The title of the speech is an evident homage to the great work of René Descartes, to underline the great debt the occidental science incurred with him. American studies have always stand out from other studies for their inclination to interdisciplinarity and, on the other hand, for their need to be seen by a multi and interdisciplinary perspective. This aspect let us open researches to other fields, but also create serious problems about how to treat data.
These melting-pots are both bearers of useful meetings, exchanges and debates, and on the other hand also bearers of dangerous theoretical balancing acts (and in some cases with a consequence in practice), in in fields in which multidisciplinarity element become essential and accuracy of method unravels in different perspectives.
An intense debate, for example, divides different research lines, which find in the applicative method the limit between them and their action range. Studying method, which represents the peculiar aspect of occidental philosophy from Cartesio up to now, become an essential aspect in the American studies more than in other fields. Therefore it seems necessary to propose a breathing space, a priori in the research field, in order to make evident perspective and methodological limitations.
Amazonia contains inside its borders a multiplicity of societies. These societies present a variety of cosmological explanations, social organizations and ways of managing material life that make this region assume a privileged position for everyone interested in the confrontation with the complexity of the social, symbolic and other kind of constructions put in action in the everyday life of these different populations. The hundreds of original groups must also face the meeting with the societies of the national states inside of which the proper territory is situated. In this way, various situations of cultural meeting and strategies of response, emerge: we can find nearby populations resisting for five centuries the impact with a different non-indigenous world, others that only the last few years have to cope with that destabilizing shock, the so-called “risen communities” that rediscover and claim the proper cultural past and furthermore, those in “volunteer isolation” that still refuse to contact with the non-indigenous. In front of such a complexity of situations, this thematic session intends to present the works developed during fieldwork research, attempting to illustrate the actual situation of these groups.
This session aims to present an interdisciplinary discussion on the issue of the indigenous people rights.
The United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, approved on 2007, has as a principal target the respect of the self-determination. The commitment and the challenge in front of such statement consists on its application together with other measures with the same purpose, in the national Latin-American contests.
In what way the states-nations negotiate with these measures approved and signed from the majority of the Latin American countries? In what way the indigenous organizations demand the proper rights and the respect of the cultural differences in the sphere of the different national constitutions? Which are the principal conflicts?
Questions as the self-determination, diversity and cultural identity are the principal subjects that this session has to propose.
The crucial theme of this session is the territory as a place where memory is deposited and where the human being practices incisions as an exercise of power against the ephemeral character of human time. The construction of maps is by definition an open and interdisciplinary space: historical maps, political maps, cultural maps, symbolic maps, mental and linguistic maps. The categories of founding, relating oneself through a centre, institute, territorialize, name, orient oneself and remember, as those of desettlement, transit, growth and learning open the field to reflections about the cognitive and existential processes of individuals and of their collectivity. It is a crossroad session between centres and frontiers. Formally, the globalization is a process (or a series of processes) of worldwide interest, which includes a transformation within the organization of relations and social agreements in the space, to be assessed in connection with its achievement, its intensity, its speed, and its recoils. It generates transcontinental flows and nets of activities and interaction and the exercise of power. This work session basically advices to reflect upon the two basic meanings of the globalization, both theorically and by working in the field: the increase on the integration of the several world economy locations and the results of a considerable circulation of goods and people and communication systems based on multidirectional cultural flows. The thematic axis which will lead the debates are: the paradigm of the globalization, the transnationalization, the social security and the migration, the democracy, the multiculturality and the religion.
This session propose a reflection on movements and workflows, objects and human capital which distinguished the history of transatlantic connections between Europe and America. We propose to prefer three focuses, through a perspective which has the aim to promote a multidisciplinary dialogue. The first: dynamics and processes, both real and symbolic, which distinguished last century migratory phenomenon towards America, especially between the two World War, and at the same time the relative back migration movement, in particular during last thirty years, because of socio-political and economical connections. The second: connections with plait both contexts, which create a common patrimony, which is material and immaterial. In addition to goods and manufactured products, we will take in great consideration the creation of a common imaginary. The third: we will extend this reflection to nomadisms phenomena at the time of globalization: the constant stream of human resources, negotiation and contact between cultures, together with all possible new sort of integration which tend to combine local and global.
The task of ethnomusicology is answering to a series of questions that humanity has set itself in the course of history: who create the music? How is created? For whom? For what? With what purpose? Considering the significant lack of information about the world of traditional music, whose features range from the variety to the subtlety of musical expressions, I propose the opening of this session.
In America musical or dances expressions still exist, whose roots extend as far as pre-Columbian era and they would be sourced from an ancient art with a forgotten meaning.
The advent of globalization has contributed to the birth of many of those primarily urban musical expressions that tend, as in other parts of the world, to standardize the local particularities. For this reason it is essential to the present record and investigate these expressions, lest we lose this memory with the development of the globalized world.
This session has an interdisciplinary character and has the principal objective to present studies about the cultural diversities that have every form of representation as an expression.
We know that it is through the social and individual representations that we can localize the identitary formations, transformations and resemantizations that characteristically are polysemic and therefore polyphonic. For this reason, the interdisciplinarity is not an instrument of work but a theory that has as a finality to study the symbols: how they are perceived, conceived and represented.
