Central America on the Precipice 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
 Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.

Michael Allison, professor, University of Scranton 

Christine Wade, professor, Washington College

The two panelists will discuss current developments in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador as well as the general impact of Central America’s role as the key transshipment point for cocaine headed to the United States.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Constance and Rose Ganoe Memorial Fund for Inspirational Teaching, courtesy of Professor J. Mark Ruhl, and also the Department of Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies.

Biographies (provided by the speakers)

Michael Allison is an associate professor of political science at the University of Scranton. He also directs the University’s Education for Justice program and is a faculty member in the Latin American Studies program. He graduated with a BA (1996) in politics and minors in Latin American and Caribbean studies and peace justice studies from Fairfield University in Connecticut. He received his master’s (2001) and Ph.D. (2006) in political science from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. His teaching and research interests concern the comparative study of civil war and civil war resolution, particularly as it relates to the transition of rebel groups to political parties. His published work has appeared in Latin American Politics and Society, Studies in Comparative International Development, Conflict Management and Peace Science, and The Latin Americanist. He was a student Fulbright Scholar to El Salvador and recently returned from a Faculty Fulbright to Guatemala where he researched the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit and its transition to political party as well as United States – Central American relations in the post-Cold War period. He maintains a blog on Central American politics and contributes opinion pieces to Al Jazeera English, Latin News, and the Inter-American Dialogue’s Daily Latin America Advisor.

Christine Wade is an associate professor of political science and international studies and the curator of the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs at Washington College, where she teaches classes on Latin American politics, US-Latin American relations, theories of peace and conflict, comparative peace processes, human rights and social justice, revolutionary movements, and other topics. Dr. Wade is the co-author of Understanding Central America: Global Forces, Rebellion and Change (Westview Press, 2014) – now in its 6th edition- and Nicaragua: Living in the Shadow of the Eagle (Westview Press, 2011). Her co-authored book A Revolução Salvadorenha (The Salvadoran Revolution) is as part of the Revolutions of the Twentieth Century Collection at São Paulo: Fundação Editora Da UNESP (2006). She is also the author of publications on the FMLN, peacebuilding and post-war politics in El Salvador, and Central American politics. Dr. Wade is currently completing a manuscript on the politics of peacebuilding in El Salvador, entitled Captured Peace.

2013 International Year of Quinoa at Dickinson College

October 25th – 28th, 2013

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Aellen) is a pseudocereal that was domesticated in the Andes and continues to be a staple food item in rural settings throughout the region. Countries like Bolivia and Peru have been exporting quinoa to the United States, Europe, and Japan since the early 1990s but its popularity has grown significantly in the past decade.

Since the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa, we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate this unique crop at Dickinson College, and provide an opportunity for students and community member to learn more about it. In the past year and a half, there have been reports in the media that the popularity of quinoa abroad has resulted in higher prices to buy it in Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in Latin America and its primary exporter. This has raised questions about the cultural, economic, and ecological sustainability of consuming quinoa in the United States. Is this “quinoa boom” good for Bolivian quinoa growers and consumers or not? Should we be eating it? Should we grow it here?

Invited Guests

Pablo Laguna, PhD: Associate-Research Professor, Center for Human Geography, El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico. A Bolivian who obtained his PhD in Anthropology/Sociology of Development from Wageningen University in The Netherlands on the social impact the boom in quinoa exportation has had on the Bolivian producers. In addition to various publications, he has been interviewed on NPR and other outlets regarding the debates over the impacts of quinoa import/export.

Andrew Ofstehage: PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of North Carolina. Conducted extensive ethnographic research on quinoa production in Bolivia for his Master’s Thesis at Wageningen University in Rural Development Sociology. His research has been published in the Anthropology of Work Review and Agriculture and Human Values.

Clare Sammells, PhD: Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Bucknell University. Conducts research on food and tourism in rural Bolivia. She has been an engaged the “quinoa controversy” through her ethnographically-informed posts on the “Gringo Tambo Blog” where she explores why quinoa has proven so "good to think" for American and European consumers.


Friday, October 25th, 4:30-6:00pm, Round-table Discussion, Location Weiss 235, “Should We Be Eating Bolivian Quinoa? Economic and Cultural Sustainability of Quinoa Consumption”

Members of Students Interested in Sustainable Agriculture (SISA) will lead this event, which will involve short presentations by our three invited guests and a round-table discussion of the cultural and economic issues surrounding the importation of quinoa from Bolivia to the US.

Saturday, October 26th, 9:30-12:00, Quinoa Processing at the Dickinson College Farm

In April 2013, we planted quinoa at the College Farm with the help of Professor Emily Pawley’s History 211 Global Environmental History class, Students Interested in Sustainable Agriculture (SISA), and the farm staff. Students from Professor Maria Bruno’s ARCH/ANTH 110 Archaeology and World Prehistory, SISA, and other interested students and members of the community will process the quinoa crop (thresh, winnow, clean seeds) at the Dickinson College Farm in the morning. The work will conclude with the Center for Sustainability’s Bike-to-Farm Potluck. We welcome everyone to bring a quinoa dish and the recipe to share!

