Christian Tomuschat
“The United Nations Experience With the Guatemalan Conflict: Understanding the Past, Preparing for the Future”

Christian Tomuschat is a professor of International and European Public Law at Humboldt University in Berlin. He served as an independent expert to the UN Human Rights Commission on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala from 1990-93 and was the coordinator for the UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission, which investigated human rights abuses committed during the Guatemalan Civil War, from 1997-99.

Co-sponsored by Berkeley Law, Boalt Hall and the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center.

Tuesday, August 18, 12:30 pm
140 Boalt Hall

San Francisco in the fog

Bay Area Latin America Forum

Michael Dear
“The Future of the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands”

The current U.S. practice of building walls between this nation and Mexico is historically unprecedented. It is also contrary to multiple manifestations of integration and hybridization that characterize interactions between the two nations, including the inevitable “Latinization” of the U.S. population. Through a consideration of past and present “psychogeographies” of border residents, Dear concludes that the borderlands have long been a separate space between Mexico and the U.S., even foreshadowing the emergence of a “third nation.”

Michael Dear is a newly-appointed professor of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. He has just completed a multi-year 4,000-mile trip along the U.S.–Mexico border and uses this experience to reflect on the current and future status of the line between the two countries.

- Download the prologue to "Monuments, Manifest Destiny and Mexico," by Michael Dear

Monday, August 31, 12:00 – 1:15 pm
554 Barrows Hall

Welcome Back Reception

The Center for Latin American Studies would like to invite you to celebrate the beginning of another exciting year. Please join us for an informal reception.

Wednesday, September 2, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
CLAS Conference Room, 2334 Bowditch Street

San Francisco in the fog

Bay Area Latin America Forum

Kirsten Sehnbruch
“The Normalization of Post-Transition Democracy in Chile?”

President Michelle Bachelet’s administration has been a roller coaster ride. After numerous crises, the president has achieved record approval ratings despite rising unemployment and the economic downturn. Still, despite this popularity, there is widespread dissatisfaction with democracy in the country: the political mechanisms that smoothed the country’s transition to democracy are now hindering its development. This talk will discuss the new post-transition status quo, which could be described as the “normalization” of Chilean politics.

Kirsten Sehnbruch is a Senior Scholar at the Center for Latin American Studies. She also works as a consultant to the Chilean government on a range of issues related to labor market policy and writes a column for La Tercera, the Santiago daily.

- Download the CLAS Working Paper on the subject by Siavelis and Sehnbruch

Monday, September 14, 12:00 – 1:15 pm
CLAS Conference Room, 2334 Bowditch Street

Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib Series
Fernando Botero and Lawrence Rinder in Conversation

In conversation with Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive director Lawrence Rinder, Fernando Botero will discuss the trajectory of his artistic practice, his aesthetics and influences, and the social and political role of art in Colombia, Latin America, and internationally. For those who are unable to attend the event, a podcast will be available the following day at bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/botero_2009.

For information about tickets and the museum, please see:

- Website about the exhibit
- Read Professor Thomas Laqueur's article from the Berkeley Review about the donation (.pdf)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 6:00 pm
Berkeley Art Museum Theater, 2626 Bancroft Way

San Francisco in the fog

Bay Area Latin America Forum

Candace Slater
Metaphors and Myths in News Reports of an Amazonian “Lost Tribe”

In May 2008, striking photos and accompanying stories of an Amazonian “Lost Tribe” found their way into an array of international news sources. However, some of these organizations soon dismissed the notion of a tribe unknown to civilization as a hoax. The photographer’s explanation that he had sought to protest illegal logging makes it easy to write off the story as one more cautionary tale. However, it is also possible to see the case as proof of the ongoing power of long-existing metaphors. These metaphors and their competing uses in environmental issues are the focus of this talk.

Candace Slater is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley. She has written extensively about Brazilian popular traditions and about the literary aspects of environmental themes.

Monday, October 5, 12:00 – 1:15 pm
554 Barrows Hall

San Francisco in the fog

Cine Latino

Don’t Let Me Drown
Directed by Cruz Angeles (United States, 2008)

A love affair set amid the ruins of post-9/11 New York powers this strong feature debut by UC Berkeley graduate Cruz Angeles, who adapts a street-level, neorealist aesthetic to capture the vibrancy and frictions of communities rarely portrayed realistically onscreen. Merging a cinema verité portrait of the city’s Mexican and Dominican populations with a romantic lyricism, “Don’t Let Me Drown” possesses both the toughness of its New York setting and the sorrow of its specific time but is, at heart, a love story. 105 minutes. English and Spanish with English subtitles.

“Don't Let Me Drown” is one of the best film portraits yet of New York City in the aftermath of 9/11…” — The Hollywood Reporter

This film is not yet rated.

