Here we share videos from CLAS lectures, panels, and conferences, as well as cosponsored campus events. In addition to the videos embedded below, we have several event videos featured on our Facebook page (more info on topics listed at the bottom of this page).

Environment and Democracy in Brazil

Jair Bolsonaro has been called an "environmental villain" and "the world's most dangerous climate denier." However, the disasters of his presidency and the threats it poses must be situated in a longer history of energy infrastructures, land management, and environmental legislation in Brazil. This panel brought together specialists in hydropower, biofuel, agribusiness, and environmental protection to discuss the past, present, and future of the Brazilian state and Brazilian democracy in their relation to the environment. [May 2022]


Democratic Participation and Social Movements in Brazil

This discussion addresses contemporary social movements, plural demands, and democratic politics in Brazil and beyond. We brought together scholars focused on gender equality and reproductive rights, self-housing and urban mobility, conservative and authoritarian trends in social movements, and international networks of organized social action. They discussed the role of social movements of different strains in the construction and expasion of Brazilian democracy, as wells as the impact of institutional conceptions of democracy on the success of these movements' activism. [April 2022]


Tinker Field Research Collaborative Roundtable: Obstacles and Opportunities: The Changing Landscape of Field Work in Latin America

The logistics of preliminary field work have always been challenging. From finding appropriate interlocutors to accessing archives, the process of conducting field work can be fraught with both known and unpredictable challenges. The pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, at home and abroad. But it has also presented opportunities for students to integrate new approaches and technologies into their scholarship. We presented an inter-university panel of students who discussed issues related to institutional barriers, new technologics, the pandemic, and more. [April 2022]


Protests and Migration: Rejection of Right-Wing Authoritarianism and US Imperialism in Haiti

In this talk, Prosper offered an analysis of Haitian migration as one expression of the people’s rejection of the post-2010 earthquake US-imposed election of the Parti Haitien Tèt Kale (PHTK) and its four axes of development (mining, agribusiness, industrial parks, and tourism). She showed that migration out of Haiti, like the 2018–2021 PetroChallenge protests against state corruption in the Caribbean country, is a response to almost two decades of state abandonment, international military occupation, land grabs, and the gangsterization of neighborhoods. [February 2022]


Milícias, Militantes, and Militares: Armed Threats to Democracy in Brazil

Armed groups supportive of Jair Bolsonaro are stronger and more aggressively political than ever. Police engage in strikes and political activism. Militant "Bolsominion" groups physically bully officials and journalists as civilian gun laws are loosened. The military openly questions the judiciary while winning key government posts. Milicias are emboldened. A groups of experts discussed how these threats might combine to undermine Brazil's 2022 elections, the peaceful transfer of power, and democratic institutions, as well as what can be done now to prevent such worst-case scenarios. [February 2022]


Fair Elections in the Age of Fake News: Lessons from Brazil 

Luis Roberto Barroso (President of Brazil's Superior Electoral Court and Federal Supreme Court) explains how Brazil's Electoral and Supreme Courts have played critical roles in ensuring the integrity of its elections and pushing back on organized disinformation campaigns. Minister Barroso shared his experiences and insights, discussing the implications for democratic resilience in conversation with a stellar panel of UChicago faculty. [January 2022]


The Scene of Approximation: Francisco Laso's "Pascana" Series and the Creation of the Andean World

Natalia Majluf (Tinker Visiting Professor in Art History) explores aspects of Creole approximations to the “Andean world” through a close reading of the Pascanas (resting places in the Peruvian Andes), a series of three major works by Peruvian painter Francisco Laso (1823–1869) that mark a decisive transformation in the long history of vindications of the indigenous population: the shift from social and political arguments to cultural definitions. [November 2021]


Occupations: A Collective, A Pedagogy, A Politics

Benjamin Fogarty-Valenzuela (Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation) examines student activists’ collective-oriented approach to organizing, their collaborative approach to teaching and learning, and their efforts at integrating their school with the community. This talk theorizes the occupation as a collective, pedagogical, and political space. Charting a path forward for a disciplinary practice informed by protest occupations that is aligned with decolonial and multimodal scholarship, he shows how anthropology can learn methodological and conceptual lessons from student activists. [May 2021]


Capturing, Using, and Crediting Images from Latin America: A Workshop on Integrating Visual Resources into Your Field Research

This workshop introduces (1) methods for taking better pictures of sites, architecture, or objects in an archive and in the field; (2) how to catalog images; and (3) image permissions in the US and Latin America. Presented by Bridget Madden and Allie Scholten (Visual Resources Center) and Claudia Brittenham (Art History), this workshop is for students in any field who are collecting images as part of their research. [May 2021]
Download the workshop slidedeck.


