Publications

Becoming Heritage: Recognition, Exclusion, and the Politics of Black Cultural Heritage in Colombia

March 3, 2022
3:30 pmto5:00 pm

CLLAS Faculty Research Presentation

180 PLC, University of Oregon

Join CLLAS for our first 2022 faculty research presentation: “Becoming Heritage: Recognition, Exclusion, and the Politics of Black Cultural Heritage in Colombia.” Maria Fernanda Escallón (Department of Anthropology) will share her work on March 3, 2022, 3:30-5pm.

This in-person event will take place in 180 PLC. Masks are required. Attendance will be capped at 100.

Photo by Maria Fernanda Escallón

Maria Fernanda Escallón is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon. She was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, where she completed a BA and MA in Anthropology and Archaeology at the Universidad de Los Andes. In 2016 she completed her PhD in Anthropology at Stanford University. Before starting her doctorate, she worked in sustainable development and heritage policy-making for non-governmental organizations and Colombian public entities, including the Ministry of Culture and Bogotá’s Secretary of Culture and Tourism.

Maria Fernanda is interested in cultural heritage, race, diversity politics, ethnicity, and inequality in Latin America. Prior to joining the Anthropology Department at the University of Oregon, she was a 2015-2016 Dissertation Fellow in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. She has conducted field research in Colombia for over 10 years analyzing how and why certain multicultural policies that are ostensibly inclusive, can end up replicating, rather than dismantling, inequality and segregation across Latin America. Her latest book “Becoming Heritage: Recognition, Exclusion, and the Politics of Black Cultural Heritage in Colombia” is currently under contract with Cambridge University Press.

Her research has received support from a variety of sources, including the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Social Sciences Research Council, the Fulbright Program, the Mellon Foundation, and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Her most recent work appears in Cultural Anthropology, the International Journal of Cultural Property and the International Journal of Heritage Studies.

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Friday, February 4th, 2022 Books, Events, Publications, Research No Comments

Founding CLLAS Director Publishes New Book on Elena Poniatowska

Faculty Publication

Founding Director and member of the CLLAS Executive Board, Lynn Stephen (Anthropology), has published a new book on Mexican intellectual and author, Elena Poniatowska.

From Duke University Press:

From covering the massacre of students at Tlatelolco in 1968 and the 1985 earthquake to the Zapatista rebellion in 1994 and the disappearance of forty-three students in 2014, Elena Poniatowska has been one of the most important chroniclers of Mexican social, cultural, and political life. In Stories That Make History, Lynn Stephen examines Poniatowska’s writing, activism, and political participation, using them as a lens through which to understand critical moments in contemporary Mexican history. In her crónicas—narrative journalism written in a literary style featuring firsthand testimonies—Poniatowska told the stories of Mexico’s most marginalized people. Throughout, Stephen shows how Poniatowska helped shape Mexican politics and forge a multigenerational political community committed to social justice. In so doing, she presents a biographical and intellectual history of one of Mexico’s most cherished writers and a unique history of modern Mexico.

https://www.dukeupress.edu/stories-that-make-history

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Friday, January 14th, 2022 Advisory Board, Books, Publications No Comments

The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public

Faculty Publication

CLLAS Director Chris Christopher Chávez has published, “The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public;” it is forthcoming.

From the publisher, the University of Arizona Press:

As a network that claims to represent the nation, NPR asserts unique claims about what it means to be American. In The Sound of Exclusion, Christopher Chávez critically examines how National Public Radio conceptualizes the Latinx listener, arguing that NPR employs a number of industry practices that secure its position as a white public space while relegating Latinx listeners to the periphery. These practices are tied to a larger cultural logic. Latinx identity is differentiated from national identity, which can be heard through NPR’s cultivation of an idealized dialect, situating whiteness at its center. Pushing Latinx listeners to the edges of public radio has crucial implications for Latinx participation in civic discourses, as identifying who to include in the “public” audience necessarily involves a process of exclusion.

See more here: https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/the-sound-of-exclusion

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Thursday, December 9th, 2021 Books, People, Publications No Comments

2021 CLLAS Notes Part 3

CLLAS Impact & Events Report

CLLAS Impact During the Pandemic

During this unprecedented time, we at CLLAS had to reconsider how we evaluate our impact on the community. The center was able to maintain a robust event calendar by transitioning to virtual events. Also, CLLAS hosted Zoom sessions for researchers to learn from each other on how to conduct research during the pandemic and how to deal with uncertainty. The moment presented an opportunity to shift the center’s professional development focus onto working through adversity. CLLAS was even able to bring national and international scholars and activists together in an online symposium.

