Final Exam Review

In the final exam (to be uploaded to Blackboard on Friday 5/15), you will answer questions in analytical paragraphs. Each response should be at least 275 words. All answers should bring forth direct examples, quotes, and analysis from the readings and/or audiovisual works. Below you can find bullet points that will help you organize your review and answer the questions.

* You DO NOT need to do an online engagement this last week. Only submit, if you haven’t done so, your response paper on an interview through email: rojo.roblesmejias@brooklyn.cuny.edu.

Review

1. The Battle for Paradise by Naomi Klein

Pay attention to:

.Climate change and disaster capitalism (the use of a crisis to advance neoliberal reforms)

.Politics of abandonment and privatization

.Pro-corporate policies and tourist industry exploitation

 

2. Collective-created play Ay, María! 

Pay attention to how the theater play present:

.Energy shortages

.Communication breakdowns

.Lack of healthcare

.Governamental mismanagement and corruption

.Arrogant imperialism (the president’s visit)

.The collapse of the educational system

.Displacement and migration

 

3. “US Media Depictions of Climate Migrants: The Recent Case of the Puerto Rican Exodus” by Hilda Lloréns

Pay attention to:

. The concept and critique of the “disaster tropics”

. The analysis of the dependency on fossil fuels

. The interrelation between climate and social justice

 

4. “Accents” by Denise Frohman, “Roots and Recipes of Love” by Mayda del Valle, and “Boriquas” by Lemon Andersen and Flaco Navaja

Pay attention to the poetic representation of Puerto Rican diasporic life through:

.Language

.Food

.Music

.Family bonding

.Socio-economic

 

5. Willie Perdomo’s “N****r Reecan Blues,” and Mariposa Fernández’s “Ode to the Diasporican”

Pay attention to the poetic representation of Puerto Rican diasporic life through:

.The denouncing of racial and ethnic discrimination in the US

.Black and Rican pride

.Cultural nationalism

.Intercultural dynamics

 

6.“El Ni’e: Inhabiting Love, Bliss and Joy” by Joshua Deckman and Josefina Baéz

Pay attention to how Báez discuss:

.Identity and in-betweenness

.Afro-diasporic life

.Community building

.Diaspora as a place of creation

 

7. “Nueva York, Diaspora City” by Juan Flores

Pay attention to:

.The critique on Latinidad conceived through whiteness and celebrity

.The conjunction of racial profiling and ethnic discrimination in the Latino every day

.Overlapping diasporas and identities

.Interdiaporic relationships

.The concept of the diaspora city

Students’ Online Presentations

ONLINE ENGAGEMENT (Deadline 5/10 until 11:59 PM)

Instructions:

In the comment section, post and analyze a Latinx poem, a song, an article, a podcast episode, a short video reportage, or a social media intervention of your choosing. Present a breakdown of the selected material based on the following questions:

1. What are the central ideas of this piece?

2. What form/style does she/he/they utilizes to convey these themes or concerns?

3. Analyze one specific section of your chosen piece that best communicates what you identified in 1 and 2 above.

4.  How does this piece complement the concerns of the other sources discussed in the class?

(400 Words Minimum)

Nueva York, Diaspora City- Juan Flores

Juan Flores was a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and director of Latino Studies at New York University. He was considered a leading pioneer, scholar, and expert in Latin American and Nuyorican culture.

Latinos_in_New_York_Communities_in_Transition

An Overview on “Nueva York, Diaspora City: Latinos Between and Beyond”

In his essay, Juan Flores uses the fact that Nueva York is the most diverse large-scale Latinx city in the US to think and propose a complex and intercultural definition of diaspora. Flores discusses Latinx cultural ascendance and analyzes how mainstream media capitalize on Latinx pop trends. He also pays attention to the way politicians increasingly try to appeal to the Latinx vote (39-40).

