Center for InterAmerican Studies
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Bielefeld University > cias > summerschool > CIAS Summer School 2014


When filing the application to participate in the Summer School, each student can apply for one of the following workshops:

a)  Ethnicity and Identities
(Christian Büschges, Olaf Kaltmeier, Heidrun Mörtl)

Indigenous peoples are amongst the most important actors with regard to multiculturalism and ethnic identity politics in the Americas. Trans-indigenous relations are often overlooked in scholarship by both Native and Non-Native scholars. By discussing key aspects such as constitutional changes that recognize pluriculturalism; protests against mega-projects; new social movements; a high visibility in international organizations; and new ethnic cultural expressions, this seminar investigates the interconnected indigenous world in a multidisciplinary scholarly discourse. While tackling exemplary issues from Canada to Chile, the workshop puts the following questions at the center of discussion:

• What are the historical roots of indigeneity?
• How can we conceptualize ethnic identity politics?
• What is the political outcome of the mobilizations of the last decades?
• What is the future of indigeneity in the Americas?

b)  Caribbean History & Literature
(Isabel Caldeira, Roberta Cimarosti, Albert Manke)

This workshop will address the Greater Caribbean Region as a space of entanglements between North and South America, shaped by a peculiar connection between history and literature.

c)  Social Movements & Human Rights
(Patrick J. Mc. Namara, Georg Schendl, Anne Tittor)

The workshop social movements and human rights will focus on recent developments concerning the dynamics of social movements and the violation of human rights. The main question is how factors like the extraction of resources, big infrastructure projects and the war on drugs affect human rights of local populations in the Americas. On the one hand social movements that oppose these developments often do so in reference to human rights; on the other hand they suffer human rights violations against their protest. In the workshop we will discuss how movements try to struggle against human rights violations and focus on the international legal framework and its institutions (e.g. Inter-American Court of Human Rights) that enable legal enforcement of human rights and the fight against impunity.

d)  Borderland Studies
(Alexandra Berlina, Nuala Finnegan, Antonio Sáez-Arance)

The workshop opens with a particular focus on art and artistic production focusing on surrealism as a borderland phenomenon in the Americas, a movement that went beyond many borders, both geographical (inter- and intra-American) and artistic (swapping from the visual arts into literature and film, and back again). Discussing the work of such diverse artists as Leonora Carrington and Spike Jonze, this workshop hopes to expose students to central artistic concepts associated with surrealism that might be mobilised within the students’ video projects.

The workshop continues with study of two key borderlands sites in the Americas – Chile/Southern Cone and U.S./Mexico. The first of these looks at Chilean national identity and the so called "Mapuche Conflict". In accordance with the aims of the Summer School, the treatment of interethnic conflicts by the mass media, both from a historical perspective (the role of Chilean press before and during the "Pacification of the Border" in 19th century) and in the context of current political debates (criminalisation and invisibilisation of the indigenous by Chilean mainstream print media and TV), will be explored. Key theoretical concepts that will be covered as part of a wider spectrum include "ethnicity", "nationalism" "identity politics" and "inclusion/exclusion".

Continuing with these key concepts, the final session will explore the U.S-/Mexico Borderlands as a site of identity production, focusing on documentary film around borderlands violence. A particular element of scrutiny will be the phenomenon of femicide/feminicidio in the region focalized through the various conceptual lens frequently applied in discussions of the topic: gender (masculine and feminine roles); globalization (mobility, corporate responsibility, labour force changes among other issues); “nationalism” versus “regionalism” as well as ethnicity.






Contact us:

Dr. Jochen Kemner
Tel.: +49 521 106-3241
Fax: +49 521 106-2966
E-mail: interamerican_summerschool(at)

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