«PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES NEWSLETTER LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR 2012–13 Dear Colleagues and Friends of PLAS: 2012–13 was another great year ...»
PROGRAM IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES NEWSLETTER
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
Dear Colleagues and Friends of PLAS:
2012–13 was another great year for PLAS, full
of lectures, conferences, and new courses. In the
fall, we had with us Giancarlo Mazzanti, one of the
most important young architects in Latin America,
best known for his Biblioteca España in Medellín,
Colombia. Giancarlo spent the fall semester at PLAS
I NSIDEand taught two courses cross-listed with the School of Architecture. His seminar on “Social Architecture” THIS – the theory that well-designed architecture has the power to solve the social problems of a city – atISSUE tracted students from a variety of disciplines and generated much enthusiasm. Giancarlo also traveled to Medellín with a group of graduate students from his studio course so they could see first-hand the effects of his library in a former slum.
Another highlight of the fall semester was the
FA C U LT Ythe recent wave of drug and criminal violence in Irby, Briyana Davis, Monica Beltran, Emily Mexico and the role intellectuals can play in build- VanderLinden, Alexander Aguayo, Ubaldo ing a peaceful society. This event drew an audience Escalante, Dimitris Papaconstantinou, Carly of over two hundred and generated interest among De La Hoz, Aseneth Garza
VISITORSNew York and Philadelphia audiences.
Timothy J. Smith, a visiting fellow in fall 2012, taught an undergraduate seminar on “The Politics of Ethnicity in Latin America” and took the students enrolled in the course on a one-week trip to Guatemala in December 2012.
STUDENTSDuring the academic year we had with us two of Mexico’s most important young writers: Jorge Volpi and Álvaro Enrigue. Jorge taught a seminar on “Na
STUDENTS VISIT GUATEMALA
BY TIMOTHY J. SMITHDuring December 2012, five Princeton under graduate students enrolled in LAS 401/ANT 434 Latin Amer ican Studies Seminar: The Politics of Ethnicity in Latin America traveled to Guatemala. This trip, led by Professor Timothy J. Smith (Visiting Research Scholar in PLAS and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and PLAS), was sponsored with the generous support of PLAS, the Department of Anthropology and the Fred Fox Fund. Also accompany ing the group was Christina Maida '14 who made a short film of the trip as part of her junior thesis. What follows is an account of the travels and encounters Professor Smith and his students experienced.
Given the seminar’s focus on indigenous representation, social movements, and ethnicity in Latin America, I wanted to introduce students to particular themes on the ground that included governance, economic transformations, tourism, religion, and history. We were able to touch upon all of these topics in the short week, spending our time in Sololá (my primary field site for 16 years), Antigua, and Tecpán. The trip, however, was also linked to the so-called “end of the world” and “new era” narratives stemming from a western-borne “Maya prophecy” around the end of a calendar which hasn’t been used in nearly 1,200 years. With regards to representation, our overall objective was to see how competing interpretations of the December 20–21, 2012 events (doom vs. dawn, non-indigenous vs. indigenous, etc.) played out on the ground.
On the first full day in Guatemala, I introduced students to a representative of the town hall of Sololá, located in the western highlands, who has been involved with development projects that includes the construction of a tourism welcome center and two small museums. Students learned about the history of the town and how local Back row from left to right: Christina Maida, Kelsey Byrne;
indigenous leaders actively negotiate how they are representing the town to outsiders. Front row from left to right: Aseneth Garza, Briyana Davis, Flora I then introduced students to my colleagues at both the town hall and the indig- Massah, Carra Torres enous municipal government. The latter is a semi-autonomous organization which has existed for nearly 450 years. At the town hall, students met with the vice-mayor who welcomed them and spoke to the group about the current administration’s development initiatives and the issues surrounding continuing discrimination against indigenous citizens. They then met with the indigenous vice-mayor and four members of the indigenous municipal government across the street. During their conversation with this group, students heard about Maya law and the growing presence of NGOs in the region to specifically help indigenous populations with regards to education, health, and agriculture. The students also heard about the link that this organization provides between the rural villages and the police in combating crime and lynchings.
On day three, I took the students to the local market and introduced them to a number of families who are involved in weaving and the poultry industry. They heard about not only the symbolic and social significance ascribed to the wearing of traje (indigenous dress), but also the economic realities which many of the families traditionally involved with weaving face with regards to a sluggish economy and the abandonment of traje by community boys and men. Afterwards, the students took a break and met as a group to discuss everything they had experienced for the day and how this related to the readings of the seminar.
One of the themes which ran throughout the semester was an apparent dearth of scholarly literature on gender within social movements and emerging forms of indigenous representation in Latin America. After a short discussion on this, I brought the group to a weaving cooperative formed by 187 widows in 1987 whose male members of their families had either been killed or disappeared by the military during the height of the Guatemalan armed conflict, which spanned 36 years (1960–96). What makes this a special cooperative is that the women chose to initiate a program in which chenille products were woven on backstrap looms. Moreover, it is entirely owned and managed by women. Many of the young women now working at the cooperative are involved in both local and national movements around women’s rights and collective indigenous representation. At the cooperative, students met with the office manager and a number of the weavers and board members, who spoke with the students about issues relating to economic empowerment and gender relations within their natal communities, as well as issues of indigenous representation.