Flores nonetheless argues that “in the case of US Latinos, celebrity status and the ceremonial fanfare are clearly part of the mirage, serving effectively to camouflage the structured inequality and domination which accounts for their diasporic reality in the first place…The spectacular success stories of the few serve only to mask the ongoing reality of racism, economic misery, and political disenfranchisement endured by most Latinos, who moved northward from their homelands only because of persistent inequalities.” (441)

Along with writer Junot Diaz, Flores questions pan-Latino identity labels, especially those who create a false association between Latinxs and whiteness. For Diaz and Flores, more than language or religion, the daily reality of racism and discrimination is more relevant to understand the Latinx experience. “Discrimination regarding educational opportunities and at the hands of the criminal justice system, for example, is what unites Latinos beyond the multiple cultural variations, along with the strategies developed to confront these social inequalities.” (442)

Flores then argues that it is central to consider the relation of Latinos to blackness and the interrelated history of Latinos and Afro-diasporic groups. He interprets the right-wing, conservative fear of Latin American migrants, but also the media fascination with light-skinned Latinx stars, as an anti-blackness stand. (443)

This reflection drives Flores to assert that the Latino community is “a process rather than a circumscribed social entity, and its formation entails complex and often converging interactions with other, purportedly “non-Latino” groups such as African Americans and American Indians… Beyond geopolitical ties, awakened cultural heritages and congruencies also engage Latinos in more abstract but no less pronounced diasporic affiliations.” (445-6)

One of Flores’ conclusions is that “living multiple diasporic realities simultaneously is more common than not among the city’s Latinos, as many find themselves sharing that reality with members of the Caribbean or African or broader “Latino” diasporas.” (446)

 

Keywords

1. Diaspora– the diaspora concept has proven to be an extremely useful and convenient one for taking account of multiple Latino realities in our times, especially as those realities have become more complex over the past generation of growth, dispersal, and internal diversity. For one thing, it helps disengage Latinidad from an automatic association with immigration, at least in the conventional understanding of that phenomenon as a disconnection from the background country and culture.

It was clear that many Latina/os were not simply casting aside their inherited ways and accommodating themselves to the new setting. Many were not even here to stay, and most retained strong affective ties to their home cultures, preserving them and reinventing them in highly creative ways.

Latinos typically and willingly led bicultural and border-crossing lives.

Diaspora is an eminently dynamic, situational category, demanding the analysis not so much of the “immigrant group” itself but of the ongoing relation or interaction between each group and its country or region of origin, and between that group and others with which it comes into close social contact (447-8).

2. Overlapping and/or multiple diasporas– the notion accounts for the rich bridging between and among diasporic groupings and the frequent sense of an individual or community belonging to more than one diasporic configuration at the same time, for example, Dominican, Caribbean, Latino, and African. (448)

3. Diaspora City– an urban setting saturated by interacting and interlocking diasporic communities, including those among Latino populations from all over Latin America and the Caribbean (439).

It is a sociocultural location that is perhaps most accurately characterized as a demographic grid or matrix of transnational communities co-inhabiting a single geographically circumscribed city (446).

Nueva York is rich with this innovative cultural possibilities, and as the newfound home of so many people from so many Latin American countries, it now serves as a seminal ground for the rethinking and reimagining of America. (448)

 

Two Diasporic Case Studies

“N****r Reecan Blues”

Willie Perdomo is an award-winning poet, spoken-word performer, educator, and editor.

 

“Ode to the Diasporican”

Mariposa Fernández is a performer, spoken-word poet, educator, and activist.

 

ONLINE ENGAGEMENT (Deadline 5/3 until 11:59 PM)

Instructions:

Pick ONE poem and in the comment section below, write a response (225-words minimum) based on ONE of the following questions:

1. How the following quote by Juan Flores applies to the situation described by Willie Perdomo in his poem?

“The rampant “racial profiling” and waves of police brutality are directed against both African American and Latino victims, with no color distinctions of this kind playing a decisive role. For the fact is that, in many inner-city situations, there is no such difference, and it is not possible to “tell them apart.” What the hegemonic, consumer version of Latino ethnicity obscures is that many Latinos are black, especially according to the codes operative in the United States. And what is more, while this consumer version tends to racialize Latinos towards whiteness, much in tune with the racist baggage of Latin American and Caribbean home cultures, on the streets and in the dominant social institutions “brown” is close enough to black to be suspect.

In Nueva York in particular, where the prevalent Latino presence and sensibility remains Caribbean, this counterposition to blackness is often disconcerting at best, and many Puerto Rican and Dominican youth have responded by reaffirming a sense of belonging to an African diaspora. Indeed, for Puerto Ricans, this perspective entails not only emphasizing Afro-Boricua heritages but also, because of the decades-long experience of close social interaction with African Americans in New York, an identification and solidarity with American blacks perhaps unmatched by any other group.”  (Flores 445)

*Please, avoid using racial slurs in your answer.

