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Latin American Studies

Faculty News from the LAS Newsletter 2012

Story posted July 24, 2012

Michael Birenbaum Quintero rolled out a new class in Fall 2011 called “Cubop, Up-rock, Boogaloo, and Banda: Latinos Making Music in the US” and continued to lead Bowdoin’s Afro-Latin Music Ensemble, which performed both on and off campus in various events. Aside from working on his book Rites, Rights, and Rhythms: A Genealogy of Musical Meaning in Colombia’s Black Southern Pacific (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), he also published a reference article on “Latino Music” in the new edition of the Grove Dictionary of American Music. Throughout 2011, he worked with Colombia’s Ministry of Culture to help design a national program for musical investigation by local culture workers. His paper “Community, Cultural Policy, and Ethnomusicological Practice in the Afro- Colombian Hinterlands” was presented at the 2011 Society for Ethnomusicology annual meeting in Philadelphia. He was also elected Member-at-Large for the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, which is scheduled to hold its 2013 meeting at Bowdoin for the first time. He will be spending part of the summer back home in New York City with an internal Course Development Grant, taking lessons with Afro-Cuban and Afro-Colombian musicians in music to be incorporated into the Afro-Latin American Ensemble.

 Lección errante: Mayra Santos Febres y el Caribe contemporáneoNadia Celis’ first book, the co-edited volume Lección errante: Mayra Santos Febres y el Caribe contemporáneo, was released in November 2011, with several presentations, reviews, and guest lectures following its publication. Her article “In the Beginning There Was Violence: Marvel Moreno’s En diciembre llegaban las brisas or the Genealogy of Power” was accepted for the forthcoming volume Hispanic Women Writers in the 21st Century: Shaping Gender, the Environment and Global Politics. A second article, “Bailando el Caribe: Corporalidad, identidad u ciudadanía en las Plazas de Cartagena: is also forthcoming in the journal Caribbean Studies. She presented papers at several academic meetings, and has been working closely with the Caribbean Studies Association in the development on trans-lingual initiatives as a recently elected member of its Executive Council. Prof. Celis is currently finishing the manuscript of her second book: La rebelión de las niñas.

Elena Cueto Asín published two articles on the literature- poetry, theater and novel- of Spanish exiles in Latin America after the Spanish Civil War: “Guernica en la escritura de Rafael Alberti, entre otras voces del exilio”, and “Cumbres de Extremadura and La niña guerrillera: Staging the Guerrilla as Past/Present War from the Margins of Exile.” Both explore the literary production by authors for whom political asylum in Mexico and Argentina meant the opportunity to continue their careers as writers as well as political activists, while forcing them to revise ideas and concepts on the historical role of Spain in the Americas, cultural legacy, identity and tradition. Parallel to this context, she has also been studying the involvement of Latin American poets in the Spanish War, as part of a chapter of her current book project, and also in an article about the representation of modernity and the violence of war. Directing Kris Klein’s honor project “Ugly Betty and Four Latina Narratives of Identity” gave her the chance to revisit fictions written by US Hispanic authors and to engage in the analysis of the television serial fiction as a mode of representation of immigrant groups.

Julian Diaz’s article “Can Enforcement Constraints Explain the Patterns of Capital Flows After Financial Liberalizations?” was accepted for publication at the Journal of International Money and Finance. In his article, Julian analyzes the role of financial frictions at accounting for the large and persistent capital inflows experienced by economies that were previously closed and opened to the international financial markets. Also, Julian presented his article “Trade Integration and the Skill Premium: The Case of a Transition Economy” (coauthored with Stanley Cho from the University of New South Wales) at the Southern Economic Association Meetings in Washington, DC, at the School of Economics of the University of Maine and at the Bowdoin Faculty Seminar series. This article is currently under review.

Contra la alegoría. Hegemonía y disidencia en la literatura latinoamericana del siglo XIX Gustavo Faverón-Patriau published his book Contra la alegoría. Hegemonía y disidencia en la literatura latinoamericana del siglo XIX (Theorie und Kritik der Kultur und der Literatur / Teoría y Crítica de la Cultura y de la Literatura, Olms Verlag, 2011). Bolaño Selvaggio, the Italian translation of his co-edited book Bolaño Salvaje, was published in Rome by Senzapatria Editore. He also published academic articles in Revista Iberoamericana and Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos and non-academic articles on literature and Latin American politics in several magazines, including Etiqueta Negra, Hueso Húmero, The Daily Kos, and his monthly column in Soho. In September of 2011 he was a guest speaker at the Latin American/ Latino Voices for the New Century conference, at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. His presentation was entitled “El ángel de la historia y los nuevos escritores del siglo diecinueve” (“The Angel of History and the New Nineteenth-Century Latin American Writers”).

Stephen Meardon spent the last academic year on leave as a Senior Research Fellow at Duke University’s Center for the History of Political Economy. He presented his research on an intellectual conundrum relating to the U.S.-Mexico trade deal of 1883 at a conference at the UNAM, in Mexico City, in November, and was invited to discuss his article, “Negotiating Free Trade in Fact and Theory: the Diplomacy and Doctrine of Condy Raguet,” at a plenary session of the Associação Nacional dos Cursos de Pos-graduação em Economia in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, in December. The article is forthcoming in the European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Leslie Shaw is co-directing an archaeological field program in Belize this summer at the Maya site of Maax Na (Mayan for “Monkey House”). The program, formally run through Howard University in Washington D.C., includes four Bowdoin students. The research focus this year will be on a residential area (dating to A.D. 600 – 750) that may have supported laborers in the large scale production of cotton for trade. New publication: “The Elusive Maya Marketplace: An Archaeological Consideration of the Evidence” in the Journal for Archaeological Research, 20(1):117-155.

