Through the analytical lens of Lefebvre’s work, this paper will analyze gang membership and the symbolic domination of urban space as an act of temporary resistance to the cultural hegemony of globalization. The paper will use one case in particular—MS13 and 18th Street gang activity in the Honduran city of El Progreso—to trace the circulation of people, products and power to and from the city and state, arguing that the resulting violence is a direct legacy of neoliberal reforms and mono-crop agricultural exploitation.

Structuring Political Supremacy around Religious Dominance: Building Tenochtitlan and Mexico City
Julia O’Keefe, Tulane University

Fertile Ground for Mobilization: Urban Family Farms in Rio de Janeiro
Ezra Spira-Cohen, Tulane University

Urban farmers in Brazilian capitals face levels of poverty and underdevelopment similar to rural areas. In addition, they face unique challenges, including environmental degradation, urban sprawl, and speculative real estate investment, which further exacerbate their exclusion from the developing areas that surround them. Family based agricultural production in rural Brazil has benefited from legal and political mechanisms that were created in the 1996 with the Programa Nacional de Fortalecimento da Agricultura Familiar (PRONAF) and expanded during the 2000s with direct interventions from the Lula government, but family farms in urban and peri-urban areas have been left out of this process. Only recently, policymakers have begun to take heed.
This paper examines how the institutions built to bridge the gap between urban and rural development in Brazil have created barriers for the expansion of family farming at the urban periphery. Building on my experience with the AS-PTA (a vital NGO that promotes urban agriculture) and on an extensive body of Brazilian scholarly work, this paper looks closely at the growth of local farmers markets and urban agricultural production in Rio de Janeiro. My experiences as well as primary and secondary resources suggest that civil society actors (NGOs, community based organizations, and consumer networks) play a key role in articulating and expanding two interactions that are crucial for family farmers. These are 1) government institutions that regulate farming practices and determine eligibility for financing, and 2) the local and regional consumer base. As the interaction between farmers, consumers, and state institutions hinges upon civil society actors, urban family farming becomes fertile ground for mobilizing around alternative models of production and sustainable agriculture practices.

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.