2. Explain the following quote by Juan Flores through Mariposa’s poem, that is, using the poem as an example.

“Mariposa gives voice to the sentiments of many young Puerto Ricans, and of many Latinos in general, in their defiance of a territorially and socially confined understanding of cultural belonging. Place of birth and immediate lived experience do not wholly define cultural identification, which in this view has more to do with political and social experience, and with personally chosen ascription.” (Flores 445)

Diasporican Spoken-Word Poets

I. “Accents”- Denise Frohman

DENICE FROHMAN is a poet, performer, and educator from New York City. She is a CantoMundo Fellow, former Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion and Leeway Transformation Award recipient. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of ColorWomen of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, and has garnered over 10 million views online.

“Accents”

my mom holds her accent like a shotgun, with two good hands. her tongue, all brass knuckle slipping in between her lips her hips, all laughter and wind clap. she speaks a sanchocho of spanish and english, pushing up and against one another, in rapid fire there is no telling my mama to be “quiet,” she don’t know “quiet.” her voice is one size better fit all and you best not tell her to hush, she waited too many years for her voice to arrive to be told it needed housekeeping. English sits in her mouth remixed so “strawberry” becomes “eh-strawbeddy” and “cookie” becomes “eh-cookie” and kitchen, key chain, and chicken all sound the same. my mama doesn’t say “yes” she says, “ah ha” and suddenly the sky in her mouth becomes Hector Lavoe song. her tongue can’t lay itself down flat enough for the English language, it got too much hip too much bone too much conga too much cuatro to two-step got too many piano keys in between her teeth, it got too much clave too much hand clap got too much salsa to sit still it be an anxious child wanting to make Play-Doh out of concrete English be too neat for her kind of wonderful. her words spill in conversation between women whose hands are all they got sometimes our hands are all we got and accents remind us that we are still bomba, still plena say “wepa” and a stranger becomes your hermano, say “dale” and a crowd becomes a family reunion. my mama’s tongue is a telegram from her mother decorated with the coqui’s of el campo so even though her lips can barely stretch themselves around english, her accent is a stubborn compass always pointing her towards home.

 

II. “Roots and Recipes of Love”- Mayda Del Valle

“As the child of Puerto Rican migrants who grew up on the South Side of Chicago, my work originates in the embodiment of what I consider to be a hybrid identity and experience. It is part Spanish and English, part hip-hop and salsa, part Nas and Sonia Sanchez, part Shakespeare and John Leguizamo. It is inherited history as well as traditions remixed and invented.

I create autobiographical narratives that utilize spoken-word poetry and music, intended for live performance. Rooted in the aesthetics of hip-hop and the urban Latino experience, my work explores themes of healing, transformation and the recovery of ancestral memory in the modern-day diaspora.” -Mayda del Valle

 

“Roots and Recipes of Love”

