April 24, 2014

Choral Concert of Latin American Music

Featuring Ashland University Chamber Singers & Women's Chorus
Sunday, Apr. 27 at 4 p.m.
Jack and Deb Miller Chapel

The Ashland University Choral Program collaborates with the College of Arts & Sciences Symposium Against Indifference to present a concert of a variety of Latin American musical selections for voices. Featuring the Ashland University Chamber Singers, Women’s Chorus, and the student a cappella group Surround Sound, the concert will be held on Sunday, April 27, 4:00 p.m. at the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel.  The performance is free and open to the public.

Dr. Rowland Blackley, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, will conduct the Ashland University Chamber Singers singing in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin with some pieces including instrumental accompaniment.  With D. R. Haught on guitar, the Chamber Singers will perform Albert Hernandez's modern interpretation of a Venezuelan calypso, Goza Mi Calipso; while percussionist Jake Lange plays percussion on a variety of other pieces including Edmund Hughes' arrangement of the Brazilian folk song Eu e Voce.  The Chamber Singers will also present the first movement of Kyrie from "Missa ego flos campi" by the Mexican Renaissance composer Juan Gutierrez Padilla; and Fransisco Mignone's arrangement of the traditional Brazilian poem about a lovely woman with chestnut eyes, Morena, Morena.

With recent graduate Jordan Black as the guest conductor and Holly Allan as accompanist, the Women's Chorus will perform the gently flowing "Barter" by Rene Clausen based on the poem written by Sara Teasdale; and the popular Mexican song Cielito Lindo.  The Women's Chorus will also present Alberto Favero's Te Quiero featuring a trio comprised of Stephanie Rankin, Marguerite Tryling and Elizabeth Papantonio.

The Chamber Singers and Women's Chorus will perform as a combined ensemble for Ernanu Aguiar's "Salmo 150," a modern setting of the 150th Psalm.

March 31, 2014

The intersection of coffee, communities, and conservation in Latin America

The fourth and final event in this year’s Environmental Lecture Series will be a presentation by Dr. Amanda Rodewald from Cornell University. That will be Thursday, Apr. 3 at 7:30 pm in the Ronk Lecture Hall, COE.

In the broadest sense, Dr. Rodewald’s research program seeks to understand how human activities influence ecological systems and the services they provide. Her current study systems are deciduous forests of eastern and central U.S. (urban, agricultural, and managed forest landscapes) and montane forests of Central and South America.

The coffee-growing regions of the Central and South American Highlands are intensively used and the deteriorating quality of these forests threatens the ecosystem services upon which human communities rely. The reality is that little forest completely escapes pressure from cultivation or grazing. There is a need to identify ways that human activities can be made more compatible with conservation. Shade-grown coffee farms are especially well suited to simultaneously meet a variety of economic, social and ecological needs. They provide a variety of forest products (e.g., coffee, fruits, firewood, lumber, and medicines), while at the same time maintain forest cover, support biodiversity, and reduce erosion and chemical use compared to other intensive agricultural systems, such as sun coffee and pasture for cattle grazing.

Perhaps no other group better highlights the positive role that shade-coffee can play in conservation than Neotropical migratory birds, which heavily use shade-coffee farms. In this talk, Rodewald will discuss how shade-coffee and other agroforestry practices can support bird conservation, ecosystem protection and ultimately human communities in Latin America.

March 18, 2014

Screening and Discussion of Lo Que Me Tocó Vivir / The Life I Got To Live

Presenter: Veronica Barrera, Filmmaker and Human Rights Scholar and Activist

Wednesday, March 26 at 7 p.m.
Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean hosts a film screening of Lo Que Me Tocó Vivir/The Life I Got To Live on March 26 at 7:00 PM in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium.  A discussion with the film's director, human rights scholar and activist Dr. Veronica Barrera, will follow the screening. The event is free and open to the public. 

This film recounts Seattle resident Alicia Barrera’s life growing up in rural Chile and the dramatic turn the lives of all Chileans took on September 11, 1973. With her husband wounded the day of the coup, and later imprisoned and tortured by the Pinochet regime, Barrera’s story unfolds as one common, yet often untold, experience lived by thousands of women who suffered, struggled, and persevered in the face of extended family rejection, a wider public paralyzed by fear, the terrorist brutality of a CIA-funded dictatorship, and the alienation of political exile. With contributions from an international array of photojournalists, artists, and musicians, Lo Que Me Tocó Vivir – The Life I Got to Live, both personalizes the political lens and widens the narrative scope of ineffable memories created in the struggle for human rights.

March 13, 2014


The Location of Peoplehood
Presenter: Justin Ashworth, theologian from Duke University
Monday, Mar. 17 at 7 p.m.
Ridenour Room, Dauch College of Business and Economics
War on Democracy film screening
Tuesday, Mar. 18 at 7 p.m.
Ronk Lecture Hall, Schar College of Education

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean hosts back to back events this coming Monday and Tuesday, March 17 and 18. Both events are free and open to the public.

