Books

Kristin Yarris featured in the inaugural “UO Authors, Book Talks” series

November 6, 2019
5:00 pmto6:30 pm

Knight Library
Browsing Room

https://around.uoregon.edu/content/faculty-books-be-featured-uo-authors-book-talks-series

Around the O, October 17, 2019—Kristin Yarris will be the first faculty member featured in the inaugural “UO Authors, Book Talks” series that begins next month.

Kristin Yarris

Yarris, an associate professor of international studies, will read excerpts from her book “Care Across Generations,” followed by a discussion on the pivotal roles Nicaraguan grandmothers play in intergenerational care and transnational migration.

The debut for Yarris and “UO Authors, Book Talks” will be Nov. 6 in the Knight Library Browsing Room. The event is a recognition of University of Oregon faculty members and their books.

The second “UO Authors, Book Talks” will take place Feb. 12 in the Browsing Room. It will feature Kirby Brown, associate professor of Native American literatures, and his book “Stoking the Fire: Nationhood in Cherokee Writing, 1907-1970.”

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate scholarly work than to put a spotlight on our faculty authors,” said Patrick Phillips, UO’s provost and senior vice president. “UO authors provide a tremendous impact with their original scholarship, and their dedicated efforts enhance the reputation of the entire university by showing the world the important contributions we make to a wide variety of fields.”

The events are sponsored by the Office of the Provost, UO Libraries, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Yarris, who also directs the UO Global Health Program, spent a year in Managua, Nicaragua, working with Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes, a migrant justice organization. The work included taking testimonials from migrants who returned home and their family members to develop ways to better protect Nicaraguans working in Costa Rica and Mexico through changes in policy.

Through these testimonials, Yarris was able to meet 24 families and work with many of them to produce material for her dissertation, which later turned into the book. “Care Across Generations”takes a close look at grandmother care in Nicaraguan transnational families.

University Communications sat down with Yarris to discuss her experiences and her book. Portions of the interview have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: How did you find yourself in Nicaragua?

A: When I was a public health student at UCLA, I taught medical Spanish and was able to meet students who made service learning trips for medical students to go to Latin America. I went with them to Honduras once and then twice to Nicaragua as a translator for volunteer medical brigades. Through that work, I met nonprofit health organizations in Nicaragua, was able to understand the historical and cultural context better, and wanted to go back.

I got involved with a social justice organization, Witness for Peace Southwest, which advocates for change in U.S. policy toward mainly Latin America and the Caribbean. I was a volunteer and then became a member on their board of directors. That opened up opportunities for me to work in Managua.

Q: Did you receive any other cultural misconceptions around your book and the roles of grandmothers?

A: One thing that has been challenging for me — in writing the book, talking about the book, in teaching my students — is U.S. students, audiences or publics tend to jump to the conclusion that awful patriarchy exists (in other places) and we have it so good (in the U.S.) where there are no problems with gender and equality, which obviously isn’t true.

What I’ve tried to do in the book is be sensitive in talking about the layers of social, historical, cultural, economic and legal configurations that leave grandmothers particularly vulnerable to being threatened by children’s fathers who take the remittances mothers send home and why that might be happening.

Q: Would you mind explaining the relationship with fathers more?

A: It’s hard because it’s a real thing. Feminists in Nicaragua have this saying, “El machismo mata,” which means machismo kills. Which is true; there are very high rates of femicide. Women die at high numbers in Nicaragua at the hands of intimate partners, husbands, the fathers of their children. Yes, it’s a real thing. But I also don’t want to paint all Nicaraguan men with that brushstroke that they’re violent or don’t care about their children, because obviously that isn’t true.

There have been misconceptions about men, their roles, and why I didn’t talk to more men. The truth is, often they weren’t around. The households are matrifocal. I tried to get men’s voices, but the truth is that most of the care in these families is done by women.

