University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

River Life: Place, Water, Community

January 24, 2017IASForum0

Download a PDF of this blog post here (4 MB) Over the past few months, River Life has found its focus shifting a bit. Since 2005, we have worked to raise the visibility of the Mississippi River, particularly on the campus of the University of Minnesota, which is bisected by the river in Minneapolis. We […]

Our Capacity for Imagining: Political Theater in 2016

Our Capacity for Imagining: Political Theater in 2016 Thursday, November 3, 2016, at 3:30pm Crosby Seminar Room, 240 Northrop Free and open to the public Download: audio, small video, or original. Join Twin Cities artists Shá Cage, E.G. Bailey, Laryssa Husiak, and Ricardo Vasquez as they unpack multiple perspectives on political theater. How do form, […]

CLS Statement Against the “Build the Wall” Mural

October 12, 2016IASForum0

forum-mural-vandalismPhoto Credit: Unicorn Riot, Navigate MN, @CultureClap

Dear President Kaler,

Anti-immigrant and anti-Latinx rhetoric has figured prominently in the current presidential election. This speech was recycled in the University of Minnesota’s annual “Paint the Bridge” event when a registered student organization adopted Donald Trump’s slogan, “Build the wall.” We write to express our outrage at this xenophobia. We are advocates of freedom of speech, but we consider this statement to reflect more than just a preference for one political candidate over another. It is a barely covert racist message that explicitly targets Mexican nationals. Stated as a command, it does not represent free speech so much as it creates a threatening and hostile environment for immigrants (documented and/or undocumented), anyone of Mexican descent, and anyone subject to racial profiling. This incident reflects growing anti-Latinx rhetoric and is arguably an example of hate-speech.

This rhetoric has led to actual anti-Latinx hate crimes. See for example incidents in Los Angeles and Boston.

While some may see the “build the wall” rhetoric as simply a policy position, history bears out that the notion of “illegal alien” invented in the twentieth century was applied using long-standing anti-Mexican sentiment that also justified segregation and other forms of systemic exclusion. The targeting of this and the larger Latinx population continues, as according to the Pew Research Center in 2010, 97% of all unauthorized immigrant removals are from Latin American countries even though these migrants make up only 81% of the undocumented population. These removals have historically led to the expulsion of U.S. citizens of Latin American descent—many of them children—and uprooted families to impair the broader Latinx community that consists of a diversity of statuses including citizens, documented residents, and undocumented.

The Department of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota joins in solidarity with students, departments, and offices speaking against this public message. We feel it is important, particularly as faculty and instructors of Chicano and Latino Studies, to name these speech-acts as inherently violent and to speak against that violence. The field of Chicano and Latino Studies emerged at the University of Minnesota from protests by students, faculty, staff, and community leaders fighting for culturally relevant curriculum and research. Our disciplinary tradition insists on a social justice framework and commitment, both locally and nationally. It is in this spirit we are compelled to address this issue, bringing awareness to our local community.

By dismissing this rhetoric as free speech, the university’s response fails to recognize the inherent violence perpetuated by this slogan. Given the current state of race relations, it is (and was meant to be) incendiary and as such requires that it be addressed by the university through substantive discussion and action. This is at least the second incident in the past couple of years coming from white-dominated student organizations (please recall the “Galactic Fiesta”) and signals an increasingly hostile environment for our community as well as other communities of color. This incident, like the Galatic Fiesta, was held within an officially sanctioned university event/project. The university should ensure that the campus is a safe and welcoming place for Latinx students, faculty, and staff. These racial micro aggressions take a great social and emotional toll upon our Latinx faculty, staff, and students. They are damaging an already underfunded and understaffed department. It is incredibly wearisome to constantly fight for basic respect and dignity, especially under a racial climate that is anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant. Latinx faculty find it increasingly challenging to teach a white student majority that has shown to be antagonistic to our very presence.

