LASA 2019

 

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Full LASA program is here

Democratic Erosion and Resilience

Fri, May 24, 9:00 to 10:30am

Democracy is in recession. Coups remain relatively rare, but threats of democratic erosion abound across Latin America. This roundtable brings together leading political scientists to explore how to detect and explain democratic setbacks, as well as identify institutional and societal sources of resilience. In addition, the panel will also explore the lessons Latin America holds for democratic erosion in the United States and elsewhere.

Speaker: Steven R. Levitsky, Harvard University

Chair: Scott P. Mainwaring, Harvard

¿Continuidad o refundación? La política social latinoamericana luego de la década expansiva (2000-2013)

Fri, May 24, 12:30 to 2:00pm

Esta mesa redonda se propone discutir la reciente década expansiva de la política social en América Latina cuya magnitud solo se compara con la ocurrida durante la primera mitad del siglo veinte. Dos son las principales preguntas a responder: ¿cuánto avanzó la región en general y conjuntos específicos de países en particular, en ampliar la cobertura, reducir la segmentación de beneficios y mejorar la calidad durante la década expansiva que tuvo lugar entre 2000 y 2013? ¿De qué factores sociopolíticos y económicos dependió la expansión de políticas sociales y el avance desigual entre países y sectores de política? La discusión se organizará en torno al trabajo de investigación colaborativo realizado por la Red de Política Social Comparada (PolSoc) financiado inicialmente por LASA (a través de su programa de becas LASA-Ford) y más recientemente por la Universidad de Costa Rica. Durante la mesa redonda se presentará el documento preparado por la red que, por un lado, evalúa los modelos interpretativos existentes y, por otro, aporta nuevos elementos empíricos, teóricos y metodológicos para avanzar nuestra comprensión de los cambios. Dicho documento será, además, evaluado por tres de los expertas más renombradas sobre política social latinoamericana. La mesa redonda se propone, de esa forma, promover una discusión sobre futuras agendas de investigación y, por otro, fortalecer la interacción de investigadors más establecidos con aquellas más junior.

Speaker: Calendaria Garay, Harvard University

Discourses and Counter-Discourses of Gendered Race

Fri, May 24, 2:15 to 3:45pm

Chair: Rosemary G Feal, Harvard University

Organized by Rosemary G Feal, Harvard University

Landholding Inequality, Development, and Political Conflict in Latin America

Fri, May 24, 2:15 to 3:45pm

What is the relationship between landholding inequality and development? Does unequal access to land drive societal conflict? These questions are particularly relevant for Latin America, where landholding inequality has been traditionally associated with low investments in state capacity and public goods (Sokoloff and Engerman 2000) and high political unrest (Brockett 1992; Russett 1964). Our panel puts together a theoretically and methodologically rich analysis that addresses the effect of landholding inequality on multiple development outcomes (e.g., fiscal capacity, protection of property rights) and forms of societal conflict (e.g., land dispossessions and land-related violence). Specifically, we emphasize the role of agency by examining the strategic incentives of local landed elites to shape each of these outcomes. We present novel empirical evidence at the subnational level from Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Speaker: Calendaria Garay, Harvard University

The Changing Transitional Justice Landscape: Debating Accountability and the Efficacy of Trials

Fri, May 24, 4:00 to 5:30pm

In the two decades since transitional justice (TJ) has emerged in academic scholarship, many of its initial claims are being reevaluated by scholars across a variety of fields. In this panel, historians and political scientists examine several distinct regional and historical contexts in order to challenge the idea that TJ mechanisms designed with formal legal accountability in mind are necessarily the most effective or just responses to crisis or conflict.
In El Salvador, Risa Kitagawa uses experimental evidence to explore how notions about fairness and retribution underlying trials for wartime crimes moderate citizen perceptions of the state. Turning to a European people’s tribunal for Latin American Dirty War crimes, Paul Katz analyzes popular visions of rights that, while lacking formal legal authority, did have significant impact on understandings of transnational state violence. Finally, Debbie Sharnak evaluates differences in rural versus urban rights claims and experiences based on the debate surrounding the 1989 amnesty law in Uruguay.
Taken together, these papers demonstrate that local, national, and transnational transitional justice mechanisms elide straightforward legitimacy narratives. The panel instead argues for a more nuanced understanding of how justice can and has operated in various post-conflict contexts across Latin America. We seek to move toward an analysis of TJ that does not take for granted the often narrow definitions of accountability that undergird it, advocating for a more flexible understanding of the purposes of TJ and the metrics by which its success can be measured.

