CERLAC’s first graduate research conference changes venue

The Graduate Student Research Conference on Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighting outstanding graduate student research across a broad range of disciplines, has been rescheduled because of a possible strike at York University.

The two-day conference, the first graduate research conference hosted by York’s Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), will now run from Friday, Nov. 7 to Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. W. in Toronto.

The conference, part of a year-long series of events to celebrate CERLAC’s 30th anniversary, has attracted over 70 presenters from Latin America, Europe, the United States and Canada and includes significant contributions by graduate students from York University and the University of Toronto. The subject areas range from the traditional disciplines of history, political science, education, sociology, anthropology, interpretation and translation, literature, international affairs, music, communications and law, to more interdisciplinary programs such as Latin American and Caribbean studies, international development studies, environmental studies, peace and conflict studies and human rights.

The presentations have been organized into 19 thematic panels covering issues relating to language, literature, identity, economic development, cultural and social reproduction, nationalism, interstate relations, gender, violence, poverty, indigenous rights, the environment, labour and the diaspora.

During the first panel presentation – Indigenous Rights, Knowledge & Land Use – York environmental studies PhD candidate Marta Berbés will discuss “Introducing Adaptive Co-Management in Costa Rica: Risks & Opportunities.” Her paper will “review the trajectory of resource management in Costa Rica and it will explore the appropriateness of introducing adaptive co-management in the Peñas Blancas River watershed, focusing on the risks and opportunities that such an approach can bring to small agricultural communities in the Latin American context,” says Berbés.

Environmental studies graduate student Tanya Chung Tiam Fook will present “From Entangled Encounters to Processes of Cross-Fertilization: A Study on Collaborative Wildlife Conservation in Guyana,” which will examine how conservation sites such as the Iwokrama Forest have the potential to emerge as strategically important and dynamic sites for promoting human-animal interactions, integrative knowledge-building and conservation alliances.

Andréanne Guindon, social anthropology graduate student at Laval University, will explore “The Right to Use or Rightly Using the Environment in El Cuyo, Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán, Mexico” and York history PhD candidate Bradley Skopyk will look at “From Crisis to Environmental Disaster: Native Agriculture and the Making of a Ruined Landscape in North-Central Tlaxcala, Mexico, 1690 – 1710.” He will explore the ecological consequences of the great mortality of the 1690s in the colonial province of Tlaxcala. “The crisis was actually a prolonged series of epidemics and harvest failures. I argue that this crisis set off a series of deleterious environmental impacts and that such degradation was the unintended byproduct of pulque production,” says Skopyk.

Some of the other panel discussions include: Readings in Caribbean Literature; Negotiating Identities; Past & Present Perspectives on Latin American & Caribbean Economies; Inscribing Violence on the National Body; Searching for Alternatives: Perspectives on Fair Trade & Development; Indigenous Agency, Governance & Identity; and Rethinking Gender Relationships in the Workplace & Family.

A performance piece and a photo exhibit will also be featured as part of the conference.

For more information, visit the CERLAC Web site. For the conference schedule and abstracts, click here. Anyone planning to attend more than one panel session is required to register. Registration is available during the conference at the on-site registration and information tables. The cost is $15 for the full conference or $7.50 for one day.