Monday, October 5, 7:00 pm
Pacific Film Archive Theater 

Rosemary Joyce
"Culture and Politics in the 2009 Honduran Coup"

The Honduran coup d'etat in June has been portrayed in the US as a response to a power grab by President Zelaya. There is, however, a deeper story, one in which academic research on history, archaeology and cultural programs became principal targets for repression. This talk considers why cultural policy was one of the victims of this 21st century coup.

Rosemary Joyce is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences, and chair of UC Berkeley¹s Department of Anthropology. She has conducted research in northern Honduras for more than thirty years.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
554 Barrows Hall

San Francisco in the fog

Cine Latino

Crónica de una fuga
Directed by Israel Adrián Caetano (Argentina, 2006)

In 1977, Claudio Tamburrini, goalkeeper of a B-league soccer team, is kidnapped by Argentine government forces and taken to a clandestine detention center. There, he enters a living hell of interrogation, humiliation and betrayal. After four months of imprisonment, with execution looking certain, Claudio and three other prisoners make a desperate move. Forcing open a window in the middle of a thunderstorm, completely naked, they jump into the void and begin their flight. 102 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.

“This film is both a warning about abuse of government power and a reassurance that justice will sometimes triumph.” — New York Post

Rated R for brutality, torture, nudity and language.

Wednesday, October 21, 7:00 pm
Room 2060, Valley Life Sciences Building

Tamar Jacoby
"The Immigration Debate -- Again?"

Immigration reform – you may think you’ve seen this movie before, too many times already. But President Obama and influential members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, are preparing to bring the issue up again, perhaps as early as January. How has the debate changed? What will the legislation look like? And what are its chances, with Washington more polarized than ever and unemployment heading for 10 percent? Washington-based reform advocate Tamar Jacoby will talk about the prospects and the debate she expects in the months ahead.

Tamar Jacoby is president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of employers working to advance better immigration law. A nationally known journalist and author, she is a leading advocate for immigration reform.

Monday, October 26, 4:00 pm
575 McCone Hall

Rebecca Solnit
"Shaking Off the Past:  The 1985 Mexico City Quake"

The resurgence of Mexican civil society and movement toward more participatory and progressive politics are sometimes seen as responses to the 1985 Mexico City quake and its aftermath. Rebecca Solnit examines how disasters can unfold like revolutions:  while the moment of liberation is fleeting, catastrophes can beget lasting social change for the better or worse. As disaster sociologist Charles Fritz put it, "Disaster provides a form of societal shock which disrupts habitual, institutionalized patterns of behavior and renders people amenable to social and personal change."

Rebecca Solnit is a writer, historian, a contributing editor to Harper's and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Wednesday, October 28, 4:00 pm
554 Barrows Hall

Carlos Felix Corona
"US-Mexico Relations: Priority Issues in the First Year of the Obama Administration"

To celebrate of the Bicentennial of Mexican Independence, and the approaching Centennial of the 1910 Revolution, Ambassador Carlos Felix Corona, Consul-General of San Francisco's Mexican Consulate, will address priorities and challenges for US-Mexico relations. Maria Blanco, Director of the Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity & Diversity and Maria Echaveste, a Berkeley Law Lecturer in Residence will offer commentary.

Co-sponsored by: Center for Latin American Studies, La Raza Law Students Association, Miller Institute for Global Challenges & Law, California Law Review, La Raza Law Journal, Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity & Diversity, Boalt Hall Committee for Human Rights, Mexican Students Association of California, Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy, Asian-American Law Journal and Spanish Language & Cultural Competency Seminar.

A light lunch will be served. Please bring a beverage.

Thursday, October 29, 2009, 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm
Goldberg Room, Berkeley School of Law

San Francisco in the fog

Bay Area Latin America Forum

Alison Post
"The Home Court Advantage: Sustaining Regulatory Bargains in Latin America"

During the 1990s, Latin American governments privatized utilities and many other types of infrastructure that had traditionally been operated by the public sector in the context of sweeping neoliberal “state reform” programs. This talk will examine the circumstances under which privatized, regulated water utilities in Latin America have both yielded improved services and remained politically viable in the long run.

Alison Post is an assistant professor in the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science and in the Global Metropolitan Studies program at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on Latin American political economy, the politics of regulation and urban politics.

Monday, November 2, 12:00 – 1:15 pm
554 Barrows Hall

Dario Euraque
"Archaeology, National Identity and the Coup in Honduras: the Role of the Ancient Maya"

On June 28th, the duly elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was ousted in a coup denounced around the world. A little known story surrounding the coup concerns the illegal ouster of the director of Honduras’ Institute of Anthropology and History, the state agency charged with protecting, restoring, researching and promoting the country´s cultural heritage, including its ancient archaeological past. This aspect of Honduras´ national identity is often associated with the tourism drawn to the country’s world-famous ancient Mayan city in Copan, near the Honduras-Guatemala border.  This talk addresses the eerie question: what role did the Ancient Maya play in the aftermath of the coup in Honduras?