Speaker: Kathryn A. Sikkink, Harvard University

Organized by Debbie V. Sharnak, Harvard University

Images from the End of the World: surveying the contemporary

Fri, May 24, 5:45 to 7:15pm

This panel explores a series of aesthetic works and artistic interventions by Latin American artists that have responded to the conditions of the contemporary defined as “the end of the world”: a state of perpetual war, state-sanctioned violence and repression, massive migrant labor and refugee crisis, implementation of neoliberal regimes enacting economic dispossession, exploitation and appropriation of bodies. Surveying the ways in which artists have acknowledge traumas both historical and enduring, we interrogate how they have given visibility, intelligibility and affective response to this present experience.

Chair: Mariano Siskind, Harvard University

Pugnas y tensiones en la delimitación de la nación colombiana: literatura, historia y fotografía en la primera mitad del siglo XX

Saturday, May 25, 10:45am to 12:15pm

Esta mesa reúne cuatro ponencias sobre historia, literatura, fotografía y crítica literaria de la primera mitad del siglo XX en Colombia que evidencian tensiones ideológicas, políticas, económicas, raciales, religiosas y territoriales fundamentales para pensar este período. El proyecto corporativista, conservador y católico de Félix Restrepo y Laureano Gómez se yuxtapone a proyectos artísticos que abren ventanas a territorios dejados de lado por aquellas visiones de país y formas de gubernamentalidad. Los trabajos fotográficos de Roger Casement (1906) y Silvino Santos (1912) sobre las caucheras, y las novelas de José Eustasio Rivera (La Vorágine, 1924) y Tomás Carrasquilla (La marquesa de Yolombó, 1928) muestran hasta qué punto, aunque ignorados por los gobiernos centrales, los indígenas del Amazonas y los afrodescendientes de las minas antioqueñas estaban ya violentamente integrados a mercados internacionales que ponían en cuestión tanto los límites como la soberanía nacional. Por su parte, la crítica literaria, en proceso de robustecimiento, propone un correlato de esas tensiones desde la relación entre entorno urbano y no urbano, y desde su lectura de la importancia de la naturaleza para la “patria”. Enmarcado por la Guerra de los Mil Días, por la guerra con Perú de 1932-1933 y por el inicio de la Violencia, este periodo es evidencia descarnada de pugnas entre proyectos de nación y de conflictos sobre el reconocimiento territorial de un país inserto en un mercado mundial cada vez más claramente sin fronteras, dos procesos que abren cuestionamientos sobre el territorio, la naturaleza, la patria, la violencia y lo humano.

