Events from the 2011-2012 Academic Year

Events from previous years


Vinicius (2005) Film Screening Sept 28, 2011

Brazil Under Dilma: Confronting Challenges Brought by Success Brazil Lecture Sept 28, 2011

Graduate Student Orientation to CERLAC Informational Meeting Oct 6, 2011

Beginning of the Year Reception Social Gathering Oct 6, 2011

Romanticism and the Invention of Brazil Brazil Lecture Oct 12, 2011

CANCELLED: ALBA & Central American Integration Visiting Speaker Oct 13, 2011

Students: Get involved with CERLAC! Informational Meeting & Workshop Oct 18, 2011

The Amerindians Film Screening & Visiting Speaker Oct 19, 2011

Back from the Field: Grad Research Experiences Panel Oct 25, 2011

Rebels With a Cause: Women in Brazilian Politics Brazil Lecture Nov 2, 2011

Narrating Trans-Identity in Trinidad & Tobago Visiting Speaker Nov 10, 2011

Bolsa Familia & Possibilities of a Future without Misery in Brazil Brazil Lecture Nov 16, 2011

How is Black Identity Performed in Canada? Panel Discussion Nov 23, 2011

Water and the Mining City (Cerro de Pasco, Peru) Visiting Speaker Nov 24, 2011

Nature vs Order: Growing up in Jamaica - with Erna Brodber Caribbean LectureNov 24, 2011

Brazilian Film: The Year My Parents Went on Vacation Film Screening Nov 25, 2011

Buen vivir: Ontological shift or rhetorical device? Forum Dec 6, 2011

First Meeting: Spanish Conversation Group Social gathering Jan 25, 2012

Revolution in Venezuela? Visiting Speaker Feb 9, 2012

Chilean Student leader Camilo Ballesteros speaks Visiting Speaker Feb 10, 2012

Problematizing Fieldwork Seminar Feb 16, 2012

Challenges Facing Reconstruction & Justice in Haiti Visiting Speakers Feb 16, 2012

The Steel Workers (in Brazilian politics) Film & Discussion Feb 16, 2012

Indigenous Peoples' Rights in Chile Visiting Speaker Feb 28, 2012

CFP: Undergraduate Conference in Latin American & Caribbean Studies Conference March 16, 2012

No More Blood:  Struggles for Peace & Human Rights in Mexico Visiting Speakers March 7, 2012

Undergraduate Conference in Latin American & Caribbean Studies Conference March 16, 2012

Creative Methodologies as a Resource for Mayan Women's Protagonism Seminar Mar 20, 2012

Environmental Governance in Northeast Brazil Brazil Lecture Mar 28, 2012

Urban planning & governance in Barranquilla, Colombia Visiting Speaker June 26, 2012

























This event will also be used as occasion to celebrate

the recent launch of the new CERLAC project led by Prof. Andrea Davis:

Youth and Community Development in Canada and Jamaica: A Transnational Approach to Youth Violence












CERLAC regrets to announce that

the following event has been CANCELLED








































All interested members of the York community are invited

to participate in a newly formed






Wednesday, January 25, 2012 @ 4pm
Location: 956 York Research Tower
York University



Interested in improving your Spanish? Whatever your level of proficiency, from beginner to advanced or native speakers, join us!

Meet with us for a discussion on what you would like to see (ie. in terms of frequency,structure, etc)!


Interested in being involved, but cannot make it? Email Stacey at with your contact info, level of proficiency, as well as any comments or suggestions!









CERLAC, El Consejo Internacional de Mujeres Latino Americanas y del Caribe en Canadá (Latin@s), Grupo Victor Jara de Chile, Grupo Salvador Allende, and Red de Solidaridad con América Latina y el Caribe



one of the main leaders of the student movement in Chile

speaking on the history of the movement in Chile,

and its spread throughout Latin America


Friday February 10, 2012

1 - 4 pm

Nat Taylor Cinema

York University












More info:










Friday, March 16, 2012
@ York University, Toronto


The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) at York University is inviting undergraduate students to present papers on any topic related to Latin America and the Caribbean. In recognition of the diversity of research projects, papers are welcome from all disciplines including (but not limited to) the social sciences, humanities, fine arts, environmental studies, law and business.

