Research

“Decolonial Environmentalisms: Race, Genre, and Latinx Culture,” Latinx Studies Seed Grant

February 20, 2020
3:30 pm

EMU 119

Speaker: David J. Vázquez, UO Associate Professor and Head of Department of English

David J. Vázquez

The environmental humanities explore relationships between literature, culture, and the environment with the goal of creating an earth-centered scholarly vision. Although this body of scholarship centers environmental concerns, some forms of U.S. environmentalism put ideologies of American exceptionalism to work for the movement’s political goals of, as Rob Nixon puts it, “wilderness preservation, on wielding the Endangered Species Act against developers, and on saving old-growth forests.” Although the social justice turn of the environmental humanities has integrated Environmental Justice (or EJ, the study of the uneven distribution of environmental harms and benefits to people of color and the poor) approaches, some pockets of environmental thought continue to emphasize first-world, privileged perspectives over those of people of color, indigenous people, the economically disempowered, the colonized, and the formerly colonized.

“Decolonial Environmentalisms: Race, Genre and Latinx Culture,” intervenes in these trends by identifying parallel and countervailing environmental representations in contemporary Latinx literature and culture that intertwine decolonial and anti-racist forms of thought with environmental imaginaries. Building on the work of environmental humanities scholars who point to privileged perspectives in environmental thought, this project identifies Latinx literary and cultural texts that express neglected environmental perspectives, often through innovative aesthetic forms. These literary texts and cultural productions question stylized pastoral visions of agriculture and speak powerfully to EJ frameworks. The presentation will conclude with a close reading of Alex Rivera’s 2009 film Sleep Dealer as a case study for how decolonial environmentalisms operate in Latinx culture.

David J. Vázquez is Associate Professor and Head of English and a contributing faculty member in the Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies Department and the Program in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. He is the author of Triangulations: Narrative Strategies for Navigating Latino Identity (Minnesota 2011) and co-editor of Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial (forthcoming Temple). His articles appear in such journals as Arizona QuarterlySymbolismContemporary Literature, CENTRO and Latino Studies. He has also contributed to the Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature and Erasing Public Memory: Race, Aesthetics, and Cultural Amnesia in the Americas.

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Thursday, February 20th, 2020 Funding, Research No Comments

CLLAS Grad Colloquium, “Gender and Climate Crisis in the Americas”

April 21, 2020
12:00 pm

12 pm, Knight Library Browsing Room

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Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 Graduate students, Research No Comments

CLLAS Grad Colloquium, “Politics and Justice in the Caribbean and Central America”

May 26, 2020
12:00 pm

12 pm, Knight Library Browsing Room

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Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 Graduate students, Research No Comments

Winter 2020 CLLAS Notes

Winter 2020 CLLAS Notes

The 2020 winter edition of CLLAS Notes, our twice-yearly newsletter, is now available online. Print edition will be available after January 1.

Gabriela Martínez, CLLAS director and SOJC professor, revisits our fall events. Fall saw the kick-off of a new two-year theme, “The Politics of Language in the Americas: Power, Culture, History, and Resistance.” CLLAS organized several fall events, including partnering with the UO Common Reading program and Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art this fall to host a brunch with Helena María Viramontes, author of Under the Feet of Jesus.

Read about award-winning poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s visit to UO on October 9, which included a poetry slam and a teach-in where guests teamed up to compose original poems. Learn about CLLAS-funded faculty and graduate research on topics ranging from agricultural practices in Amazonian Ecuador to gender-based violence in Brazil. 

The 2020 winter edition of CLLAS Notes, Volume 11, Issue 1, includes:

  • Letter from Director, Gabriela Martínez
  • “Poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva a Big Hit with UO Students”
  • Graduate Research—“Transmission of Traditional Botanical Knowledge among the Shuar of Amazonian Ecuador”
  • Graduate Research—“Recalling Runaways: Studies of Slavery and Absenteeism in Cuba”
  • Graduate Research—“The Struggle Continues: Gender-based Violence and the Politics of Justice and Care in Urban Brazil”
  • Faculty Research—“Decolonial Environmentalisms: Race, Genre, and Latinx Literature”
  • News & Book Notes
  • Event Reports

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Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 Publications, Research No Comments

Tracing the journeys of the Caribbean’s first people

Reprinted from Around the O
https://around.uoregon.edu/content/tracing-journeys-caribbeans-first-people

Caribbean Digging at Grand Bay

January 6, 2020—People first settled the Caribbean thousands of years ago, but their exact migration routes have long remained a puzzle. Now, a new study coauthored by eight UO researchers is piecing that puzzle together through a rigorous reexamination of archaeological data.