Chair: Cristina Garcia Navas, Harvard University

Organized by Cristina Garcia Navas, Harvard University

Citizen participation and public security in Mexico

Sat, May 25, 2:15 to 3:45pm

Policy responses to violence are often subject to ideological cleavages. This is especially true in countries plagued with endemic violence rates, like in Mexico: while some will advocate "mano dura” policies to prevent crime and violence, others promote preventive security policies with a proximity approach to policing and crime. If the former approach has long been dominant in Latin America, the latter has become more common, especially under left-leaning governments who have been proactive in fostering the creation of community police, citizen security and crime prevention programs. In most cases, however, both approaches have co-existed in practice.
In Mexico, insecurity remains the number one concern of the population. At both the national and local levels, the ‘mano dura’ has certainly dominated the security landscape, which is consistent with the right-leaning federal governments’ approaches. However, at the local level, several initiatives of participatory public security programs including elements of citizen participation have emerged in the past years, often initiated under left-leaning political leaders and challenging the common wisdom about public security and crime repression in the country.
This panel will discuss the emergence of participatory approaches in public security in Mexico, looking at a variety of case studies to better understand the roots, functioning and consequences of these approaches for public security policies. With the recent election of left-leaning President AMLO, this discussion is particularly timely speaking to the current debate on the reform of public security, and on the role for ordinary citizens and participatory approaches in the process.

Speaker: Diane E Davis, Harvard University

Latin American History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Conversation with Other Fields

Sat, May 25, 2:15 to 3:45pm

Scholarship on the history of science, technology, and medicine in Latin America has continued to grow in recent years. For some, it has provided a new lens to understand the dynamics of Latin American historical processes. For others, it has provided a way to understand different forms of knowledge production as well as other possibilities for material and physical life. Collectively, this literature has added geographical richness to how we understand science, technology, and medicine, fields that have historically served to underpin claims of modernity. At the same time, scholarship on the history of science, technology, and medicine in Latin American contexts has also been enriched by conversations with other fields and disciplines. Such scholarly endeavors serve to the broaden the literature, open new avenues and questions for study, and, perhaps, amplify the relevance of research findings by making them speak to more than one audience. The papers in this panel illustrate how historians of science, technology, and medicine are drawing from the literatures in other fields as part of their research practice and actively engaging with other scholarly communities. The papers will specifically demonstrate new connections that are being drawn between the history of science, technology, and medicine in Latin America and fields such as anthropology, agrarian studies, memory studies, and urban planning. Panelists will also address how their engagement with other fields has enriched the approach to their research topic and subsequent findings.

Alternatives to Extractive Development

Sat, May 25, 2:15 to 3:45pm

The panel consists of four papers: the first deals with the general historical and ethical issues of violence associated with extraction in Latin America; the second focuses on the policy alternatives to the continued promotion of extraction – mining and petroleum – in Ecuador; the third looks at a conflict between farming community members and a mining company in the northern highland Ecuador; and the fourth analyzes a community that rejected extraction to create its own model of development based on its own notions of the “good life” in the southern highlands of Ecuador. The discussant is a student of business and human rights who has engaged in field work on these issues in Ecuador.

Speaker: Malcolm J Rogge, Harvard Law School

Feminisms Now and Then

Sat, May 25, 5:45 to 7:15pm

Organized by Regina Larrea, Harvard Law School

The Harvard Cubans

Sunday, May 26, 9:00 to 10:30am

In the year 1900, in the midst of the U.S. occupation of Cuba following the “Spanish-American” War, more than half of all Cuban public school teachers boarded five American military ships to travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts to participate in a summer school organized by Harvard University. The purpose of the trip was to expose the teachers to modern methods in pedagogy and the advances of American society. Convinced that the expedition would aid in the reconstruction of Cuba after its wars for independence, the people of Cambridge contributed over $70,000 to finance the visit. In turn, Harvard offered its courses free of charge to the nearly 1,300 teachers.
This panel situates the Harvard Summer School for Cuban Teachers at the intersection of histories of U.S. empire, Cuban nationalism, and the transnational politics of gender and race. Papers analyze not only why the educational project was considered a resounding success by its American backers, but how Cuban participants shaped it into something of their own. While the project at times reflected the paternalism and racial assumptions of U.S. imperial thinking, Cuban teachers came away reaffirmed in their nationalist beliefs, and they discovered reservoirs of anti-imperialist sympathy for Cuban independence. In this sense, the history of the project muddles more simplistic storylines in the history of U.S.-Cuban relations. The program would exert considerable influence over Cuban pedagogy in subsequent years. Revisiting this episode also invites comparisons with Cuban international educational exchange experiences in later, much different, eras.