This conference represents an outstanding opportunity to recognize the work of undergraduate students and to provide them with a setting to further explore their academic interests. The students will be asked to present their papers in a panel chaired by an upper-level graduate student. Emphasis will be placed on helping students improve their presentation, critical thinking as well as research skills. Presenters will receive a CERLAC Certificate of Accomplishment.

The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) is an interdisciplinary research unit concerned with the economic development, political and social organization, and cultural contributions of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Centre works to build academic and cultural links between these regions and Canada; to inform researchers, policy advisors, and the public on matters concerning the regions; and to assist in the development of research and teaching institutions that directly benefit the peoples of the regions.


We encourage applicants to submit 10 pages maximum (double space) papers to

The deadline for the submission of papers is Friday, February 17, 2012.

Applicants will receive confirmation of acceptance by early March. 

For more information about CERLAC:










Current information is FINAL







Scroll down for programme details



CERLAC Undergraduate Conference – Friday, March 16, 2012 12:30pm – 4pm - 305 Founders College, Senior Common Room, York University.


12:30pm – 12: 45pm  – Introduction (15 min) by Eduardo Canel, Director, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC),  and Ewa Modlinska,  MA, Environmental Studies, York University 

12:45pm –2: 15pm – Panel 1 (1.5 hrs) - Political Economy: Domination and Resistance chaired by Jennifer Mills, PhD, Environmental Studies, York University

2:15pm – 2: 30pm - Coffee Break (15 min)

2: 30pm – 4pm – Panel 2 (1.5hrs) - Identity, Power and Cultural Production in the Caribbean chaired by Jan Anderson, MA, Development Studies, York University

4:00pm – 4: 15pm – Closing Remarks (15 min) by Clive Forrester, Visiting Lecturer at York University, PhD Candidate, CERLAC Fellow


PANEL 1 – Political Economy: Domination and Resistance chaired by Jennifer Mills, PhD, Environmental Studies,York University
Javan Courtney – “Castro’s Cuba:  Regime Consolidation and Survival”
Patricia  Salas Sánchez – “Empowering the People:  The Cochabamba Water Revolt”
Monica  Silberberg – “The Jamaican Bauxite-Alumina Industry and Decolonization”
Allan Spessoto –“Worker-Recuperated Workplaces: Autonomy and Collectivity Benefiting Argentine Workers”


PANEL 2 – Identity, Power and Cultural Production in the Caribbean chaired by Jan Anderson, MA, Development Studies, York University
Matthew Baggetta – “The Heroic Imagination Of Oscar Wao:  Breaking the Traps of History”
Naregh Galoustian– “Paths to Decolonization in the French Caribbean: Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fano”
Zalika Reid Benta – “The Navigational Nature of Caribbean Diasporic Literature In Relation To the Formation of Identity and Broad and Narrow Cultural Transnationalism”
Jennifer Stephenson - “Historicising the Zombie”




Jan Anderson is a Masters Candidate in Development Studies at York University.  Her research focuses on emerging donors, where she interrogates China's Engagement with Africa and the resulting alterations in aid architecture and development trajectories. She currently serves CERLAC's Project "Groundings", a youth-driven contemplation of the nexus of violence and the arts in the context of Jamaica and Toronto led by principal investigator Dr. Andrea Davis.


Javan Courtney graduated from the UofT in November in political science and history. He is currently pursuing a second undergraduate major in anthropology to better ready himself for an interdisciplinary program at the graduate level. His interests are systems of domination, power, gender, race, immigration policy, and the Caribbean diaspora.
“The last 50 years has witnessed the consolidation, and at points, the strengthening of the Castro regime. The regime has proved comparatively resilient considering the ongoing assault on the Cuban political landscape by American destabilization campaigns, attempts at launching insurgencies within Cuba, and an economic downturn reminiscent of the Great Depression. This paper explains this resiliency; and presents the argument the Castros consolidated their power by exporting oppositional elements to the shores of Florida and by empowering a previously marginalized Afro-Cuban population who prove hesitant to act against a regime that has advanced their socio-economic position.”

