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  • This Week's Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Violence research group meeting

    Thursday, April 21, 4:00 PM 710 Social Sciences
    MARÍA JOSÉ MÉNDEZ GUTIÉRREZ, Department of Political Science
    “The soundtrack of war: ‘Narcocorridos’ and drug war violence in Latin America”


    Due to the widespread impact of the drug wars in Mexico and Central America, the violence that afflicts the region increasingly marks cultural products. Narcocorrido music lives and sings the complexities and contradictions of violence in Mesoamerica. In some ways, drug trafficking has become the political unconscious that increasingly defines Latin American art production. Adopting a storytelling folk song style, which once chronicled stories about revolutionary figures and soldiers who fought against the U.S. invasion of Mexico, narcocorridos tell stories of the drug war since the 1970s.
    As a musical newspaper that adds social texture to the drug trade and its violence, it reverberates as an important counter-narrative of the drug war. The colorful stories sung by narcocorridos specially stand out against the backdrop of a declining investigative journalism in countries like Mexico, where the menace of death has led many journalists to become accountants: “reporting the numbers of dead people, counting the bodies, without delivering the story behind the casualties (2).” While accused of glamorizing the opulent lives of drug traffickers and their use of violence and while banned from radio and public performances in some Mexican states, narcocorridos are becoming increasingly popular across Latin America and the United States. They currently top the Latin music charts and dominate radio playlists in many cities in the US and in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Central America. This presentation explores narcocorrido music and its widespread reception to make sense of the complexities of drug-related violence.

    María José Méndez is in the PhD program in Political Science at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include postcolonial approaches to the questions of indigeneity and sovereignty as well as theorizations on contemporary global capitalism and the resistance to its effects. Her dissertation explores the politics of death and the political economy of the drug wars in Latin America, with particular attention to the multiple ways in which subaltern groups contest and navigate the evolving landscape of massacres and narco-capitalist accumulation. Her presentation this Thursday is entitled: "The Soundtrack of War: Narcocorridos and Drug War Violence in Latin America."
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  • Holocaust Memorial Day event at CHGS in conjunction with HGMV

    Thursday, May 5, 4:00 PM
    710 Social Sciences Building
    *Holocaust Memorial Day*
    SIDI N'DIAYE, Research Fellow, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    The Role of Historical Hate Representations in the Murder of Neighbors in Rwanda (1994) and Poland (World War II)

    Organized by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, cosponsored by the African Studies Initiative and the Human Rights Program, held in conjunction with the Holocaust, Genocide, and Mass Violence (HGMV) interdisciplinary graduate student group.

    An examination of the place of historical and hatred representations in the murders of Jewish neighbors during the Second World War in Poland and of Tutsi neighbors, during the 1994 genocide. Through the analysis of these proximity massacres, two forms of extreme violence will be discussed in comparing the pitches and the conscious and unconscious psychological and theoretical justifications.  

    Dr. Sidi N’Diaye is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut des Sciences sociales du Politique (ISP) at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (France.) He received his PhD in Political Science from the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in 2012. A native speaker of Soninke, Dr. Sidi N’Diaye possess language skills in French, English, Arabic, Wolof, and Pulaar. While in residence at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. N’Diaye will work on his project, “Historical and Mental Representations in the Proximity of Massacres: A Comparative Approach of the Genocide of Tutsis from Rwanda and Jews from Poland through Murders of Neighbors.”

    Dr. N’Diaye has published two books: The Violent Past and the Policy of Repentance in Mauritania, 1989-2012 (LGDJ, 2013), and Dissonances, Melodies and Social Policies in Mauritania: Random Discussions and Free Fragments, co-authored with Abdarahmane Ngaidé (L'Harmattan, 2014). He expects to finish his next monograph project by the end of May 2016.
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  • Summer Educator Workshop, June 20-23, 2016 -- Teaching about Genocide in Africa: Rwanda and Darfur

    Date: June 20-23, 2016
    Time: 9:00 am-4:00 pm
    Place: 609 Social Sciences, West Bank UMN
    CEUs: 30
    Cost: $100 (includes parking vouchers and resources). Pre service educators can attend free of cost but still must register
    Registration deadline: June 13, 2016
    Register here

    This week seminar, sponsored by the African Studies Initiative Title VI grant, will take a comparative approach to the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. Participants will gain content knowledge about the origin and legal ramifications of the term genocide, and how various groups, such as the United Nations and the Media, addressed the two genocides. Each session will include engaging activities that can be used in secondary and post-secondary classrooms. By the end of the semester, participants will have a collection of materials for their classrooms, including resources, teaching methods, and teaching units.

    Institute leads: James Wahutu, PhD Candidate in Sociology UMN and Nancy Ziemer, high school teacher

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