In addition to events, CLLAS was able to operate on a more limited budget due to the lack of in-person activities. These funds were then used to pilot the center’s first undergraduate award program. CLLAS gave out four awards for outstanding undergraduate coursework. This is a program that we hope to sustain for years to come.  

CLLAS Events, 2020-2021

As highlighted by Gabriela Martínez in her Director’s Letter in Part 1 of this year’s CLLAS Notes, CLLAS held over a dozen remote events during the past academic year. In addition to bringing our Latinx Heritage Month events, Distinguished Lectureship, Symposium, and Undergraduate Award Ceremony to our community via Zoom, we also hosted several remote professional development and research series events. 

During the fall of 2020, CLLAS followed up on the Remote Research event we had offered just a few months after the COVID 19 pandemic shuttered universities across the world. That first conversation had made it clear that faculty and graduate students were both struggling and innovating as they devised new strategies to continue with their research projects. Our follow-up fall conversation, led by Lanie Millar (Romance Languages) and Ricardo Valencia (University of California, Fullerton), was a welcome space to again share research strategies and challenges related to the ongoing pandemic restrictions. Several participants shared their progress in publishing as well as their successes building global scholarly networks from home.

Over the winter term, CLLAS engaged junior faculty and graduate students with grant-writing workshops. Stephanie Wood (Center for Equity Promotion) led a NEH workshop, drawing an enthusiastic audience as she shared her many insights into writing successful NEH grant proposals. The CLLAS team led our annual graduate student grant-writing workshop, focusing on the application process for CLLAS grants as well as more general grant proposal writing tips. This event is a staff-favorite; it’s always a wonderful opportunity for CLLAS to meet graduate students researching Latinx and Latin American studies from departments across campus and to learn about their exciting research projects.

In spring 2021, CLLAS was honored to present the research of our faculty and graduate student grantees. Stephanie Wood (Center for Equity Promotion), gave a well-attended and fascinating WIP report on her research on Aztec hieroglyphs. The CLLAS Graduate Student Colloquium, “Researching Experiences of Uncertainty and Collective Care,” featured presentations by graduate students Polet Campos-Melchor (Anthropology) and Lola Loustaunau (Sociology). John Arroyo (College of Design), shared the final 2021 CLLAS research series presentation, entitled, “Shadow Suburbanism: Mexican Settlement and Immigration Enforcement in the Nuevo South,” where he explained how Mexican communities have bypassed historic, urban ethnic enclaves to settle in and physically transform suburban areas of U.S. South.

Latino Roots Update

The CLLAS Latino Roots project has a new and improved website, over a dozen new documentaries, and an expanded panel exhibit! Visit our website to learn more: https://latinoroots.uoregon.edu/

Watch the CLLAS Symposium

The 2021 CLLAS Symposium,Languages on the Move: Linguistic Diaspora, Indigeneity, and Politics in the Americas, was a great success. Recordings of each symposium session are available online. If you were unable to participate or want to watch your favorite session again, please find the panels, keynote address, and musical presentation linked below.

CLLAS Metrics

Funding (2008-2020)

Additional funds since 2008 
resulting from CLLAS research funds
2008 — 2020
  • Graduate Research Grants awarded: 64
  • Faculty Research Grants awarded: 31
  • Funding for Graduate Students: $109,180
  • Additional funding raised by grad students (resulting from CLLAS grants provided): $479,677.00
  • Funding for faculty research projects: $70,998
  • Additional funding raised by faculty (resulting from CLLAS grants provided): $1,510,834.00

Events

  • 2019-2020: 16 with 693 in attendance
  • 2020-2021: 13 with 526 in attendance

Cosponsorships

  • 2019-2020: 10
  • 2020-2021: 3

Communications

  • Email Subscribers: 1,214 
  • Social Media Followers: 830

Undergraduate Engagement, 2020-2021

  • Undergraduate Awards ($250.00 each): 4
  • Undergraduate Employees: 1

Faculty Awards

Faculty Latinx Studies Seed Grant

  • Daniel Gómez Steinhart (Cinema Studies)
    Cross-Border Hollywood: Production Politics and Practices in Mexico

Faculty Research Seed Grant

  • Maria Fernanda Escallón (Anthropology)
    Becoming Heritage: Recognition, Exclusion, and the Politics of Black Cultural Heritage in Colombia

Graduate Grant Recipients

Summer Research Grant Awards

  • Marina Peñalosa (Romance Languages)
    An Intellectual Field in Tension. The Other Borges
  • David Peña (School of Art and Design)
    Ecotone

Field Research Grants in Latin America

  • Alejandra Pedraza (Global Studies)
    Womanhood, remittances, and COVID-19: Insights from a migrant-sending community in rural Mexico
  • Elizabeth Sotelo (Romance Languages)
    Beyond Gender: Inequalities and Invisibilities Among Female Literary Chroniclers in Peru and Mexico
  • Magela Baudoin (Romance Languages)
    Poetry and Popular Song in Matilde Casazola and Violeta Parra: The Journey of the Seed
  • Marena Lear (Comparative Literature)
    Revolutionizing the Revolution: Cuban New Media and Independent Cinema

CLLAS Undergraduate Award Recipients

  • Emily Chavez Romero – Latino Roots Film: Dreams that Cross Borders
  • Thomas Parker – Research Paper: Wild Tales
  • Caitlin Scott – Honor’s Thesis: Reinforcing Push Factors in the Northern Triangle: An Investigation of Trump’s Attempts to Deter Immigration through Humanitarian Aid Reduction
  • Eva Shannon – Art Cover: La cena miserable, Eduardo Kingman, Ecuador

CLLAS Undergraduate Award Honorable Mentions

  • Taylor Henry – Art Cover: Manos de la protesta, Oswaldo Guayamin, Ecuador
  • Adrianna Vaca-Navarro – Honor’s Thesis: Chapter on immigration and border imperialism

CLLAS Events, 2020-2021

  • 10/14/2020 The 2020 Election and the Latinx Community: A conversation with Jaime Arredondo 
  • 10/22/2021 CLLAS Distinguished Lecture: “The Border as a Way of Seeing,” Alex Rivera
  • 10/27/2021 Teach-In with Alex Rivera              
  • 11/16/2020  Lunch-Talk with Nelly Rosario: The (un)Masked Writer: Writing, Language, and Empathy          
  • 1/7/2021  Latinx Studies Celebration     
  • 2/3/2021  Grad Student Grant-Writing Workshop         
  • 2/17/2021 NEH Grant-Writing workshop with Stephanie Wood
  • 3/5/2021  Remote Research: Lanie Millar; Ricardo Valencia
  • 4/7/2021  Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphics with Stephanie Wood
  • 4/22-23/2021  CLLAS Symposium: Languages on the Move: Linguistic Diaspora, Indigeneity, and Politics in the Americas     
  • 5/12/2021  CLLAS Graduate Colloquium: Researching Experiences of Uncertainty and Collective Care with Polet Campos-Melchor and Lola Loustaunau 
  • 5/25/2021  Shadow Suburbanism: Mexican Settlement and Immigration Enforcement in the Nuevo South with John Arroyo
  • 6/2/2021  Undergraduate Award Ceremony      

2021 CLLAS Notes Part 1 &2

2021 CLLAS Notes Part 1

2021 CLLAS Notes Part 2

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Friday, July 30th, 2021 Awards, Publications No Comments

2021 CLLAS Notes Part 2

Graduate Research Reports

Lola Loustaunau and Polet Campos-Melchor each received a 2020 CLLAS Summer Research Grant.

From Disposability to Collective Care: Experiences of Migrant Essential Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Lola Loustaunau, PhD candidate, Department of Sociology

Fruit packing workers organized in the independent union Trabajadores Unidos por la Justicia pose with researcher Lola Loustaunau after holding a vaccination event at their new union local, Yakima, WA, April 2021.

At the time I was about to begin the field work for my dissertation, COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic. The workers whose experiences are the focus of my research—migrant women employed in the industrial processing of food including fruit, vegetables, meat, and baked goods—suddenly made national headlines as their workplaces became sites of some of the biggest virus outbreaks. As their situation rapidly changed, so did my own work: the research questions, the data collection methods, and my goals as an activist-scholar.

Working conditions in the food processing industry have historically been poor: long and physically demanding workdays, unpredictable schedules, low wages, and the highest accident rate in manufacturing. As outbreaks led to spikes in the number of infected workers (Dyal 2020; Lakhani 2020; Taylor, Boulos, and Almond 2020), industry and government responded by attempting to maintain the status quo, further deregulating the sector and failing to mandate any protections against outbreaks or infections (Commissioner of Food and Drugs – 2020; Memorandum United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2020; Executive Order 13917 2020).   

Food processing workers soon realized that while their work was essential, they were not. Expected to continue working with little or no protective gear, they faced increased workplace risks, new caregiving responsibilities at home, and limited access to public support or healthcare.

It was at this time that workers started organizing. Conversations on the processing line soon turned into Facebook groups and Whatsapp chats as a platform to share information about the virus, about who was getting sick, what the plant managers were doing or saying, about how to navigate a fragmented benefit system that was ill prepared to aid workers during this crisis. Workers reached out to organizations, advocates, and journalists.

Family members got involved: wives and husbands worried about their partners, young teens worried about their non-English speaking parents, neighbors worried about each other. I soon found myself joining these conversations, going to Zoom meetings with other advocates and organizers, and trying to figure out what my role as a researcher could be. While hesitant at first, I quickly understood that registering the workers’ experiences and their organizing efforts was important not only as part of a broader discussion on the U.S. food supply chain, but because helping workers to get their stories out could have immediate impacts on their situation.

Vegetable processing workers rally outside Twin City Foods, in Pasco, WA, demanding protections and hazard pay, October 2020.

Certainly, doing research during the COVID-19 outbreak had great challenges. For safety reasons I couldn’t do in-person actions with the workers until October; yet in the months prior, I spent most of my time trying to get in touch with workers and organizers, doing phone interviews, and collecting online data. Unlike my previous experiences doing qualitative research, this time around things were put together remotely.

By the time I was able to travel to the sites where most of the organizing was happening, I had established closer relations with some workers and organizations, so my work focused on expanding those connections. I participated in rallies and community forums, went to workers’ homes and met their families, attended testing events, and volunteered at vaccination clinics. I loaned my translation skills and transferred resources from the university to these communities by compensating workers for their time spent collaborating on my research. Instead of focusing on writing an academic article or a chapter, I prioritized putting together a public policy oriented report, which became the basis of my testimony at the Washington State Legislature when the food industry’s pandemic response was under discussion, and which I later presented alongside many of the workers over Zoom.

I found that discourses about essential work did not necessarily translate into making workers feel like heroes, but actually quite the opposite, with many expressing that they felt “disposable.” However, I also found that workers translated this feeling of disposability into an opportunity to struggle for better working conditions and to build new and expansive communities of care.

Workers at Allan Bros in Yakima create an altar for a co-worker who died due to COVID-19, November 2020.

Through my research I captured how workers at different plants experimented with different forms of resistance and organizing: from creating online groups to help each other apply for benefits, to massively walking out of their jobs, to striking for several weeks, to starting their own unions or joining existing ones. Workers built spaces for mourning their co-workers and processing the loss they were collectively experiencing. They helped each other by making and sharing masks and hand sanitizer, preparing food, and coordinating pop-up vaccination clinics and know-your-rights’ trainings. They expanded their networks and built alliances with farmworkers, grocery workers, and multiple community organizations. In so doing, food processing migrant workers reverted the feelings of disposability, fear, and anger brought by the employer’s response during the pandemic and created spaces of collective care. These actions also brought new emotions, this time allowing workers to feel strong, beautiful, energized, and excited.  

Based on this insight, in my dissertation I argue that unpacking the affective dimension of their working conditions and their collective organizing allows for seeing how these workers turned fear and anger into courage, and how they defied the structural oppression that had rendered them disposable. By highlighting the emotional dimension both of disposability and the struggle against it, we are able to gain a deeper understanding of what the past year has been for these workers in the front lines and how they have struggled, and continue to struggle, for their survival and the survival of their communities.