Day four began early as the students wanted to watch the sunrise over Lake Atitlán. After a few group photos, we boarded a boat and headed to the south shores of the lake, to the Tz’utujil-speaking town of Santiago Atitlán. I gave them a tour of one of the first churches built in Guatemala and spoke with the students about the arrival of the Spanish to this area in the 1520s, aided with Kaqchikel allies from Sololá and Tecpán (located to the east). I discussed with them colonial architecture (pointing out embedded indigenous symbols throughout the structure) and the importance of Catholic saints and the introduction of cofradías (saints societies) in the 16th century to indigenous towns (with regards to indigenous governance and leadership). The students also learned more about the history of the Guatemalan genocide and we discussed a 1990 massacre which took place in the town, for which a memorial resides in the church. I also talked to them about Hurricane Stan in 2005 which caused a large landslide that buried alive nearly 700 community members, and the town’s refusal of aid offered by the Guatemalan military based upon their memory of the 1990 massacre.
FACULTY UPDATESPEDRO MEIRA MONTEIRO has been promoted to professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures. Meira Monteiro teaches courses on Brazilian literature, Latin American essays, music and poetry, and cultural and intellectual history.
SUSANA DRAPER has been promoted to associate professor (with continuing tenure) in the Department of Comparative Literature. Draper’s areas of interest include contemporary Latin American literature and intellectual histories, visual arts, continental philosophy, spatial theory, human rights issues, and prison writing.
JOSÉ SCHEINKMAN and MICHAEL WOOD have been transferred to emeritus status (Scheinkman, effective September 1, 2013). Wood is a prominent literary and cultural critic with a column in the London Review of Books and a long list of publications to his name. His interests include film studies, postcolonialism and literary criticism, and he is an expert on the modern novel in English, French, German, and Spanish.
Wood earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees at Cambridge University.
Over his career, Scheinkman has contributed to a number of areas of economics, including mathematical methods, theories of competition and industrial organization, macroeconomics, social interactions, asset-price bubbles, financial time series, and friction in financial markets.
Scheinkman received his B.A. from the Undersidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, his M.A. from the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada, and his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.
NEW ASSOCIATED FACULTY MEMBERSJAVIER GUERRERO is assistant professor of Latin American studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University and a Licenciatura in film studies from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He specializes in 20th-century Latin American literature and culture with an emphasis on gender and sexualities, and visual culture. Before coming to the U.S., Guerrero was President of the Venezuelan Cinemateca Nacional and Vice President of Gran Cine, Latin American’s largest art cinema circuit. He has curated over 25 international film series and festivals. Guerrero has coedited Excesos de Cuerpo (2009, reprinted in 2011) and the two-volume dossier Cuerpos enfermos/Contagios culturales (2010 and 2011). His scholarship also includes a book on the Venezuelan filmmaker Mauricio Walerstein and the novel Balnearios de Etiopia (2010). His book Tecnologías del cuerpo. Exhibicionismo y cultura visual en América Latina is forthcoming (2013). Currently, Guerrero is working on a new manuscript, Synthetic Matter: Dolls and Horror in Latin America, and a series of essays on archive, film, and culture, titled Visual Object: Visualities, Visibilities and the Politics of Looking.
During fall 2013-14 Guerrero will teach SPA 222/LAS 222/LAO 222 Introduction to Latin American Cultures. The course will focus on the complex ways in which cultural and intellectual production anticipates, participates in, and responds to political, social, and economic transformations in the 20th and 21st centuries; and SPA 551 Body Cultures: Exhibitionism and Materiality in Latin America which will explore the work of Latin American artists who aim to defy the norms imposed by the heterosexual imperative.
History from 2009 to 2012.
As a curator, Small organized Verbivocovisual: Brazilian Concrete Poetry at Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University in 2006 and co-curated Multitude at Artists Space, New York City in 2002. She contributed essays to the award-winning exhibition catalogue Picasso and the Allure of Language (2009), and recently co-curated Blind Field, an exhibition of emerging and mid-career artists working in Brazil which opened at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January 2013 and traveled to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in June 2013.
Recent publications include: “Medium Aspecificity/Autopoietic Form” in Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson, eds. Contemporary Art:
Themes and Histories, 1989 - Present (2013); “Exit and Impasse: Ferreira Gullar and the ‘New History’ of the Last Avant-Garde” (Third Text, January 2012); and “Openings: Matheus Rocha Pitta” (Artforum, Summer 2011).
In fall 2013, Small will teach two courses: ART 344/LAS 334/POR 367 Topics in 20th Century Art which investigates experimental art practices that emerged in Brazil, Argentina, and the U.S. in the 1960s; and ART 460/LAS 460 Theorizing the Archive in Latin American Art, a course that will be a practicum for developing critical approaches to the use and interpretation of archival materials, with emphasis on the way archives have been deployed to construct the idea of Latin American art in the 20th and 21st centuries.
VISITORS2013–14 PLAS VISITING SCHOLARS JOÃO CE Z AR DE CASTRO ROCHA (Spring 2014) State University of Rio de Janeiro João Cezar de Castro Rocha is professor of comparative literature at Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
Some of his publications include Crítica literária: em busca do tempo perdido? (2011); Machado de Assis: Por uma poética da emulação (2013); and ¿Culturas shakesperianas? Teoría mimética y América Latina (2013, forthcoming). Among others, Castro Rocha has received the following distinctions: Endowed Chair Machado de Assis of Latin American Studies (Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana/Brazilian Embassy, Mexico, 2010) and Endowed Chair Eusebio Francisco Kino/Diálogo Fe-Cultura (Universidad Iberoamericana/Guadalajara/Tijuana, 2011).
MARCOS DE ALMEIDA R ANGEL (2013–14 Academic Year) University of São Paulo, Brazil Fall 2013 Course: LAS 402 Latin American Studies Seminar: Economic Analysis of Latin American Development Marcos A. Rangel is associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil.