News & Events

Lecture Series

CLACS LECTURE SERIES take place in an informal, friendly, and supportive setting where you share any selected aspect of your academic research with graduate and undergraduate students and faculty. Our aim is not only to promote students but also to involve faculty to participate and share their work.

PLACE: 101 International Studies Bldg, 910 S. Fifth St. Champaign

If you've missed a lecture, click on the title link to view the video. To see past lecture series videos and other presentations, please CLICK HERE.


Lecture Series - Fall 2018

Monday, September 10th - Room 101 ISB, 3pm

Impacts of a Credit Program on Employment and Income in the Brazilian Semiarid Area

Renata Caldas, Economics

“This paper analyzes the effects of a credit policy in the Northeast of Brazil on income and employment rates at a municipal level. I took advantage of a change in the law in 2005 which classifies municipalities as part of the Brazilian Semiarid area. The municipalities classified in the area receive better benefits in terms of credit policy, such as lower interest rates and larger discounts if loans are paid on time. With this change in the law, 102 municipalities became part of the semiarid area and were able to receive these benefits. Using Difference-in-Differences strategy, I do not find any evidence that credit policies like this one brings positive impacts in less developed areas.”

Monday, September 17th - Room 101 ISB, 3pm

Specters of Comparisons: American Subjects and Self-Discovery in Spain

Augusto Espiritu, History, University of Illinois

Part of a larger study on the politics of hispanismo in the American insular empire in the first half of the twentieth century, this presentation focuses on nationalist intellectuals—including Nick Joaquin (a Filipino novelist and essayist), Margot Arce and Antonio Pedreira (Puerto Rican literary critics of the Generation of 1930), and Jorge Mañach (Cuban cultural critic and political leader)–and their touristic travels in Spain. I argue that their journeys provided the basis for cross-cultural encounters that Benedict Anderson terms “specters of comparison”--that is to say, deeply felt, even quasi-religious pilgrimages of “return” to the “Spanish Motherland,”not without feelings of ambivalence, that were meant to enrich the self, one’s national awareness, and a transcendent Hispanic identity.

Monday, September 24th - Room 101 ISB, 3pm

The Interminable Wound: Reading Rebellion in Contemporary Mayan Literature of Chiapas

Silvia Soto, American Indian Studies, University of Illinois

In the last four decades, the literary production of contemporary Mayan writers of Chiapas, Mexico has flourished alongside the mobilization created by the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Two parallel movements that have at their center the importance of presence and re-affirmation of Mayan peoples of Chiapas and Indigenous people of Mexico at large. In this presentation, I speak to the trajectory of the contemporary Mayan literary movement in Chiapas. I focus on selected pieces that reflect a new approach in the works of the writers of historicizing their communities’ long histories of rebellions to the colonial projects. This turn in knowledge production, I suggest, reflects the trajectory of the work and consistent collaboration across generations of the writers.

Monday, October 1st - Room 101 ISB, 3pm

Dystopia in Argentina: Political Allegory and the Imagination of Disaster in Argentine Cinema

Mariano Paz, Literature, University of Limerick

Dystopian films have become a commonplace feature of mainstream, blockbuster cinema. There is, however, an alternative form of dystopian film produced in Latin America: it is a low budget, independent approach to the genre, not relying on sophisticated visual effects and spectacle. This talk will explore three key dystopian films produced in Argentina: Invasión (Invasion, 1969), La sónambula (The Sleepwalker, 1998), and Adiós querida luna (Goodbye Dear Moon, 2004). I will show that these films, which often blur the boundaries between high and popular culture (featuring screenplays written by some of the most renowned Argentine writers, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares, and Ricardo Piglia), act as political allegories about some of the darkest moments in Argentine history: terrorism and repression in the 1970s, the military dictatorship and the disappeared during the late 1970s, and the Falklands War in 1982.

Monday, October 8th - Room 101 ISB, 3pm

Land Dispossession, Political Violence and the Maya Diaspora: Some Notes from the Field

Korinta Maldonado, Anthropology, University of Illinois

This talk grapples with the contemporary logics of Indigenous migration and the way multiple racial subjectivities and racial ideologies intersect and inform contemporary forms of transnational Mayanness and its political struggles. I bring together fieldnotes and some initial thoughts based on my preliminary research trip to the Q’anjob’al region of Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango in Guatemala over the 2018 summer. 

Monday, October 15th - Room 101 ISB, 3pm

Scientific Phantasmagoria: Ghosts, Scientists, Technology and Music in the U.S. and Beyond (1848-1940)

Rosa Gabriela Vargas-Cetina, Anthropology, Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan
Presented with IFUSS

In 1848, in a farm in Hydesville, in the State of New York, in the U.S.A., two girls supposedly found a way to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Later on, their sister, with whom they were living in Rochester, also in New York, also became a medium. Through their activities as mediums, the three sisters inaugurated a new obsession with communications, which encompassed talking to the dead but also reaching out to communicate with non-present others in general.
In the Yucatan peninsula, in particular, scientific spiritualism, freemasonry, socialism, feminism and scientific education seem to have merged into a particular movement in pro of science, rationality and progress, which also extended to the arts and the adoption of new technologies. In the meantime, henequen production from Yucatan, which made it possible for harvesting machinery to function, was fuelling agrarian change across the Great Plains in the United States and Canada. Trova music, a type of romantic songs that began to be composed in Cuba and in the Yucatan peninsula during the last two decades of the 19th century, came about in this particular context and thrived until the 1940s. This music reflects many of the values and themes of public interest from the period.

Monday, October 29th ISB, Room 101 - 3PM

The Perils and Promises of Expert Witnessing

Ellen Moodie - Anthropology - University of Illinois

Gilberto Rosas - Anthropology and Latina/o Studies - University of Illinois

In this conversation we reflect on the art and practice of expert witnessing, drawing on our respective work writing declarations for and testifying in court on behalf of Central Americans and Mexicans in asylum and related proceedings. Like many experts, over the years we have become ever more precise in our portrayals of peril. And yet, at the same time, as anthropologists, and as humanistic scholars, we aspire to explore the complexity of human dilemmas—including the demands placed upon us and others in the practice of witnessing. Today we share our recent experiences in court and consider the possibilities of writing and thinking with integrity and respect for emergent migrant communities.

Past Lecture Series