The other misconception that I’ve had to be careful to not fall into the trap of is that mother migrants abandon their kids. I go through painstaking measures in the book to not paint mothers that way. I try to describe the factors pushing mothers to migrate and the steps they take to send remittance home for their kids. All of the mothers in my book care about their kids and are thankful their mothers can care for them. They’re waiting for when the “grand bargain” pays off, and they can be with their kids again.

Q: As you continue your work in academia, are you seeing your book complement the research you are conducting?

A: Yes, definitely. After the book, my next project was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation studying transit immigration in Central America through Mexico. The research questions I asked were less about families in migration but still about the role of migration and family care.

I spent a few summers in Sinaloa, Mexico, looking at how women were informally mobilizing along freight train lines to provide care for families in migrant situations. I’m currently working on a local project looking at networks of volunteers, refugee asylum seeker resettlements and sponsorship work in Lane County.

Q: You touched on this, but given our political climate, have you faced challenges discussing migration with students?

A: I’ve been glad that I teach classes on migration, that I have a book on migration and that my book is ethnographic. When students and other people read ethnographic work about migrants and their families, it humanizes things in a way that politics, media or tweets dehumanize and desensitize people.

Human stories help people and students ask questions like, “Why is it so hard for people who are here lawfully to bring their children with them lawfully?” They don’t realize that it is so difficult, it takes 10 years or other miscellaneous reasons why people are leaving to create a better life for their children.

—By Jessica T. Brown, University Communications

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Thursday, July 4th, 2019 Affiliated faculty, Books No Comments

Helena María Viramontes: “Under the Feet of Jesus”

October 21, 2019
4:00 pm

2019-2020 UO Common Reading Selection: Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes

A story of loss and survival, Under the Feet of Jesus is a lyrical, powerful novel about the lives of the children, women, and men who endure a difficult existence and labor under dangerous conditions as migrant workers in California’s fields. Through central characters like the teenager, Estrella, and her mother, Petra, the book explores interrelated topics of farm labor, health care, material resources, and environmental justice. The title of the book refers to birth certificates and other important documents kept in a portable statue of Jesus that moves with the family to each new location along the agricultural production cycle.

Learn more about Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus here.

  • October 21 at 4 pm
    Public Talk: EMU Ballroom
  • October 22 at 6 pm
    Public Reading & Conversation: Eugene Public Library
  • October 23 at 10 am
    Teaching Writing Workshop for Faculty and GEs

Sponsored by the UO Common Reading Program. CLLAS is a cosponsor for the campus visit of Helena María Viramontes.

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Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 Books, Events, Farmworker Rights No Comments

CLLAS Pub Chat — Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial

November 21, 2019
6:30 pm

Falling Sky Deli, 790 Blair Blvd.
(Cash Bar & Food)

Join us for a CLLAS Pub Chat featuring the book Latinx Environmentalisms:
Place, Justice, and the Decolonial

The whiteness of mainstream environmentalism often fails to account for the richness and variety of Latinx environmental thought. Building on insights of environmental justice scholarship as well as critical race and ethnic studies, the editors and contributors to Latinx Environmentalisms map the ways Latinx cultural texts integrate environmental concerns with questions of social and political justice. 

Editors Sarah Wald, David Vázquez, Priscilla Solis Ybarra and Sarah Jaquette Ray will discuss their work with the community.

See also: Book Party

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Thursday, June 20th, 2019 Books, Events No Comments

Latinx Environmentalisms Book Party

November 21, 2019
4:00 pmto5:30 pm

Save the Date: Latinx Environmentalisms Book Party 11/21 4:00-5:30

We are delighted to invite you to a book party celebration and talk with the co-editors for Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial on November 21, 2019 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm in the EMU Maple Room. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Please share widely with colleagues, students, and friends.

We hope that you will be able to join us for this wonderful event!

