The preliminary program for the meeting of the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies has been posted. Members of the Latin American Studies Working Group at the University of Wyoming will be presenting on interdisciplinarity and program-building in Latin American Studies.

Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies

RMCLAS 2018 Final Program Now Available

The 2018 Preliminary Program for RMCLAS is now available here! We are still adding an introduction page and index, but the panel times are fixed. Please let us know if you see any errors that need correction. Many thanks to the program committees for their long and hard work!

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“Fifty Years of ’68” at the University of Wyoming

I am working with other members of the Latin American Studies Working Group (Drs. Zoe Pearson, Camilo Jaramillo, and Carolyne Larson) to launch our interdisciplinary Latin American Studies programming  at the University of Wyoming. From February 27 to March 1, we will be hosting Dr. Eugenia Allier Montaño (UNAM) and Ana Ignacia “Nacha” Rodríguez Márquez (Comité 68), interviewed here in the documentary film Casa Libertad, as they visit from Mexico City to recognize the fiftieth anniversary of the events of 1968. The week of programming will include talks by our guests, screenings of documentaries (including the new award winning documentary by João Moreira Salles,) work in the classroom with our students, and opportunities to network for the Latin American Studies community at University of Wyoming. A flier with our schedule is found below.

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Politicizing disappearance: three scenes from central Mexico

I will give a talk here at the University of Wyoming next week at our Center for Global Studies. The arguments draw from my ongoing research with Oliver Hernández Lara at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México in Toluca. We’re in the early stages of developing the paper for submission to a journal later this year. I cut and paste a more substantial abstract below the flyer.

Politicizing disappearance: three scenes from central Mexico

Activists in Latin America have long used the concept of “disappearance” to name the condition of being forcibly made absent from economic and political life. Activists have attributed the crime of disappearance, notably “forced disappearance,” to people who exercise sovereign authority but disavow their responsibility and indeed deny the existence of crimes for which responsibility must be assumed. In short, the concept of disappearance names a condition that sovereign authorities have otherwise naturalized by asserting a “historical truth” (see Ayotzinapa) of victims’ absence before disappearance. The politics around disappearance therefore occurs in what Melissa Wright calls “an epistemological gap.”

This paper draws on CGS-supported field research with Dr. Oliver Hernández Lara (UAEMex) and available data to show how three landscapes of disappearance in and around Mexico City are being politicized. Across these three scenes, the paper identifies practices of politicization through which activists and organizers are denaturalizing disappearance and revealing it to be the outcome of concrete productions of governable space that must be challenged in the name of dignity. Against justificatory discourses for violence against women, for failing infrastructure, for forced displacement, and for a war on the poor, all of which rely in different ways on a claim of victims’ absence before disappearance, activists and organizers in central Mexico are making visible the figure of the perpetrator and are overcoming exclusionary and depoliticizing constructions of “culture” and its spatiality to, in solidarity, challenge disparate enactments of sovereignty that are producing “the disappeared.”

Posted in Activism, América Latina, Critical Human Geography, Fieldwork, geografía crítica, Mexico, Political Economy, Political Geographies of the State, Political Geography, Politics, Qualitative Research, Social Movements, The Americas | Leave a comment

“1968, Fifty Years of Struggles” and other 50th anniversary events

the Comité 68 in Mexico City on the 48th anniversary of October 2

The organizers  for the “1968, Fifty Years of Struggles” conference at Middlebury College have posted information about the conference including the schedule of presentations, and biographies and abstracts of the presenters. I will present a paper from my Between Repression and Heroism project. Details about the paper can be found here.

The Middlebury conference is of course one of a slew of events in the US that mark the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1968. For example, University of Pittsburgh will host a semester long series events on “Global Legacies of 1968” including film screenings and presentations from some significant voices in the study of the global ’68, the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul is currently hosting “The 1968 Exhibit,” which focuses more on the Anglo-American experience of ’68, and the American Historical Association annual meeting earlier this month featured panels on histories of 1968 and the significance of the events of that year for contemporary politics (discussed here and here). Events are also being organized around the world. In Mexico, I am aware of diverse forms of commemoration beyond the annual march on October 2, from a rock opera to book projects and colloquia to theatrical performances. I will continue to catalogue anniversary events on this blog as they come to my attention.

Posted in 1968, Conferences, Memory, Mexico, My publications or presentations, Politics, The Americas, Transnationalism | 1 Comment

Geographies of crime and securitization in neoliberal Mexico, contributions to the Journal of Latin American Geography 16(3)

The editorial team for the Journal of Latin American Geography has released 16(3), which includes a number of excellent contributions, including an interesting analysis of changes in the spatial distribution of violence in Mexico between 2006 and 2011, a process that will demand continued attention as Mexico is unfortunately on track to break previous record numbers of violent crimes in 2017.