Lola Loustaunau is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology. Her research focuses on precarity, low-wage migrant workers, emotions, and collective organizing. She has received several awards for her dissertation work and will be a Wayne Morse Graduate Fellow for AY 2021-2022. She has recently co-authored: ‘No choice but to be essential: expanding dimensions of precarity during the COVID-19’ (Sociological Perspectives, 2021) and ‘Impossible choices: how workers manage unpredictable scheduling practices’ (Labor Studies Journal 2019). For a longer report on her work, “Essential Work, Disposable Workers.


Reciprocity in Conducting Fieldwork in Ciudad Juárez

by Polet Campos-Melchor, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology

After my 2019 summer fieldwork at Respetttrans, a trans asylum seeker shelter in Ciudad Juárez, I was inspired to return in summer 2020 to create a lotería with the community and a transfronteriza artist. The pandemic made the return impossible. While my summer 2019 fieldwork examined trans asylum seekers’ practices of care and mutual aid during their experience with the Remain in Mexico Policy in Ciudad Juarez, my 2020 summer fieldwork was set to document the lives of trans asylum seekers being celebrated in Juárez. With the support of the Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies, I was able to finalize transcription from my 2019 research and conduct ten follow-up interviews with my interlocutors. This resulted in my master’s paper, submitted to the Department of Anthropology and approved in December 2020. In this newsletter post, I share an introduction to my 2019 summer fieldwork and how the lessons moved across borders and relations.

About a week into my fieldwork in Juárez, I met Grecia, a mother and nurse and the Rarámuri and Mennonite “mother” of Respetttrans. I had walked through Calle Hospital’s streets with Dr. Yolanda Leyva and Gabriela Muñoz, arriving at a bright pink house with a rainbow and trans flag hanging from the roof. This was Respetttrans, where Grecia had been awaiting our arrival. A tall, pale woman with nineties-style rolled bangs and warm brown eyes, Grecia welcomed us into the space. An active member of the LGBT community in Ciudad Juárez, Grecia told us that her goal is to keep LGBTQ+ migrants off the streets and get them into homes where they feel safe and welcome.

Two shelter members shape each others’ eyebrows. Next to them are the photos of Joha and Fiorela (captioned “No más muertes en el ICE (No moredeaths in ICE). Respetttrans-Ciudad Juárez, 2019.

By working towards building a reciprocal relationship with the LGBT+ community in Ciudad Juárez, I set my intentions on working closely with Respetttrans. Along with this feeling of caring for the house members came the responsibility of returning. After my first visit, I was tasked with bringing back items for the house members. Grecia asked for a new set of clothes for Leslie, a recent deportee, as well as a change of clothes for the two young boys of the house. Wily, a gay boy, also asked for a soccer ball. Two days later, I returned with all the items. One of the women was surprised that I had returned; she said reporters and other visitors do not.

Respetttrans is and continues to be a site that is frequented by nonprofits and government agencies who ask the residents about their struggles and repay them with a meal for their stories. There was a case when representatives from three different organizations arrived at the house on the same day. Community members said they felt like the house was a zoo and they were the animals. Although the girls joked, the sincerity in their eyes showed that they were hurt.

In another case in mid-August, I witnessed first-hand how rare it was for the autonomy or consent of migrants to be acknowledged. I was sitting in the living room with Courtney, Michele, Leslie, Minerva, Aneliz, and Andrés talking about foods we missed from home. Courtney was lying on one of the couches, closely watching Pose on my phone. Andrés continued to bring up chicken gizzards. When three guests entered with Grecia, we suddenly found ourselves in a group interview. The visitors were from an organization in the United States and were looking to fund spaces in Ciudad Juárez. I noted that consent for an interview had not been sought but presumed.

After that particular witnessing of the lack of consent or care given to the house members, I began to take photos of them on my polaroid to provide them with immediate copies. The women would pose, take pictures of each other with my camera, and then use the photos to decorate their living spaces. As I continued to visit them, I learned that collaborative relationships in the field require care and mutual support that center celebrating queer lives in the present.

Polet Campos-Melchor is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology and Graduate Certificate student in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Oregon. Her research explores how trans and lesbian migrants and scholars articulate and narrate strategies of love and care, expanding beyond only the imaginary into tangible strategies of survival. Polet is also a UO Promising Scholar. Her research has been funded by the Tinker Foundation, the UO Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, and the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society.

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Spring 2021 CLLAS Notes Part 1

Spring 2021 CLLAS Notes Part 3



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