The ignorance and hate encapsulated by the “Paint the Bridge” mural reflects the dire need for further support of the work we do and thus emphasizes the importance of continued investment in Ethnic Studies departments, and Chicano and Latino Studies in particular. We believe open political discourse is critical for the democratic process. As scholars and activists on and off campus we encourage our students to engage in healthy and respectful debate. However, the racist and xenophobic language on the mural discourages open communication and generates a climate of hatred precisely in the educational space where we would most expect fruitful argumentation. These incidents further highlight the necessity of Ethnic Studies and social justice oriented curriculums.

We demand that the University do more than speak out, but actively take responsibility for the racist and xenophobic climate that is being fostered in this public space. We live in a heightened hostile and racist climate in which hate crimes against Latinx, Muslims, Sikhs, and other people of color, not to mention LGBTQ people, have increased during this year’s presidential election campaign. This speech is an incitement to violence. While free speech is an important value at the University, it is not the paramount value of the University of Minnesota. In fact, the University has stated its commitment to being an institution committed to diversity and equity. In stating its support for racist rhetoric in public spaces without any actions to counter the climate, the University has failed in its responsibilities to uphold values other than free speech. It has abstained from taking responsibilities for the cost of free speech. The subsequent hostility will be borne by Latinx students, staff, and faculty, by immigrants and refugees, and generally by people of color on campus; many of us will spend endless hours trying to ameliorate the degraded conditions of the University. We also must ask, “free speech for whom”? Exclusionary speech in a highly unequal context – when framed as “free” – amounts to protections for the powerful in the course of inciting symbolic violence. There are many actions that the University could do instead of sitting on the side and letting hate speech dominate. Where is the support for Chicano and Latino Studies? Where is the teach-in or forum about immigration? Where is the support for Latinx students, staff, and faculty from the entire University? Where are the buttons, banners, and statements of support for those who are the targets? Instead, we received a statement and inaction which in effect supports the harmful speech. When will the University take responsibilities for and action to support the values, besides free speech, it espouses?

In solidarity,

Department of Chicano and Latino Studies
Latino Faculty and Staff Association
La Raza Student Cultural Center
Black Student Union
Department of American Indian Studies
Asian American Studies
Immigration History and Research Center
Department of African American and African Studies
Department of American Studies
Department of Anthropology
Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Teach-In on “Build the Wall”

October 7, 2016IASEvents0

Teach-In on “Build the Wall” Friday, October 7, 2016, 10-11:30am Crosby Seminar Room, 240 Northrop Free and open to the public Please join us for an open dialogue on immigration, free speech, and the role of the university. Moderators: Martha Bigelow, Bianet Castellanos, Karen Mary Davalos, and Erika Lee. Cosponsored by the Department of Chicano […]

Race, Religion, and Gender: Driving the 2016 Election

September 15, 2016IASEvents, IAS Thursdays2

Race, Religion, and Gender: Driving the 2016 Election Thursday, September 15, 2016, at 3:30pm Crosby Seminar Room, 240 Northrop Free and open to the public Image: Kehinde Wiley A panel discussion exploring how the roles of race, religion and gender are influencing American politics, and particularly the 2016 elections. Perspectives from a variety of fields […]

Traces: Landscapes in Transition on the Yellow River Basin

Traces: Landscapes in Transition on the Yellow River Basin Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 7-8:30pm Best Buy Theater, 4th Floor, Northrop Free and open to the public Download: audio, small video, or original. Photographer Ian Teh presents a series of panoramic photographs of the ever-changing landscapes along the length of China’s Yellow River. Historically a symbol […]

Ronald Krebs, Prof. of Political Science. August 2015

Download: audio, small video, or original. Ronald Krebs, Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota, conducts research at the juncture of international relations and comparative politics, with particular interests in the origins and consequences of international conflict and military service and in language and politics. He is the author of Fighting for Rights: Military Service […]

An Interview with Murat Altun, August 15, 2012

Months of field work in Northeastern Turkey, visits with local folklorists and historians, and unexpected coincidences have all led doctoral scholar Murat Altun, from the department of Anthropology, to investigate the Kalandar Winter Festival and its relation to the historical and contemporary conflicts in this region of Turkey. His classically anthropological inquiry investigates the origin […]

