UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

Conference 2021 - Abstracts

Panel 1: Migration, Kinship, Language, and Education in Mexico, the US, and Central America

Discussant: Prof. Daina Sanchez, Department of Chican@ Studies, UC Santa Barbara

“Kinship and Resettlement: A Study of the Relationship Between Kinship Ties and Decisions of Resettlement of Mexican-born Men Deported from the United States”
Maria Camila Sanchez, Globalization and Latin American Development, University College London
Dynamics of resettlement of undocumented immigrants after deportation from the United States are complex and multifactorial. In order to open a conversation about the deportee experience and the key determinants of place of resettlement, 78 surveys and 11 in-depth interviews were conducted with male Mexican-born individuals who lived in the US for over a year and had been deported. At the time of the surveys, they were affiliated to the shelter “La Casa del Migrante” in Tijuana B.C. The data, though not fully representative of the deportee population, shows the ways in which kinship ties held by participants at the time of deportation strongly impact decisions of resettlement. The findings suggest three main patterns of resettlement: those who wish to stay in Tijuana in efforts to preserve kinship ties with family in the United States, those who want to stay in Tijuana because ties are broken at both sides of the border and this is a place where they think they can start over, and those who go back to their place of origin to recover ties or reunite. An improved understanding of resettlement can facilitate the strengthening of social, economic, and political structures of support for deported individuals and their families.
“A Framework to Understanding Indigenous Immigration” 
Katia Rodríguez, Latin American and Iberian Studies, UC Santa Barbara
It is imperative to create more research on international immigration of indigenous people because it can help to better understand the vulnerability and the exclusion that they suffer. The lack of research contributes to the negation of indigenous people’s existence in current history. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to analyze different literary sources in order to understand to what extent immigration influences the identity of indigenous people who migrate to Western countries such as the United States. Through the different literatures that I will be reviewing some of the prominent themes are transnational identity, legality, and language. Other themes include: bringing the topic of indigenous migration into an academic conversation, giving a voice to indigenous people, and contributing to a better understanding of their situation. The act of migration is not something new. Many cultures have experienced immigration for decades, which is also the case for indigenous immigrants, Latin American indigenous migration is a multiethnic phenomenon that is much older than mestizo migration. It is necessary to mention that the notion of migration through the driving forces of colonialism is not an event of the past. In the twenty first century the scars of colonialism continue to contribute to the migration of indigenous people to western countries.
“The Impact of Language and Cultural Identity Among Spanish Heritage Speakers on their Decision to Study Abroad”
Jennifer Amador, Latin American and Iberian Studies, UC Santa Barbara
Latinos are generally associated with the Spanish language or Latin American culture as a major part of their identity. There is a subgroup among Latinos referred to as Spanish Heritage Speakers who learn Spanish at home and have inherited the language and who are by default classified as Chicano/Latino. Due to the connection between the United States and their parent’s country of origin, Spanish Heritage Speakers must adapt and manage the expectations of both languages and cultures. Language and cultural identity are key factors that have been overlooked in identifying obstacles that prevent student participation in study abroad. This essay will analyze the impact of having a strong language and cultural identity among Spanish Heritage students and the impact it has on their decision to study abroad. This essay forms part of my bigger project on study abroad programs with Spanish Heritage Speakers, specifically with their participation, motivation, and their requirements for the study abroad programs in Spanish speaking countries.  

Panel 2: Literature, Music, Theater, and National Identity in Brazil

Discussant: Aline de Almeida (PhD student, Spanish and Portuguese, UC Santa Barbara)

