Seminar: Interrogating Race and Achievement: Racialised Facilitative Capital and the Underachievement of Afro-Trinidadian Boys

Ravi Rampersad - In Trinidad, dominant discourses on race and education often simplistically labels Afro-Trinidadian boys as the lowest academic achievers.  This underachievement is viewed as pathological and linked to deficient cultural values and single female-headed homes. To interrogate this dynamic, this paper employs a theoretical model that takes into account the nuances of the intersecting trajectories of race, social class and gender in Trinidad. It explores the nature and operation of 'racialised facilitative capital' (RFT) in two Trinidadian state primary schools; one highly acclaimed as a centre of excellence and the other stereotyped as a typical failing urban school. The research emphasises the role of RFC where the 'right' capital can be the difference between social advancement and social stagnation.  It also points to the salience of RFC as a model in examining intersecting issues of race, social class and gender in postcolonial societies such as Trinidad.

Starts: Oct 1, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seminar: A New Path for Mexico? Interim Assessments of the Peña Nieto Administration And Recent Constitutional Reforms

UCL- Institute of the Americas in collaboration with El Colegio de México is pleased to host this roundtable discussion that will examine major recent reforms in Mexico concerning energy policy, education, fiscal matters, and security policy. Speakers will also assess the implications of the reform process for the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto and the future directions in Mexican politics. More...

Starts: Oct 8, 2014 1:30:00 PM

Book Launch: 'Argentina since the 2001 Crisis: Recovering the Past, Reclaiming the Future'

UCL-Institute of the Americas is pleased to host the launch of Argentina since the 2001 Crisis: Recovering the Past, Reclaiming the Future (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) edited by Cara Levey, Daniel Ozarow and Christopher Wylde More...

Starts: Oct 8, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seminar: Evo's Bolivia: Continuity and Change

Linda Farthing - When Evo Morales came to power in 2006, expectations were high that Bolivia's first indigenous president would transform the country. Based on a forthcoming book written with Ben Kohl, Farthing’s talk will examine how well Morales and his movement towards Socialism has done in achieving goals of greater equality and inclusion in South America's poorest country. More...

Starts: Oct 23, 2014 6:00:00 PM

Seminar: China and Latin America: from Cyberspace to the Farm Gate

Adrian H. Hearn (University of Melbourne) and Ariel C. Armony (University of Miami) - China’s growing influence in Latin America is evident in the growth of bilateral trade to $240 (£143) billion in 2013, and a new wave of investment announced during Xi Jinping’s July 2014 regional tour. Alongside mining and energy, agriculture has become critical to Sino-Latin cooperation, driven by unprecedented demand for food as Chinese cities progress toward the target of one billion residents. Chinese acquisition of Latin American land for food production has proven more contentious than investment in other primary sectors, mainly because of local suspicion of Chinese state-owned enterprises. In Brazil, which provided 45 per cent of China’s 2013 soybean imports (amounting to 33 million metric tons worth $17.2 billion), President Rousseff has warned that 'inane xenophobia' may ward off Chinese investment. More...

Starts: Oct 27, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Seminar: Race, Religion and Culture in Brazilian Social Thought: Some Highlights

Roberto Motta (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil) - Brazilian social thought (Pensamento Social Brasileiro, as the discipline is known in Brazil), has dealt, for the last 14 decades, with the study of Brazil’s historical and cultural specificity. In other words, why has Brazil not developed along lines similar to those which prevailed in Western Europe and North America?  Why are we not the United States? Racial explanations have been proposed at least since the end of the nineteenth century. Religious explanations had also been offered even earlier in the same century, in terms at times strikingly similar to some of Max Weber’s explanations in his thesis on the Protestant Ethic.  Such explanations are still very much present in recent and current Brazilian thought, albeit mainly in secularized versions. In contradistinction to the Westernizing paradigm, there is in Brazil the “Tropicalista” interpretation which simply denies the absolute validity of Western models of development.

Starts: Oct 30, 2014 6:00:00 PM

Seminar: Total War: Mexico and Europe 1914

Alan Knight (Oxford) - This paper, originally given as the Luis González lecture at the Colegio de México in early 2014, compares the (neglected) military dimension of the Mexican Revolution to the First World War in Europe, using the concept of 'total war' as the bridge; it defines 'total war' (in two distinct senses) and argues that, notwithstanding the dismissive comments of some historians of Mexico - for whom the armed revolution was a chaotic fiesta de balas, a 'carnival of bullets' - the revolution involved very costly mass conventional warfare. The argument, involving both demographic and military analysis, concludes that, in Mexico as in Europe, total war profoundly affected society, leaving a legacy of violence, veteran activism, and an incipient 'social pact' that underpinned the social reform and state-building of the 1920s and '30s. More...

Starts: Nov 19, 2014 5:30:00 PM

Lecture: Michelle Bachelet’s presidencies: gender, politics and institutional change in Chile

Georgina Waylen (Manchester) - Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s first female president, was elected in 2006 with an explicit gender agenda, promising to appoint new faces (including women) and implement some positive gender change. After a period heading UN Women, she was subsequently reelected for a second term in 2013 with a decisive majority.

Starts: Dec 10, 2014 5:30:00 PM