mami is making mambo mami is making

Mambo she putting Kings to shame she got

more flavor in her food than in the Gran

Combo horn section there is more of a

get down groove in my mother’s kitchen

than in a friday night at Copa she puts Tito

Puente to shame with her sabor and

her cocina in the domain of Del Valle

kitchen my mother is the dictator I

refer to it as Carmen’s culinary

queendom she becomes a cuisine

conquistadora wielding a freshly

sharpened knife like a sword above her

head the towel becomes a whip with which

she wipes every trace of spillage the

bottom of her adobo is a shield against

any possibility of blandness and Goya

doesn’t stand a chance here everything

is fresh no prepackaged junk she is the

menu mercenary the soldier of soul food

the culinary commands and you better

back the hell up cuz mami is making mambo

mama she hangs the hats of Iron Chefs

off the windowsill like roast duck

trophies and laughs at the sight of any

edible food item no meats in the freezer

spam and corned beef in a can or

transformed to virtual filet mignon rice

cooks itself instantly at her command

and beans jump into bubbling pot

shrieking Emeril and Julia Child’s mere

hamburger flippers in her presence

because mami is making

mambo it was there in my mother’s

kitchen that I learned more than just

how to cook it’s where I learned the

essence of rhythm empower I learned to

dance in that kitchen shiny aluminum

rice pot clanging like cowbells with

metal spoons cast iron frying pans a

wooden mortar and pestle provided the

percussion section with the radio

humming softly in the background the

fall of her steel blade on a wooden

cutting board became the clave the

hissing of the pressure cooker

harmonized the sizzling of sofrito and

bubbling beans softening and covered

pots and her hands move faster than

Mongo and congas during a riff making

mofongo con caldo she would take me

by the hands and spin me into the

oblivion of music leaving me to dance in

the center of the kitchen my senses

overloading with the sense of common

cilantro and the sounds of Hector Lavoe

El Gran combo and Tito Puente and

the only Puerto Rican radio station in

Chicago she would return to singing and

doing the shuffle from sink to stove

stove to sink tasting and testing her

masterpieces answering questions like

mami how do you make arroz con gandules?

mami how do you dance merengue? because

mami is making Mambo the way to a man’s

heart is through his stomach and your

hips so you better learn how to cook mija

I learned to dance in my mother’s

kitchen and I got all the secret recipes

two and a half cups of caderas a pound of

gyrating pelvis a pinch of pursed lips a

tablespoon of shaking shoulders and a

generous helping of soul

combined and mix this is a recipe for

ritmo you see we like our food the

way we like our music hot spicy satisfying

con sabor papa I ingested rhythm

through umbilical bonds now ingrained in

my DNA and I can’t rid myself of the

sabor on my blood the swing and salsa I

stepped a natural response to music as

stubborn as a plantain stain you can’t

wash off rhythm is inheritance taste

passed down through generations movement

is inborn and I’m dancing the way my

mother cooks slow sultry spicy sabrosa

natural instinctively dripping sweet

sweat like fresh leche de coco

spinning as fast as piraguas melt in the

summertime south side he dancing with as

much kickass cuchifrito y Bacardi

standing strong like a morning time

bustelo dancing as urgent  as a shot of

ron caña cooling myself up with Kola

Champagne pounding like a papaya Bongo

steamy as pasteles at Christmas

blending my hip hoppy Mambo like a piña

colada my mouth watering for music with

sabor and cadera Sue’s down my hips dulce

as Celia’s azúcar con dulzura

cooking with sabor and bailando con sabor

because mami is making Mambo mami is

making mambo mamucha, come eat the food is

ready

Mambo

 

III. “Boriquas”- Lemon Andersen and Flaco Navaja

Flaco Navaja is a spoken-word poet, actor, musician and bandleader.

Lemon Andersen is a spoken-word poet and actor.

 

ONLINE ENGAGEMENT (Deadline 4/26 until 11:59 PM)

Instructions:

Pick ONE poem and in the comment section below, write a response (225-words minimum) based on ONE of the following questions:

1. Instead of referring to her mom’s accent as a problem or an element of shame, Denise Frohman understands it as a source of empowerment and as a connection to Puerto Rican music and culture. Explain.

2. How Mayda del Valle uses music and her mom’s cuisine to celebrate Puerto Rican culture in Chicago?

3. What experiences Lemon Andersen and Flaco Navaja highlight from their lives as Boricuas in NYC? Why they feel prideful about their identity?

 

*Please, remember that if you want to include direct quotes from the poems and/or external commentators, name your sources and use quotation marks.

US Media Depictions of Climate Migrants: The Recent Case of the Puerto Rican “Exodus”- Hilda Lloréns

Hilda Lloréns is a cultural anthropologist and a decolonial scholar. The thread that binds Dr. Lloréns’ scholarship is understanding how racial and gender inequality manifest itself in cultural production, nation-building, access to environmental resources, and exposure to environmental degradation.

US-Media-Depictions-of-Climate-Migrants–H.-Llorens_searchable

In this essay, Hilda Lloréns argues that media depictions of Puerto Rican climate migrants tend to reinforce stereotypes about the “disastrous tropics” and portrayed climate migrants as in need of salvation. Lloréns posits that the media, and more importantly, the governments rarely address colonialism and its racialized oppressions and inequities-central factors of social instability, environmental decay, and migration.

Pictures from News Outlets in the U.S.