GIS in Latin America Webinar Series: Domains: Mapping Jurisdictions to Understand Spanish Colonialism

Bianca Premo (Florida International University) presents Domains, an ARC-GIS/Esri Story Map (Classic) project created in 2017 by graduate students and faculty specializing in Latin American History at Florida International University, depicting the concentric, contested domains of legal jurisdiction in colonial Spanish America. [May 2021]


Data across the Disciplines: Notes from Field Research in Latin America

A Tinker Foundation Field Research Collaborative Workshop for Graduate Students. This discussion focuses on how Latin Amercanist scholars use data in their research. Marcello Canuto (Tulane University) presents on the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and other geospatial methods in his work in Maya archaeology. In a discussion moderated by Claudia Brittenham (University of Chicago), we then discuss benefits and challenges, helpful tools, and various approaches to implementing new technologies into field research. [April 2021]


Justicia and Intercultural Translation in the Nahuatl Writings of Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin

Martín Vega (Scripps College) explores the idea of justice as key to the project of intercultural translation undertaken in the early seventeenth-century Nahuatl texts of Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin. [April 2021]

Watch Justicia and Intercultural Translation on YouTube.


Understanding the Paradox of Violence in Venezuela

David Smilde (Tulane University) discusses the various findings of a five-year discussion among an international group of scholars researching violence in Venezuela. This research suggests: the hypertrophic growth of the Venezuelan state, Chavismo’s revolutionary form of governance, failed police reform and the militarization of security, and the persistence of concentrated disadvantage all contributed to Venezuela’s dramatic levels of violent death. [April 2021]

Watch Understanding the Paradox of Violence in Venezuela on YouTube.


GIS in Latin America Webinar Series: Blueprint for Modernity: The Globalization of Engineering

Israel G. Solares (UNAM / University of Notre Dame) and Edward (Ted) Beatty (University of Notre Dame) discuss their project that seeks to construct a global history of the engineering profession during its first half-century. They built a new database of roughly 60,000 mining and metallurgical engineers trained in the United States and Europe between 1870 and 1930. The data allowed Solares and Beatty to geo-locate and trace much of their working lives in different spaces, with large numbers working in Latin America as well as Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and Europe. [April 2021]

Watch Blueprint for Modernity on YouTube.


Book Talk: Property without Rights: Origins and Consequences of the Property Rights Gap

Michael Albertus (Political Science) in conversation with Susan Stokes (Political Science). This book draws on wide-ranging original data and charts new conceptual terrain to reveal the political origins of the property rights gap. It shows that land reform programs are most often implemented by authoritarian governments who deliberately withhold property rights from beneficiaries. In so doing, governments generate coercive leverage over rural populations and exert social control. This is politically advantageous to ruling governments, but it has negative development consequences: it slows economic growth, productivity, and urbanization and it exacerbates inequality. The book also examines the conditions under which subsequent governments close property rights gaps, usually as a result of democratization or foreign pressure. [March 2021]

Watch Property without Rights on YouTube.


Body Modifications, Social Identities, and Beauty in Ancient Mesoamerica

Vera Tiesler (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán / Spring 2022 Tinker Visiting Professor, UChicago). Ancient Mesoamericans are known for their remarkable diversity and sophistication in dental works and artificial head shapes. These body modifications have come to light in thousands of archaeological burial explorations across Mesoamerica. While teeth were filed, painted, and inlaid during adolescence and adulthood, caretakers would modify the form of their baby’s head during the first weeks and months of life. The practices inscribed notions of beauty and gender in their human carriers; some embodied the emblems of divine forces, imbued with native beliefs of the body and its role in the native universe. In this talk, Tiesler examines both permanent body modifications by combining studies on the skeletal record, ancient portraiture, and historical sources. From the early times of the Olmecs, the basic visual, behavioral, and social aspects attached to such body works appear unified, yet shifting across the Mesoamerican landscapes. [March 2021]

Watch Body Modifications, Social Identities, and Beauty in Ancient Mesoamerica on YouTube.


Collision of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain

David M. Carballo (Boston University). Mexico of five centuries ago was witness to one of the momentous encounters between human societies, when a group of Spaniards led by Hernando Cortés joined forces with tens of thousands of Mesoamerican allies to topple the mighty Aztec empire. At the quincentenary of the Spanish-Aztec war (1519–1521) and the birth of colonial New Spain, this book presentation offers a deep-time perspective to trans-Atlantic history, both in Mesoamerica and Iberia, and emphasizes archaeology and material culture in framing these events and their legacies. [March 2021]

Watch Collision of Worlds on YouTube.


The GIS in Latin America Webinar Series: Geospatial Data and Human-Centered Landscapes in Guatemala

Omar Alcover Firpi (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). The incorporation of technologies like Lidar and photogrammetry in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can facilitate the documentation of archaeological sites and landscapes at greater scale and precision than before. In the forests of northern Guatemala, this combination of remotely sensed data and GIS has allowed archaeologists to “see” beyond the jungle canopy, revealing the extent to which the Indigenous communities of this region modified their landscapes over time. [February 2021]

Watch Geospatial Data and Human-Centered Landscapes in Guatemala on YouTube.


