CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Bridging the Divide: Transnational Activism and National Movements

April 11th, 2011 - April 12th, 2011

Monday: LBC Conference Room 209
Tuesday: Greenleaf Conference Room, 100a Jones Hall

Sponsored by the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research and Tulane University.


The Political Science Department and Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University is pleased to announce a workshop led by Lydian Professor Eduardo Silva entitled:


Monday, April 11, 2011
9:00 a.m – 3:30 p.m.
LBC Conference Room 209


Tuesday, April 12, 2011
9:00 a.m – 11:00 p.m.
Greenleaf Conference Room, 100a Jones Hall

The workshop, open to the public, addresses a significant literature gap on transnational and national movements that resist neoliberal globalization. Eight scholars from Brazil, Mexico, Italy and the U.S. will examine how growing involvement in transnational networks influences the organizational development, strategies, tactics, power resources, and effectiveness of participating national movements with respect to their domestic political and policy objectives.



  • William C. Smith, Miami University
  • Kathryn Hochstetler, University of Waterloo

Monday, April 11, 2011
9:00 – 9:30 Welcome and Introduction
LBC Conference Room 209

9:30 – 10:50 Neoliberal Globalization, Labor, and Transnational Movements

  • Marisa von Bülow, Political Science, University of Brasilia, Brazil
    The Problem of Coherence: the Dilemmas of Activism across the National and Transnational Scales
    Abstract: The most common forms of transnational trade campaigns that we have seen flourish since the 1990s typically gathered a broad spectrum of civil society actors around a simple frame, usually coalescing against an international negotiation, or in protest of a specific initiative. Increasingly, though, civil society actors that engage in such campaigns have had to face the challenge to formulate alternative proposals. This challenge relates to the key issue of effectiveness of transnational collective action, going beyond “just saying no” to building new possibilities. Based on the experience of transnational networks of trade challengers in the Americas, this article argues that civil society actors face a basic problem when responding to these pressures: the problem of coherence across scales. They waver between proposals that lead to more global governance, and others that aim at strengthening national capabilities and domestic public policies. The cases of labor unions and environmental NGOs that have challenged free trade agreements in the Americas in the past twenty years shows that this problem is felt across the North-South divide, as well as across issue areas. It is also felt both by domestic actors that engage in transnational initiatives and by more globalized actors.
  • Rose Spalding, Political Science, DePaul University
    Transnational Activism and National Action: El Salvador’s Anti-Mining Movement
    Abstract: Using the case of the anti-mining movement in El Salvador, this paper analyzes the ways in which national level networks adapt and deploy resources mobilized through transnational alliances in order to build a domestic resistance movement. It explores strategies and frames through which local community groups, environmental rights organizations, epistemic allies, and the Catholic Church leadership, each with their own set of interlinked transnational alliances, stitched together a reform coalition that fueled national policy change. Using analysis that extends beyond upward and downward scale shifts to include horizontal shifts in ideas and repertoires, this work highlights the kinds of resources that local organizations extract from transnational allies. It identifies different types of international nongovernmental organizations, including one variation (the domesticating INGO) that is particularly well adapted for national level collaboration. Arguing for the utility of a politically embedded campaign analysis, this study explores the intersection between social movements and formal politics, giving special attention to critical junctures when electoral calculations foster elite realignment and national policy change.

