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Call for Papers

26 Nov

The Irish Centre for Mexican Studies is hosting a research symposium on Mexican and Mexican American Studies in June, 2014. We’re very excited and honoured to confirm Chicana / Native American poet Lorna Dee Cervantes as our keynote speaker!

Pathways, Explorations, Approaches



4-5 June 2014

This symposium invites participation from scholars working both in the area traditionally constituted as Mexican Studies and also in the area of Mexican-American and/or Chicano Studies. Its focus is deliberately expansive and we welcome proposals that will illuminate current approaches to, explorations of and pathways through these rich multidisciplinary fields that are underpinned by work in both the social sciences and humanities.  The symposium aims to showcase research into Mexican and Mexican-American Studies as currently conceptualised, studied and taught in the academy. The symposium provides the opportunity to debate and discuss scholarly research and inquiry on Mexico from a diverse range of disciplinary perspectives. Interventions in the areas of cultural studies, literatures, art, theatre and performance, history, political science, anthropology, sociology and digital humanities are welcome. Papers that problematise area studies’ approaches or that chronicle the issues…

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How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang

25 Nov

Alexandre Afonso

In 2000, economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics about the internal wage structure of a Chicago drug gang. This piece would later serve as a basis for a chapter in Levitt’s (and Dubner’s) best seller Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.) The title of the chapter, “Why drug dealers still live with their moms”, was based on the finding that the income distribution within gangs was extremely skewed in favor  of those at the top, while the rank-and-file street sellers earned even less than employees in legitimate low-skilled activities, let’s say at McDonald’s. They calculated 3.30 dollars as the hourly rate, that is, well below a living wage (that’s why they still live with their moms). [2]

If you take into account the risk of being shot by rival gangs, ending up in jail or…

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13 Nov

This site is on hiatus until January 2013.

The new year will bring updates on Breaking Bad, Junot Diaz, the U.S. presidential election and Mexico’s response to the legalization of marijuana in several U.S. states.

Until then, I found a video on YouTube with some familiar faces and fascinating stories:

Free Online Language Classes

12 Oct

I’ve been following Open Culture on Twitter for a while now and they have some excellent resources for scholars. This is a link that was recently tweeted by them to free online languages, there are some very good Spanish links.

Blogging for the Humanities Symposium, Dublin

28 Jan

Register now!


24 Jan

I am currently nearing the middle of a three month Visiting Scholar program with UCSB. It is more than likely that I will not update this site until nearer April.

Free Online Language Classes

21 Sep

I’ve been following Open Culture on Twitter for a while now and they have some excellent resources for scholars. This is a link that was recently tweeted by them to free online languages, there are some very good Spanish links.

DHO Summer School

20 Jun

The Digital Humanities Observatory summer school, in conjunction with NINES has been fully booked this year. The annual summer school provides four day and one day courses as well as public lectures for those interested and / or working in the digital humanities. Looks like its going to be an busy week in Dublin!

Between Borders

20 May

Just received a copy of Between Borders (ed. Del Castillo, Adelaida R.)

An expensive purchase, but I really needed to get a hold of essay by José E Limón entitled “La Llorona, The Third Legend of Greater Mexico: Cultural Symbols, Women, and the Political Unconscious.”

After delving through the last two books, I found myself looking for religious symbols in the protests in Arizona. As La Virgen has transcended political borders, moving as a cultural and political symbol from Mexico to the US – from the Mexican revolution to the United Farm Workers’ protests – it was vaguely surprising to find no image cropping up in the plethora of videos and news articles I have come across so far dealing with either SB1070 or HB2281.* However, the protests have not been completely bereft of Catholic iconography, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus appearing in artwork displayed in the Art Campaign of Alto Arizona, among others.

With a strong tradition of mural and other street art on the borderlands and beyond, it is not surprising to find some excellent artwork being produced in response to the current political landscape of Arizona. However, instead of the Virgen or other Aztec figures, as have been reproduced in the past, artists appear to be taking inspiration from more Eurocentric white supremist groups. Nazi Germany iconography – the swastika and Nazi uniforms – and the KKK uniform appear over and over again. This is not surprising, given the threat of racial profiling which protestors fear will arise from the bill.

Arizona citizens who are pro the immigration and/or Ethnic Studies bill, or who are simply fed up with the protesting and threats of boycott action from neighbouring states have also produced their own artwork. There is one in particular which has appeared on twitter a few times; a photoshop of a cactus to look like someone flipping the bird (unfortunately I’ve lost the link, but when I find the right one, I’ll post it). It’s concise, but forcibly portrays the anger and resentment brewing in opposition to the groups of protestors.

*It should be noted that as a non-US citizen writing from outside Arizona I am constrained to what is appearing on the internet. There could be other iconography appearing, however my research has not yet uncovered any on the internet. Any arguments/proof to the contrary are greatly welcome!