Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Ethics
Secondary Theme: Technology
Moving beyond traditional “participant-observer” research methodologies, the participants of this panel will engage with critical research methodologies, and present a wide array of research spaces and methods, in order to highlight the diversity of experiences while researching AfroLatinx/Latinx/Latin American communities. Presenters will also challenge traditional notions of “the field,” as for some, “the field” is home. From a wide range of physical, spiritual and digital spaces, panelists will question what are the research methods that best help ethically, collaboratively and critically engage with research collaborators, places, topics and unexpected situations. Moreover, panelists will play with the original greek definition of “technology,” as the systematic treatment of art, craft or technique, in order to highlight how individuals (both researchers and research collaborators/practitioners) use, create, perform and engage with a multiplicity of contexts and vernacular cultural practices. In this regard, panelists will explore different socio-cultural technologies and techniques necessary for the critical and ethical engagement with, and in, research spaces.
As a result of the War on Drugs, the militarization of the Mexican State, the 2008-2009 US-Mexico Economic Recession, among other socio-political crisis, since 2006 violence has exponentially escalated in the state of Michoacán. Mintzi Auanda Martinez-Rivera will discuss how she had to adapt her research methodology in order to stay safe while living in Michoacán, México. Specifically, she will describe some of the technologies and techniques that she put in place to try to increase her safety and wellbeing while conducting research in a conflict zone.
By analyzing the unique experiences and coming of age practices associated with mainstream youth culture in the US, as well as that of a specifically associated cultural society or country, Gabriel Escobedo will examine and, at times, create, various research methods using dance to understand the complex diversity of culture, country, and conceptions that revolve around a simultaneously cohesive and yet divided Latinx Youth identity.
Conceptualizing a decolonial methodology specific to American Latina/o Folkloristics, Rachel Gonzalez Martin’s work brings together discussions of Critical Latinx Folkloristics as a cite of investigating methodological subjectivities, where contextualized, phenomenological meanings are rooted in Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception, which engages phenomenology as a methodology and as an ontological grounding of human reality. Specifically, this paper investigates Latina/x folk practices of self-representation that employ an ethos of refusal to both document and undocument their lives through folklore as self-documentary practice by utilizing digital media as a primary mode of community access.
Based on over eight years of fieldwork and archival research with Afrolatinx spiritual communities in Cuba and the U.S, Solimar Otero’s uses the term Afrolatinx to describe the racial, cultural, and gendered fluidity present in the religious traditions explored in order to place into historical context the vernacular narrations of stories told by the dead. Specifically, her presentation shows how Afrolatinx dead narrate material culture through archives of conjure that stitch, bead, smoke, and/or wash temporality, cartography, and race into being.