Published in the journal Science Advances, the study reports evidence that the first Caribbean islanders traveled directly from South America to the northern Caribbean beginning about 5,800 years ago, initially settling Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles and smaller islands in the northern Lesser Antilles before further colonizing islands to the south.

“This scenario contradicts a competing ‘stepping stone’ model that many archaeologists still subscribe to, which asserts a south-to-north settlement beginning in the Lesser Antilles,” said Matthew Napolitano, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology

Critics of the stepping stone model point out that trade winds and ocean currents in the region would have made travel toward the southern Lesser Antilles difficult for expeditions from the South or Central American mainlands and that early seafarers would likely have been attracted to the larger, more productive islands of the Greater Antilles, settling those first before gradually migrating southward.

The new study is the culmination of a graduate student project supervised by Scott Fitzpatrick, associate director of the UO’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History and a professor in the Department of Anthropology. Conducted over a four-year period by Napolitano and Fitzpatrick along with graduate students Robert DiNapoli, Jessica Stone and several others, the project was designed to put the stepping stone model and other Caribbean settlement hypotheses to the test.

The north-to-south pattern was borne out in the team’s research, which involved tracking down and reevaluating nearly 2,500 radiocarbon dates reported from cultural sites on 55 Caribbean islands.

The authors assessed each date’s reliability using strict criteria related to the geologic and archaeological contexts of the dated material, the quality of the samples and the lab conditions under which the materials were analyzed. The dates were then subjected to rigorous statistical analyses, resulting in a new and exceptionally robust colonization model.  

“By carefully applying these criteria, we were able to improve confidence about the reported dates, as well as whether the dated materials actually relate to human activity,” Fitzpatrick said.

To the researchers’ surprise, just over half of the analyzed radiocarbon dates passed muster, despite more than 50 years of archaeological scholarship in the region.

“Our analysis of the resulting acceptable dates, which represent human occupations on 26 islands, provides the first reliable model for initial arrival in the region,” said Fitzpatrick, an expert in island and coastal archaeology whose research focuses on the Caribbean and Pacific.    

The study has also resulted in the largest publicly accessible database of radiocarbon dates for the region.     

“Human colonization of the Caribbean is one of the least understood population dispersals in the Americas,” Napolitano said. “This work helps solve some of the mystery while providing a ‘best practices’ approach to collecting and reporting radiocarbon dates.”  

—By Kristin Strommer, Museum of Natural and Cultural History

RELATED LINKS

Study finds climate helped guide early Pacific seafarers

Archaeologists develop a new picture of the human footprint

Department of Anthropology

Meet Scott Fitzpatrick

Meet Matthew Napolitano

Read the study

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Gender and Sexuality in Latin America Graduate Colloquium

January 21, 2020
12:00 pm

Browsing Room, Knight Library, 1501 Kincaid St.

Photo by Emily Masucci

Winter Graduate Research Colloquium
a CLLAS Research Series event 

  •  “The Role of Inner Exile in Racial, Sexual, and Gendered Minority Community Formation and Sustenance in Chile And Argentina,” Jon Jaramillo, Romance Languages
  •  “LGBTQ+ Migrants: Strategizing Survival and Love at the U.S.-Mexico Border,” Polet Campos-Melchor, Anthropology
  • “’A Luta Continua:’ Gender-based Violence and the Politics of Justice and Care in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” Emily Masucci, Anthropology

Moderated by Gabriela Martinez, School of Journalism and Communication.

The research presented at this  CLLAS Research Series event was funded by the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies and the Tinker Foundation. All events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments to be served. Please call (541) 346-5286 or visit cllas.uoregon.edu for more information. EO/AA/ADA Institution; Committed to Cultural Diversity.

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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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