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Dr Mark Bailey (Senior Teaching Associate, International Political Economy)
Mark Bailey’s research interests include the role of political myth in discourses of globalisation; the ‘anti-globalisation’ movement (especially the mythologizing of the movement from within); US foreign policy in the post-1945 period, and the political philosophies of Ernst Cassirer, Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin. His doctoral research, which was part-funded by the ESRC, examined the utilisation of mythological modes of thought in legitimating visions of world order, concentrating specifically on the highly effective use of political myth to justify an aggressively militaristic foreign policy by the ‘neoconservative’ administration of President George W. Bush. His present work includes turning his doctoral thesis into a book (to be published by Routledge), and the utilisation of the philosophy of Eric Voegelin to construct a critique of the appropriation of the philosophy of Leo Strauss by neoconservative intellectuals close to the Presidential Administration of George W. Bush.
The Latin American aspect of his research is drawn from his interest in the ‘Zapatista’ movement of southern Mexico, and specifically its construction of a highly-influential discourse of resistance to neoliberal globalisation. This discourse is both rich in pre-modern mythological self-understandings, and has itself been the subject of extensive mythologisation, not least by northern intellectuals. Dr Bailey argues that this process of mythologisation has paradoxically proved to be both politically inspiring and debilitating in equal measure.
Dr Andrew Dawson (Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies)
Andrew Dawson has been researching the interface of religion and society in Latin America since the late 1980s. After completing his doctorate in the mid-1990s (on the Roman Catholic Church during the military dictatorship in Brazil), he has concentrated principally, though not solely, on religion and society in Brazil. His most recent book (New Era - New Religions: Religious Transformation in Contemporary Brazil, Ashgate, 2007) engages new religious phenomena in Brazil. Funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust, he is currently researching the Brazilian new religion of Santo Daime.
Dr Oscar Forero (Senior Researcher Cesagen)
Oscar Forero has been involved in research and development projects related tohuman and environmental security since the 1990s. Initially he investigated the relationship between Indigenous Peoples Rights and the policies and politics of land rights in Northwest Amazonia (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil). From 2003 until 2005, he worked at the Department of Geography at King´s College (London) on a project linked to the Cultures of Consumption Programme investigating the history of the production and consumption of natural chewing gum with Maya communities in Mexico, focusing on the relationship between identity, cultural change and political economy. From February 2006 until September 2007 he joined the School of Health at the University of Sheffield on a project linked to the Changing Families Changing Food programme. From September 2007 onwards he worked at Cesagen on the development of an Indigenous Peoples' Natural Resource Management Plan in the Araucanía Region of Chile. The project involved working with Mapuche communities using participatory GPS mapping to develop a community based digital map of a 60,000 hectares Andean Valley on the frontier with Argentina. A recurrent theme of his research is the relationship of food systems (production, distribution and commercialisation of foods) and food cultures (the ideology, aesthetics and politics of food and consumption). Currently he is develoing a series of project proposals to investigate the relationship between genomic promises, food security and cultural change.
Dr Bianca Freire-Medeiros (Lecturer in Sociology)
Bianca Freire-Medeiros has an M.A. in Sociology (Instituto Universitario de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro) and a PhD in Theory and History of Art and Architecture (Binghamton University/SUNY). Since 2007 she has been Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Center for Research and Documentation on Brazilian Contemporary History (CPDOC), the leading historical research institute in the country as well as a major center for researching and teaching in the Social Sciences. It is part of Getulio Vargas Foundation, a prestigious Brazilian research and higher education institution founded in 1944 (for further information, please see http://www.cpdoc.fgv.br). She has published extensively on urban sociology, travel culture and visual culture (film, photography and television).
Currently, she is a Visiting Fellow at Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), where she is writing a book provisionally entitled Touring Poverty which examines the conversion of poverty into a tourist commodity at a global scale. My main empirical reference is Rocinha, a favela in Rio de Janeiro where a regular tourist market has been developed for over a decade now.