11:00 – 12:30 Material and Cultural Consequences of Transnational Activism

  • José Antonio Lucero, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
    Seeing Like a NGO: Encountering Development and Indigenous Politics in the Andes
    Abstract: Drawing inspiration from the critical literature on “post-development,” this paper explores the global and local nature of Indigenous politics through a comparative political and ethnographic analysis of “development encounters” between Indigenous peoples and their international supporters. Building on field research in Bolivia and Peru, this paper examines the role of US and European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Indigenous politics, and of Indigenous organizations in NGO politics. Examining international cooperation (cooperación internacional) as a “contact zone,” I argue that network and structural theories of transnational politics should be complemented by cultural analyses of the very notions of development and indigeneity. Though progressive NGOs enable transnational networks of solidarity and activism, their “ways of seeing” often (re)produce tensions between and among Indigenous communities and their transnational advocates.
  • Kimberly Nolan García, Division of International Studies, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica, México
    Transnational Tensions: Network Dynamics and Local Labor Rights Movements
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the impact of participation in transnational movements on local efforts to promote democratic unionization in the garment export sector in Puebla, Mexico. It explores the difficulties of recreating the successful cases of transnational advocacy when local level actors take over leadership and strategy development roles. The paper compares levels of transnational support for workers’ efforts to register an independent union in three assembly plants to emphasize that access to network resources conditioned the ability of local actors to meet movement goals once the network was led by local labor rights groups. In the first factory, Kukdong, deep transnational support, the provision of material resources, and the inclusion of key groups in the network ultimately led state officials to recognize the incipient worker’s organization as an independent union. However, once local advocates attempted to recreate this success at the local level in two additional factories —first at Matamoros Garment, and finally at Tarrant Ajalpan—the absence of key network participants meant that the relative lack of material resources, organizing expertise, and network contacts disadvantaged the local labor rights groups, ultimately leading to the collapse of these two unionization campaigns. As such, the chapter uses the lessons from the Puebla cases to emphasize how network dynamics, and specifically, how access to organizational resources once networks move to the local level, can condition when transnational advocacy ends in cases of failure.

2:00 – 3:30 Strategizing across National and Transnational Scales

  • Hannah Wittman, Sociology, Simon Fraser University
    Feeding the Nation while Cooling the Planet? La Vía Campesina, Agrarian Citizenship and Food Sovereignty in Brazil
    Abstract: This paper charts the re-emergence and transformation of a multi-layered ‘agrarian citizenship’ as a product of domestic and transnational mobilization around contemporary agro-ecological change. The cosmopolitan nature of agrarian citizenship is based not only on relations of agricultural rights and obligations vis-à-vis states, but also involves practices of strategic alliance-building, identity formation and “horizontal integration” between a wide range of local, global and national peasant movements. This form of agrarian resistance and citizenship is exemplified by the international peasant movement La Vía Campesina’s call for food sovereignty. The food sovereignty model, founded on practices of agrarian citizenship and ecologically sustainable local food production, is analyzed for its potential to challenge the dominant model of large-scale, capitalist, and export based agriculture in the Brazilian context.
  • Federico Rossi, Social and Political Studies, European University Institute, Italy
    Juggling Multiple Agendas in the Struggle Against Neoliberalism: The Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina, 2002-2010
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the virtually ‘parallel agendas’ that the Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina (CTA) developed at the national, continental and international levels for almost a decade. The CTA played a key role in the resistance to neoliberal reforms on the national level. While carrying out these activities, it also participated in the main continental campaign against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). However, these were largely parallel agendas in which the CTA’s transnational activism did not significantly influence its domestic strategic plans. The paper will show how although the CTA was actively participating in the continental campaigns against neoliberal globalization, its participation in these campaigns was the result of a nationally-focused agenda. Moreover, since the 1990s, the only CTA program of action at the international relations has been on the Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR), and has not suffered from any significant changes as a result of the CTA participation in the campaigns against the FTAA. The goal of this paper is therefore to study and analyze the reasons for the CTA application of three contemporary parallel agendas of action in an attempt to answer the problem of the influence of transnational activism on national contentious actors during their resistance to neoliberalism.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
9:30 – 11:00 Roundtable Discussion
Greenleaf Conference Room


As seating is limited, please RSVP by Friday, April 8, 2011 by emailing or calling 504.862.3141




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Upcoming Events

Chantalle Verna to Present Research on U.S. and Haitian Relationships in Post-Occupation Haiti

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Join us at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies in welcoming Dr. Chantalle Verna for a talk on her book Haiti and the Uses of America: Post- U.S. Occupation Promises on April 26, 2018, at 6:00 PM.