We contemplate every type of cultural manifestations for the fact that we understand that cultural subjectivities are represented in literary, cinematographic and artistic forms, and that the studies of the cultural representations do not monopolise the disciplines for this finality.
To construct a session dedicated to the medical anthropology in Latin America means to give voice to the multiple conceptions and practices around the concepts of health and sickness presented through a historical perspective that is aware of present and past. The hegemonic relationships that flow between biomedicine and the multiple responses of “local and traditional” health constitute an example of the most important fields of interest in this discipline. The objective of constituting a useful space for dialog and confrontation for the americanistic community that is committed in this field is assumed with the experience and the theoretical elaborations of the different traditions of this domain. Based on the experience made by this session in earlier editions of the International Americanistic Studies Congress, we want to favour the time of debate for the construction of common reflections that might have an operative outcome on the examined contexts.
The neoliberal model in Latin American countries has led to the withdrawal of the state from social responsibilities and functions, as well as the implementation of structural reforms that seek to ensure that companies are managed by the criteria of the free market.
We observe some consequences: reduction, privatization and rising expenses of public services in education and health, growing inequalities and poverty and strengthening of monopolies in key sectors of the economy and the media, which increasingly intervene in political processes and the design of public policies.
The redefinition of social policies has been oriented by focusing on the social groups under conditions of extreme poverty, but at the same time resources that enable progress towards universalizing social rights were reduced.
On the other hand, spaces were opened in which they were born autonomous institutions related to issues such as human rights, transparency and the contraloría social. In the civil society the number of organizations fighting for the democratization of institutions and improvement of social services has increased. The combination of these processes has changed substantially the image of the Latin American societies.
Our region has lived regularly, since the end of the dictatorships, electoral processes that allow to renew the authorities and popular representatives, generally in a pacific way. From a liberal (and neoliberal) optic, these processes are the expression of the existence of a democratic life in these nations. In a more critical perspective, the electoral processes are becoming more of a ritual used to maintain in power the political movements. Often they don’t represent the population, and they employ these processes in order to legitimize their permanence in power, sometimes by extra-legal mechanisms. This session seeks to generate discussion around the elections in Latin America in its three (or four) levels: on the political-electoral action (competition, results, conflicts, campaigns and relationship with other aspects of social life), on the electoral and political players (political parties, social groups and authorities), and on the conformation of the national/regional/local powers, over the electoral processes. Even though current studies are preferred, historical ones are also accepted.
In the almost two centuries since the publication of the novel-essay by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Facundo Quiroga, or Civilization and Barbary (1845), inspired by an undisputed European canon of civilization/city and barbarism/extra-urban space, the original referents have been drifted, explicitly or implicitly, or even overturned.
Indeed, since then, many texts, whether critic or creative, have been inspired by this dichotomy and its infinite shades and punctualizations: this session invites to re-read Hispanic-American history and culture, breaking down and re-composing Sarmiento’s dichotomy in literary texts, apparently of a distant typology and register from the historical and sociological literature, beyond the manichean use of a typical binary interpretative system of a certain European modernity which disavows the emergency and visibility of subaltern and alternative groups, ideologies, and cosmogonies.
The ancient American cultures and civilizations, since their arrival to the Continent and up until the contact with the Europeans, took or produced the materials which fostered the great manifestations of thought, art or simple life throughout America’s rich history, from the Bering Strait until Tierra del Fuego.
This table is proposed as a meeting place in order to share the different experiences of archaeological investigation in the American continent, with a special focus in Mesoamerica, the Central Andes and the Amazon. In all America, the symbols associated to the religious and artistic iconography are features that archaeology recovers, compares and explains in order to understand our ancient history.
The academic dialogue established has as an objective to be a meeting place where the progress in the projects of archaeological investigation developed in different parts of the continent, or the new studies and interpretations based on plastic sources or written testimonies, among others, would be discussed. The proposal is to establish it as a periodical meeting where different aspects of the continent’s archaeology can be presented and discussed.
Religion as a social reality has shown itself, historically, in buildings in which a group of people gather periodically to celebrate its own faith and to preach its own doctrine (churches), or in spaces created as symbolic and identity materialization of a particular cosmogony (temples). This conceptual difference doesn’t exclude the existence of cases that connect the extremes; religious architecture has been subjected, historically, to many changes, both about cultural meaning, and about the way to build. Temples and churches as buildings are built with a wide social acceptance both in small isolated villages, and in big cosmopolitan metropolis. Moreover, in many cases, they are identified as urban, territorial or landscape milestones for the roll that, in connection with the use of space and time, they maintain in the social structure. On the basis of these considerations we suggest a session in which we present the spaces for celebration, religious encounter or symbolic materialization of faith, in which we back up new plastic, artistic or folk languages and, in spite of the deconsecrated and secularized context in which the occidental societies are, they search for a plastic representation of a religion and they are the result of a social expression, including several disciplines in the object of study: architecture, history, sociology, politics, theology. This session invites all concerned in studying architecture as social expression to diffuse what, in this sphere, has been renewed in recent years.