All the best,

David Vázquez and Sarah Wald

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Fair Trade Rebels: UO graduate Lindsay Naylor has a new book on coffee production in Chiapas

Fair Trade Rebels: Coffee Production and Struggles for Autonomy in Chiapas, by Lindsay Naylor. Diverse Economies and Livable Worlds Series. (University of Minnesota Press, 2019)

Lindsay Naylor is an assistant professor, Department of Geography & Spatial Sciences, College of Earth, Ocean, & Environment at the University of Delaware. As a graduate student at the University of Oregon, she was the recipient of a 2010 CLLAS Graduate Student Research Grant for “Harnessing Multiple Movements: The Intersection of Fair Trade and the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas, Mexico.”

Naylor’s new book is titled Fair Trade Rebels: Coffee Production and Struggles for Autonomy in Chiapas.

Synopsis: Is fair trade really fair? Who is it for, and who gets to decide? Fair Trade Rebels addresses such questions in a new way by shifting the focus from the abstract concept of fair trade–and whether it is “working”–to the perspectives of small farmers. It examines the everyday experiences of resistance and agricultural practice among the campesinos/as of Chiapas, Mexico, who struggle for dignified livelihoods in self-declared autonomous communities in the highlands, confronting inequalities locally in what is really a global corporate agricultural chain.

Based on extensive fieldwork, Fair Trade Rebels draws on stories from Chiapas that have emerged from the farmers’ interaction with both the fair-trade-certified marketplace and state violence. Here Lindsay Naylor discusses the racialized and historical backdrop of coffee production and rebel autonomy in the highlands, underscores the divergence of movements for fairer trade and the so-called alternative certified market, traces the network of such movements from the highlands and into the United States, and evaluates existing food sovereignty and diverse economic exchanges. Putting decolonial thinking in conversation with diverse economies theory, Fair Trade Rebels evaluates fair trade not by the measure of its success or failure but through a unique, place-based approach that expands our understanding of the relationship between fair trade, autonomy, and economic development.

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NALAC awards artist grant to Ernesto Martínez

February 20, 2019—Ernesto Javier Martínez has been awarded a $5,000 NFA Artist Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC). An associate professor in the UO Department of Ethnic Studies, Martínez is one of 43 grantees from among 400 applicants to be selected for the 13th cycle of the NALAC Fund for the Arts grant program.

Ernesto Martínez

According to the grant program manager, “These 43 recipients are recognized for their artistic excellence in pursuit of social justice through the arts and were selected from a pool of over 400 applications by a national peer panel process involving 45 arts experts representing diverse disciplines, regions and ethnicities.”

Martínez received the grant “to support the continuation of the Femeniños project, a children’s book and short film series highlighting the experiences of queer Latino/x boys and the families who bear witness to their lives.

This project began in 2017 as a collaboration with the San Francisco-based children’s book author Maya Christina González and has expanded to work with the Los Angeles-based independent film director Adelina Anthony and Oregon-based Hollywood film director Omar Naim. Through the Femeniños project, the artist aims to empower queer Latinx youth through stories that capture their imaginations, embody their cultural roots and represent queer lives in a positive light.”

CLLAS is one of several UO units that have provided grant support to Professor Martínez for his work on this project. In 2018, Martínez published the children’s book When We Love Someone We Sing to Them,which reframes a cultural tradition to include LGBTQ experience. La Serenata is a film adaption of the book. 

“Both the screenplay and the book,” Martínez said, “tell the story of a Mexican-American boy who learns from his parents about serenatas and why demonstrating romantic affection proudly, publicly, and through song is such a treasured Mexican tradition. One day, the boy asks his parents if there is a song for a boy who loves a boy. The parents, surprised by the question and unsure of how to answer, must decide how to honor their son and how to reimagine a beloved tradition.”

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Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies Gift Fund

Access the above link for giving to the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies Gift Fund. Online gifts may be made using the form available at this link; all gifts are processed by the University of Oregon Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization responsible for receiving and administering private donations to the University of Oregon.

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CLLAS Common Reading Brunch with author Helena María Viramontes / Photos by Mike Bragg / Courtesy of the UO Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

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