Drinking with Volleyball Players in Chelsea as an Indian/Indian Not-Yet

I

A bar full of tall athletic dudes. It was Friday night. I was with a friend who had invited me to tag along for a gay volleyball league social.

Our two became three, then five, a group. And then time for a move, another friend’s apartment in Chelsea, but first a slice or two to continue the night.

“I always thought you were Spanish,” one of them said, puzzled, uninhibited.
“Well I’ll tell you the story if you want.”

And I spoke. First about my father, who was adopted, and not knowing his biological family, and then me, growing up in South Texas thinking I was ‘Hispanic’, and finding out later—opening the sealed adoption records—that my father was actually born to an Indian mother and a White father. That I was American Indian, I was telling him. At least in part, and that’s what he wanted to know, I thought.

“That doesn’t exist.”
My lips pursed. My freckles burned.

“There’s no such thing, it’s all just Asian.”

That sinking feeling.

II

Not allowed to speak. Watch as I lose my body. Oh, please let me tell you who I am.

It was to exhort the other to speak as other while reserving the right to withdraw the discursive space of otherness, to be at the threshold where subject and object meet only to find that that space was never really there, an illusion.

It was to demand my enunciation as self, to fan my desire to call myself self only to find that that desire impels inexorably, sinisterly, toward the unraveling of me.

It was the power of Whiteness.

Let me rehearse it again: I position myself for the benefit of another—what is really to other myself for his benefit—and oh, what power do I cede. What self-determination do I vacate. I attempt to narrate myself, or at least how I see myself, or at least how I want others to see me, oh, and how I expose my self to its own negation. What oblivion.

I think that’s what happened at least. That I was foreclosed the identity I was demanded to produce. It was more than a racist attack. It was the negation of my ability to speak as myself. It was abjection, which is worse.

A not yet interpellation. Speak your-self. Not yet.

A not yet eternal. A not yet of Becomings promised, required. But promised and required only to be rejected. A demand to translate my mestizaje into legible categories, only to be de-tongued, un-spun, anti-selved.

To be a subject-in-process dangled the carrot of fixity, its impossible desire (I should have known better) only to be sent back to in-between and not-yet land.

Tell me your story. Tell me about your skin. Tell me about your hair.

Speak up, little Indian not-yet.

LASA 2014 Sexualities Studies Section Report

Now that my tenure as Co-Chair of the LASA Sexualities section has come to close, here is our annual report that will be coming out in the next LASA Bulletin.

Sexualities

By Joseph M. Pierce and Guillermo de los Reyes, Co-Chairs

The Sexualities Section business meeting took place on Thursday, May 22, and was attended by 18 people. We held elections, confirming the new co-chairs of the section, Laura Arnés and Maja Horn, as well as the secretary/treasurer, Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel. During the meeting we announced the winners of the Carlos Monsiváis Award (social sciences) and Sylvia Molloy Award (humanities), discussed future topics for sponsored section panels, and revisited the possibility of holding a pre-conference for LASA 2015.

This year we sponsored two section panels, one of which explored new perspectives in the study of sexualities in Latin America, while the other was organized in collaboration with the Southern Cone section and focused specifically on narratives of love, sex, and gender in the region. Both were well attended and we are looking forward to exploring new possibilities for collaboration with other sections in the future.

The 2013-2014 Carlos Monsiváis Award for best peer-reviewed article in the social sciences was awarded to James Green for his article, “‘Who is the Macho Who Wants to Kill Me?’ Male Homosexuality, Revolutionary Masculinity, and the Brazilian Armed Struggle of the 1960s and 1970s”. Abel Sierra Madero was awarded honorable mention for his article, “Cuerpos en Venta: Pinguerismo y Masculinidad Negociada en la Cuba contemporánea”.

Likewise, the 2013-2014 Sylvia Molloy Award for best peer-reviewed article in the humanities was awarded to Carlos Riobó for his article, “Raiding the ‘Anales’ of the Empire: Sarduy’s Subversions of the Latin American Boom,” with honorable mention for Matthew J. Edwards, “How to Read Copi: A Historiography of the Margins”.

We would like to thank the Monsiváis committee members, Horacio Sívori and Jordi Díez as well as the Molloy committee members, Dara Goldman and Lawrence LaFountain-Stokes for their work this year reviewing articles for the quality of their research, analysis, and writing, as well as on their contribution to the field of sexualities in Latin American and Latino social, cultural, and intellectual contexts.

 

Spotlight

Here is a link to The Statesman spotlight about me and my involvement with La Poderosa Media Project, and a photo of the group in Port Jefferson, NY, after our workshop at Stony Brook University.

 

Image Joseph M. Pierce, Nicolás Schvarzberg, Gabriela Espinosa, Jorge García, Alejandra Zambrano, and baby Joaquín

 

Community + Arts + Education

Stony Brook University
Friday, February 21, 2014
1:30 to 3:30 PM
Melville Library N-3060

LPMP3

This interactive workshop will discuss methods of artistic intervention and community engagement that have been employed by La Poderosa Media Project across Latin America and the United States over the past eight years. Workshop facilitators will emphasize the connection between arts programs and community-based pedagogies that can be applied to university curricula, nonprofit organizations, and social enterprises. Students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to attend.