On Monday at 7 p.m. in the Ridenour Room of the Dauch College of Business and Economics, Justin Ashworth, a scholar of theology and race from Duke University, offers his presentation titled The Location of Peoplehood:  A Theological Contribution to Immigration Debates. The program is co-sponsored by the Department of Religion. Ashworth believes that immigration debates in the U.S. are opportunities for churches to contribute a unique perspective to social analysis and to rethink the meaning of peoplehood in less racialized ways.  He contends that if Christian theology carefully addresses questions of belonging such as: Who's in?  Who's out?  On what basis?-it may be good news for immigrants and natives alike. 

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education, the Ashland Center for Nonviolence will screen the film "War on Democracy" followed by a panel discussion. The award-winning film by John Pilger takes a provocative look at U.S. relations with Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Chile. Using archive footage sourced by Michael Moore's archivist Carl Deal, the film shows how serial U.S. intervention, overt and covert, has toppled a series of legitimate governments in the Latin American region since the 1950s. 

February 17, 2014

Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife and their conservation challenges in the Neotropics

The third event in this year’s Environmental Lecture Series will be a presentation by Dr.Matt Venesky from Allegheny College.  That will be Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm in the Ronk Lecture Hall, COE. 

Venesky is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Allegheny College, Meadville, PA.  His research addresses questions about the ecology of infectious diseases
and has been studying amphibians and their parasites for almost a decade.

The river at Picinguaba Beach, SE Brazil, a collecting site for a current project on feeding biomechanics in tadpoles with colleagues from Brazil and Canada (photo credit: M. Venesky)
For this talk, Venesky will focus on what his research group has learned from their work on the Neotropics, with a focus on Panamanian frogs and aquatic ecosystems.
Infectious diseases of humans and wildlife are increasing at an unprecedented rate. Amphibians, in particular, have experienced an unrivaled loss of biodiversity with approximately one-third of species threatened with extinction. Although several factors contribute to amphibian declines, many declines and extinctions are linked to the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (“Bd”). The first Bd epidemic was documented in Latin America in 1998 and it resulted in the crash of the entire Panamanian amphibian community. Twenty five years later, Bd is still prevalent and poses challenges to amphibian conservation efforts in Latin America.

Venesky will discuss some of the outstanding research topics in this host-pathogen system as they relate to climate change, biodiversity, and acquired immunity. He will synthesize how answering these questions might be useful for managing Bd as well as other pathogenic fungi that have only recently been discovered.
Dr. Matt Venesky and Brazilian collaborator, Bokermannohyla hylax (photo credit: M. Venesky)
Venesky is a Pennsylvania native.  He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Memphis in 2011 and spent 2 ½ years at The University of South Florida as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Allegheny College in PA. His research has been supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation and he has published over 20 articles on amphibian biology/ecology, including recent articles in Nature Climate Change and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This year’s Environmental Lecture Series explores “Environmental and Human Health in Latin America,” with perspectives from experts in human ecology, policy, and scientific study related to specific environmental issues.


Latin America in the Global Scenario

Presenter: Abril Trigo, The Ohio State University

Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.
Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean hosts OSU's Distinguished Humanities Professor Abril Trigo to lead a discussion about the effect of globalization on Latin America.  Dr. Trigo will present his recent findings at a public discussion on Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium.  The event is free and open to the public.

In his latest work, Professor Trigo analyzes the operation of globalization and the place of Latin America within this economic regime while asking: What do we mean when we talk about globalization today? What is the meaning of globalization in Latin America and for Latin Americans? In his presentation he will discuss some of the economic, political, and cultural effects of globalization on Latin American everyday life, such as the impact of global pop culture, the informal economy, narco-trafficking, transnational migrancy, the new ethnic and social movements, and the ongoing struggle for the nation-state.
Dr.Trigo's areas of specialization include Latin American Cultural Studies, literary and cultural theory, theater, film, and popular culture. He has published extensively on Latin American cultural studies, with particular emphasis on the historical formation of national imaginaries and their articulation to popular culture (rock, graffiti, candombe, soccer, etc.). Currently, he is working on A Critique of the Political-Libidinal Economy, a theoretical inquiry on the formation of value and subjectivity. 

February 9, 2014

From Inmigración to Immigration: The Rhetoric of Immigration Reform

Presenter: Alberto Gonzalez, Bowling Green State University
Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
Trustees Room, Myers Convocation Center

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean presents a program comparing the coverage on immigration reform between various news media.  Co-sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies, the presentation by Dr. Alberto Gonzalez, Professor at the School of Media and Communication at Bowling Green State University, will be held on Tuesday, February 11 at 7 p.m. in the Trustees Room of the Myers Convocation Center.  The event is free and open to the public.

After the general election of 2012—where the Latino vote was characterized as increasingly influential—the reform of federal immigration laws and policies became a high priority. Dr. Gonzalez will present an "ideographic" analysis of the news coverage on immigration reform between the Latino-based La Prensa and dominant-culture news media focusing on how particular terms frame competing perspectives.

