Yesterday I submitted my proposal to participate in the XXXII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, upcoming in May 2014. If my proposal is accepted, this will be an even busier year of travel to present my research. (I am already intending to be in Panama City in January for the Conference of Latin American Geographers (see my previous post here), and in Tampa in April for the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers.) Here is my abstract for the paper I hope to present at LASA:
After the 1910 Mexican Revolution, 1968’s Tlatelolco Massacre is the most insistently textualized event in twentieth century Mexican politics. A key event in the Dirty War of the 1960s and 1970s, “Tlatelolco” is remembered by student activists in Mexico City as exemplary of state-civil society relations. This paper references findings from eight rounds of fieldwork since 2010 to specify how a spatially diffuse and formally diverse set of archives (maintained by artists, historians, book store owners, activists and others) in the orbit of youth-centered protest functions as a pedagogical resource for contemporary student activists. I show how student activists – including many young people protesting under the sign of #YoSoy132 – use Tlatelolco as a frame through which to seek political recognition, and thereby consolidate social categories through which their political practices are “policed.” With reference to waves of protest after the election of President Enrique Peña Nieto, I argue that a youth politics that disrupts the continuities promised by 2012’s return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party cannot be pursued through the assertion of identities given by a police order maintained through Tlatelolco-centric protest. I show that some young artists, activists and writers are, to the contrary, challenging the certainties of their inherited post-Tlatelolco political framework through anti-historicist practices of memory-work which reveal contemporary student activism to be a fragile achievement contingent on vinculación. I suggest that such practices call forth an “event of history” in which what can and cannot be said and done in relation to the past is redefined.