September 14, 2012: Conversation about Site and Incitement

September 14, 2012Aaron Victorin-VangerudEvents, Site and IncitementComments Off on September 14, 2012: Conversation about Site and Incitement

Please join us for open discussion on the University Symposium topic for 2012-14, Site and Incitement this fall on September 14, November 9 and November 30.  All discussions will be held: 12:00 – 1:30 235 Nolte Center The concept of “site” is crucial to the way we know and negotiate the world. It is now commonplace […]

April 26, 2012: Occupy Wall Street – Discussion with Karen Ho and Hannah Chadeayne Appel

Karen Ho and Hannah Chadeayne Appel examine the Occupy Wall Street movement. Karen Ho is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, and author of Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Hannah Appel is an anthropologist, currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She has been participating in the […]

Indonesian filmmaker Gotot Prakosa discusses Kantata Takwa and the art of making experimental and independent film

After screening a selection of his short works and excerpts of Kantata Takwa, filmmaker Gotot Prakosa discusses his work, his experimental aesthetics, and the conditions of working in Indonesia since the 1970s. Known as Indonesia’s first independent, avant garde filmmaker, Prakosa has produced numerous short films and experimental animations, as well as documentaries and feature […]

Karl Rogers, November 18, 2011

Karl Rogers is a co-founder and director of the John Dewey Center for Democracy and Education; Professor of Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires; Visiting Lecturer in Discourse Analysis and Critical Theory at the Universidad de Belgrano, Buenos Aires; and a Research Fellow of the Centre of Science Studies at the University of Bath. He […]

Dara Strolovitch, Faculty Fellow, Spring 2011

Dara Strolovitch (Department of Political Science, CLA), Spring 2011 Project: “When Bad Things Happen to Privileged People” During her fellowship, Strolovitch completed several projects: the article “Intersectionality in Time,” forthcoming in Politics & Gender; a co-authored chapter “Gender and Civil Society Organizations,” forthcoming in Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics (Laurel Weldon, Georgina Waylen, Karen […]

TEMS Workshop – Enlightened Secrets: Silk, Travel, and the State in 18th-century France

Paola Bertucci is a professor of the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University.  She received her D.Phil. in History of Science from the University of Oxford. Her work focuses on various aspects of science and medicine in the age of Enlightenment: spectacle and secrecy; travel and industrial espionage; the human body in experimental […]

Terrorists or Victims? US-Lao Relations and Hmong Transnational Politics – A talk by Her Vang

Her Vang received his Ph.D in U.S. History from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010. His dissertation, “Dreaming of Home, Dreaming of Land: Hmong Displacements and Transnational Politics” is based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research done in Laos, Thailand, and the United States between 2006 and 2009. His work explores the evolution of […]

The Freedoms We Lost: Consent and Resistance in Revolutionary America – A talk by Barbara Clark Smith

Barbara Clark Smith discusses her new book. The Freedoms We Lost: Consent and Resistance in Revolutionary America explores the political forms and social commitments that brought ordinary, middling American colonists into the resistance movement against Great Britain. Dr. Smith challenges received understandings of the nature and causes of the Revolution. Most boldly, she argues that […]

Youth Movements and Revolution in Egypt – A talk by Ragui Assaad

Ragui Assaad is a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. His current research projects include studying the effects of economic reform on the Egyptian labor market, female labor supply in Egypt, and community development efforts among Cairo’s informal waste collectors. Assaad has served as a consultant to the […]

Joshua Page, October 2010

Joshua Page is a professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota where his current research interests focus on crime, law, deviance, and punishment as well as labor and unionization. His recent publications include The ‘Toughest Beat’: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers’ Union in California (2011), “A Game You Can’t Win – A Culture Review” (with Ross Macmillan, 2009), […]

