CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Inter-American Relations

Inter-American Relations

George W. Bush pledged to focus on Latin America during his second term but shifted his focus to the War on Terror in the advent of 9/11. A heavy-handed approach towards the region, dominated by the simplistic dictum that “you are with us or against us”, and an overemphasis on militaristic and repressive policies–on drugs and immigration, for example–generated widespread resentment. The rise of democratically elected leftist regimes both capitalized from and fostered the resurgence of anti-Americanism, leading some commentators to declare that the US had “lost” the region, opening it up to the influence of adversarial powers like China, Russia, or even Iran.

When elected, President Obama pledged a return to multilateralism, and offered to engage countries in the region as equal partners. He argued that the nature of the threats facing the Western Hemisphere in the twenty first century–organized crime, environmental degradation, climate change–were beyond the pale of any individual country, and should be tackled jointly. This new rhetoric, accompanied by the recognition of a shared responsibility for the drug trade, given demand fordrugs and supply of arms originating in the US, created an auspicious moment for US-Latin American relations. Yet, tensions reemerged as policy differences became manifest between the US andregional powers, particularly with regard to the expansion of a military base agreement with Colombia and the handling of the democratic and diplomatic impasse generated by the coup against Zelaya in Honduras. Moreover, Obama’s inability to move forward in any of the substantive policy issues most relevant to the region, from comprehensive immigration reform to the ratification of free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, created a sense of stasis.

The Obama administration did reverse Bush-era restrictions on travel to Cuba, eliminated the limits on remittances, opened the way to investment in key areas, and accepted the premise of a conditional return of Cuba to the OAS. However, it showed little willingness to go further in reversing the embargo, widely perceived as a failed policy and universally resented in the region. Obama has also further committed the US, through Plan Merida and the Central American and Caribbean Security Initiatives, to a war on drugs increasingly decried as ineffective and evendangerous. This led to claims that Obama’s policies towards the region exhibit substantive continuity with those inherited from his predecessor. Nonetheless, regional polls show that the President enjoys high popularity in Latin America and that majorities now express favorable views of the US and its influence in the region, which suggests that the administration’s efforts to appear more even-handed in its approach to the region are favorably perceived.

It could be argued that the US has little choice but to engage the region on this basis. While the US is mired in political stalemate and suffering from lackluster economic growth Latin America seems to be on the rise, enjoying an era of social, political, and economic success. Its governments are democratically elected, economic growth is solid, and strides have been made against poverty and inequality, often through the introduction of innovative policies. There has been a shift in global power towards emerging economies, which has enabled them to adopt a more assertive and independent stance in international relations, including with the United States. Still, challenges remain. Most economies in the region continue to rely excessively on commodity exports, fueled by demand from China, for their growth. Some countries have experienced a weakening of democratic institutions. And the region is still a long way from fully escaping the ravages of poverty and inequality. While the tenor of relations has indeed changed, the US will remain a significant and important regional player. This was evidenced by Obama’s 2011 trip to the region, which was framed by the themes of respect and partnership. The choice of destinations–Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador–suggested a focus on likeminded allies with the greatest potential for mutually beneficial partnerships. For example, at least 10 partnership agreements were signed with Brazil during the trip,ranging from trade and energy to nuclear non-proliferation. On the other hand, the administration avoided openly sparring with countries that oppose it, thereby attempting to move forward on the basis of mutual respect.

In sum, inter-American relations have evolved in their complexity. Integration has continued apace and there are broad areas of common interest and much to gain, but the rules of engagement have been altered. While the US is still the most powerful player it must now deal with more autonomous and assertive regional players that are increasingly willing and able to diversify their relations with extra regional players.

Key general research questions in this area include the following:

  • How will American interests in the region continue to evolve and what are the implications?
  • How might policy towards the region evolve, if at all, under the currently divided US Congress? What are the implications for the region of the presidential campaign of 2012?
  • Will the US continue to pursue a policy of partnership and respect? What are its implications?
  • What can be expected of regional integration efforts? With what consequences?
  • What is the future role of regional and sub-regional institutions?
  • What are the implications for Inter-American relations of the new found assertiveness and autonomy of regional powers?
  • What are the threats of rising arms purchases in the region and a potential arms race between regional powers?
  • Is there a danger of the resurgence of democratic slippage, or even authoritarianism? How might these affect Inter-American relations?
  • What are the greatest threats to peace and stability in the region?
  • What is the best approach to deal with transnational security issues like gangs, the drug trade, and other forms of international crime?

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Dr. Erika Robb Larkins to present research in talk on Brazil's Private Security Sector

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Join the Stone Center for Latin American Studies in welcoming Dr. Erika Robb Larkins for a talk titled Mall Cops and Bodyguards: Civility, Expendability, and Racialized Labor in Brazil’s Private Security Sector on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.