“Visceral Transgression: Transporting the Body via Mail in the Correspondence of Paulo Bruscky”
Margarita Delcheva, Comparative Literature, UC Santa Barbara
During the 1970’s, a period in the history of Brazil, marked by tortures and disappearances, the artist Paulo Bruscky, living in Recife, found himself in a marginalized position. His resulting mail art correspondence with East German artist Robert Rehfeldt became imbibed with the body’s desire for contact. With physical travel to see each other impossible until 1982, the artists developed an intimate artistic relationship. Bruscky’s powerful and visceral representations of the body and its systems crossed international and political borders in the transgressive act left available for him—via mail. Bruscky’s skull X-rays, cardiograms, and Xerox face-copies, sent to Rehfeldt, reflect the urgent atmosphere of the tortured body in Brazil and are radical expressions of sending the body’s imprint to the rest of the world. In this presentation, I will examine archival materials from the artists’ mail art collections and raise questions about the subversive implications of the body’s indirect transferal and the symbolic power of the mail art network, connecting isolated artists. 
“Brasilidade: Bossa Nova and the Fabrication of Brazilian National Identity”
Nathan Cobb, Music, UC Santa Barbara
Under the authoritarian rule of Getúlio Vargas (1930-45 and 1951-54), the cultural borders of midcentury Brazil were assiduously policed by politicians and cultural critics intent on the creation of an insular “national consciousness, or brasilidade” (Shaw 2019 [1999]: 28). In this essay, I consider voice as a means of transgressing these cultural borders by examining the contentious role played by bossa nova in the formation of Brazilian national identity in the 1950s-1960s. Katherine Meizel has recently theorized about “the capacity of voice, the need for voice to simultaneously claim space for marginalized identities and erode boundaries in resistance to systems of oppression” (Meizel 2020: 15). Building on this premise, I show how bossanovistas used their voices as both a means for critiquing the notion of a single, “authentic” brasilidade and as a vehicle for reflecting on their experience navigating the borders of politics, culture, and identity. I begin by situating bossa nova within the tradition of samba (1920s-1940s), which was itself a contentious battleground for ideologies of race and class (Herman 1999: 14). I then turn to the landmark album Getz/Gilberto (1964), which was considered by many Brazilian cultural critics to constitute a nearly treasonous act of americanização [Americanization] due to its incorporation of US jazz idioms. Finally, against these critiques, I argue that bossa nova represented an intentional transgression of the sociopolitical borders erected within and around midcentury Brazil and an effort to contribute actively to the formation of both national and personal identities.
“Pixo and the Invisible Theater in the 28th São Paulo Biennial”
Letícia Cobra Lima, History of Art and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara
Pixo is a version of tagging developed in Brazil in the 1980s, in the periphery of large urban centers amongst the impoverished youth, consisting of complex typographic manifestations of varying sizes that cover large swaths of the cityscape. Practitioners are organized into groups and engage in a culture of one-upmanship and territorial dispute, strongly opposing commercial graffiti. In 2008, a group of 40 taggers, pixadores in Brazilian slang, invaded the second floor of the 28th São Paulo Biennial, which the curatorial team had chosen to maintain artwork-free. Police was called and all exits to the pavilion were closed. A window was broken and the pixadores fled the premises. One person was arrested and the news outlets, aided by the Biennial’s curatorial team, reported negatively and at length on the action of the pixadores. The international art community, however, heralded the pixadores as artists engaging in social change. This paper provides context for the emergence of pixo as a mode of visual expression and presents the Biennial invasion as an unbeknownst iteration of the Invisible Theater, as proposed by Augusto Boal in the 1970s. It does not aim to consider pixo aesthetically, but to reflect upon power structures and class distinctions in art’s institutional space, and to flesh out the friction between two insular systems – contemporary art and pixo. Law enforcement is deployed against the disenfranchised to the detriment of widely advertised agendas of dialogue and convivence, reiterating the borders between public and institutional space, between the culturally marginalized and the art-world elite.