Kathleen Hull, Faculty Fellow, Spring 2010

Kathleen E. Hull (Department of Sociology, CLA), Spring 2010 Project: “Beyond the Culture Wars: How Ordinary Citizens Use Religious, Legal, and Scientific Repertoires to Understand Contemporary Social Dilemmas” Working jointly with Penny Edgell, Hull used the semester at IAS to work on revising a grant proposal for resubmission to NSF for a new project examining […]

Penny Edgell, Faculty Fellow, Spring 2010

Penny Edgell (Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts), Spring 2010 Project: “Beyond the Culture Wars: How Ordinary Citizens Use Religious, Legal, and Scientific Repertoires to Understand Contemporary Social Dilemmas” While in residence Edgell read literature in several interdisciplinary areas to revise and resubmit a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) with her […]

Raymond Geuss, May 6, 2010

Download: audio, small video, or original. Raymond Geuss is a professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University. Among his recent works are Politics and the Imagination (2010), Philosophy and real politics (2008), Political Judgment (co-edited with Richard Bourke, 2009), and “The loss of meaning on the Left” (2010). While at the IAS, Prof. Geuss also presented […]

The Political Economy of Public International Law: A talk by Reecia Orzeck, March 1, 2010

Reecia Orzeck is in the Department of Geography at the University of Vermont. Inspired by the left’s animated defense of international law during the Bush II years, Reecia Orzeck’s project explores international law’s relationship to the imperialism with which it is so often contrasted and the means by which this relationship remains mystified. Professor Orzeck will […]

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, Faculty Fellow, Fall 2009

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Department of American Indian Studies, CLA, UM-Duluth), Fall 2009 Project: “Stealing Fire, Scattering Ashes: Anishinaabe Expressions of Sovereignty, Nationhood, and Land Tenure in Treaty Making with the United States and Canada, 1785-1923” Stark made significant progress on her book manuscript and found that the IAS‘s partnership with the University of Minnesota Press […]

Matt Huber, September 25, 2009

Matt Huber argues that the geopolitical fixation on petroleum resources emerges out of historically specific relationships between fossil fuel energy, capitalism, and everyday social reproduction. Making explicit the centrality of fossil energy to social reproduction links the geopolitical geographies of coercion, violence and war to the nationalistic geographies of consent, spatialized freedom, and the “American […]

Advocacy in Hard Times: Representing Marginalized Groups in Times of National Crisis: A presentation by Dara Strolovitch

Dara Strolovitch is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. Some of her recent work includes Affirmative Advocacy: Race, Class, and Gender in Interest Group Politics (2007), “New Orleans is not the Exception: Re-politicizing the Study of Racial Inequality” (with Paul Frymer and Dorian Warren, 2006), and “Measuring Gay Population Density and the […]

“Sex, Music, Pleasure, and Politics”: A Presentation by David Hesmondhalgh, 5/1/2009

May 1, 2009IASEvents0

Hesmondhalgh examines popular music’s relationship to sex as part of the broader issue of music’s relationship with transgression. In capitalist modernity music is often seen as having a particular democratizing or liberating force in its resistance to some overriding power or authority. Hesmondhalgh explores this in relation to a number of claims made about various […]

Betty, Barbara, Joan and Jane: The Gendered Dimensions of Highway Construction in Postwar America – A presentation by Eric Avila, April 28, 2009

Eric Avila is a professor of History, Chicano Studies and Urban Planning at UCLA. He is author of Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles (2004). His research and teaching interests focus upon the historical interplay of social identity, cultural expression and urban space. In the workshop and talk […]

“The Folklore of the Freeway: Highway Construction and the Making of Race in the Modernist City”: A workshop with Eric Avila, 4/27/2009

April 27, 2009IASEvents0

This workshop emphasizes the racial politics of building freeways in the emergent ghettos and barrios of American cities. Throughout the nation’s urban centers, people of color — African Americans and Mexican Americans in particular — experienced the encroachment of freeways upon their already bounded communities. In many instances, freeways severely depleted local supplies of housing, […]

“Environmental Policy Formation: Political Economy and Behavioral Economics”: A presentation by Amy Ando, April 23, 2009