Dr. Erika Robb Larkins is the Director of the J. Keith Behner and Catherine M. Stiefel Program on Brazil and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at San Diego State University. She received her doctorate in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also holds a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching focus is on violence and inequality in urban settings. Her first book, The Spectacular Favela: Violence in Modern Brazil (U California Press 2015), explores the political economy of spectacular violence in one of Rio’s most famous favelas. Dr. Larkins is presently working on a second book examining the private security industry in Brazil.

Please direct any questions about the talk to Daniel Gough.

Sociology Colloquium Series to host talk by Javier Auyero on collusion and violence in Argentina

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Join the Sociology Department at Tulane University in welcoming Dr. Javier Auyero, for a talk titled The Ambivalent State: Collusion and Violence in Latin America on Thursday, January 24, at 3:30 PM.

Drawing upon long-term ethnographic fieldwork in a poor high-crime neighborhood of Argentina and documentary evidence from court cases involving drug traffickers and police officers, this talk examines the clandestine connections between participants in the illicit drug trade and members of the state security forces – and their impact on skyrocketing urban violence. The presentation unpacks the much-referred to (but seldom scrutinized) content of police-criminal collusion reconstructing the resources, relational practices, and processes at its core. The talk makes its three-fold argument by way of empirical demonstration: a) illicit relationships between police agents and traffickers serve the latter to achieve a quasi-monopoly in the use of force over a territory that is central to the prosecution of their illegal trade, b) clandestine relationships between police officers and traffickers feed the systemic violence that characterizes the market of illegal drugs and contributes to localized violence, and c) police-trafficker collusion fosters widespread skepticism about law-enforcement among residents of low-income violent neighborhoods.

Dr. Javier Auyero is the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long in Latin American Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of Poor People’s Politics, Contentious Lives, Routine Politics and Violence in Argentina, and Patients of the State. Together with Débora Swistun, he co-authored Flammable: Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown. His new book, In Harm’s Way: The dynamics of urban violence, co-authored with María Fernanda Berti, was recently published by Princeton University Press. He is also the editor of Invisible City: Life and Labor in Austin, Texas (published this year by University of Texas Press), and co-editor – with Philippe Bourgois and Nancy Scheper-Hughes – of Violence at the Urban Margins (published this year by Oxford University Press).

Stone Center for Latin American Studies to host 11th annual Workshop on Field Research Methods

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Join us at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies for the 11th Annual Weekend Workshop on Field Research Methods on Saturday, January 26, 2019. The deadline to apply for the workshop is January 15, 2019.

How will you get the data you need for your thesis or dissertation? Do you envision immersing yourself for months in the local culture, or tromping the hills and farms seeking respondents? Sorting through dusty archives? Observing musicians at work in the plaza? Downloading and crunching numbers on a computer? For any of these approaches: How might you get there, from here?

This workshop aims to help you approach your data collection and analysis for your thesis or dissertation topic, and to adapt and refine your topic to be more feasible. You will take your research project ideas to the next stop—whatever that may be, include raising travel grants. Learn to:

  • Plan more efficiently, feasible, and rewarding fieldwork
  • Prepare more compelling and persuasive grant proposals
  • Navigate choices of research methods and course offerings on campus
  • Become a better research and fieldwork team-member

Format
This is an engaged, hands-on, informal workshop. Everyone shares ideas and participates. We will explore and compare research approaches, share experiences and brainstorm alternatives. You will be encouraged to think differently about your topic, questions, and study sites as well as language preparation, budgets, and logistics. The participatory format is intended to spark constructive new thinking, strategies, and student networks to continue learning about (and conducting) field research.

Who is leading this?
Laura Murphy, PhD, faculty in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, and affiliate faculty to the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Who is this for?
This workshop is targeted to Stone Center graduate students as well as graduate students from other programs (GOHB, CCC, humanities, sciences, and others) if space is available. The workshop will be particularly helpful for those who envision research with human subjects.

Sign up
Sign up as soon as you can! Apply by January 15, 2019, at the latest to confirm your stop. Send an email with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Department and Degree program
  • Year at Tulane
  • Prior experience in research, especially field research
  • Academic training in research design and methods
  • Include a 1-paragraph statement of your current research interests and immediate plans/needs (i.e. organize summer field research)

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Not for credit.

For more information and/or to apply: Contact Laura Murphy or Jimmy Huck.

In the Shadows of Slavery and Colonialism: A Symposium on Intersectionality and the Law

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The Tulane and New Orleans communities are invited to join the Newcomb College Institute (NCI) for a day-long symposium In the Shadows of Slavery and Colonialism: A Symposium on Intersectionality and the Law, which provides an opportunity for researchers affiliated with NCI to engage with distinguished scholars in their field around the legal and political legacies of slavery and colonialism through an intersectional lens.

The researchers for the 2019 symposium are scholars who have been NCI postdoctoral fellows in the past two years. The Symposium theme was selected based on shared issues in the work of these researchers. They are Dr. Bonnie Lucero of the University of Houston and Dr. Emma Shakeshaft of the ACLU of Wisconsin, both of whom were Law & Society Fellows at NCI from 2017-2018, and Dr. Maria R. Montalvo, NCI’s 2018-2019 Bonquois Fellow in Women’s History in the Gulf South.

