March 2011 Newsletter (archive)

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March Spotlight: Historian and Institute Fellow Jaime Pensado
This month’s spotlight features Institute Fellow Jamie Pensado, assistant professor in the Department of History and a fellow of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Pensado’s area of study is modern Latin America, especially modern Mexican history with a particular emphasis in student politics, youth culture, and the cold war. Born in Mexico City, Pensado moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of fourteen, where he received his BA and MA in Latin American studies at California State University, Los Angeles. Pensado earned his PhD at the University of Chicago in 2008 and joined the Notre Dame faculty in Fall of that year.

Institute Director Gilberto Cárdenas says of Pensado,

Jaime Pensado is exactly the kind of young Latino faculty member that the Institute and the University needs as we educate this new generation of future scholars and leaders. Jaime is impressive in his ability connect with our students, Latinos and non-Latinos alike. In particular, his historical research themes of youth and resistance find echoes in the contemporary world. His enthusiasm for teaching, combined with the relevance of his research interests, has allowed him to engage in a most meaningful way with our students.

Pensado has been involved in a variety of collaborations with the Institute since joining the Notre Dame faculty. He developed and co-taught a class with Institute Associate Director Allert Brown-Gort on the impact of the Mexican Revolution in both Mexico and the United States and he regularly introduces his classes to the special collections of the Julian Samora Library to provide them the experience of incorporating primary source research into their work.

Most recently, in collaboration with the Institute, Pensado has developed the undergraduate student conference “Mexico: 1810, 1910, 2010” to be held at Notre Dame on April 16. The conference, which is co-sponsored by the Institute, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the Latin American Studies Program, seeks undergraduate student papers that explore Mexico, or Mexican American issues as they relate to Mexico, and that provide a lens to the precarious contemporary situation. The goal of the conference is to give undergraduate students the opportunity to present their work, get feedback from graduate students, and get to know students from different disciplines who are also working on Mexico.

On his research and teaching Pensado notes,

I have designed several classes since my arrival to Notre Dame. The classes that my students and I have enjoyed the most have been “Modern Latin American History through Film,” “US Operations in Central America,” “The Sixties in Latin America,” and the “Mexican Revolution.” I have also taught a Spanish class in Toledo (Spain) on “Art and Revolution in Latin America.” One of my favorite courses has been my graduate seminar on “Modern Latin America: A View from the Left.” Currently I am teaching a class on “Rebel Youth in Latino/a America.”

Pensado’s current project is a book manuscript on the role competing powerbrokers played to quell growing student unrest and mediate youth conflict in Mexico during the 1950s and 1960s. His next research book project will examine the concept of youth in Latin America during the 1920s and 1930s.


Call for Student Papers! Abstract Deadline is March 11
Friday, March 11, is the deadline for paper abstracts (300 words) to be submitted to Professor Jaime Pensado to be considered for the undergraduate student conference “Mexico: 1810, 1910, 2010.” Conference organizers seek undergraduate student papers that explore Mexico, or Mexican American issues as they relate to Mexico, and that provide a lens to Mexico’s precarious contemporary situation. The conference, will be held at Notre Dame on April 16, and is co-sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and the Latin American Studies Program. Final drafts of the papers chosen for presentation will be due Friday, April 8. For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Jaime Pensado, assistant professor of history (

Aragón Chairs National Literary Conference
Letras Latinas director Francisco Aragón served as conference chair at the 2011 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Annual Conference & Bookfair in his capacity as vice president of its board of directors. Letras Latinas was also a co-sponsor, at the “patron” level, of this literary gathering that brought together more than 8,000 participants, including poets, writers, editors, publishers, and other literary stakeholders from around the United States. The conference took place February 2–5 in Washington, DC. For more information see

Groody Appointed to Committee on Migration
Rev. Daniel Groody, CSC, associate professor of theology and director of the Institute’s Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture, has been appointed to serve a 3-year term on the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The committee sets broad policies and direction for the Church’s work in the area of migration and oversees the USCCB’s Office of Migration and Refugee Services. This office represents the bishops’ interests in policy formulation and communication, advocacy, education, refugee settlement, among other services to at-risk and vulnerable populations such as victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors. For more information see