Panel 3: The Making of Borders in History: Empire, Religion, and Revolution

Discussant: Prof. Manuel Covo, Department of History, UC Santa Barbara

“Power, Resistance and Resettlement in The Kingdom of Guatemala”
Carol Lizeth Marchante, Latin American and Iberian Studies, UC Santa Barbara
From the mid-sixteenth century, royal authorities in the Kingdom of Guatemala — the region broadly corresponding to Chiapas, Guatemala, and El Salvador — implemented an ambitious policy to forcibly resettle of indigenous populations into reducciones called Pueblos de Indios. This process was hugely disruptive, and constituted a watershed in the development of the region as a Spanish colonial territory. For royal authorities, the policy, known in Guatemala as congregación, was designed to better govern indigenous people, challenging the power of Spanish settlers, and to facilitate their instruction in Christianity by regular and secular priests. For the indigenous population, the process not only disturbed their way of life from subsistence but also their cosmological beliefs, traditions, and practices, prompting them to resist the policy. But they were not alone: for prominent settlers, and especially the adelantado Pedro de Alvarado, it was power grab by the Crown which they also resisted, preventing royal authorities from implementing the policy until after the death of Alvarado. This paper reflects on this key moment in the history of colonial Guatemala, considering the impact of the policy on indigenous people and settlers. It is part of my bigger MA project that studies the impact of Christianization on the development of the identity of the Indigenous population in the Diocese of Guatemala.
“Fleeting Terrains: Spatial Mobility in the Construction of Borderlands Between French Guiana and Portuguese Amazonia (1788 – 1802)”
Manoel Rendeiro Neto, History, UC Davis
With the reverberations of two major Atlantic social-political events at French domains in the late 18th century, the French Revolution (1789) and the Haitian Revolution (1791), a long history of borderland dispute between Portugal and France changed in the Amazon-Guiana region in South America. The present paper argues for the relevance of the revolutionary fears in forcing the Portuguese colonization project in its Amazonian territory, Grão-Pará’s state, to prioritize the colonial administration’s role in controlling labor and mobility of its own subjects, especially enslaved Africans, and waged Indians, instead of taking an aggressive stand on politics of territorial claim over the Guiana Coast. In this way, the main goal is to reflect on the following question: How did the Portuguese government in the Grão-Pará decide to abandon the Guiana Coast region in the middle of the last decade of the 18th century? In an attempt to answer the question, this historical exercise relies on a series of letters, reports, maps, and news that circulated among the trans-Atlantic colonial officials, local Amazonian inhabitants, and the bilateral negotiation between both European forces over the region in dispute.
“Agriculture, and Forestry in Early-Twentieth Century Paraguay”
Christopher McQuilkin, History, UC Santa Barbara
In the decades following Paraguay’s disastrous defeat in the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870), the country struggled to rebuild its economy and maintain its independence from the victorious powers, Argentina and Brazil. In the early twentieth century Paraguay, intellectuals, scientists, and politicians began to see land reform and scientific agriculture as one way of stimulating national prosperity. Through the diffusion of such science ideas through the periodicals such as the Boletín del Departamento Nacional de Fomento, and the Revista de Agronomía, these writers drew upon Paraguay’s agrarian past to envision a more equitable future for Paraguay, while also developing incipient ideas of resource conservation and environmental awareness.

