CERLAC marks 40th anniversary with 2018 Michael Baptista Lecture

York’s Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) commemorates its 40th anniversary with a talk featuring performance studies scholar Diana Taylor during the 2018 Michael Baptista Lecture on Nov. 8.

The lecture, titled “Activism, Archives, and Performance: Commemorating 40 Years of CERLAC,” runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the Joe Green Theatre, Centre for Film and Theatre at York University. Taylor’s talk will be focused on Guatemalan performance artist Regina José Galindo.

The lecture will be preceded by a panel highlighting CERLAC’s record in supporting activism in the region over the past 40 years, with a particular focus on the CERLAC archives and their uses for understanding activism in Latin America.

CERLAC is one of the oldest research centres at York, and the first of its kind in Canada. As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, CERLAC has also launched a reflection series in which longstanding members share their recollections of key moments in the centre’s history. It can be viewed online at cerlac.info.yorku.ca/cerlac-40-anniversary-reflections.

Taylor’s lecture “‘Making Presence’: Regina José Galindo, Earth (2013)” will ask, “Is performing testimony, testimony?” In Earth (2013), José Galindo performs an event recounted by survivors of genocide at the trial of the ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt. The archival testimony tells of how people were forced to dig a massive pit and then stand in front of it, to facilitate their execution and internment by the armed forces. The performance does not cite or allude to the testimony nor to the criminal acts that led up to it. She questions, “What does the performance do or transmit? Does it expose? Denounce? Bear witness? Or is the performance itself a form of testimony?”

There will be a reception to follow. For more information, visit the event listing online.

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