Siglo XXI Meeting Planned for Spring 2012
On February 11, Institute Director Gilberto Cárdenas traveled to el Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños at Hunter College, City University of New York, for a planning meeting for the biennial Siglo XXI conference, “Forging the Future of Latinos in a Time of Crisis.” This IUPLR-sponsored conference, to be held in February 2012 in New York City, will explore how the recent US economic downturn, stemming from the 2008–2009 global financial crisis, has been a factor in a restructuring of American life, a changing social environment with new stratification, a rise in extreme conservatism and nativism, soaring unemployment, and larger societal disparities that have a direct impact upon US Latino populations.

Local SB 590 Panel Discussion
On February 15 the Institute hosted La Casa de Amistad’s Adelante America Youth Leadership Program for a panel discussion regarding the proposed Indiana Senate Bill 590, which is modeled on Arizona’s anti-immigration law. A panel led by local attorney Felipe Merino informed participants about SB 590, what it proposes to do, and how it could affect the community in which we live. Open discussion followed with students interested in learning more about how best to help spread the word about SB 590.

Brown-Gort Travels to Mexico City
On February 16 Institute Associate Director Allert Brown-Gort traveled to Mexico City, joining the Kellogg Institute for International Studies in the awarding of the 2010 Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America to Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. Cárdenas was selected for his defense of Mexican Democracy. For more information on the Notre Dame Prize, please see

Chavez Presents in Atlanta
On February 19 Institute Fellow Alex Chavez presented a paper at the Southern American Studies Association conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in a session entitled “Geographies of Race and Belonging: Southern Authenticity, Citizenship, and the ‘Stranger.’” His paper, “‘Going South’: On Tropes, Publics, and Racialized Geographies of Citizenship in Black and Brown America,” explored the ethno-poetics of the “Gone South” euphemism and the associated discursive terrain of race, citizenship, and political economy.

  • Groody Publishes on Theology of Migration
    Fr. Daniel Groody recently published two articles on the theology of migration:
  • “Gud vid gränserna—migrationsteologi,” Signum 1 (January 2011): 37–42. (Swedish)
  • “A Theology of Migration: A New Method for Understanding a God on the Move,” America Magazine, February 7, 2011.

Guzmán Presents in Chicago
On February 25 Institute Research Director Juan Carlos Guzmán presented his paper entitled “Risk factors for Chronic Diseases in a Highly Immigrant Community: Elkhart County Indiana” at the 2011 Minority Health in the Midwest Conference, “The Promise of Health Equity: Advancing the Discussion to Eliminate Disparities in the 21st Century.” The conference was held at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Arts Journalist and Writer Donates Papers
Jeff Huebner, long time Chicago-based arts journalist and writer donated some of his early writings to the Julian Samora Library in February. Huebner is a regular contributor to publications such as the Chicago Reader and his articles have also appeared in local and national publications such as ARTnewsNew Art ExaminerHigh PerformanceChicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times. He is also writer and editor of the Chicago Public Art Groups news magazine. He is the author of Murals: The Great Walls of Joliet (2001) and is co-author, with Olivia Gude, of Urban Art Chicago: A Guide to Contemporary Murals, Mosaics, and Sculptures (2000).

On-Campus Events

The Institute calendar of events is continually updated, so please be sure to check for up-to-date event information at Please visit our website or sign up to be on our Cultural Events and Programs Listserv (email: to learn more about the listed events plus many others currently being scheduled.

13th Annual Celebration of Brazilian Carnaval
Vibrant Brazilian dance rhythms will transport revelers to the streets of Rio de Janeiro during the annual celebration of Brazilian Carnaval. The Brazilian celebration of Mardi Gras, Carnaval will feature professional Brazilian dancers performing and teaching dance steps to authentic axe and samba music. The family-friendly event will be on Friday, March 4, 2011, and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7:30 pm. Event begins at 8:00 pm, South Dining Hall, University of Notre Dame. For more information please email This event is sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and co-sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies.

ILS Spring Reception
The Institute will be hosting a spring reception for ILS-affiliated faculty, fellows, and staff. Tuesday, March 8, 4:30 pm, Julian Samora Library West Lounge.