NCI has been awarded a Carol Lavin Bernick Faculty Grant from Tulane to host this inaugural symposium with the hope and intention that it will become a biennial event. In 2016 the Carol Lavin Bernick Family Foundation initiated this unique grant program to support the research and teaching of Tulane faculty.

This year’s symposium will consist of three sessions, each of which includes a discussion between one NCI researcher, her chosen distinguished scholar, and the audience. The researchers will prepare papers in advance for these sessions. (RSVP below to receive copies of pre-circulated materials.)

The symposium will also include a Fridays at Newcomb lunchtime panel with all three invited scholars. The panel will be moderated by Tulane Professor Laura Rosanne Adderley and will explore the usefulness of intersectionality as a theoretical framework for revealing the legacies of slavery and colonialism. Fridays at Newcomb is a lecture series with speakers across disciplines that provides students with the opportunity to learn about subjects outside of their majors. Lunch is provided at every Fridays at Newcomb lecture and they are each free and open to the public.

The schedule will be as follows:

8:30 – 8:45 AM – Tulane President Michael Fitts has been invited to give opening remarks

8:45 – 10:00 AM – Bonnie Lucero and Deirdre Cooper Owens, a conversation about Dr. Lucero’s paper, “Reproducing Racial Hierarchy in Cuba’s Slave Society.” RSVP recommended.

10:15 – 11:30 AM – Emma Shakeshaft and Dorothy Roberts, a conversation about Dr. Shakeshaft’s paper, Race, Membership, and Sovereignty: the Benefits of Using a Comparative Approach When Analyzing Race in Transracial Adoption Cases. RSVP recommended.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Fridays at Newcomb, In the Shadows of Slavery and Colonialism: The Uses of Intersectionality, Dorothy Roberts, Marisa Fuentes, and Deirdre Cooper Owens, moderated by Laura Rosanne Adderley, Associate Professor of History and Director of Africana Studies at Tulane University

1:30 PM – 2:45 PM – Maria R. Montalvo and Marisa J. Fuentes, a conversation about Dr. Montalvo’s paper, The Burden of Proof: Race, Freedom, and Litigation in the 1800s. RSVP recommended.

RSVP Information

In order to ensure the highest quality of engagement with each scholar’s work, NCI will collect RSVPs and will make the research essays available in advance to those who plan to attend the symposium sessions. Note that no RSVP is necessary for attendance at the Fridays at Newcomb lunchtime panel.

RSVP HERE

City, Community, and Culture Symposium VOICES

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The City, Culture, and Community (CCC) program at Tulane University is now accepting submissions for the 2019 spring symposium to be held on February 9, 2019. The deadline to submit a proposal is December 21, 2018. The 2019 symposium, VOICES: Visibility, Orientation, Identity, Creativity, Environment, Spaces, seeks to understand creative approaches to how inequalities are negotiated: socially, culturally, and institutionally.

The symposium is looking for research that explores creative approaches to agency, institutional organization, and cultural production and consumption within complex social systems. What are the current issues facing our communities, institutions, and cities? How can we be creative and inclusive in our approach? We are interested in how scholars frame these questions in regards to race, gender, sexuality, and class. This symposium invites scholars to present work from a variety of disciplines, perspectives, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies. As the academy continues to evolve, interdisciplinarity proves more and more a necessity. This symposium intends to create an interdisciplinary space that can bring together scholars, practitioners, students, and community members to engage across lines and extend current conversations around agency, resilience, and social justice across the globe.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Ernesto Martinez, is an Associate Professor in Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon. In his keynote address Queer Arousals in Contexts of Racialized Harm, Dr. Martinez conducts an intersectional analysis of the ways that queer men of color negotiate epistemic injustice through the creation and consumption of film, literature, and art. His research interests include queer ethnic studies, women of color feminisms, US Latinx literature and culture, and literary theory. He is the author of On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility (Stanford UP, 2012) and The Truly Diverse Faculty: New Dialogues in American Higher Education. (Palgrave, 2014). Along with his academic achievements, Dr. Martinez also writes bilingual Latinx children’s books, produces films (La Sarentata, 2017), and serves as a board member for the Association for Jotería Arts, Activism, and Scholarship (AJAAS), a queer Latinx grassroots organization dedicated to producing art and analyzing culture and politics in the context of activism.

Conference submissions are open to graduate students, outstanding undergraduates, educators, and practitioners. The symposium is a forum to showcase original research, theory expansion, innovative analysis, practical applications, and case studies. We welcome unpublished journal articles, area exam sections, dissertation chapters, working papers, and other forms of research analysis. As the space is intended to be for workshopping and dialoguing, literature reviews will not be considered. Presentations will be organized either in panels or individually.

The submission deadline is December 21, 2018. Any questions should be directed to tulaneccc@gmail.com.