CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela

November 2nd, 2015
12:15 PM

Location
100A Jones Hall, Greenleaf Conference Room

Lecture & Luncheon. RSVP required.
Please join us for a lecture with Dr. Alejandro Velasco, Assistant Professor at New York University, who will discuss his most recent book: Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela. Lunch will be served.

Based on years of archival and ethnographic research in Venezuela’s largest public housing community, Barrio Rising delivers the first in-depth history of urban popular politics before the Bolivarian Revolution, providing crucial context for understanding the democracy that emerged during the presidency of Hugo Chávez. In the mid-1950s, a military government bent on modernizing Venezuela razed dozens of slums in the heart of the capital Caracas, replacing them with massive buildings to house the city’s working poor. The project remained unfinished when the dictatorship fell on January 23, 1958, and in a matter of days city residents illegally occupied thousands of apartments, squatted on green spaces, and renamed the neighborhood to honor the emerging democracy: the 23 de Enero (January 23). During the next thirty years, through eviction efforts, guerrilla conflict, state violence, internal strife, and official neglect, inhabitants of el veintitrés learned to use their strategic location and symbolic tie to the promise of democracy in order to demand a better life. Granting legitimacy to the state through the vote but protesting its failings with violent street actions when necessary, they laid the foundation for an expansive understanding of democracy—both radical and electoral—whose features still resonate today.

Alejandro Velasco is a historian of modern Latin America whose research and teaching interests are in the areas of social movements, urban culture and democratization. Before joining the faculty at Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, Dr. Velasco taught at Hampshire College, where he was a Five College Fellow, and at Duke University. Dr. Velasco’s research has won major funding support from the Social Science Research Council, the American Historical Association, the Ford Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation, among others, and he has presented widely at both national and international conferences and symposia. His most recent publications are “‘A Weapon as Powerful as the Vote’: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Venezuela, 1978-8193” (Hispanic American Historical Review, November 2010) and “‘We Are Still Rebels’: The Challenge of Popular History in Bolivarian Venezuela” (Dan Hellinger and David Smilde, eds., Participation, Politics, and Culture in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy, Duke 2011). His book Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela was published in 2015 by the University of California Press.

We ask that everyone who plans on attending please RSVP to cipr@tulane.edu
For the event flyer click here.

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Upcoming Events

Latin American Graduate Oraganization (LAGO) 2018 Conference: Call for Proposals

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The Latin American Graduate Organization will be hosting its 2018 Latin American Studies Conference titled Thinking of the Future: Expanding the possible in the Americas (Pensando en el porvenir: Expandiendo lo posible en las Américas) February 23 – 25, 2018, at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This year, the conference topic is meant to challenge academics and activists to move beyond critiques and recommendations of how to address modern days issues, and instead articulate a vision of and for the future.

The LAGO Conference welcomes all disciplines and all approaches, as long as the project attempts to grapple with the idea of building something better. This is a Latin American Studies Conference, but creative writers, journalists, artists, performers, organizers, lawyers and healthcare providers as well as graduate students and other academics are welcome. Proposals are accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and English.

Deadlines: Abstracts of papers and projects are due November 25, 2017. Abstracts of papers or project descriptions must not exceed 300 words.

Please contact lago.tulane@gmail.com with questions. For more information, visit the official conference website.