In her book, Dr. Verna makes evident that there have been key moments of cooperation that contributed to nation-building in both countries. Dr. Verna emphasizes the importance of examining the post-occupation period: the decades that followed the U.S. military occupation of Haiti (1915-34) and considering how Haiti’s public officials and privileged citizens rationalized nurturing ties with the United States at the very moment when the two nations began negotiating the reinstatement of Haitian sovereignty in 1930. Their efforts, Dr. Verna shows, helped favorable ideas about the United States, once held by a small segment of Haitian society, circulate more widely. In this way, Haitians contributed to and capitalized upon the spread of internationalism in the Americas and the larger world.

Dr. Verna received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University and is currently a professor in the History Department in Florida International University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Dr. Verna focuses on the culture of foreign relations, specifically concerning Haiti and the United States during the mid-twentieth century.

Apply for the Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A Summer Educator Institute in Cuba

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Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A Summer Educator Institute in Cuba
Havana, Cuba | June 23 – July 7, 2018
Program Application
Application Deadline: March 2, 2018

Tulane University’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University join forces with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies to take K-16 educators to Cuba. This is our fourth year running the Cuban Culture & Society K-16 Educator Institute and we are excited about this year’s itinerary. The institute will approach Cuban society and culture form a multidisciplinary perspective focused on the arts, the geography, and history of the country. Innovative programming and annual summer teacher institutes over the past three years provide the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and studying the region. Taking advantage of Tulane’s relationship with the University of Havana and Cuba’s National Union of Writers and Artists, the institute equips teachers with multidisciplinary content, curricular resources, and methods of inquiry for developing that approach in their K-16 classrooms. Conducted in English by Professor Carolina Caballero, the institute will explore current trends and issues in Cuban culture and society through readings, films, and lectures. The program includes a series of talks by prominent Cuban intellectuals and local field trips to important political and cultural sights throughout Havana.

This two-week program provides the unique opportunity to work on developing lesson plans while exploring the sights and sounds of a nation and country that remain obscured behind political rhetoric and misinformation. Recent economic changes on the island have provoked a series of social and cultural transformations that have left Cubans and the entire world wondering what could be next for the island and the Revolution. Don’t miss the chance to witness some of these challenges and triumphs firsthand and get the opportunity to bring your experience back to your students in the classroom.

The trip will include a pre-departure orientation and two weeks in Cuba. The institute incorporates visits to local museums and exposes participants to arts organizations, schools, and teachers from the country’s national literacy campaign. Participants will stay within walking distance of the Malecón, the university, and many cultural venues. There will be group excursions to the historic Che Guevara monument, a visit to the site of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and a special visit to the town of Hershey, the town developed by Milton Hershey to begin his chocolate enterprise with the sugar from Cuba’s plantations. There will also be group excursions to the historic cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, Playa Girón, and Viñales, focusing on their role in the development of the economy and culture of the country

The cost will include a shared room and two meals a day, medical insurance, airfare to/from Havana from Tampa, Florida*, airport transportation in Havana to/from residence, OFAC-licensed academic visa, and specialized tours and outings.

*Airfare to/from Tampa, Florida, a one-night hotel stay in Tampa, incidental costs, and extra meals and expenses are not included in the program cost. You are responsible for your own air flight to/from Tampa, FL.

Those interested in applying must be a K-16 educator or librarian. There is no Spanish language requirement for this program. The application deadline is March 2, 2018, at 5:00 PM.

Please note: This program is only open to K-16 educators who are currently teaching, are pre-service teachers or are serving in a school or public library.

Please be advised that this itinerary is subject to change based on availability in Cuba. The itinerary below is the schedule from the 2017 institute.