 

ONLINE ENGAGEMENT (Deadline 4/19 until 11:59 PM)

Instructions:

In the comment section below, pick and answer FOUR of these questions:

.Why do you think Lloréns starts with a quote from Derek Walcott about land dispossession, destruction, and people’s disappearance? (124)

.Describe the scenes at the airport in the days after the hurricane. How the news outlets interpreted these scenes of desperation? (124-6)

.What are the stereotypes behind the concept of the “disastrous tropics” exploited by the media? (127-8)

.How the dependency on fossil fuels and climate change are affecting island societies? (128)

.Why Lloréns argues that Puerto Ricans have LONG been economic and climate migrants? (130-131)

.According to Lloréns, why the media depict Puerto Ricans as “climate refugees”? (131-2)

.If the governments what to really prevent “death and suffering” and climate forced migrations, what situations Lloréns proposes they should tackle? (132-33)

*Recommended Articles:

“Puerto Rico faces another disaster: The coronavirus pandemic” by Rachel Ramirez

“Colonialism Made Puerto Rico Vulnerable to Coronavirus Catastrophe” by Chris Gelardi

The Battle For Paradise- Naomi Klein/ ¡Ay María!

I. The Battle For Paradise

In the rubble of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans, the neoliberal local government and ultrarich corporations are locked in a pitched struggle over how to remake the island. In this investigation, Canadian author and activist, Naomi Klein, uncovers how the forces of shock politics and disaster capitalism seek to undermine the nation’s radical, resilient vision for a “just recovery.”

Klein and the Puerto Rican people she interviews argue that the local government along with U.S. corporations benefits from crises such as the hurricane. The government shut down already underfunded schools and the state university, privatized the state-owned energy company and promoted tax-exemption laws and policy that only advantages U.S. corporations and Wall Street over the people’s needs.

Although grassroots organizations on the island are promoting sustainability and environmentally conscious practices as a recovery, both the local and federal government ignore or rejects these projects.

Keywords

Disaster capitalism is the practice (by a government, regime, etc) of taking advantage of a major disaster to adopt liberal economic policies that the population would be less likely to accept under normal circumstances.

According to Klein, “shock” politics refers to “the quite brutal tactic of systematically using the public’s disorientation following a collective shock – wars, coups, terrorist attacks, market crashes, or natural disasters – to push through radical pro-corporate measures.”

This strategy has been a silent partner to the imposition of neoliberalism for more than 40 years. Shock tactics follow a clear pattern: wait for a crisis or foment one, declare a state of emergency, suspend some or all democratic norms – and then ram the corporate wishlist through as quickly as possible.

 

II. ¡Ay María!

The play ¡Ay María! was performed around the island in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. It was produced by Mariana Carbonell, directed by the street-theater activist, Maritza Pérez and co-created by a group of independent actors as a way of coping with their own personal experiences that characterized everyday life during the storm, from the poignant to the absurd.

Ay–Maria_searchable

Some of the topics that the play represents are the devastation of the hurricane, the lack of cell phone signals, the long lines for food, gasoline, and ATM services, the disrespectful visit of the U.S. president, the official hiding of facts over the deaths during and after María, the slow, and for the most part, ineffectual FEMA response, the militarization of the island during the aftermath, the physical and mental health crisis, and the displacement of a big part of the population.

*One year since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, nearly 160,000 residents of the island have relocated to the United States. This exodus represents one of the most significant movements of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland in the island’s history in terms of both volume and duration.

Recommended Audiovisual Works

She’s Gotta Have It  Episode 7 “#OhJudoKnow?” (Nexflix Series, Spike Lee, 2019)

After María (Nexflix Documentary, Nadia Hallgreen, 2019)

 

ONLINE ENGAGEMENT (Deadline 3/29 until 11:59 PM)

Instructions:

In the comment section below, write a 250-words response based on the following question:

Identifying the ideas and issues presented by the documentary The Battle for Puerto Rico and the play ¡Ay María! (pages 56-59) discuss why many Puerto Ricans decided to move from the island to the United States after Hurricane María? Give specific examples from both sources.

 

Online Transition Survey

Answer the following 4 questions in the comment section of this post (3 points extra credit):

1) What was helping you to learn in this class?

 

2) What could make the online engagement difficult?

 

3) Would you like to make suggestions about how to structure the course now that we are moving to online learning?

 

4) Would you like to change the content and sources? (Select all the options that apply)

a. No, simplify assignments but leave it as it is.

b. Yes, shorter and lighter readings.

c. Yes, fewer readings and more short length videos.

d. Yes, I would like to read/watch___________________.

e. Other (explain)