Institute of the Americas
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Conversation: Freedom of expression, power and the media in Mexico: the case of Carmen Aristegui

Start: Apr 21, 2015 6:30:00 PM
End: Apr 21, 2015 8:30:00 PM

Carmen Aristegui
Ella McPherson (Cambridge) and Jose Antonio Brambila (Sheffield) - One of the most influential journalists of Mexico, Carmen Aristegui, was sacked last month under allegations of "loss of confidence" from the Media company she worked for (MVS Noticias) towards two members of her team. Four months earlier, Aristegui's team had published a report on what would become a massive scandal for the Admnistration of President Peña Nieto: the acquisition of a £4 million mansion, through one of the government's contractors. What are the implications of this event for freedom of expression? What is the role of Media and its relation to political power in Mexico?

Dr Ella McPherson is an ESRC Future Research Leader in the University of Cambridge Department of Sociology, as well as a Research Associate of Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights. Her current research is on social media and human rights, while her previous research was on human rights reporting at Mexican newspapers.

José Antonio Brambila holds a BA in communication from the Panamerican University and a MA in political science from El Colegio de México. His doctoral research is on the interaction between the media systems and the political systems from a comparative perspective.

 The political discussion forums are meant to be dynamic spaces, where speakers talk in a brief, 15-20 min presentations, and then interact with the views and ideas of the audience. More than a seminar, the idea is to address a topic of interest in Mexico, raise awareness and engage the public in a plural space. This event is organised in conjunction with the UCLU Mexican Society.

1st Postgraduate Americas Conference: Power and Change in the Americas in the Modern Era

Start: Apr 30, 2015 1:00:00 PM
End: May 1, 2015 6:00:00 PM

The UCL Americas Research Network at UCL-Institute of the Americas is pleased to invite doctoral students and early career researchers of the Americas (Central, South, and North America, as well as the Caribbean) from across the humanities and the social sciences to submit proposals on the theme Power and Change in the Americas in the Modern Era. The deadline for paper submission is November 15, 2014, and the conference will take place at University College London from April 30 to May 1, 2015.The organisers welcome research that ranges both geographically and temporally, encouraging interdisciplinary conversations on national, regional and local topics and those whose focus is comparative, transnational and global. By facilitating a space for debate, this conference aims to create an ongoing platform for collaborative exchange.

Seminar: Leadership in the Cuban Revolution - The Unseen Story

Start: May 13, 2015 5:30:00 PM
End: May 13, 2015 7:30:00 PM

UCL Institute of the Americas
Antoni Kapcia (Nottingham) - Most conventional readings of the Cuban Revolution have seemed mesmerised by the personality and role of Fidel Castro, often missing a deeper political understanding of the Revolution’s underlying structures, bases of popular loyalty and ethos of participation.

Seminar: Commonwealth States and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council: Cutting the Umbilical Cord

Start: May 19, 2015 5:30:00 PM
End: May 19, 2015 7:30:00 PM

UCL Institute of the Americas
Harold Young (Georgia State University) - Why did so many states shedding British colonial rule nevertheless choose to retain the British Privy Council as the highest court of appeal? Drawing on examples from across 50 states of the Commonwealth, this paper explores what factors influenced the decision to retain the Privy Council at independence, and why some states subsequently opted to sever ties. Building on Dahl’s theory (1957) the paper asserts that states not only choose the final court of appeal that they most expect to be an ally but may move to change a court that undermines or seems likely to undermine policy preferences. Understanding this phenomena across the British Commonwealth may provide comparative insights into how this court is viewed by the governing coalition and what it can tell us about how states may view other extraterritorial courts such as the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the African Court of Justice and Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Conference: Chile and the Inter-american Human Rights System

Start: May 20, 2015 9:00:00 AM
End: May 20, 2015 6:00:00 PM

This one day conference seeks to cater to an international community of human rights practitioners and researchers of the Americas from across the humanities and the social sciences by focusing on an interdisciplinary and detailed examination the most recent cases decided by the Inter American Human Rights System against the Chilean state.

Seminar: C.L.R. James's Intellectual Conquest of Imperial Britain

Start: Jun 3, 2015 5:30:00 PM
End: Jun 3, 2015 7:30:00 PM

UCL Institute of the Americas
Christian Høgsbjerg - Together with other critical Pan-Africanist figures such as his fellow compatriot George Padmore, the Trinidadian Marxist C.L.R. James led from the front as an ideological agitator in the fight against British imperialist mythology and propaganda during the 1930s.

Seminar: Conflict, Truth and Justice: Perspectives from Latin America

Start: Jun 4, 2015 5:30:00 PM
End: Jun 4, 2015 7:00:00 PM

UCL Institute of the Americas
Pablo Piccato (Columbia) and Jelke Boesten (KCL) - Since the 1980s, many Latin American societies have struggled to deal with the legacies of violence and human rights abuses in the recent past. While extensive, the scholarly literature on transitional justice and historical memory remains dominated by the Southern Cone. This event will explore these themes in two less studied cases, place contemporary debates in Mexico and Peru in historical and regional perspective, and consider future prospects for truth-telling and justice.

Seminar: Cocaine Trafficking from Latin America to Europe: Research Methods and Recent Trends

Start: Jun 10, 2015 5:30:00 PM
End: Jun 10, 2015 7:30:00 PM

UCL Institute of the Americas
Damián Zaitch (Utrecht University) - For the past 15 years, several transformations have taken place at the levels of cocaine production in Latin America and subsequent export to Europe. These changes refer to the nature of drug trafficking organizations, their relation with legal structures and actors, territorial displacement, but also to the modus operandi of cocaine entrepreneurs in terms of routes and business modalities. Critical research on these developments remains fragmentary, often based on 'official' or journalistic sources, and in general difficult to do. In this contribution, I will first share my views and personal experience of conducting long-term ethnographic research on the cocaine trade in Colombia and Europe (Zaitch 2002; Zaitch 2015), stressing the value of ethnographic methods to study illegal markets in Latin America. A second part of this contribution will present the main recent trends and developments of the cocaine business in Latin America (particularly Colombia), and the shifts regarding cocaine export to European markets. 

Seminar: The Most Homophobic Place on Earth? Caribbean Myths and Realities

Start: Jun 16, 2015 5:30:00 PM
End: Jun 16, 2015 7:30:00 PM

UCL Institute of the Americas
Rosamond S. King (CUNY) - In 2006, Time magazine infamously declared that the Caribbean is 'the most homophobic place on earth,' one of many similar statements. In this talk, Rosamond S. King questions the truth of this statement and analyzes its problematic origins. She will examine some of the different facets of homophobia in the Caribbean – specifically, violence, discrimination, and hatred – drawing on the research in her recent book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination and the work of other Caribbeanist scholars. This talk aims to depart from myth and instead discuss the realities of sexual minorities in the Caribbean region.