  • Day 1 – U.S./HAVANA, CUBA
    Depart from Tampa, FL, Upon arrival, enjoy dinner and a welcome reception followed by an informal walk and people watching on the Malecón.
  • Day 2 – HAVANA
    Habana Vieja (Old Havana) Tour with local preservation experts to discuss in depth the history of local landmarks, historical preservation efforts, and future plans. Visit Muraleando Lawton, a community art project in the Lawton neighborhood of Havana. Hear from the founders of this project on how the neighborhood developed to promote skills in the community and support the local economy and meet with local community leaders, students and elderly folks at the community center.
  • Day 3 – HAVANA
    Lecture with Professor Carlos Alzugaray on Cuba Since the Special Period. Visit the elementary school Sergio Luis Ferriol in Habana Vieja. Connect with teachers and administrators about their experiences in the classroom.
  • Day 4 – HAVANA
    Visit the Museo Nacional de la Alfabetización (National Museum of the Literacy Campaign) and connect with members of the literacy brigade, teachers from the literacy campaign.
  • Day 5 – HAVANA
    Visit and explore Ernest Hemingway’s house. Have lunch in the infamous fishing village of Cojimar. In the afternoon, explore art by taking a tour of the Cuban Collection of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes accompanied by a curator then visit with artists at the Taller de Gráfica.
  • Day 6 – HERSHEY
    Day trip to the Hershey, Cuba and nature park. The site where famous chocolatier Milton Hershey developed his chocolate business by setting up sugar mills in the early 1900’s. Explore the natural side of Cuba in this country town.
  • Day 7 – HAVANA
    Learn about children’s literature and the book publishing business in Cuba by visiting Cuba’s national publisher UNEAC and hear first hand from children’s book authors. We will hear from children’s book author Olga Marta Pérez about the children’s/ youth Literacy Scene in Cuba today.
  • Day 8 – HAVANA/REGLA
    Take the ferry across the bay in Havana to the town of Regla to learn about Afro-Cuban dance and music from musicologist Cari Diez and an Afro-Cuban dance performance group.
    Travel to Trinidad via Santa Clara, a town founded by 175 people on July 15, 1689. It is the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution in 1958. Visit to the Che Mausoleum in Santa Clara. Also visit the historic sugar plantation of Manaca Iznaga before arriving in Trinidad.
  • Day 10 – TRINIDAD
    Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, founded on December 23, 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuellar. Trinidad was a central piece of Cuba’s sugar-based economy. Guided city tour with the city historian. Visit the Trinidad library to learn about the importance of libraries and debate questions of intellectual freedom with the staff.
  • Day 11 – PLAYA GIRON (SITE OF BAY OF PIGS) Ciénega de Zapata, Playa Larga
    Day excursion to the historic site of the Bay of Pigs, one of the landing sites for the 1961 US-backed invasion. Visit the Finca Fiesta Campesina farm, the Playa Girón museum, the Parque Ciénaga de Zapata, the Laguna del Tesoro, and the Taino Indian village. Snorkel in the Bay of Pigs!
  • Day 12 – HAVANA
    Visit the U.S. Embassy and hear first-hand about the state of current relations between the U.S. and Cuba. In the afternoon, we head over to meet up with the famous hip-hop group, Obsesión to hear about their music and experience as hip-hop artists in Cuba.
    Take a day trip to Matanzas, the capital of the Cuban province of Matanzas. Known for its poets, culture, and Afro-Cuban folklore, we will explore the Triunvirato Plantation and the Castillo San Severino where we will hear about the history of slavery in Cuba. The rest of the afternoon we relax and explore the beautiful beaches of Varadero, a popular resort town covering Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula.
  • Day 14 – HAVANA
    Wrap-up curriculum workshop followed by a free afternoon ending in a celebratory dinner.
  • Day 15 – HAVANA/U.S.
    Morning departure for the U.S.

Explore our past trips through these photos and curricula:

Program Application

For more information, please contact Denise Woltering-Vargas at or call the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at 504-862-3143.