I contributed an invited book review of Markus-Michael Müller’s The Punitive City (Zed Books) to JLAG 16(3). Müller’s book approaches the processes examined in María del Pilar Fuerte Celis and Enrique Pérez Lujan’s article from a critical criminological perspective, and with a more narrow focus on Mexico City. The book is worth a read, not only for its study of how the geography of crime has been rendered and governed in Mexico City, but also because it provocatively offers a timely argument for “desecuritizing” scholarly analysis and practical engagement with the instabilities wrought by neoliberal governance. As I say in conclusion to the review,

“Müller’s The Punitive City will appeal to students and scholars of democracy, policing, urban development, and neoliberalism in Latin America, and it promises to immediately shape debates in the literature on Mexico City. Beyond its academic audience, activists and social justice organizers may find emancipatory energy in Müller’s analysis of the punitive city, for it shows that, despite the endurance of hierarchical and exploitative relationships in the governance of Mexico City, a punitive turn in neoliberal governance is contingent upon disparate practices of securitization and is therefore vulnerable to contestation. Amidst the emergence of transnational movements that are explicitly responding to extra-legal detention and disappearance, Müller underscores the urgency of politically engaged geographical scholarship, and suggests a need for future work on counter-topographies of anti-security.”

The complete issue of JLAG 16(3) can be found here.

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Act in solidarity with “Academics for Peace” in the face of ongoing repression in Turkey

via Petition

Ebru Ustundag circulated this petition on the GARN list — opportunities to act in solidarity with academics and others suffering from the ongoing repression in Turkey:


Call for solidarity for the academics for peace on trial

Violations of academic freedom and freedom of speech in Turkey have reached a dire situation.  The intimidations from Turkish government and its affiliates toward academics have escalated to legal action, whereby peace signatory academics face 7.5 years’ imprisonment if convicted for “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

In January 2016, 1128 academics signed the Peace Petition, titled ‘We Will Not Be A Party To This Crime’ in order to draw the public’s attention to the brutal acts of violence perpetrated by the state in the Kurdish regions of Turkey.  Immediately after the release of the petition, many signatories were prosecuted, dismissed from their posts, and their citizenship rights were seized. A large number of academics including Nobel Prize laureates and members of major science academies around the world initiated a support campaign nationally and internationally. People from different professions, such as journalists, artists, screen actors and actresses, and writers voiced their support for the persecuted academics. More people signed the petition, yet the suppression on the signatory academics got fiercer; hundreds of more academics were dismissed with statutory decrees, their passports were confiscated, they were banned from public sector employment, and criminal investigations were launched. Many of those academics had to leave the country and are now facing extreme difficulties in re-settling their lives and professions. One of the signatory academics –Mehmet Fatih Traş– could not stand this injustice and committed suicide. The declaration of state of emergency in July 2016 after a military coup attempt further blurred the distinction between criminal investigations and political punishment, and opened an arduous and painful avenue for not only the academics but also for journalists, writers, teachers, artists and others who demand freedom of speech in Turkey.

The signatory academics abroad have recently initiated a targeted boycott towards the Turkish higher education system, and its complicit universities. The aim of the academic boycott is to ensure that all dismissals are revoked and the persecution of academics, exacerbated under the state of emergency regime, is ended. To this boycott, and continuous struggle of Academics for Peace, the government recently responded by a harsher strategy: signatory academics are sued on an individual basis based on the accusation of terror propaganda according to the Law on Struggle against Terrorism, Article 7/2. The public prosecutor proposes imprisonment extending to 7.5 years. The number of academics with indictments is increasing day by day, and their trials start on December 5, 2017.

Since the petition, one of the most important acts of support for the academics who demanded peace has been the solidarity from colleagues who are not content with Turkey’s oppressive regime and its fatal actions on freedom of speech. In this new turn, we are well aware that we will need a stronger voice of resistance and call for justice! This solidarity can be through standing by us in the court hearings starting December 5, 2017, sending monitoring teams, observers, and news-makers; spreading the word and raising the awareness for what is happening now in Turkey regarding the academics.

In order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted academics, we, the peace academics from North America, call on you to:

1. Share and spread this call for solidarity; show your solidarity by following the trials,

commenting on them in your blogs, social media and/or writing a news article. For more

info on the latest attacks on academics in Turkey, please visit or

2. Contact if you want to attend the trials as an observer, or

write to a human rights organization to send a delegate;

3. Sign the petition to support the

targeted boycott on complicit universities in Turkey;

4. Inform your professional organizations and university senate to take action against

complicit institutions, such as The Scientific and Technological Research Council of

Turkey (TUBITAK;;

5. Support dismissed scholars financially by donating to the education union that supports


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Rashad Shabazz at University of Wyoming

One of our students produced this great flyer for Rashad Shabazz’s visit to University of Wyoming. Rashad will present a talk later this evening related to his historical geography of the Minneapolis sound, part of a book project in progress.

Posted in Cultural Geography, History, Political Economy, Politics, The Americas, Urban Geography | Leave a comment