Panel 4: Displaced Citizens, Law, and Human Rights

Discussant: Prof. Alison Brysk, Department of Global Studies, UC Santa Barbara

“The Whole Country Became a Border: Racism and Control of Human Mobility in Mexico”
Gerardo Rodríguez Solís, Anthropology, UC Santa Barbara
In Mexico, violence against human mobility operates not only at the state borders but throughout the national territory, including urban centers, seas, deserts, as well as railways and roads that lead to the north of the country. Currently, the two main state strategies against migrants, displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers, are: increasing the use of military forces against them and developing manufacture, agricultural, energy, and touristic industries as “curtains that will contain migration to the US.” Those actions are not aleatory; they operate with racial profiles. At the same time, a significant part of avocados, tomatoes, berries, and grapes that are produced in Mexico by migrant farmworkers finish in the table of houses and restaurants in the US. The maintenance and expansion of these agro-industrial complexes are possible because precarious conditions of millions of agricultural laborers, primarily Indigenous and people racialized as “Indios.” This precarity includes the control of their mobility through recruitment, barracks, segregation, and surveillance. In this paper, I present the first steps of my Ph.D. study in which I focus on the relation between these state and private controls of mobility and the agroindustry in northwestern Mexico. Since fall 2017, I have collected data from news journals, organizations, governments, and agribusiness companies. Furthermore, I have visited the Coast of Hermosillo, Sonora: meeting with governmental employees of federal and state agencies, discussing with local academics, collaborating with a human rights organization, and visiting agricultural complexes. This paper is the first analysis of my research.
“The Making of Illegal “Citizens” in Honduras”
David Lindstrom, Sociocultural Anthropology, UC San Diego
Normatively, “citizenship” is conceived as an identity that protects the bearer from forced migration across the borders of his/her state. However, for poor Honduran youth “citizenship” confers none of these rights. Rather, within the U.S.-Latin American interstate regime, a transnational political structure dominated by the United States and Latin American elites, Honduran citizenship combined with poverty produces the pervasive threat of removal—in fact, the opposite of “citizenship”: illegality. Therefore, my paper denaturalizes the concepts of “citizenship” and “illegality” in order to show how illegality’s consequences—forced migration, labor exploitation, and a lack of public services provided by the state—are created in Honduras not merely through the law-as-writing but by the law-as-tactics. In this sense, illegality is not merely a designation conferred by a definition of citizenship. Rather, illegality is produced through practices that structure power, construct migrants as transgressive, and channel capital within the U.S.-Latin American interstate regime. Through close ethnography I show how such illegality is produced in Honduras by divestment in education, extreme unemployment, anarchic and state violence, deportee discrimination, a failure to reintegrate returned deportees, and a rhetoric of youth criminality. In doing so, I show how Honduran youth experience their production as transgressive and exploitable subjects in a circular and compounded fashion within and across the borders of the U.S.-Latin American interstate regime.
“Forced Disappearances along Colombia-Venezuela Border: Unveiling Victims’ Invisibility”
Jessica Spanswick and Javier Ochoa, Latin American Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
The purpose of this paper is to use qualitative and quantitative data to persuade the Colombian government, civil society, and the international community to take steps to prevent and investigate cases of forced disappearances of Colombians and Venezuelans in Norte de Santander, Colombia. While research into the internal armed conflict and forced disappearances in Colombia is vast, investigations into the phenomenon since the beginning of the Venezuelan displacement crisis in 2015 has not been addressed by the literature in conflict resolution, refugee crises studies, or migration policy. This project utilizes a self-designed, integrative, multi-method research methodology. We analyze primary qualitative data from Cúcuta-based human rights NGO Fundación Progresar, including documents from cases files, interviews with family members directly affected by this phenomenon, and sensitive data shared with us about cases that Fundación Progresar manages. Documents are analyzed with a focus on latent variables to ensure that context-specific idiosyncrasies are understood. Then we analyze and code the four recorded interviews of family members, transcribing the main points from Spanish into English. Continuing with a process tracing method, we further test our theory. Ensuring that personal details are anonymized, we delve deeply into the four specific cases from the interviews. Employing a narrative qualitative method, we create a story with these four cases in an attempt to answer the research questions. All of this qualitative data will serve to frame and contextualize the quantitative data received from government sources Medicina Legal and Fiscalía General de la Nación.

Panel 5: Racism,Racial Representations, and Identity

Discussant: Prof. Jaime Alves, Department of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara

“(Mis)representations of Race in Peruvian Media: The Case Against Jorge Benavides”
Rosa Rodríguez, Latin American and Iberian Studies, UC Santa Barbara
In 2010, there was controversy surrounding Peruvian comedian Jorge Benavides and his character El Negro Mama. The controversy sprang when Mónica Carrillo, along with other organizers from the AfroPeruvian advocacy group LUNDU, demanded for El Negro Mama’s removal from El Especial Del Humor – which at the time was the show El Negro Mama appeared on. What followed was a temporary suspension, damage control and return of El Negro Mama after only a couple of months. This character, along with La Paisana Jacinta, were fan favorites of the El Especial Del Humor and its predecessor JB Noticias. Carrillo was subject to violent harassment due to the scandal and was forced to leave Perú for her safety. This particular study observes, records, and analyzes the trajectory of Mama and Jacinta and their transgressions throughout the span of three Benavides backed shows. Both Mama and Jacinta are clear (mis)representations of these racialized groups, as they are both played by Jorge Benavides who is neither AfroPeruvian nor Indigenous. This controversy serves as a specific catalyst for insight of what are the power dynamics present in Benavides performance of the two. The intent of the study however, is to compare both character’s trajectories in order to comprehend the racial power dynamics at play in their (mis)representation, treatment after their own respective scandals by the media and audience, and if there are any notable differences between the two that can illuminate the borders between what is considered harmful racist (mis)representation, and what does not.
“The borders of colonial citizenship: Indigeneity as the frontier of rights in the Portuguese empire”
Marcelo Carvalho Loureiro, Law, University of Birmingham
The practice of analyzing the global south, its borders and the beings that conceptually inhabit these areas is not a novel subject in the theory of law and social sciences. The border-zone and the territories of the globalized North and the ‘underdeveloped’ South are recurring topics in the study of scholars such as Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Silviano Santiago, R. Connell and Homi Bhabha amongst others. The analysis of the semi-permeable separation between these two polarized zones is quite broadly studied, but the attempts to understand the translation and transpositions of colonial practices to and from the different sides of the globe is still an open-end exercise. The multiplicity of colonial territories in which the transpositions of imperial and colonial practices take place forces the logics of colonial oppression to take a comprehensive look that goes beyond the traditional South-as-territories-of-oppression and North-as-territories-of-freedom. With the politization of social phenomena such as migration, religious co-existence and ‘multiculturalism’ in the Global North, other pathways for the imposition of coloniality are generated. These neo-colonial pathways for oppression are designed and founded by the same colonial modus operandi that once enslaved, sold and de-humanized people. In this metaphorical South generated by the global North, the colonial binomial of slavery-racialization is substituted by the neo-colonial paradigm of citizenship-migration which has a huge potential to fully replace the former. The logics of coloniality through the illegalization of bodies is transposed from slavery to citizenship, that as slavery has the capacity to damn or bless one’s existence. It is in this scope that the necessity to understand decolonization as a duty arises, in an attempt to shed light into the neo-colonial praxis laws and state are replicating.
“El último patriarca: Nuevas perspectivas en el imaginario sociocultural español”
Cristina Martínez Istillarte, Spanish and Portuguese, Tulane University
Textos como El último patriarca (2008) de Najat El Hachmi demuestran cómo estas obras contribuyen a dar a la figura de estos sujetos / Otros en el imaginario sociocultural español en relación con cuestiones de identidad nacional. Además, es posible a través de este texto analizar el conocimiento sobre la frontera – y sus posibilidades – entendida como un lugar de conexión e interrogación donde las dinámicas culturales, así como los sujetos subalternos y no subalternos, son teorizados y repensados bajo las cartografías actuales de la globalización cuyas fronteras mutan y marcan la contigüidad del discurso. Para ello, me remito entre otros a Étienne Balibar en su reflexión sobre el concepto de frontera donde discute la imposibilidad de atribuirle a esta una esencia, es decir, una validez “in all places and at all times” así como la complejidad de establecer una definición. En general, estos sujetos se definen por un conjunto de limitaciones únicas que surgen de su condición de subalternos y su posición al margen de la ciudadanía, inseparablemente vinculados a la realidad geopolítica de su contexto. En El último patriarca de Najat El Hachmi, se desarrolla una narrativa dentro de estos espacios culturales y geográficos que definen y/o constituyen a estos sujetos inmigrantes. Por otro lado, es interesante también mencionar cómo en esta narrativa contemporánea se percibe lo que Bhabha denomina el nuevo internacionalismo donde “los conceptos mismos de culturas nacionales homogéneas, de transmisión consensual o contigua de tradiciones históricas, o de comunidades étnicas ‘orgánicas’ […] están en un profundo proceso de redefinición.” (21) En otras palabras, cómo el concepto de nación está continuamente en un proceso dialéctico con otras cuestiones como la internacionalización y la globalización y cómo estas redefinen el mapa del mundo, es decir, redefinen el contexto geopolítico del mundo.

Panel 6: Music, Gender, Indigeneity, and Visual Arts

Discussants: Prof. Leo Cabranes-Grant Departments of Spanish and Portuguese and Theater and Dance, UC Santa Barbara, and Prof. Alicia Boswell, Department of History of Art & Architecture, UC Santa Barbara

