Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Slideshow and lecture at Macalester

Today we gave a presentation at Macalester as part of the Pi Sigma Alpha lecture series. We were well-dressed, and just moments before we were about to begin, a voice bellowed from the corridor: "Nicole! You look like a Republican!"

Always good to have David Seitz at an event.

Speaking for about 35 minutes, Nicole and I briefly summarized our model of Complementary Collaboration, showed Jaime's photos and told anecdotes about four popular movements in Quito and El Alto, and presented our academic argument about women's inclusion on the executive councils of these movements. We had a full house and received another 30 minutes of good questions and comments, as well as suggestions for the future direction of our research.
Our various anecdotes about interviewing a vampire, being briefly imprisoned, and getting kicked out of a restaurant while interviewing one of Ecuador's national political officials were well received. So were the cookies.

It was great for me to be able to share our work with my friends, who have heard tangential anecdotes about my experiences but hadn't heard too much about all the data we've collected and the specifics about our case studies. Oh, bridging connections between worlds! I also liked the juxtaposition between looking like a Daughter of the American Revolution and simultaneously talking about the twin beasts of neoliberalism and privatization. What would Sarah Palin say?!

--Paul and Nicole

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween with the North Central Council of Latin Americanists

On Halloween afternoon, we presented our initial research findings at the North Central Council of Latin Americanists conference, held at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Pictured with us are Fiorella Ormeño Incio and Brendan Duke, who also presented papers at the conference. We had some good drama leading up to our talk, because two days beforehand I lost my voice! Erik Larson called it a public service. Up until about an hour before our talk, we didn't know if Nicole was going to have to do the whole talk by herself, but my voice returned and we put on a good show, complete with a Halloween-themed handout of our causal argument. Our paper was titled "Presence, Status, Respect, Voice: Gender Dynamics and Anti-Privatization Movements in Bolivia and Ecuador." NCCLA was a small conference, so it was easy to get to know a number of people as you saw the same faces at most of the panels over the course of two days. By contrast, when we present the final version of our work in Rio de Janeiro in June, there will be over 5,000 people at the Latin American Studies Association conference. It was a lot of fun for me to present at this conference with Nicole, and also have a current student (Fiorella) and former student (Brendan) presenting as well. And Brendan won the Student Research Award for best conference paper!
Probably the most disappointing part of the conference was not wearing costumes. Nicole had high hopes that we would buy bunny ears and/or a knife-through-the-head headband on the way to the conference, but this plan never materialized.
The most memorable line from our talk was when Nicole philosophically asked the audience: "Do retrograde patriarchal thugs pay a price for their misogyny?"

We spent Halloween eating leftover candy and discussing Obama and different birthing practices. Not quite Trick or Treating, but still a good time. After listening to Brendan's excellent presentation on Saturday morning, we ate Afghan food in Madison (they were setting up for the huge Halloween party) and headed back to St Paul. On the way back, we stopped for some authentic Wisconsin ice-cream (it's a tradition to stuff our faces with high-calorie deliciousness after working).

The adventure continues!

--Paul and Nicole