Chair: Rainer G. Schultz, Harvard University, CASA / Casa de las Américas

Speaker: Erin Goodman, DRCLAS, Harvard University

Embodied Knowledges: Politics, Performance, and World-Making in Latin America

Sun, May 26, 9:00 to 10:30am

The popularization of performance as an object of study, a theory, and a methodology in Latin American Studies has contributed a hemispheric interdisciplinary approach to the study of embodied practices. Conceptualizing performance beyond the theatrical, this panel will exemplify how thinking about performance illuminates the embodiment of knowledge production. In consequence, we will challenge writing-centric and national linear narratives of collective memory to explore performance’s haunting, moving, affective, aural and digital resonances in everyday scenarios in Cuba, Panama, and Colombia. We will argue for a close reading of performances as speculative fictions that allows us to imagine what is not here yet.

The Spatial Politics of Afro-Colombian and Afro-Cuban Mobilization, 1920s-1970s

Sun, May 26, 10:45am to 12:15pm

This panel examines Afro-Colombian and Afro-Cuban mobilization in urban and rural spaces from the 1920s to the 1970s. We conceive of black mobilization both as moments in which Afro-Latin Americans organized along racial lines, but also instances that were not defined primarily in ethnic or racial terms, but in which black people participated. We make three main propositions. First, although peasant movements and urban trade union politics have dominated the social histories of 20th century Latin America, we have much to learn about the roles that black people played in these struggles. We contend that a spatial framework, that is, putting black Latin Americans at the center of broader urban and rural politics across the region we can better understand the role that ideas of racial difference and racial stratification played in these lager processes. Second, by focusing on Afro-Latin American mobilization in urban and rural contexts—and the connections between them—we aim to better understand the repertoires and strategies of contention that black Latin Americans deployed to make claims for inclusion, equality and social justice in different settings. Third, both countries offer historical contexts to reflect on the circulation of socialist and progressive ideas and their impact on the labor, peasant and popular organizations that black people participated in: next year marks the centenary of the founding of the first socialist party in Colombia and the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s unfinished Revolution.

Chair: Laura Correa Ochoa, Harvard University

Desplazamientos trasatlánticos: Movilidad cultural y relecturas del pasado colonial latinoamericano

Sunday, May 26, 12:30 to 2:00pm

En un contexto en el que los cuestionamientos al estudio de las humanidades son reiterados e intensos, actualizar las lecturas del pasado a través de herramientas humanísticas se presenta como una tarea urgente. Con miras a echar nuevas luces sobre las relaciones entre América y Europa gestadas durante el período colonial, este panel propone aproximarse a la trayectoria de objetos e ideas atendiendo tanto las contingencias como la literalidad de estos desplazamientos. Stephen Greenblatt sugiere que son los detalles en las trayectorias y las circunstancias del viaje las que pueden guiarnos a una comprensión más precisa de las interacciones y los procesos tempranos de globalización, pero también a un mejor entendimiento sobre las coyunturas presentes. Así, este panel desafía juicios cristalizados, buscando ensanchar categorías a veces estancadas que suelen estructurar el estudio del pasado latinoamericano.
En esta dirección, se analiza el Códice Florentino desde dos perspectivas: desde el marco de los refraneros españoles para problematizar la jerarquía binaria entre oralidad y escritura que tradicionalmente ha dominado la lectura de este apartado del documento; y desde el marco de la cultura material, mapeando las trayectorias de pigmentos, herramientas y técnicas europeas que, junto con la tradición prehispánica, hicieron posible su elaboración. También desde la cultura material se explora la colección de arte precolombino amasada por el diplomático Robert Bliss entre los años cuarenta y sesenta del siglo XX como un intento por inventar una antigüedad clásica para América en el contexto de las relaciones diplomáticas entre América Latina y Estados Unidos.