Beginning from the “Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage” adopted by UNESCO in 1972, the universality of occidental thought system and values on this theme was declared. This recognition process of edified and natural heritage has some contradictions. When in 1964 the Venice Charter was written (“International Charter for the conservation and restoration of monuments and sites”), the theoretic and practical context was the conciliation of theoretical positions born in XIX century and grown in XX century. This session invites reflecting on:
Historical cities, architectural and urban heritage as notions expressed by occidental societies to meet their past: have they achieved their purpose? Or have they contributed to construct an identity, or rather are they a manifestation of humanist conservation project? From archaeological and historical monument for élites to the ancient areas modernization process for cultural tourism, a long way has been covered for the benefit of millions visitors, but with many conflicts and divergent tendencies in the American continent.
This session analyses the role of latin-american feasts, both in the relationship between different social-cultural entities of the city and its surroundings (areas, associations, municipalities, etc.) and in the creation of identities (ethnic, syncretic, mixed-race, regional, national, etc.).
A particular attention will be dedicated to customs (parades, games, representations, etc.), to spatial and temporal models (places with a new sense, occupied places, the public space that becomes private) of the feast. Process of feast’s inclusion in cultural heritage will be considered, highlighting the role of media and tourism. A possible hypothesis to start the discussion is that the festive heritage is an area of social, cultural and political negotiation. An other hypothesis is that feasts allow to create new, inclusive and plural identities, starting from the fusion of different urban and rural life forms. Empirical studies and theoretical reflections will be welcome, to develop intercultural comparisons of festive systems.
In the contemporary panorama, a growing attention to the construction of dialogues between alternative forms of meaning attribution to the daily life multiple experiences is emerging. Culturally, differentiated people are facing, on one side, destructive challenges, and, on another side, they produce new and unexpected collaborations. Environmental impacts of mega-projects reflect divergent conceptions about human-nature frontier, educative politics resulting from the insertion in educative and administrative institutions activate diverse visions of knowledge and subjectivity, intra- and international migrations and territorialization policies highlight clashing ideas about what society and collectives are, just to mention some examples. These phenomenons promote dialogues producing encounters and desencounters between specific forms of think about what human and the World are. These contexts ask for a deep comprehension of how epistemological junctions and tensions are produced between actors who bring their own universes in complex and polysemic dialogues. In this direction, the session wants to discuss, starting from specific cases and from ethnographic, historical, etnocientific, philosophical and other approaches, how these relations take form and what the strategies these actors activate in such contexts.
This session wants to show the different typology of primary sources, as codex and manuscripts, which bring new information to Mexican history. We require to each speaker to show innovative research results, which examines in depth indigenous life, its changes and continuity elements since the conquest time. Topics as evangelization, belonging to the land and identity will be the one we are interested in developing and discussing, as also iconography studies about its transformation on different material supports will be central points of the session. We are interested in knowing the different techniques used in analyzing documents stored in libraries, archives and museums and so on, as in Mexico as in other places in the world.
We propose to investigate the relationship between body and word found in the Latin-American literary texts, including indigenous languages translated into Spanish. This study tries to focus not only in the body’s representation, but as the relationship the body establishes with the literary language, with a given aesthetic and genre. We will try to underline the processes which create the literary language within a cultural imaginary having the body as its source, with an interdisciplinary point of view which will include the analysis of its literary style in contrast with disciplines such as philosophy, psychoanalysis, anthropology and linguistics. Our interest is to investigate the text according to the construction of the signified linked to the construction of the signifier. Aspects such as the gesture of writing and the materiality of the word are complementary to the semantical construction of the literary language.
This proposal is based on Mexican investigator Gabriel Weisz’s theoretic model of biosemiotics.
This session’s theme is fundamental as the lecturers will delve into different notions of the erotic in an American (continent) context, trying to understand it not only as an inherent aspect of what is physical and sexual (the pornographic, for the philosopher Byung-Chul Han) but, mostly, as one of the primordial ways which guide us through love and the daily evolution of the human psyche. Thus, the dialogue between literature, history, art, and the erotic will be focused on an aesthetical feature as in the capacity to think on our ability of loving and sexuality (the intimacy and imagination of what we are based on George Bataille’s Eroticism, 1989, ISBN-13: 978-8472230613). We propose a meditation on this subject, always necessary and prevalent, based on philosophy and aesthetics.
This session will select papers which intend to discuss in the American context conflicts and violence which result from the relationships between the State and social minorities. We assume that the state role is critical either to produce or to administrate and to restrain social conflicts which result in many forms of violence. We intend to gather diverse analytical perspectives grounded in empirical research relates to the development and functioning of the rule of law, criminalization and criminal selectivity of social subjects, institutional and non-institutional process of conflict administration (adjudication, mediation, conciliation, resolution, suppression, etc), minorities’ requests for recognition of rights and the actors’ involved various moralities, values and senses of justice – legal sensibilities -, as well as ethnographical descriptions of these various processes. We intend to stimulate a plural discussion on many forms of violence which arise from the relationships between the State and civil society, particularly those which involve minorities in American territories, as well as to shed light upon these conflicts’ administration processes.