Monday, October 28th, 10:30-11:20am, Denny 212, Pablo Laguna presentation in ANTH 310-01 Nutritional Anthropology

Dr. Laguna will be giving a guest lecture on the economic and nutritional impacts the quinoa boom has had on the producer communities in Bolivia during Prof. Karen Weinstein’s Nutritional Anthropology class. This lecture is open to the public.

Janice Perlman

Founder and President, The Mega-Cities Project: Innovations for Urban Life

FAVELA: Four Decades of Research in Rio
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.

Perlman, author of the recent book FAVELA, will share her experience, findings, and photographs from field research in Brazil, starting as a student and continuing until the present.

Tango Vesre: Queering the All-Male Tango Practice

Dickinson will present a two-part series spotlighting the 100-year evolution of all-male tango in Buenos Aires (1910-2010).  Viewed from a queer perspective, the series explores issues of power negotiation, equality, marginalization, sexual identity, acceptance, and rejection.

Part One:

Friday, April 12, 2013, Noon -- A presentation of spoken word and dance by Alvin Rangel of Tango Vesre, guest Yebel Gallegos, and members of Dickinson's Theatre Group (DTG) under the direction of Sarah Skaggs.

Part Two:

Saturday, April 13, 2013, 7:00 pm -- A concert of tango music and dance featuring performances by dancers of Tango Vesre Alvin Rangel and Yebel Gallegos, guest artists Héctor Del Curto (bandoneón), Ariadna Buonviri (violin), Donovan Stokes (bass), and faculty member Jennifer Blyth (piano).

Indigenous Latin America

Films, lectures, and discussions with Latin American guests Valeria Mapelman (Argentina) and Hernán Ávila Montaño (Bolivia), October 1−4, 2012.

Monday, October 1, 7 p.m., East College 405
Mbya, tierra en rojo [Mbya, Red Earth or We Are the Indians], 2008. Film presentation followed by Q&A by filmmaker Valeria Mapelman

Tuesday, October 2, 7 p.m., East College 405
Territorio en Resistencia: Indigenous Mobilization in Contemporary Bolivia. Lecture by Bolivian sociologist and social activist Hernán Ávila Montaño

Wednesday, October 3, 7 p.m., East College 405
Octubre Pilagá: Relatos sobre el silencio [Pilagá October: Tales about Silence], 2010. Film presentation followed by Q&A by filmmaker Valeria Mapelman

Thursday, October 4, 7:30 p.m., Althouse 106
Indigenous Latin America: Reclaiming the Past and Building the Future. Roundtable with Valeria Mapelman and Hernán Ávila Montaño. Co-moderated by Professor Maria Bruno and Amanda Wildey ('13)

Valeria Mapelman

After ten years working in photography and film in Chile, Valeria Mapelman returned to her native Buenos Aires in 2010 to co-direct her first feature-length documentary, Mbya, Tierra en Rojo [Mbya, Red Land or We Are the Indians], with Philip Cox. Filmed with the Mbya Guarani communities of the Kuña Pirú Valley, in Northeastern Argentina, this documentary presents an intimate view of the challenges faced by the Mbya Guarani to keep sustainable communities in a hostile sociocultural and political environment. Praised by critics for its complex portrayal of the Myba reality that avoids condescension, this film received the Human Rights Prize at the 2006 Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema. In 2005, she began working with testimonies of survivors of the 1947 massacre in La Bomba, among the Pilagá communities of northeastern Argentina. These testimonies formed the bases of her 2010 film Octubre Pilagá, Relatos sobre el Silencio [Pilagá October: Tales about Silence] and of her collaboration with the Research Network about Genocide and Indigenous Policies in Argentina which resulted in the multi-authored book History of Argentine Cruelty: Julio A. Roca and the Genocide of First Peoples, coordinated by Osvaldo Bayer. She also produced Debates about Genocide of Argentina's First Peoples and the Limits of Justice, an interactive DVD in collaboration with the Course on Human Rights of the University of Buenos Aires.

Hernán Ávila Montaño

Bolivian sociologist and social activist who has been working with indigenous communities of the Bolivian Amazon since 2001. From 2001-2004, as part of the NGO Centro de Investigación y Promoción del Campesinado (CIPCA), Hernán worked with the communities surrounding the town of San Ignacio de Moxos in the process of defining and legalizing their indigenous lands. In 2005, he began working with the NGO Centro de Estudios Jurídicos e Investigación Social (CEJIS) as an assistant to Miguel Peña, one of five presidents of the Constitutional Congress, in the writing the new Constitution after the election of Evo Morales which defined Bolivia as a plurinational state. He has also worked with the movement of the Indigenous Territory of the Isiboro-Securé (TIPNIS) to protest, and ultimately to stop, the construction of a paved road through this protected region. He is currently the director of CEJIS in Trinidad, where he advises indigenous groups in the Department of Beni on their defense of their territorial and cultural rights. Through this experience, he is considered to be an expert of the new Bolivian Constitution, particularly the components that define the rights and autonomy of indigenous groups to defend and determine the uses of their territories.