March 12–20 Notre Dame Spring Break

ILS Sponsors Film Screening
The Institute and Multicultural Student Programs and Services are proud to sponsor a film screening of Walkout: The Chicano Movement, Schools, and the Mayday Marches. This 2006 film stars Alexa Vega, Michael Peña, and Edward James Olmos, who also directed the film. This film will be shown in the Montgomery Auditorium in LaFortune Student Center at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. This film screening is for Notre Dame students and faculty/staff only. Please contact for more information or with any questions. If you are interested in this topic please be sure to also attend the lecture by Mario T. Garcia on March 30: “Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice” (see below for more information).

Lecture by Ramón A. Gutiérrez
Ramón A. Gutiérrez will present the lecture “Reies López Tijerina and the Religious Origins of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.” Gutiérrez is the Preston and Sterling Morton Distinguished Service Professor of History, and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. This lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, at 4:00 pm in McKenna Hall room 210-214 and is sponsored by Institute for Scholarships in the Liberal Arts, the Department of History, and the Institute for Latino Studies.

Lecture by Dr. Richard A. Lou
“A Chicanese in the Land of Dixie,” a lecture by Dr. Richard A. Lou, professor and chair of the Department of Art at the University of Memphis will be held on March 24, 2011, at 4:00 pm in McKenna Hall room 210-214 at the University of Notre Dame.

Lecture by Mario T. Garcia
“Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice,”?a lecture by Mario T. Garcia, professor of history and Chicana and Chicano studies at UC Santa Barbara. This lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 5:00 pm in McKenna Hall room 210-214 at the University of Notre Dame.

Catholic Diasporas: The Irish and Mexicans in America Conference 
In collaboration with the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the Cushwa Center announces a March 31–April 2 conference that will examine the Mexican and Irish experience in their native and adoptive homelands, shedding new light on their significance through comparative analysis. All conference sessions are free and open to the public and will meet in the auditorium of McKenna Hall/Center for Continuing Education on the University of Notre Dame campus. For further information, please contact Paula Brach at The Institute and its Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture are proud to cosponsor this conference.

Student Variety Show
The Latin Expressions variety show will be held on April 1, 2011, at the Century Center in downtown South Bend. This event is hosted by the student group La Alianza as a part of Spring Visitation. Each year the Office of Undergraduate Admissions welcomes more than 400 incoming African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American students for Spring Visitation Weekends, an admissions recruitment effort.

Off Campus Events

Fr. Elizondo to Present at USCCB US-Mexico Migration Conference
On March 21, Fr. Virgil Elizondo will be a panelist at the conference “The Catholic Church and Immigration: Pastoral, Policy, and Social Perspectives” sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic University of America. Fr. Elizondo’s panel, “Immigration and the Church: Historical Impact and Future Responses,” will discuss how past migration flows have impacted the Church, the Church’s response to new immigrants, and challenges for the future. The conference will be held at Catholic University Law School in Washington, DC.

Brown-Gort to Lecture in Reading, PA
The Annual Hesburgh Lecture, co-sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of Reading, will feature Allert Brown-Gort. Brown-Gort will speak about “The Impact of the Growing Latino Population” and will discuss the increase in demographics over the next decade, forecast and influence on various economies and the impact for communities. The lecture will be held on March 28, 2011, at 7:00 pm at the Bernardine Franciscan Conference Center in Reading, PA. Please contact the Holleran Center for Community Engagement at 610-790-1925 or for more information.

Chavez to Lecture in Bloomington
On April 3, 2011, Institute Fellow Alex Chavez will be giving a “Horizons of Knowledge” lecture at Indiana University, Bloomington, co-sponsored by the Departments of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Anthropology, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Entitled “¡Vamos a Da’ Las! (Let’s Go to Dallas!): Transborder Geographies of Illegality in Mexican Speech Play,” the lecture explores a variety of common sociolinguistic practices—ranging from humorous verbal put-ons to the virtuosic use of the Spanish décima in poetic flyting—as interactional means of self-making across the US-Mexico border among undocumented Mexican immigrants from the Sierra Gorda region of central Mexico.