Organized by Isaac Magaña G Cantón, Harvard University

Centroamérica migrante: movimientos, tránsitos y dislocaciones del pasado y el presente en la literatura y el cine del istmo

Sun, May 26, 12:30 to 2:00pm

La migración es una realidad para millones de personas de Centroamérica. En el mundo se estima que los migrantes representan cerca de un tres por ciento del total de la población. En América Latina este porcentaje asciende a un seis por ciento. En Centroamérica se eleva a una cifra que está entre el 12 y 14 por ciento de la población. Es decir, Centroamérica cuadruplica el porcentaje del promedio de la migración mundial. Como lo apunta el investigador Carlos Sandoval García, la migración es una realidad estructural y estructurante de la vida de millones de centroamericanos, pues ya sea desde las experiencias personales, los imaginarios sociales, las políticas públicas o las acciones políticas las migraciones son un lugar crucial para acercarse, describir y comprender a Centroamérica. En una época en que se incrementan los controles, las migraciones (tanto externas como internas) se configuran como un factor fundamental de las sociedades contemporáneas. Este fenómeno, desde luego, tiene un impacto en las producciones artísticas y culturales de la región. Este panel analiza el tema de la migración y los tránsitos del pasado y el presente –no solo físicos sino también simbólicos–, así como sus dislocaciones en las representaciones tanto en la literatura como en el cine del istmo centroamericano.

Estrategias cosmopolitas: modernistas y contemporáneos latinoamericanos pensando lo mundial

Sunday, May 26, 2:15 to 3:45pm

La crisis del sueño global de la modernidad hace necesario interpelar a las herramientas críticas desarrolladas desde el archivo latinoamericano en torno al debate sobre la literatura mundial como disciplina. Los últimos años han visto el florecimiento de intervenciones en este debate: la búsqueda de loci críticos de lo global (Hoyos), el análisis de los procesos de circulación literaria global (Wilson; Müller; Domínguez) y del rol de la traducción en éstos (Lezra), o el pensamiento acerca del cosmopolitismo como proyecto de la modernidad (Siskind).
En este panel preguntamos qué pistas nos da el archivo latinoamericano para pensar la literatura mundial, o su imposibilidad. Nos interesan diferentes géneros, medios e idiomas: ¿qué nos enseñan respecto al cosmopolitismo como categoría estética, histórica y política? Vemos la urgencia de revisar el proyecto cosmopolita para contestar de quién es nuestra América y si existe un mundo nuestro en la literatura mundial.
Partiremos de las fisuras en el pensamiento cosmopolita presentes ya en el proyecto modernista, para llegar a las rearticulaciones contemporáneas de lo cosmopolita, con su imagen de un mundo ya en ruinas. Primero, Victoria Zurita indagará el proyecto cosmopolita de Borges a través de sus reflexiones metafísicas, y la seguirá Michelle Rada, analizando cómo las formas estéticas pueden rearticular la estructura formal del cosmopolitismo. Ignacio Azcueta llevará el debate al terreno del cine, preguntando cómo hablar del cosmopolitismo en el mundo contemporáneo marcado por las migraciones, y el panel cerrará con Matylda Figlerowicz analizando cómo el multilingüismo contemporáneo perturba las fantasías cosmopolitas.

Organized by Ignacio M Azcueta, Harvard University

Latin American and Global Studies: Desencuentros y Diálogos

Sun, May 26, 2:15 to 3:45pm

Global Studies is on the rise in universities throughout the US, and in institutional terms, at least in the US, Latin America (and other) area studies programs are in retreat. Whatever advantages that might come with the fresh “global” lens, one obvious danger is the reintroduction of hegemon-centric epistemologies, which Latin American studies has been consistently critiquing and gradually displacing over the past three or four decades. The challenge that follows is to continue opening space for dialogue to better understand the “desencuentros” between these two interdisciplinary fields, to connect the best critical traditions of Latin American studies with its Global studies counterparts, and to probe possibilities for collaboration or even fusion, both conceptually and institutionally. How should this dialogue be conceived? What are its key axes and themes? What are its stakes? Who should be at the table for this conversation? This invited roundtable will address these and related questions. Latin America-based intellectuals must be central protagonists in this dialogue, given their key roles in the challenge to traditional approaches to Latin American studies, and distinctively positioned relationship to “the global.” The broader objective of this roundtable is to explore and highlight approaches to Global Studies that are both deeply informed by critical traditions of Latin American (and other) area studies, and that incorporate the best of the “global turn,” while remaining grounded in some version of what many, following Santos de Sosa, have called “epistemologies of the south.”