“Imaging Imagined Identities: Iconographies of Transgression, Indigeneity, and Pan-Americanism in Estrada Courts Muralism”
Eric Mazariegos Jr., Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
In the early 1970s, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles sponsored a beautification effort for the Estrada Courts, a housing project situated within Boyle Heights. Led by Charles “Cat” Felix and his entourage of Chicana/o artists, the resulting murals mostly all referenced Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican (Aztec, Maya) iconographies to signal a common progeny for residents. Nevertheless, some of the murals there defied this standardized mode of representation by co-opting more global, Pan-American visualities. An example is “Indian Profiles,” an ambivalent mural described by art historian Holly Barnet-Sánchez as “problematic” (2016). It depicts two indigenizing profile busts topped by distinctive Plains-Indian style (as opposed to Aztec or Maya) feathered headdresses. Backdropped against the tumultuous 1970s Chicano Movement, what prompted a Pan-American—as opposed to a “centered” and Mesoamerican—call to indigeneity on the West Coast? Here, did ideological “iconographies of transgression” broaden Latinx identity instead of geographically restricting it? What were the implications of this process? Indian Profiles unsettles predominantly Mexican and Mesoamerican visual culture in Southern California and the Greater Southwest, homogeneously expanding both laterally and longitudinally across lands. In this way, the image is in dialogue with Kellie Jones’ recent assessment of non-fixity and imagination as fruitful tools for black artists to actively (re)create sites of progeny (2017). Gloria Anzaldúa also notes in “Border Arte” that Nepantla, or the state of in-betweenness, is a space of disorientation, deconstruction, and ambivalence (1993). Nuancing the “problematics” of Indian Profiles with these frameworks, we thus locate an imaginative reconstruction of agency not based on grounded borders, but on shared thematics of indigenous identities.
“Cynicism and ‘Narcocorridos’ in the Aftermath of the “Liberation” of Ovidio Guzmán”
Jeanie Toscano, Spanish, UC Irvine
The narcocorrido is a musical-literary genre that can reveal key aspects of a subculture and a collective imaginary—extending to both sides of the US-Mexico border—which discursively posits itself in opposition to authority through the ‘narco’ figure who is casted as hero through these songs. In my paper, I take as my focus of cultural and literary study a specific set of ‘narcocorridos’—those related to the recent events of October 17, 2019 in Culiacan Sinaloa, when the Mexican military failed in their efforts to capture Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s son, Ovidio Guzmán López, due to the overwhelming armed response from the Sinaloa Cartel. Not 24 hours after the violent encounter between the two groups, a series of ‘corridos’ ensued on social media platforms revealing a cynical aspect of a Mexican collective consciousness that I seek to analyze in this paper. I rely on Peter Sloterdijk’s discussion about cynicism in postmodern societies (Critique of Cynical Reason, 1983) in order to elucidate the various modalities of cynicism at work and expressed in these corridos. My paper reveals how, in the backdrop of these cultural and artistic productions, lies a Mexican collective consciousness that grapples with a profound distrust of the Mexican state and a hopelessness about the possibility of building a society free of corruption and violence, while at the same time serving as a vehicle for expressing dissent and critique of law and authority.
“Queer Ranchero: Reimagining the Borderlands Through a Queer Lens”
Jorge Cruz, Latin American Studies, UC Los Angeles
In the borderlands between the United States and Mexico, the image of the ranchero is a symbol of Mexican cultural values and traditions. In the borderlands, where Mexican and American culture is often blurred into a hybrid identity, the ranchero is often portrayed as the hero in literature, poetry, music, and photography. This romanticized representation of the ranchero conjures a portrait of the ideal Mexican American man: strong, fearless, but most importantly, heterosexual. However, in the past couple of decades, queer Chicano(a) writers and artists have reimagined queer narratives and representations in spaces and times where they were often excluded and rendered invisible. One such artist is queer Chicano photographer Fabian Guerrero through his photo series depicting the ranchero as queer. Fabian Guerrero and I both grew up as young queer brown boys in the rural Texas borderlands, and through his images I am able to reimagine my familiar home not as a place of repression of my queer identity but of acceptance. I will analyze his work through a decolonial queer lens using the work of Chicana feminist scholars Gloria Anzaldúa and Emma Perez’s “Queering the Borderlands” and “The Decolonial Imaginary.” Fabian Guerrero’s photographs have reclaimed the image of the overly masculine ranchero into a feminine, gender-fluid brown queer body of love and acceptance. His queer ranchero series demonstrates the intersectionality of queer and Mexican American identity in the rural borderlands, one that challenges the dominant heteronormative narrative of Mexican American culture and disrupts the modern gender system.
“Bad Bunny: Breaking Boundaries of ‘Machismo’ in the Music Industry”
Kelly Scrima, Arts in Liberal Studies, Dartmouth College
Whether in the boardroom, on the street, or stage, men, like women, have long been subject to gendered norms within a dichotomous gender binary that is prevalent within the fashion and music industry. A prominent figure that is actively challenging male gender norms in fashion and music is Latin trap and reggaeton artist Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, who goes by the stage name Bad Bunny (also El Conejo Malo). While he is not the first male musician to challenge gendered norms, fashion or otherwise, with artists like David Bowie preceding him in fashion, he is paving the way for new masculinities within the context of machismo culture in Latinx communities. The relationship between gender and gender roles within Latinx culture, music as advocacy, and fashion as it applies to the musician, Bad Bunny will be explored in detail. Comparisons in this paper will be drawn between the current press on Bad Bunny, as well as texts exploring machismo/marianismo and gender roles in Puerto Rico.
“Hybridity and Music-Making In-Between Spain and Morocco”
Jan Niklas Cousin, European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures, Cambridge University
On the fringes of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the north coast of Morocco lies one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world: the political and territorial boundary between the European Union and Africa. Erected to prevent undocumented immigration into Spain, a multi-layered security system is equipped with razor wire, or “concertinas”. Through this metaphor of the accordion, musicality is therefore employed to demarcate political and territorial boundaries. While tropes of a shared cultural heritage in Medieval Muslim Iberia (711-1492) and conviviencia (harmonious coexistence) reverberate through contemporary public and political discourse in Spanish-Moroccan relations, they are undermined by the humanitarian crisis at the Spanish border. In this paper, I wish to examine intercultural music-making and the Spanish-Moroccan fusion genre flamenco-andalusí as a synecdoche of this wider context and reveal if cultural hybridity can engender resistance against hegemonic structures or may, inadvertently, reinforce them. I intend to reveal how utopian readings of Spanish-Moroccan history contribute to the re-entrenchment of power structures. Against this background, I will explore Spanish dancer Ángeles Gabaldón’s flamenco-theatre production “Inmigración” (2003) as a “third space” bridging the cultural divisions and socio-political inequalities between Spain and Morocco while unifying the countries’ musical traditions. The paper’s overarching goal will be to illustrate the ways in which music-fusion projects along the Strait of Gibraltar can transgress physical and symbolical borders and serve as a model for understanding hybridity in cross-cultural relations.

