Apr 26, 2019Apr 27, 2019
Palmer House


Event Description

Writing Insurgencies with José Rabasa/ Escrituras de la insurgencia con José Rabasa

View and download the program of events: writing_insurgencies_event_spo.pdf

The symposium celebrates the scholarship and activism of José Rabasa, who will also be participating in the event. A founding member of the now disbanded Latin American subaltern studies group, Rabasa has intervened in many fields, including: (post) Colonial and subaltern studies; Nahuatl Poetry and Painting; indigenous studies; the History of Voice; escritura salvaje (wild writing); and borderland studies, with foundational publications such as Inventing America: Spanish Historiography and the Formation of Eurocentrism (1993), Writing Violence on the Northern Frontier (2000), Without History; Subaltern Studies, the Zapatista Insurgency, and the Specter of History (2010), Tell Me the Story of How I Conquered You: Elsewheres and Ethnosuicide in the Colonial MesoAmerican World (2011). His conceptualizations such as “writing violence,” “ethnosuicide,” “elsewheres,” and “without history” have gained currency beyond the boundaries of Latin American Studies and he has been active with the movements for reparations for the Ayotzinapa 43, and the Tzotzil Maya community of Las Abejas in Mexico.

In addition to serving as a celebration of Rabasa’s ongoing work and activism, the event brings together scholars and activists in Princeton University, and universities and newspapers from Latinx America for two days of presentations and intense conversation on a range of themes related to Rabasa’s work and its continued relevance. By opening a space for dialogue and discussion that bridges not only North and South, but also the divide between activism and academia, this symposium provides a timely opportunity for a collective examination of the relevance, ethics, and values of insurgent modes of knowledge.

Additionally, Laurence Cuelenaere’s photographs taken in San Cristóbal de Chiapas, Mexico will be on exhibit in Palmer House. The idea is to stimulate new perspectives in scholarship and activism in Latin America, by opening a dialogue between participants from across the hemisphere whose work is grounded in an interrogation of the ethics of representation.

Cuelenaere has described her photographic intervention for the event in the following terms:

For this exhibit I have selected this series of images from over thousands of negatives I took in San Cristóbal de las Casas between 2014 and 2018. These photographs are not intended to document a political insurgency in Chiapas; rather, in the spirit of the conference, I conceive these photographs as a form of photographic insurgency that breaks away from the politics of accurate representation. By embracing the anonymous, the indeterminate, the non-normative, and the spontaneous, the images subvert the conventional subject/object relationship of the photographer/photographed. Moreover, in this age of facial recognition technology, when the face has shifted from means of recognition of Other to object of surveillance, these photos displace the face from its supposed primacy as a locus of ethical engagement (as posited by Levinas), instead asserting a new ethics of anonymity and respect for privacy. Although these are “poor” images from the standpoint of surveillance technology (no faces, no visible eyes, low resolution, unusual poses), these individuals are well-known to people living in San Cristobal.

The Anonimato exhibit in Palmer House opens to the public on Friday April 26, 2019 at 11 am.

Contributions to and/or sponsorship of any event does not constitute departmental or institutional endorsement of the specific program, speakers or views presented.