Patricia Salas Sánchez is an undergraduate student pursuing a Specialized Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Global Political Studies at York University. Born and raised in Durango, Mexico, Patricia developed a keen interest in Latin
American development, participatory democracy, social movements, and environmental justice. She is currently the Event Coordinator of Oxfam Canada at York University.
“In 2000, the neoliberal agenda of privatization and corporate control attempted to dispossess residents of Cochabamba, Bolivia, of control over public water resources. Pursuant to an agreement with the World Bank, the Bolivian government promulgated Law 2029 and turned over the water rights to the transnational consortium Aguas del Tunari. In response, new dynamics of grassroots democratic empowerment and popular resistance emerged. The Coordinadora was formed as a bridge between diverse rural and urban social actors with a common cause; reverse the privatization of Cochabamba’s water system. In a widespread protest known as the “water war,” the government cancelled the water privatization contract. This paper elucidates on how the social recognition of water as a public natural resource became the determinant factor in the Cochabamba water revolt by fostering solidarity among community groups.”


Allan Spessoto is from the south of Brazil. He studied music for one year after high school, and moved to Canada in April of 2010. He took a few courses  at York University in the liberal arts area and then decided to transfer  to the International Development Studies program, which he is currently  in. His academic interests stem from the question of how different fields of study can help explain the world's current injustices and come up with alternatives to neoliberal capitalism.
“The recuperated workplaces in Argentina constitute a relatively new  phenomenon and they are part of the new wave of social movements of the 21st century. This paper provides a general analysis of the recuperated workplaces in Argentina. It will look at its economic, political, social, and cultural features through the ways in which the movement
creates a mixture of autonomy and collectivity. It will argue that this mixture benefits workers in the productive, political, and social spheres.”



Jennifer Mills is in her first year of the PhD program in Environmental Studies at York University. She also completed her Masters in Development Studies at York. Her research focuses on the oil industry and consultation with indigenous peoples.

Naregh Galoustian is a 4th year student of History and Political Science. He previously studied French and Russian Literatures in Italy. His current focus is on the intersections between the intellectual and political history of the Caribbean and Latin America, especially in terms of nation, race and citizenship. A truly citizen of the world, he strives to explore shared experiences of history and ideas in order to connect diverse and apparently divergent areas, for the sake of better understanding each other. He’s currently working as a project manager at an international media development organization focusing on human rights.
“In the Caribbean, national independence traditionally meant formal de-colonization. However, the French Caribbean opted for integration rather than separation from France. Did Martinique and Guadaloupe accept the persistence of colonialism by refusing to gain sovereignty? Although it might seem so, the decision to be integrated within the French departmental system in 1946 stemmed from a longer political history of competing ideas of citizenship. In order to better understand this choice and its limits, historical and cultural developments will be explored by referring in broad terms to the thought of two Martinicans: Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon.” 

Zalika Reid-Benta will be graduating with a BA in English and Cinema Studies and a minor in Caribbean Studies this June. She has long been fascinated with the relationship between literature and racial and cultural identity; a theme she, herself, explores in her own writing and will continue to explore at a Masters level this fall. 
“This paper will argue that literature written in and by the Caribbean Diaspora exposes as well as contributes to the practices and symbols that constitute cultural transnationalism. To substantiate this claim, I will attempt to illustrate that, firstly, cultural transnationalism and Caribbean [diasporic] identity are two processes in constant engagement with each other; secondly, that literature simultaneously fosters and creates this engagement. Thus, Caribbean diasporic literature is a testament to the constant evolution of identity in the Caribbean diaspora.”

Jennifer Stephenson was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She is currently getting her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Toronto.
“The topic I have chosen to present on is the appropriation of the western popular culture figure of the zombie from the Haitian religion of vodou and Haitian culture. It was during the United States Marine occupation of the island between 1915 and 1934 that tales of Haitian barbarism began to resonate in the United States. During this period adventure novelists such as William Seabrook also took an interest in the island, introducing to western culture the zombi. The zombi was utilized in popular fiction such as Seabrook’s, and later films such as White Zombie to perpetuate western ideas of barbarism in Haiti and further justify the presence of the United States.” 



























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