Dr. Gonzalez's research and publications have focused on intercultural communication with a particular emphasis on the Latin American community. His published research includes examinations of the political discourse of Mexican American activists and explorations of popular music as a mode of communication. His work has appeared in various journals, including The Quarterly Journal Of SpeechYouth Theatre JournalWestern Journal of CommunicationSouthern Communication Journal, and Communication Quarterly.  He has co-edited several books, including Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity and Communication (with Marsha Houston and Victoria Chen) and Rhetoric in Intercultural Contexts (with Dolores V. Tanno).

González recently served as the Chair of the International and Intercultural Division of the National Communication Association (NCA). Since 2007 he has served as chair of NCA’s Affirmative Action & Intercaucus Committee.

January 29, 2014

JUAN OF THE DEAD Film Screening

Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.
Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean hosts a free film screening of the award-winning zombie comedy "Juan of the Dead." Co-sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages, the film will be shown on Wednesday, February 5 at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

“Juan of the Dead” utilizes satire and fantasy to reflect on political and social problems including the current relationship between Cuba and the U.S. and the memory of the Cuban revolution. This movie shows how Latin American film is articulated within current world film trends: it is a zombie movie, but very rooted in Cuban values and customs.

Directed by Buenos Aires-born Alejandro Brugués, his idea for the film came from watching the reality around him in Cuba. He asked himself if Cubans were different from film zombies and concluded, "Cuba is a country that has been preparing itself for a confrontation with the United States during the last 50 years. So, what if instead of that, have to confront zombies?" This gave him the opportunity to create a lead character who would say “I’m not going to allow this, this is my country, I love it and will stay to defend it.”

He continues to explain that "'Juan' is a completely irreverent comedy, with very Cuban characters, filled with action and adventure. The film can scare you or have you at the edge of your seat, while we also see how we really are. Fill it with spectacular set pieces, but also not unfamiliar to real location (hundreds of people throwing themselves to the sea on rafts,floating cars,buses entering embassies by force are things that I’ve seen personally), and along with all that our day by day complains, doubts, reflexions…"

Brugués concludes "the most important thing is that “Juan” allowed me to do the zombie movie I`ve always wanted to see since I was a kid, and that makes it more heart-felt than anything I’ve ever made before."

January 16, 2014

The Corrido of America: Music and Mexican Migration in the 21st Century

Presenter: Josh Kun, USC Annenberg
Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.
Trustees Room, Myers Convocation Center

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean presents a program which examines the immigration effect on the Mexican music scene in California.  The presentation by Josh Kun, Associate Professor of Communication and director of the Norman Lear Center's Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg, will be held on Thursday, January 23 at 7 p.m. in the Trustees Room of the Myers Convocation Center.  The event is free and open to the public.

Professor Kun has conducted research on the regional Mexican music scene in California and what the songs of artists tell us about issues of immigration, cultural identity, transnational media and U.S.-Mexico border politics. He is the author or editor of several books, including the American Book Award winning Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, the co-edited anthologies Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border and Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies, and most recently, his collaboration with The Library Foundation of Los Angeles for Angel City Press, Songs in the Key of Los Angeles: Sheet Music from the Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.

As a curator, his exhibitions, music installations, and concerts have appeared at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, The Getty Center, The Grammy Museum, Grand Performances, The Los Angeles Central Library, and the Autry National Center. He co-edits the book series Refiguring American Music for Duke University Press and co-runs the non-profit record label and digital archive The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation.

January 13, 2014

GIRL RISING Film Screening

Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.
Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium

The Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference: Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean opens its spring events with a screening of the film "Girl Rising." Co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, the screening of the film narrated by Meryl Streep is free and open to the public.

Girl Rising is both a feature film and a global action campaign for girls’ education that confirms that powerful storytelling can drive change. Around the world, millions of girls face barriers to education that boys do not. And yet, when you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. Removing barriers to girls’ education – such as early marriage, domestic slavery, sex trafficking, gender violence and discrimination, lack of access to healthcare, and school fees - means not only a better life for girls, but a safer, healthier, and more prosperous world for all. 

The feature film, by Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, spotlights the remarkable stories of nine girls around the world striving beyond circumstance and overcoming nearly insurmountable odds to achieve their dreams. It uses the storytelling skills of acclaimed writers and voice performances by renowned actors to promote a powerful truth: educating girls can transform families, communities and entire countries.
The global action campaign embraces three goals that embody hope for every girl including share her story, invest in her and stand with her. The film shares the girl's story by raising awareness about the importance of girls’ education to global prosperity and peace. To date, the film has aired multiple times in over 200 countries, reaching millions of people. Girl Rising is grassroots-driven, generating nearly 800 crowd-sourced theatrical screenings and over 4 billion earned media impressions. A school curriculum brings Girl Rising into classrooms as well. 

Investments in girls are made by driving resources to organizations that help girls around the world get into, and stay in, school. Girl Rising has so far inspired over $2.1 million in donations, including nearly $500,000 to the Girl Rising Fund. Donations to the Fund are distributed among Girl Rising’s non-profit impact partners, who provide life-changing services to girls in the developing world every day.

Girl Rising stands with girls by identifying ways that world leaders can act to support and protect girls. From a rally at the World Bank to high-level screenings worldwide at UNESCO, the Irish Parliament, the Pentagon, the Peace Corps and an ever-growing list - Girl Rising consistently engages the attention of global influencers.