Dario Euraque received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1990, and joined the faculty at Trinity College the same year. In June 2006, he began a term of service as Director of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, on leave of absence from Trinity, intending to fulfill the term coincident with the presidential term of José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, scheduled to end in January 2010, and return to Trinity thereafter. In the aftermath of the coup d'etat in Honduras on June 28, 2009, Dr. Euraque, a specialist in the modern history of Honduras, became a participant in as well as witness to historical events that he will discuss in his talk.

Tuesday, November 3, 4:00 - 6:00 pm
2251 College Avenue, Room 101, Archaeological Research Facility
(between Berkeley School of Law and Wurster Hall)

San Francisco in the fog

Cine Latino

La Nana
Directed by Sebastián Silva (Chile, 2009)

A live-in maid, Raquel, has served the Valdés family for 23 years. Neither truly a member of the family nor simply a servant, she inhabits a precarious space somewhere in between. Threatened when her employers decide to bring in extra help, she engages in a series of increasingly frantic acts to hold on to her position in this sharp comedic drama about family, class and self-discovery. 95 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.

Winner of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema for Best Film and the Special Jury Prize for Best Actress. 

This film is not yet rated. Unless otherwise noted, CLAS film presentations are always free and open to the public.

Monday, November 9, 7:00 pm
Pacific Film Archive Theater

Mark Danner
“Now That We Know: Torture, Obama and the Politics of Dirty Hands”

Mark Danner, a UC Berkeley professor of journalism, has covered war, foreign affairs and political violence for two decades. He is the author of Torture and Truth (2004) and, most recently, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War.

Co-sponsored with the Graduate School of Journalism.

Friday, November 13, 2009, 3:00 PM
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall

San Francisco in the fog

Cine Latino

Directed by Pablo Trapero (Argentina, 2008)

Julia doesn’t remember how her boyfriend Nahuel ended up dead, his lover Ramiro badly wounded and herself bloodied in her Buenos Aires apartment. Her shock continues when she is found to be pregnant and confined to the “lion’s den,” a prison ward for mothers and young children. When her son turns four, he must go to live with a family member or be given up for adoption. As the date approaches, outside forces begin to close in on Julia, and she must fight to find a way to keep her son. 113 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.
“…a terrifically engaging story about a woman who is damaged, angry, beautiful and indomitable, who loves her son and who remains a mystery to us, and to herself, right to the end.” — Salon.com

This film is not yet rated.

Wednesday, December 2, 7:00 pm
Room 2060, Valley Life Sciences Building

Film presentation
"The Round-Up"
Miklós Janscó (Hungary, 1966)

A prison on the vast Hungarian plains, and the prisoners and guards that circle therein, are at the crux of this critique of relations between the powerful and the powerless. 94 minutes.

"Boldly stylized, a synthesis of Antonioni, Bresson and Welles." - J. Hoberman

Presented as part of "Watching the Unwatchable: Films Confront Torture," in conjunction with Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib Series, by the Berkeley Art Museum, the Human Rights Center, and with special thanks to Professor Thomas Laqueur.

Saturday, December 5, 6:00 pm
Pacific Film Archive Theater, 2525 Bancroft Way

Film presentation
"The Underground Orchestra"
Heddy Honigmann (The Netherlands, 1997)

A portrait of the buskers of the Paris Métro – an Argentine pianist, an Algerian singer, a violinist from Sarajevo – becomes a document on survival in exile. 108 minutes.

"A splendid example of how illuminating and entertaining a documentary can be."
- Los Angeles Times

Presented as part of "Watching the Unwatchable: Films Confront Torture," in conjunction with Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib Series, by the Berkeley Art Museum, the Human Rights Center, and with special thanks to Professor Thomas Laqueur.

Sunday, December 6, 3:00 pm
Pacific Film Archive Theater, 2525 Bancroft Way

Film presentation
"Saint Joan"
Otto Preminger (U.S., 1957)

Jean Seberg was chosen from thousands of applicants to play Joan of Arc in Preminger's version of George Bernard Shaw's play, adapted for the screen by Graham Greene. 110 minutes.

Presented as part of "Watching the Unwatchable: Films Confront Torture," in conjunction with Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib Series, by the Berkeley Art Museum, the Human Rights Center, and with special thanks to Professor Thomas Laqueur.

Saturday, December 12, 6:30 pm
Pacific Film Archive Theater, 2525 Bancroft Way

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