Brazilian Studies at Brown
Brazil has been a major focus of CLACS since the Center's establishment in the 1980s. In conjunction with the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, CLACS supports a vibrant program of lectures, conferences, symposia, and performances, as well as the annual CineBrasil film festival. CLACS sponsors events to introduce curriculum on Brazil into regional schools, including the program “Brazil in the Classroom”; several events with former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso; CineBrasil; and a series of international collaborative efforts with Brazilian scholars of history, literature, economics, and arts.
The Caribbean Initiative is an umbrella project that seeks to advance the study of the Caribbean at Brown. Within the Caribbean Initiatives, two programs, one dealing with Haiti, and one with Cuba, are especially noteworthy.
In conjunction with the Haitian-French Caribbean Task Force, CLACS has led a broad initiative to promote Haitian-French Caribbean Studies at Brown. This has included introducing Haitian language instruction in the 2007-2008 academic year, increasing on-campus events and programming, and agreeing to host the Haitian Studies Association annual conference in 2010.
In the wake of the devastating January 4 earthquake in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, the Center has been instrumental in organizing and supporting relief efforts through a new coalition, Haitian Earthquake Relief at Brown. CLACS Executive Director Matthew Gutmann and CLACS-affiliated Harmon Family Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies Barrymore Bogues currently chair the Haitan Crisis Response Committee, which coordinates events and efforts from students, alumni and other members of the Brown community. As of February 2010, Haitian Earthquake Relief Efforts at Brown have raised over $25,000 and have ranged in scope from potlucks and bake sales to a Haiti Teach-in which brought scholars from all over the United States and Haiti to Brown's campus. More information about the University's response to the Haiti earthquake is available here.
HERE @ Brown currently distributes a biweekly email newsletter to further update those interested in relief efforts. Email email@example.com for more information or to receive the newsletter.
In addition to extensive collaboration and support of HERE at Brown, CLACS is currently developing two new projects in conjunction with the initiative:
- The development of a Dominican Task Force has led to talks of developing a Haitian-Dominican dialogue that would lead discussions about the island of Hispaniola.
- The John Carter Brown Library is making plans to digitize its outstanding collection of materials on Haiti.
The Cuban Task Force has sought to raise the profile of Cuba on Brown University’s campus. Its efforts have been manifested in the launch of the successful study abroad program “Brown in Cuba,” run by the Office of International Programs. “Brown in Cuba,” which is affiliated with Havana’s Casa de las Américas, enrolled eleven students in its first run in fall 2008. In the same year, CLACS also presented a film and lecture series to encourage discussion on Cuba. In the spring of 2010, the Center presented "Cuba, the West and the Rest", a lecture series on recent trends and future developments between Cuba and the world.
Greater Mexico Project
In addition to hosting numerous individual lectures by leading scholars and writers of Greater Mexico, there are more than 15 Brown faculty engaged in teaching and research on Greater Mexico. They have been involved a variety of activities, including chairing a LASA fact-finding mission to Oaxaca, establishing exchanges and conferences with several Mexican academic institutions such as CIESAS, the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, the Universidad de Guadalajara, and the Tecnológico de Monterrey; the Mesolore project; and the Bracero Museum Project.
A group of undergraduate students has shown unparalleled interest and initiative with respect to Ecuador. Through their efforts, CLACS and Gaia Certification Ltd. formed a collaboration in 2009 to create interdisciplinary research teams that will take part in the process of evaluation and certification of individual oil development projects in Ecuador. These students have also sponsored lectures; an alternative spring break trip run through Brown/RISD Hillel to the Ecuadorian Amazon; discussion of social movements in Ecuador during the CLACS spring 2008 conference, “Changes in the Andes” and the summer 2008 conference, “Social Movements and the State in a Transnational and Interdisciplinary Context”; and published the bulletin Enfoque Ecuador (“Focus: Ecuador”).
On-campus programming on Guatemala has included a film series, helping to organize two trips of 18 undergraduates to a highland community for an “alternative break”, and outreach to local Guatemalans, which includes a plan to host the Guatemalan ambassador to the UN for a day of dialogue with students and community members.
The Southern Cone Initiative is aimed at increasing the profile of the Southern Cone of South America on campus. The largest effort within this initiative has been made possible through the establishment of the Sarmiento Fund for Latin American Studies, thanks to a gift by Alfredo Cassiet, which generates approximately $10,000 a year to support scholarly activities related to Spanish-speaking South America. This donation funded a lecture by Georgette Dorn of the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress on former Argentine President Domingo Sarmiento. Germán Guaygua, a sociologist and development specialist from Bolivia, was the first CLACS Sarmiento Visiting Professor in residence at the Center during October 2009.