2019. “Televising the Revolution: Oaxacan Women on CORTV,” Third Text, Special Issue: Amateurism, forthcoming November, DOI: 10.1080/09528822.2019.1657290.
“Televising the Revolution: Oaxacan Women on CORTV”
In the summer of 2006, during a popular uprising in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, a group of Oaxacan women occupied state television and transformed it into TV by and for the people in just twenty-one days. Engaging with the amateur and fugitive aesthetic of the women’s self-produced media, this article examines the ways in which the broadcasts helped build The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) as a model of decolonial democracy. I argue that through the recuperation of foreclosed public space, the women used the instruments of state power to develop forums for political deliberation and debate that re-articulated and reframed issues of gender, class and indigeneity in the social movement. They prefigured APPO’s proposed democratic model by visualizing the popular assembly as a dynamic work-in-progress, and in turn helped to manifest it by inviting broad public participation and support to realise APPO’s democracy ‘to come’.FIND IT HERE
2019.“Visualizing decolonial democracy: The teachers’ union and the People’s Guelaguetza in Oaxaca, Mexico,” Journal of Labor and Society, vol 22, issue 1, March 2019, DOI: 10.1111/wusa.12385.
“Visualizing decolonial democracy: The teachers’ union and the People’s Guelaguetza in Oaxaca, Mexico”
The annual strike encampment staged by Local Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) in Oaxaca, Mexico was violently repressed in the summer of 2006, resulting in a massive uprising led by the newly formed Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). APPO and Section 22 created the People’s Guelaguetza indigenous folk festival as an alternative to the state’s Guelaguetza, which had become a commercialized spectacle aimed at generating tourist revenue. I analyze the People’s Guelaguetza as a union strategy both in the context of Oaxaca’s 2006 uprising and in the festival’s continuing yearly iteration. I contend that the People’s Guelaguetza provides a hybrid cultural-political forum mobilizing a two-pronged approach to support short-term and long-term union goals, first to denounce a threat imposed from above and then to promote an alternative innovated from below. In 2006, the festival denounced the state and prefigured, through visual and embodied modes of indigenous self-representation, APPO’s participatory democratic model of political engagement based in indigenous communal lifeways. In its post-APPO iteration, the People’s Guelaguetza opposes neoliberal government education reforms and endorses union-generated educational initiatives addressing the needs of Oaxaca’s indigenous rural poor.FIND IT HERE
2015. “Paradoxes of Trace and Erasure: Reading Derrida Through Kentridge,” Semiotics 2014: “The Semiotics of Paradox,” Yearbook of the Semiotics Society of America, September 2015, DOI: 10.5840/cpsem201418.
“Paradoxes of Trace and Erasure: Reading Derrida Through Kentridge”
In the Western philosophical tradition and its critique, one of the most prevalent questions is that of presence – the question of being, of what is. Jacques Derrida challenges the privileging of presence in Western philosophy by cueing us to the ways in which absence is always already signaled in presence. In this paper, I look at Derrida’s notion of the trace through South African artist William Kentridge’s drawing-for-projection work, Felix in Exile. For Derrida, the trace explains that all that is present in a given element (a word, a concept) is the other absent element. The trace is the entanglement of the other in the selfsame and marks a rapport with that other, whether it is another word, another individual, or another temporality. Felix in Exile visualizes traces and erasures: the literal trace of the drawn mark, the ghostly impressions left once the drawing is erased and another drawn over, the traces of apartheid in the landscapes of South Africa, and the traces of trauma left in the cultural or individual imaginary. Just as questions of being, presence, and the other haunt language through the trace, according to Derrida, Kentridge’s trace marks the ways in which the presence of the Other – made absent – haunts landscape and memory in apartheid-ravaged South Africa. Felix in Exile visualizes five key characteristics of the trace and structures a reading of Derrida’s term that suggests its utility for visual studies inquiry in the context of work that deals with contemporary sociopolitical crises: 1) the trace is a gap that signals différance; 2) the trace is unstable; 3) the trace is always effaced; 4) the trace indicates an absence that defines presence; and 5) the trace is the wound through which we apprehend the Other.FIND IT HERE