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July 18, 2017.

I am thrilled to be a guest speaker at the School of Social Sciences, Waseda University. The talk I will be giving is titled “Social Movements in post-2001 Argentina: Conflict and Creativity”, which discusses the dozens of popular initiatives that emerged in response to the worst economic and political crisis in the country’s history. The piquetero movement, the massive cacerolazos, the recovered factory movement, and the neighborhood assemblies movement captured the interest of people and media around the world: fed up with institutional corruption and economic decline– people in Argentina and in Latin America were starting to take matters in their own hands. What lessons can be learned from the convoluted experiences of the recent past in the region? How do new forms of governance, economic functioning, and social mobilization respond to and challenge the hegemony of neoliberal world order? As Goodale and Postero point out in their volume “Neoliberalism Interrupted”,

Latin America has emerged over the last twenty years as a leading edge of social, political, and economic possibility (…) at the same time that real challenges to the neoliberal world order coexist with and even reinforce enduring patterns of exploitation and violence.

Virtually all serious scholars of Latin America stress that, in order to make sense of the creative responses to collapse, it is key to reject the conventional dichotomies of old vs. new, neoliberalism vs. socialism, the Right vs. the Left, indigenous vs. mestizo, national vs. global, etc. It is in this light that I see the myriad of creative responses to a crisis that has left a deep political imprint in how people conceive and embody political participation in Latin America today.

June 8, 2017.

I am delighted to be part of a panel titled “Oppression and Overflow: Body-based Artists and Democratic Movements in Asia” at the coming Performance Studies International Conference Psi#23 Hamburg 2017. The topic of the conference is “Overflow”. OverFlow evokes such heterogeneous connotations as a catastrophic or euphoric overflooding, the leakage of something either undesired or held too dear to share, an abundance of e.g. wealth or poverty, etc. The word “overflow” contains, like the “harbor,” various layers of metaphorical meaning: Harbors stand for travel, for migration, for internationalization, for commerce, for movements of goods, for meeting foreigners and arriving home, for good-byes and returns, for borders and border controls. With respect to this highly pressing economic, social, cultural as well as political issue OverFlow highlights the aspects of movement, transition, and fluidity but also those of flooding and abundance. The conference aims at making use of the metaphorical ambiguity and impact of the word OverFlow as far as current social, political, and artistic discussions are concerned. The international expert participants from all over the globe will take a reverse view on the tropes customary in “times of crisis”: The conference will focus on OverFlow instead of on the usually evoked themes of lack, restriction, and loss. Full Program can be found here.

November 14, 2016.

I look forward to presenting in the conference “Disaster Justice in Anthropocene Asia and the Pacific” at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. This interdisciplinary conference brings together research on environmental disasters in Asia to illuminate questions of disaster justice from historical and contemporary perspectives. As all disasters occur in political space, disaster justice is situated in spheres of governance and in the context of Asia’s rapidly urbanizing societies that are increasingly impacted by the advent of the Anthropocene, namely, the destructive human transformations of nature that are significant drivers of environmental disasters. As awareness grows of human complicity in creating socially and spatially uneven vulnerabilities to disasters, discontents and mobilizations for disaster justice are being generated as moral claims for more effective and inclusive modes of disaster prevention, mitigation, management and redress. Link here.