Speaker: Kathryn A. Sikkink, Harvard University

Performing Contradictions: Thirty Years of Ay Ombe Theater and the Work of Josefina Baez

Sun, May 26, 5:45 to 7:15pm

This roundtable is dedicated to a multi-lingual, transnational conversation about the performance work of Afro-Latina artist Josefina Baez. Presenters will discuss her impact on the fields of Latinx Studies, her contributions to new theoretical frameworks, and the challenges and opportunities of translating her Spanglish texts into different languages. The roundtable will end with a reading from the author herself followed by question and answers from the audience.

Speaker: Lorgia H. García Peña, Harvard University

Organized by Lorgia H. García Peña, Harvard University

Educación no formal, movimientos sociales e inclusión

Mon, May 27, 10:45am to 12:15pm

Mario Bellatin y las formas de la escritura: Crisis. Lenguaje. Dinero. Cuerpo

Mon, May 27, 10:45am to 12:15pm

La intrigante obra de Mario Bellatin ha tenido una buena recepción en los lectores y en la crítica desde el punto de vista de su estudio. Este panel propone adherirse a la positiva recepción de su obra, fundamentando el análisis crítico-teórico a partir de cuatro nódulos temáticos; a saber, la crisis, el lenguaje, el dinero y el cuerpo. Cada uno de estos aspectos, presentados en cuatro ponencias, serán analizados desde un punto de vista interdisciplinario, y harán referencia a varios textos de la obra de Bellatin.

Caribbean Latinidades: Texts, Contexts, Performances

Mon, May 27, 12:30 to 2:00pm

Chair: Lorgia H. García Peña, Harvard University

Democracy and Authoritarianism in Latin America: Progress, Stagnation, or Backsliding?

Mon, May 27, 2:15 to 3:45pm

This round table will assess ongoing challenges for political regimes in Latin America. Are democracies suffering as part of a global wave of democratic erosion? Is the twenty-first century marked by democratic stagnation? Are Latin American countries able to experience important advances in specific dimensions of political life? How can political actors confront authoritarian tendencies? The participants will discuss ongoing research that sheds light on these crucial questions.

Speakers: Scott P. Mainwaring, Harvard and Candelaria Garay, Harvard University.

Authors meet Critics: Partisans, Anti-Partisans and Non-Partisans: Voting Behavior in Brazil

Monday, May 27, 4:00 to 5:30pm

The unique combination of an extremely fragmented party system and a bi-polar presidential dispute has been the defining feature of Brazilian politics for the last 25 years. While many authors have studied the institutional roots of this surprising outcome, the behavioral roots of Brazil’s recent political experience have remained understudied, despite increased public polarization and mounting evidence of partisan behavior among voters. David Samuels and Cesar Zucco’s new book (“Partisans, Anti-Partisans and Non-Partisans: Voting Behavior in Brazil”, Cambridge University Press, 2018) fills this important gap. They highlight how the development of positive and negative attitudes towards the Workers’ Party (PT) helped to shape how Brazilians vote, and provide an array of observational and experimental evidence to make a compelling case for their novel argument.
This panel brings the authors together with four leading experts on the topic of parties and voting behavior in Brazil to discuss the findings of the book and the new research agenda it promotes. In light of Brazil’s most recent election results, the panel also explores the degree to which the trends unveiled in the book will persist or change.