La Poderosa Media Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage youth empowerment, cultural empathy, and collaborative learning through community-based visual arts programs. It has facilitated the production of 20 short films and documentaries in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and the United States.

Alejandra Zambrano, Founder and Executive Director, obtained a PhD in Latin American Literature at The University of Texas at Austin, where she also completed a portfolio in Nonprofit Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Jorge García, Curriculum Director, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Ithaca College.

Joseph M. Pierce, Communications Director, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature at Stony Brook University.

Sponsored by the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature

Workshop Flyer

SPJ

This is not an obituary. Not a remembrance. Hopefully it is a reflection on the people we trust with our thoughts, on the ways in which we open ourselves to others, on the people who help us become what we want to be. On love. On friendship. It is not a reflection on being an academic. I want it to be much broader than that.

Stephen Paul Jacobs was my friend, my editor, my interlocutor, my cuate. We met in 2005, the year I started graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin. The year of Katrina. My cuate, Steve, passed away on the morning of January 5, 2014. I was on a bus traveling from Houston to New Orleans to visit him, perhaps for the last time. But he had already died by the time I got there.

The last time I saw him in person was this past June. I was moving from Texas to New York, from where we met to where he was born. It was also a trip from the beginning of my time as a graduate student to my first semester as an Assistant Professor. It was a trip I could not have shared with anyone else.

He had seen everything. I am tempted to write this in the second person. I still feel like you are here, Steve, cuate, I still feel like you should be calling me. The rhythm of my life has not yet adjusted to the fact that you and I will no longer talk on the phone. That you will not read my conference papers anymore; that we will no longer listen to Puccini; that you will no longer ask me if I did a bicycle kick in a soccer game. When did I ever?

You shared every moment, every joy, every hoop I had to jump through. You were there for me, whatever that means. You are the only person who read every page of every draft of my dissertation. Doesn’t that sound strange? Doesn’t that sound selfish? My dissertation director didn’t read as much as you read. I am sure of it. You were my sounding board, the person I felt I could ask anything, no matter how silly or un-self-aware, no matter how banal, no matter how trite, no matter how juvenile. I asked you all the things I felt scared to ask other people. And what did you ask me?

You asked me “Wass hapnin?” You would say, “Hey Peps, its Steve. Give me a call when you get a chance. Bye bye.” In fact, that was the last voice mail you ever left me. Six seconds. Your voice mails were always exactly six seconds long. I knew what they said, always. I didn’t even have to listen to them.

But I don’t want to talk about voicemails, even though voicemails are important. Echoes of a voice, that bass voice that I will never hear again, that voice that fades. I want to talk about needing you, about needing what you were to me. On how sad and how weak that makes me feel, but also on how grateful and how much responsibility I feel to share you with others. I mean, to share what you were to me with others.

I think that means that we need people. I think that means, truly, that we just need people. People who listen, people who laugh at us, people who make us realize how fragile we are, how self righteous, how serious we feel like we have to be. Steve, you were that for me. I would do well to remember it, as you know. But you were the person who helped me realize that I am a person, as strange as that sounds. That I am a person, not a statistic or a robot or a job candidate, but a fucking person.

That humanity, that profound sense of humility and grace is what you will always be to me. I forget it sometimes, I admit. But you were always, you will always be the one I needed to get through all of this. To get to where I am (one step of many I was hoping to share with you). A journey. A friend. A feeling.

But not sympathy. A feeling like I always knew that we needed each other; like there was always something to share, something to see, something to taste, something to do together. A feeling like love and admiration and vulnerability and childishness all at once. A feeling like mattering to someone even if you could never say exactly what that meant.

Programas comunitarios de educación audiovisual como alternativa al aprendizaje-servicio en el extranjero

New article out:

Programas comunitarios de educación audiovisual como alternativa al aprendizaje-servicio en el extranjero

Abstract: En julio de 2011, La Poderosa Media Project (LPMP) terminó su décimo programa comunitario de artes visuales en América Latina. Dicho programa reúne a jóvenes latinoamericanos con estudiantes universitarios estadounidenses en un taller de producción cinematográfica cuyo objetivo final es la realización de documentales y cortometrajes de ficción. El presente artículo se enfoca en el impacto de esta edición del programa de LPMP en los estudiantes de español como segunda lengua. Además se analiza, a partir de la afectividad, el efecto tanto de la producción artística como de la traducción intercultural en las subjetividades de los participantes estadounidenses. Más allá de una valoración del programa en su estado actual, este artículo es una proyección de sus implicaciones futuras para profesores y administradores que deseen diseñar e implementar programas de estudio en el extranjero con un componente de compromiso social en el que prime el aprendizaje experiencial a través de la integración de los estudiantes en la comunidad.

Co-written with Jorge García (Ithaca College) and Alejandra Zambrano (Ithaca College).

GarciaPierceZambrano_Hispania_96.2