Amy Ando is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her recent work includes “Welfare Effects and Unintended Consequences of Ethanol Subsidies? (with Madhu Khanna and Farzad Taheripour, 2008), “The Roles of Ownership, Ecology, and Economics in Public Wetland-Conservation Decisions” (with Michael Getzner, 2006), and “Recycling […]

Andrew Light, April 22, 2009

Andrew Light is a professor of Philosophy and Environmental Policy and Director for the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University. Light is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. A globally recognized environmental ethicist – specializing in the ethical dimensions of environmental policy, restoration ecology, and, more […]

Guillaume Boccara, April 12, 2009

Guillaume Boccara was in residence at the IAS in 2009 as part of the Global Cultures Group of Quadrant. His project is called “The Making of Indigenous Culture: Neoliberal Multiculturalism and Ethnogovernmentality in Post-Dictatorship Chile.” Dr. Boccara received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, where he […]

Margaret Werry, Faculty Fellow, Fall 2008

Margaret Werry (Theatre Arts and Dance, College of Liberal Arts): “Traveling the Virtual Pacific: Political Theatre and Theatrical Politics” Werry had a highly productive fellowship, in which she completed components of three major projects and broadened the interdisciplinary foundation of her scholarship in ways she had not originally envisaged. She presented three conference papers on components of her […]

Rethinking Statehood: Sovereignty, Memory and Citizenship in Minnesota 150, 2008-2009

What have been the historical, cultural, and political relationships between the University of Minnesota, American Indian sovereign governments, and the larger Twin Cities community?  How can more just futures and a more vibrant University be imagined through learning from contemporary American Indian ways of living and knowing in the realms of politics, law, science, education and […]

Caryl Clark, March 28, 2008

Caryl Clark is a professor of Musicology at the University of Toronto. Her teaching and research reflect interests in Haydn studies, contexts of performance, gender studies, opera and interdisciplinarity, Orientalism and the politics of musical reception. The interview can also be downloaded as an audio file (.mp3 – 53.2 MB). Professor Clark has published in a wide […]

Erik Olin Wright, December 2007

Erik Olin Wright is a professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His research focuses on American class structures and developing social and economic alternatives. His current book projects include Envisioning Real Utopias, and, with Joel Rogers, American Society: how it actually works (forthcoming). The interview can also be downloaded as a video podcast (127.7 MB) or as an audio […]

Movement ‘Clusters’: New Directions of Study, Fall 2007

SOC 8090-002 Topics in Sociology 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays September 4-13 1114 Social Sciences, 1 credit Instructor: Doug McAdam, Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, who will be in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study September 4-14. Scholars persist in conceiving of social movements and revolutions as largely independent of one […]

Anselm Hollo, March 2007

Anselm Hollo is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Writing and Poetics Department at The Naropa Institute, a Buddhist-inspired nonsectarian liberal arts college in Boulder, Colorado. He was born in Helsinki, Finland, but in his early twenties, he left Finland to live and work as a writer and translator, first in Germany and Austria, then in London, […]

Jeff Halper, March 2007

The interview can also be downloaded as a video podcast (129.9 MB) or as an audio file (.mp3 – 56 MB). Jeff Halper is the co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions which challenges and resists the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes. He has been a peace and human rights activist for more than three decades and was nominated […]

Jason M. Roberts, Faculty Fellow, Fall 2006

Jason M. Roberts (Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts) Project title: “Ambition, Competition, and Democratic Responsiveness: Studying Congressional Elections Across Time” Jason Roberts completed work on an article, “Candidate Quality, the Personal Vote, and the Incumbency Advantage in Congress,” with Jamie L. Carson and Erik J. Engstrom which was subsequently published in American Political Science Review 101 […]

Workshop on Race and Pedagogy

Thursday November 30 and Friday December 1, 2006 Aims The aim of this workshop, organized by the Science/Nature/Culture collaborative, is to engage scholars who work and/or teach on issues related to race. Our hope is to facilitate conversation across the university on the complexities of teaching about race. Workshop presenters will speak on the difficulties and successes […]