Department of Spanish and Portuguese Award for Overall Academic Achievement and Excellence in a Thesis
Religio-Political Discourses, Negotiations, and Tensions
Surrounding Sexual Education in Buenos Aires 2004-2006
Mentors: Ana Álvarez, Phillip Washburn
The main goal of my thesis is to examine the interaction between religious and political actors in Argentina, specifically when it comes to issues of sexual politics, using a law passed in Buenos Aires in 2006 for sexual health education as a case study. Through analysis of discourses present in both religious (primarily Catholic) and legislative discourses, as well as mainstream media, I identify certain arguments and frameworks that frequently appear when discussing matters pertaining to gender, sexuality, and reproduction. Based on these discourses, I discuss what has been deemed a sort of “strategic secularization” of religious viewpoints that allows them to be incorporated into the political process. In addition to demonstrating that the Catholic church and its affiliates are able to exert a certain influence over the political process, I argue that the strategies used allow for this influence to occur in ways that may not be immediately apparent or visible. Throughout the thesis I also address some of the questions and complexities that arise in terms of secularism, laicidad, and the separation of Church and State.
A fundamental question arises about how the religious beliefs of individuals should be navigated in the political sphere in order to allow for complete and fair political participation while at the same time preventing that legislation be determined or limited by a particular faith. This tension is present throughout the thesis, and I argue that the outcome of the debates surrounding sexual education in Buenos Aires not only resulted in a law marked by certain Catholic moral precepts, but it also reinforced an existing religio-political dynamic in which the Catholic Church is granted a position of privilege and influence.
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Zake Morgan Memorial Award for Excellence and Originality in an Honors Thesis
Color BA Mural Festival: Exploring the Relationship Between
Gentrification, Representation, and Belonging
Mentors: Jens Andermann, Luis Ramos
Art districts are popping up in cities around the world as trendy destinations for both locals and tourists. These art districts have routinely been characterized by street art. However, by attracting hip, creative and often middle class young people, these districts can expel those residents already living in these neighborhoods. In the case of the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires, the city has planned to revitalize the area by publicly branding it as The District of the Arts and funding mural festivals to decorate its walls. This festival is called Color BA and has had three different installations throughout the neighborhood. The murals in these festivals work to shape the physical environment of La Boca and the way that the community members view their own space. The aim of this study is to investigate the artists’ role within this system of gentrification as well as some of the methods they can retake to resist it. I ask how different interpretations of representation in public art can affect an actively gentrifying community. I investigate this question through the works of three major artists that worked within the festivals, Millo, Marcos López, and Gordopelota. This thesis weaves together interviews, flyers, and the tangible art in the neighborhood with theory and data. Throughout this investigation other topics such as the artistic mediums, styles, and neighborhood art institutions show their influence on the environment of La Boca.
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Decolonizing Junctures: A Comparative Analysis of Institutional Change at the Museum of Modern Art and El Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
Mentors: Jordana Mendelson, Patricio Navia
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Award for Distinction in an Honors Thesis
How do museum exhibitions serve as critical junctures for reproducible institutional change? Identifying that change and how it occurred is at the center of my research. I draw on theories of institutional path-dependence to understand the pre-conditions, impact, and reproducibility of change, while focusing on temporary exhibitions as critical junctures within a museum’s development. The entry point for this research is modern and contemporary Latin American art since it has often existed along the peripheries of art-historical narratives. I interpret the repositioning a peripheral history in relation to an established, and largely Western European and North American, canon as a gesture of curatorial decolonization. My case studies are “Latin American and Caribbean Art: MoMA at El Museo” at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and “Verboamérica” at Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). Each institution originates from a very different point and serves a very different role in the larger institutional environment: MoMA as the main producer and disseminator of art historical hegemony, and MALBA as an anchor for the centering of Latin American art within the periphery. Lastly, I explore the Museu de Arte Moderna-São Paulo as a counterexample of institutional change that is rooted in local cultural infrastructure. My paper shows how select exhibitions at MoMA and MALBA shifted the institutions to where they are now, and how those exhibitions disrupted, or not, preexisting cultural and art historical hegemonies.
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Borgman Award Department of Spanish and Portuguese Nomination
Feminismos en la Frontera Mexico-U.S.
Mentor: T. Urayoán Noel
My research looks at modern solidarity theories by Chicana feminists for the building of a coalition between United States-situated Mexican women or women of Mexican descent and Mexican-situated women, who inhabit the U.S.-Mexico extended borderlands. The research looks at literature and critical theory to craft an emotional archive to populate a collective imaginary for border women—as the basis for coalition-building and solidarity structures that amplify communication channels between the groups and guarantee the dissemination of tools and information necessary for their survival. The first part of the paper studies bridging feminisms of Sonia Saldívar-Hull; the literary work of Cristina Rascón Castro and Margarita Sayak Valencia; translenguaje solidarity theories of Maylei Blackwell; and Chicana theories of Norma Alarcón. The second section of the paper suggests tools for creating a more accessible emotional archive by de-fetishizing and de-necropoliticizing border narratives; proposes a literature toolkit armed with tools such as “coyotismo cultural;” and drafts a blog for the creation and dissemination of border women’s knowledges. This research was created to aid the work of thousands of Latina women who are working towards more dignified lives as they occupy marginal spaces in the United States and Mexican imaginaries. The final product is a never-before-seen collection of work honoring the voices of these women, and calling for the world to make space for them in their national imaginaries and to encourage the consumption of their narratives.
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