Chair: Fernando Augusto B Neto, Harvard University

Presenter: Scott P Mainwaring, Harvard University; David J Samuels, University of Minnesota; Argelina C Figueiredo, IESP-Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro; Noam Lupu, Vanderbilt University

Citizen participation in subnational governments in Latin America

Mon, May 27, 4:00 to 5:30pm

In recent years, governments across the region have implemented a range of reforms meant to increase citizen participation in local public affairs, at the same time that international and local civil society movements have also been making a push for greater citizen engagement at the local level. The papers in this panel examine the state of citizen participation in subnational public management across a range of countries, such as Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala and Peru, adding to our knowledge base of how these laws and advocacy movements have impacted citizen participation in practice. They use a range of methodologies, from qualitative interviews to an original survey, and generate both theories and empirical results from specific cases. Together, they highlight how evaluations of citizen participation need to consider issues such as the complex interplay of formal and informal mechanisms, linking local participation with regional and national policy processes, the limits of legal mandates, the importance of local adaptability and locally driven initiatives, and whether participatory reforms can tackle broader societal challenges and strengthen social justice and democracy more broadly.

Organized by Julie Anne Weaver, Harvard University

The legacies of the Spanish Civil War in Latin America: from “Reconquest” to the transitional “Consensus” (1939-1998)

Mon, May 27, 4:00 to 5:30pm

In recent years, historians of Cold War Latin America have been contending that the continent’s “long Cold War” had begun not in 1945, but rather in 1936, with the break of the three-year Civil War on the soil of Latin America’s Mother Nation. The aim of this panel is to explored the usage and full impact of the legacies of this immensely symbolic event in Latin America, during moments of political mobilization on both the Right and the Left ideological spectrums. The panel members’ work indicates that the Civil War, and Francoist regime that emerged from it, profoundly influenced notions of social justice, national sovereignty, and political legitimacy during the Cold War. As importantly, this panel sets out to discuss the ongoing perceptions of the Civil War during the time of the Spanish transition and the emergence of Spain’s 1970s democratic “consensus.” A model of democratization devoid of retrospective criminalization of the dictatorial past, the “consensus” was constantly justified in the name “avoiding yet another civil war.” Thus, the panel will broaden the discussion over the meanings of the Civil War to include not only its influence of authoritarian thought in Latin America, but also its legacies of belying processes of retrospective justice making in the continent, during the 1980s and 1990s.

Speaker: Marysa Navarro Aranguren, Dartmouth College, DRCLAS - Harvard University

Creative Activism: Race, Culture, and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba

Mon, May 27, 5:45 to 7:15pm

In 2013, Afro-Cuban activist and intellectual Roberto Zurbano wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that asserted the “Revolution hasn’t begun” for Cubans of color. Zurbano’s bold essay builds on a longer history of Cuban visual artists, writers, and choreographers, mostly of African descent, who worked to address the gap between revolutionary promises and realities regarding racial equality and inclusion. This panel examines the longer history of intellectual and creative labors devoted to challenging racism within a context of a self-proclaimed antiracist Revolution.
The papers enrich understandings of race activism from the 1960s through the 1980s. Cary García Yero examines the critical years from 1959 to 1963, bringing fresh perspectives on the period by focusing on connections between the visual art world and contemporary antiracism crusades. Devyn Spence Benson turns attention to the late 1960s and early 1970s when public spaces for debate about racism had closed. However, as Benson shows, conversations continued in private and in cultural realms as intellectuals and cultural producers explored Cuban connections to Caribbean black consciousness thinkers. Finally, Elizabeth Schwall examines how dancers and choreographers aired ideas about race and politics metaphorically and nonverbally through movement in the late 1970s and 1980s. Throughout the panel assesses the places and performances of race activism in revolutionary Cuba.
Lillian Guerra, an expert in Cuban history, will serve as commentator, and the topic should appeal to scholars interested in the histories of race, revolution, and activism after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.