Making Families through AdoptionKrista Van Vleet continues to develop her ethnographic research project exploring narratives of religion, faith, and family among adolescents in Cusco, Peru and Sucre, Bolivia. She presented part of this research to the American Anthropological Association at the annual meeting in Montreal, Canada. The talk was entitled, “Managing Motherhood: Middle Class Aspirations and the Economics of Care.” Her second book, co-authored with sociologist Nancy Riley, is Making Families through Adoption. The book incorporates cases of fosterage and local and transnational adoption from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and North America to demonstrate how people “do” family in various contexts and how power hierarchies shape these practices. In the Fall 2011 she taught a 200-level course, “Culture and Power in the Andes.”

Hanétha Vété-Congolo was on a very productive sabbatical this academic year during which she undertook archival work in France and her native Martinique for her project, “Histoire de la literature produite par les femmes de Martinique de 1635 à 2000”. During her stay in Martinique, Hanétha gave conference presentations, radio talks, and workshops on Caribbean literature and interorality and conceived, initiated and co- hosted a TV show with local colleagues; “Raison pratique”. This monthly TV show introduces the public to postcolonial scholarly works and ideas on the Americas and Africa. She also traveled to Cameroon to do research on African orality and to present her research and poetry. She is guest editor of the next issue of Negritud: Revista de Estudios Afro-Latinoamericanos. The following articles were also published: “L’Africain en Amérique ou la créativité de l’interoralité” in L’Esclavage de l’Africain en Amérique du 16e au 19e siècles : les Héritages, (Presses Universitaires de Perpignan) ; « Lorsque la folie seule fait taire le silence : pour le développement, Le livre d’Emma et À l’angle des rues parallèles » in Écrits d’Haïti: Perspectives sur la littérature haïtienne contemporaine (1986-2006). (ed. Karthala) and, a postface, « Sens, signifiance et symbolique de la ré-écriture dans Fables en case créole, Fab bò kay » in Térèz Léotin, Fables en case créole : bab bò kay: Adaptation créole des fables de La Fontaine( L’Harmattan).

Susan Wegner taught her course, Art History 130: Introduction to the Arts of Ancient Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean this spring, incorporating for the first time art from the Taíno cultures of the islands.  She has received a Course Development Grant to travel to Portugal to collect images and documents on the “Great Age of Discovery” and the many Portuguese navigators who made early contacts with the peoples of Brazil.  These materials will help her construct a new course on “First Encounters,” looking at initial meetings of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese mariners with new world cultures, early transport of native Americans back to Europe, and developing understandings and misunderstandings between the old worlders and the new, all as communicated through images made by each nation.

Making Families through AdoptionAllen Wells’ Summer of Discontent, Seasons of Upheaval (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), co-authored by Gilbert M. Joseph (Yale) has been translated and published as Verano del descontento, epócas del trastorno: Élites políticas e resistencia rural en Yucatán, 1876-1915, trans. Ari Bartra (Mérida, Mexico:  Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, 2011). “Commodity Chains in a Global Economy, 1870-1945,” co-written with Steve Topik (UC-Irvine) will appear in Vol. 5, A World Connecting:  1870 to 1945, ed., Emily Rosenberg, in A New History of the World, general editors, Akira Iriye and Jürgen Osterhammel, 6 vols. (Cambridge, MA and Munich: Harvard University Press and C. H. Beck Publishers, forthcoming in English and German, fall 2012).  He will be on sabbatical during 2012-2013 working on a new project, tentatively titled, “Latin America’s Representative in the U.S. Congress: Charles Porter and the Latin American Crusade for Democracy,” which speaks to long-standing interests in revolutionary movements and U.S.-Latin American relations during the Cold War. Finally, he continues to experiment with team-teaching. His experience this past fall team-teaching on the Historical and Contemporary Maya with David Carey, a historian of the Guatemalan Maya at the University of Southern Maine, which included students from both colleges and which met on alternative weeks in Brunswick and Portland, was especially gratifying.

Genie Wheelwright was promoted to Senior Lecturer this year. She continues to enjoy teaching language at the 100 and 200 levels. Genie’s Spanish 204 class in the spring was a community-based course. Students volunteered at the Centro Latino in Portland, tutoring Hispanic immigrants in English and basic literacy. For the greater Brunswick community Genie helped put together a week of activities, Cuba Week, to celebrate Brunswick’s sister city relationship with Trinidad, Cuba.

Carolyn Wolfenzon has recently published the article Batallas en el desierto: la inversión del melodrama cinematográfico como estrategia crítica sobre la Revolución Mexicana” in Confluencia (May 2012). Two other articles by her are now forthcoming: “El Tercer Reich de Roberto Bolaño: la historia como juego de guerra” will be published in the second edition of the book Bolaño salvaje (edited by Edmundo Paz Soldán and Gustavo Faverón Patriau), and “Las muertas y Los relámpagos de Agosto de Jorge Ibarguengoitia: la violencia como síntoma de lo mexicano” (forthcoming 2013). She is now working on the figure of “El aparapita” in Felipe Delgado, the masterpice of the Bolivian author Jaime Saenz. Next year, she will serve on two different projects as an adviser for students Alexandra Fogarty and Hannah Lorastein, recent recipients of the LAS grant.

Enrique Yepes has an article on Colombian poet María Mercedes Carranza forthcoming in Revista Lingüística y Literatura (June, 2012). He was also invited as a keynote speaker to two events this year: the Translations Poetry Festival at Bates College last October, and the Tales of the Borderland: Crossing Physical and Textual Borders in the Hispanic World conference at the University of California, Riverside. He presented part of his work on ecological thought in contemporary Spanish American poetry at the Latin American Studies Association convention this May in San Francisco, and will be working on his book project on this topic throughout his sabbatical leave in the 2012-13 academic year.