Janey Fellows Brie Gettleson & Melissa Amezcua Yepiz presented their most recent works based on the 2011/2012 Janey Summer Fellowship they were awarded. See titles and abstracts below:
Brie Gettleson: Living la Mano Dura: Neomilitarismo in Guatemala’s newest presidency
This paper is concerned with neomilitarism in Guatemala. Through two anecdotes taken from my field notes generated by 14 months of ethnographic research from February 2011 to April 2012 and earlier preliminary visits, I focus specifically on the activities of new president Otto Perez Molina and his efforts to transform Guatemala into a security state, officially in response to the increasingly visible role of the country as a transit state in inter-American narcotics trafficking. This paper argues against the following widely circulated dominant narratives: 1) increasing the use of the Guatemalan army for domestic security is beneficial for the safety of Guatemalans and that militarization’s primary de facto function is citizen safety; 2) the return of a military man to power signals a reversal, or should be read in anyway as ironic,, given Guatemala’s recent history. By narrowly focusing on two incidents from my research, as well as the recent election of former general Otto Perez Molina to the presidency, I explore both potential and actual consequences of the Guatemalan army’s deployment in the name of citizen security and it’s place in the saga of Guatemalan politics.
Melissa Amezcua Yepiz- Imagining and Instituting the People: The dilemmas of Popular Sovereignty in Postrevolutionary Mexico. 1929-1946,
Abstract: The idea that ‘sovereignty resides in the people’ is the animating spirit of modern democracies, but also an enduring dilemma in democratic politics. It makes the People, the ultimate source of political legitimacy, yet the nature and contours of the People remain the foci of contestation. This paper presents the framework for an examination of this puzzle in light of postrevolutionary Mexico looking at the different ways in which Mexicans understood and practiced popular sovereignty. The first part presents the research plan and the contemporary debate around popular sovereignty and in particular the problem of the ‘elusiveness’ of the People. The second part outlines five events/moments in postrevolutionary Mexico that illustrate the diverse ways in which Mexicans construed popular sovereignty and that I examine as tentative case studies for the project.
Friday, April 7th 2012
History Conference Room