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'ABRAZOS': Film Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Luis Argueta

March 30, 2016 7:30 PM  – 9:30 PM
Visual Arts Center, Kresge Auditorium

ABRAZOS tells the transformational journey of a group of US citizen children who travel from Minnesota to Guatemala to meet their grandparents for the first time.

Even though they are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as all Americans, many of these children are growing up with the constant fear of separation from their parents. In addition, never having met their grandparents or other family members, they don't have a clear sense of who they are and their heritage. All of these things negatively impact their welfare and that of society.

This film reflects the hopes, dreams, and fears of these transnational-families who, after being separated for nearly two decades, are able to embrace each other, share stories, strengthen traditions and begin to reconstruct their cultural identity.  ABRAZOS resonates with the lives and family histories of every American citizen no matter where they come from.
Join us for a screening of ABRAZOS followed by a Q&A with filmmaker, Luis Argueta.

Argueta is a Guatemalan-American director and producer whose work spans feature films, documentaries, shorts, commercials, and episodic TV. His film The Silence of Neto - the story of a twelve-year-old boy coming of age in 1954 Cold-War-Guatemala - is the first Guatemalan film internationally recognized and awarded. The Guardian listed Argueta as one of Guatemala's National Living Icons, alongside Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and Singer/Songwriter Ricardo Arjona.

This event is free and open to the public.  Sponsored by the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund, the Latin American Studies Program, Cinema Studies, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

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Book Release Celebration: Carolyn Wolfenzon, "Muerte de Utopia: historia, antihistoria e insularidad en la novela latinoamericana"

April 19, 2016 4:30 PM  – 6:00 PM
Massachusetts Hall, Faculty Room

Join us for a celebration, reading, and discussion of Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Carolyn Wolfenzon's recent book, Muerte de Utopia: historia, antihistoria e insularidad en la novela latinoamericana (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP), 2016).

Muerte de Utopia: historia, antihistoria e insularidad en la novela latinoamericana, analyzes the representation of the colonial period (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries) and its literal and metaphorical islands in seven contemporary Latin American novels. The central hypothesis is that, in representing the colonial world, writers often depict current social and political problems reflective of their own time, rendering visible the permanence of colonial structures in postcolonial Latin America over a period of roughly forty years. The book explores the relationship between the colonial past and the present in four different Latin American countries (Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and Peru) and how the times in which the novels were written maintain a permanent dialogue with the colonial past, producing the sensation that time does not move forward, but has stopped, and that History is not a continuum but rather, moves circularly.

Sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the Latin American Studies program. Free and open to the public.

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Michael Lettieri '05: "More than 43: Making Sense of Mexico's Murdered and Missing"

April 28, 2016 4:15 PM  – 6:15 PM
Massachusetts Hall, Faculty Room

The disappearance of forty-three students in the fall of 2014 focused international attention on the "collateral damage" of the drug war in Mexico. For those studying the country, however, the story was hardly new: the Ayotzinapa kidnapping was part of a longer trend of political and state-linked violence stretching back decades. Michael Lettieri explains that in order to understand what happened that September night, we must look at a broader picture of corruption and the legacies of authoritarian politics. Moving beyond traditional interpretations of drug war violence that emphasize conflicts between criminal organizations, his talk will examine the roots of Mexico's current crisis and how civil society has sought to address the problems.

Lettieri is a program officer at the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, where he deals with issues of freedom of expression, violence against journalists, and transparency in Mexico and Central America. He received his PhD in history at the University of California, San Diego in 2014 and a BA in History and Spanish from Bowdoin 2005. Prior to beginning his PhD, he worked as a Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. He lived in Chile and Mexico and maintains an active interest in contemporary Latin American politics.

Free and open to the public.  Sponsored by the Charles F. Adams Lectureship, the Latin American Studies Program, and the History Department.