Dr Cornelia Gräbner (Lecturer in Hispanic Studies)
Cornelia Gräbner works on the relationship between literature and imaginaries of resistance. She is interested in the ways in which writing, poetry and storytelling reinforce subjectivities of resistance under politically oppressive conditions, especially under the state of exception, and in the ways in which they can contribute to the construction of alternative social and political models. Her most recent research is on the city as a location for contestatory imaginaries of citizenship and political and creative agency, and on social movements in Mexico. Currently she is writing on the representation of 1970s guerrilla movements in Mexico in contemporary novels, and on intertextuality and the construction of a global imaginary of resistance in the works of Eduardo Galeano, José Saramago, and the Subcomandante Marcos. A focal point for Cornelia's research is the network Poetics of Resistance. The network is made up of scholars, activists and cultural producer from Latin America, Europe and the U.S., and explores the ways in which cultural production and knowledge production can productively participate in the resistance to neoliberal politics.
Dr Amit Thakkar, (Lecturer in Latin American Studies)
Amit Thakkar researches Latin American film, literature and history. He began his career investigating the relationship between irony, postcolonialism and revolution in the fiction of Juan Rulfo. He has published two articles on this subject. He has also produced the first study of the relationship between Rulfo's fiction and his thought on indigenous peoples in Mexico. His book, The Fiction of Juan Rulfo: Irony, Revolution and Postcolonialismis currently under review.
Amit is currently engaged in a research partnership with Chris Harris (Liverpool) on masculinities and violence in Latin American cultures. Thakkar and Harris have won external funding to hold a workshop on this subject in Lancaster in December 2010 (from JISLAC, the Joint Initiative for the Study of Latin America and the Carribean). Amit and Chris published a special edition of the prestigious Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (Liverpool) on masculinities in Latin America in September 2010. The contributions, from a range of scholars, include topics such as military masculinities in 19th centuryColombia, protest masculinity in1970s El Salvador, war masculinities during the Mexican Revolution and the relationship between text ownership and masculinity in the works of the Mexican Onda (1960s). Amit's own contribution to this publication is an article on revolutionary masculinities and structural violence in 1960s Cubain Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's Memorias del subdesarrollo (1968).
Amit's current projects are varied. He is working on an original theory on the 'crash aesthetic' in Spanish-language cinema, particularly Amores perros (2000) and Abre los ojos (1997). He is also preparing an article on the relationships between masculinities and conquest in La otra conquista (1998).Finally, in a reversal of historically-contextualised cultural studies, he isalso working, with Matthew Brown (Bristol),on a historical study with a cultural context: the participation of slaves in resistance to the British invasion of Buenos Aires, 1806-07.
Dr Julie Hearn, (Lecturer in Politics and International Relations)
Julie Hearn teaches the politics of development at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In 2002/03 she spent ten months in Argentina researching the unemployed workers and occupied workplace movements. She returned in 2007 to teach at a summer school at the University of Buenos Aires. In 2008 she received a British Academy Small Grant with Monica Bergos to research trade union activism among low paid Latin American migrants in London. She is interested in the relationship between British trade unions and migrant workers and immigration policy, especially current debates around regularization.
Dr Javier Caletrío, (Research Fellow at the Centre for Mobilities Research)
Javier Caletrío's research is in the spirit of Burawoy's public sociology and aims to contribute to policy debates about the construction of common political, cultural and environmental spaces in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. A first strand of his current work builds on previous research on tourism mobilities and environmental change and focuses on the role of global risks in creating shared horizons of expectation. Recent work in this area has focused on how climate change is shaping tourists' experiences of place. He participates in the project 'Tourism, Territory and New Mobilities: a comparative perspective Mexico - Spain' involving Madrid's Universidad Complutense and the Centro Peninsular en Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – Mérida.
A second interrelated strand of his research engages with debates about multiple modernities in Latin America and the Mediterranean and seeks to elucidate the role of physical movement in underpinning processes of regional de/stabilization. He is particularly interested in the role of mobility in the dialectics of peace and conflict in the checkered history of Caribbean and Mediterranean societies. Both strands of research are part of a long term project on mobility, cosmopolitanism and sustainability.
Dr Amalendu Misra (Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics & International Relations)
Amalendu MISRA studies the narrative of violence in contemporary Latin American politics. His area focus is Central America and Mexico. Over the past decade he has collaborated with various governmental and non-governmental bodies on grassroots peace-building in the region. He recently concluded a British Academy funded project on Mara Salvatrucha.
Amalendu has taught in Universidad de Las Americas, Puebla & El Colegio de Veracruz, Xalapa. In addition, he is a dedicated planter and grows his own brand of coffea arabica in the eastern Mexican highlands.
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