Panel 7: Undergraduate Essay Competition Winners 

Discussant: Prof. Juan Pablo Lupi, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, UC Santa Barbara, and Rosa Rodriguez (MA student, Latin American and Iberian Studies, UC Santa Barbara)

“People of African Descent as Pioneers of Rights”
Shoon Le Oo, Global Studies, UC Santa Barbara
This essay seeks to elaborate on the meaning of the Haitian Revolution and what it represents for Haitians and for enslaved people all over the hemisphere. It seeks to understand what Haiti meant to the authorities given that slavery still persisted in many places through the nineteenth century. In doing so, the paper sheds to light the ironies of “Western civilisation” and challenges a more familiar narrative in our history books of how human rights principles have their roots in European values by boldly stating that people of African descent were the pioneers of the modern concept of human rights.
“Poetry as Hope: An Examination of César Vallejo’s “Voy a hablar de la esperanza””
Sebouh Oshagan, Comparative Literature and Film, UC Berkeley
The essay examines the text of César Vallejo’s “Voy a hablar de la esperanza” as an abstract, poetic, and aesthetic redefinition of “hope”. It goes to show how, in a demonstration of reading the poem, the poem itself redefines hope as the collective, non-coercive participation of cohering in the shared, abstract aesthetic space that is the poem.
“Performance transgresivo en “Un abanico chino” de María Elena Llana”
Bryan Chávez Castro, Comparative Literature and Film, UC Berkeley
This essay in Spanish deals with the materiality of taboo performances, as opposed to speech acts, as points of access to the interiority of the characters, and how this materiality transgresses preestablished familial and societal norms in the short story “Un abanico chino” by Cuban author María Elena Llana. The short story centers around the relationships between three cousins from a wealthy family who live together in their grandmother’s house. The essay follows performances that represent acts of sexual liberation, affirmation of gender identities, and the consummation of taboo sexualities that are not described textually, but embodied by the characters.
“Triggers to Central American Migration: A Contemporary Study, Section 5.2 An Economy of Violence”
Lance Cortez, Political Science, UC Santa Barbara
This essay is an excerpt from my honors thesis on contemporary Central American migration patterns. The excerpt attempts to explain the broader patterns of Honduran violence and insecurity that have emerged in recent years and how they have affected migratory trends. While focused on Honduras, the broader implications of this case study also relate to Guatemala and El Salvador.