Latin America

  • Founded
    1971
  • Seminar Number
    515

This seminar is devoted to developing a better understanding of the region, presenting current research and thinking in disciplines that range from anthropology to economics, history, human rights, political science, religion, literature, and the arts. In addition to scholars affiliated with the academic community, speakers are invited from the private sector, international organizations, and governments. The seminar, whose membership also reflects a broad range of disciplines, offers the framework for a lively exchange of ideas on Latin America, its past, present, and future.


Chair
Dr. Sara Calvo
sgc28@columbia.edu

C0-Chairs
Dr. Christopher Sabatini
csabatini@as-coa.org

Dr. George Vickers
gvickers@earthlink.net

Rapporteur
Maria Jesus Zevallos
mjz2116@columbia.edu


Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.

Welcome

Meetings

03/05/2015 International Affairs Building, Room 802
7:00 PM
PARTICIPATORY CONSTITUTION MAKING AND DEMOCRACY: INSIGHTS FROM THE ANDES
Dr. Ana María Bejarano, Professor at the University of Toronto
Abstract




Notes: Based on a comparative study of four recent episodes of participatory constitution-making (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia), the seminar will present a framework for understanding the political process and motivations behind recent constitutional changes in the region. It will also discuss the extent to which these experiments in participatory constitution making have contributed to strengthening democracy in these four cases.
04/02/2015 International Affairs Building, Room 802
7:00 PM
CHANGE IN THE DOMINICAN POLITICAL PARTY SYSTEM: 1966-2015
Dr. Christopher Mitchell, Professor Emeritus, New York University
Abstract

Dr. Bernardo Vega, President, Academia de la Historia Dominicana
Abstract



Notes: 2016 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the political party system that made its debut in the Dominican elections of 1966. Over nearly five decades, the party system’s configuration has passed through periods of single-party dominance, two-party rivalry, and three-party competition. The sequence, sources and policy effects of this structural evolution will be concisely examined.
05/07/2015 International Affairs Building, Room 802
7:00 PM
VIOLENCE AT LATIN AMERICAN URBAN MARGINS
Dr. Javier Auyero, Professor at the University of Texas
Abstract




Notes: Urban violence is arguably one of the most pressing problems besieging Latin American democracies. Poor people’s movements in response to this violence are among the least studied and understood forms of collective action in the region. Those occupying the urban margins have not responded passively to the growing levels of violence in their communities. While journalistic, ethnographic, and other accounts of poor people’s lives point to a number of ways in which individuals and communities respond to violence —for example, through direct retaliation, collective action, and lynchings — the specialization and balkanization of research on violence in the social sciences has prevented an integrated and nuanced account of community and individual responses to increased interpersonal violence at the urban margins. Drawing on three years of collective ethnographic research in a violence-plagued community in metropolitan Buenos Aires, the presentation introduces a typology of poor people’s responses to urban violence. The presentation also argues that diverse forms of violence among the urban poor: a) serve more than just retaliatory purposes, b) link with one another beyond only dyadic relationships, and c) become a repertoire of action.

Residents rely on violence to address individual and collective problems, from disciplining a misbehaving child to establishing authority in the neighborhood and/or at home. As a result, violence takes the form of a Tillyian repertoire of action – a routine way of acting on individual and collective interests. Approaching violence as a repertoire helps us to understand how and why violence becomes an established “know how,” a familiar practice that is useful in dealing with the difficulties that daily life presents at the urban margins.