The GIS in Latin America Webinar Series: Functional Definition of City Limits, or How to Define the Urban Extent in the Age of Smartphone and Urban Scaling

Horacio Samaniego (Universidad Austral de Chile). Defining city limits is an important issue when it comes to planning cities that will match the social and economic activity patterns of urban dwellers. While this issue has historically been left to administrative criteria, varying significantly across countries and political systems, the current availability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) now permits the development of new quantitative approaches to unveil how social dynamics relate to urban infrastructure. [November 2020]

Watch Functional Definition of City Limits, or How to Define the Urban Extent in the Age of Smartphone and Urban Scaling on YouTube.


The GIS in Latin America Webinar Series: Latin America from Above and the Pauliceia Project

"Pauliceia 2.0 – Collaborative Mapping of the History of São Paulo (1870–1940): An Experiment of Open Science in Digital Humanities" presented by Luis Ferla (Universidade Federal de São Paulo) and "Viewing Latin America from Above: Using Aerial and Satellite Imagery in Latin American Environmental History" presented by  Frederico Freitas (North Carolina State University). [November 2020]

Watch Latin America from Above and the Pauliceia Project on YouTube.


The GIS in Latin America Webinar Series: The Use of LiDAR to Understand Ancient Anthropogenic Land Use and Occupation in the Upper Buritaca River Basin, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia)

Santiago Giraldo Peláez (Global Heritage Fund) and Daniel Rodríguez Osorio (University of Minnesota). Archaeology is increasingly employing airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) in tropical environments where dense vegetation largely hinders the possibility of understanding the extent of ancient landscape modification. This talk presents an unprecedented view of the pre-Hispanic land use and occupation of the Upper Buritaca River Basin,  enabled by the intermingling of the foregoing technology and the knowledge of this area collected by archaeologists during the past 40 years. [October 2020]

Watch the The Use of LiDAR to Understand Ancient Anthropogenic Land Use and Occupation in the Upper Buritaca River Basin, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on YouTube.


Crises of Pandemic Proportions: Latin America in the Age of COVID-19

A panel discussion featuring Benjamin Lessing (UChicago), Ana Arjona (Northwestern University), and Carlos Bravo Regidor (CIDE, Mexico) on how the governments of Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico are reacting to the pandemic, and the ways in which the crisis is exacerbating pre-existing problems and inequalities in the region. Moderated by Brodwyn Fischer (CLAS Director, UChicago). [May 2020]

Watch Crises of Pandemic Proportions video on YouTube.


Crisis in Venezuela: Historical Perspectives and Potential Solutions

This event on current affairs in Venezuela—sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for the Humanities and Northwestern University’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center, and cosponsored by CLAS—brought together a panel of prominent scholars of the South American nation to discuss the historical causes of the crisis, the current situation, and the potential outcomes. [March 2018]

Watch Crisis in Venezuela video on YouTube.


Democratization and Memories of Violence: Ethnic Minority Rights Movements in Mexico, Turkey, and El Salvador

Mneesha Gellman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Emerson College, presents her book that examines how ethnic minority communities make claims for cultural rights from states in different ways depending on how governments include them in policies and practices of accommodation or assimilation. [February 2017]

Watch Democratization and Memories of Violence video on YouTube.


What Is the Latino Vote?

The Institute of Politics, the Katz Center for Mexican Studies, and CLAS welcomed a panel of experts to discuss questions and issues related to the Latino vote in the US. [October 2016]

Watch What Is the Latino Vote video on YouTube.


2016 Summer Teacher Institute - Global Issues in Local Contexts: Turning International Journalism into Teachable Lessons 

This two-day professional development workshop brought together award-winning journalists supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and digital educational resources created by Pulitzer Center and UChicago to address the incorporation of current global issues in the classroom. Watch "Violence and the Lives of Youth in Mexico" by photojournalist Dominic Bracco II. [June 2016]

Watch Dominic Bracco's presentation video on YouTube.


In addition to the event videos listed above, you can find additional (unedited) videos on our Facebook page:

  • The Racial Politics of Asylum in Brazil, Katherine Jensen (UW-Madison) [February 2020]
  • Brazil in the History of the Anthropocene, Jose Augusto Pádua (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) [February 2020]
  • A Blast from the Past: Bolsonaro's Metapolitical Crusade for a New Brazilian Identity, Guilherme Stolle Paixão e Casarões (Fundação Getúlio Vargas) [January 2020]
  • Chronicle of a Social Explosion Foretold: Making Sense of the Chilean Sociopolitical Crisis, Andreas E. Feldmann (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Natalia Niedmann Álvarez (University of Chicago) [Nov
  • 2019]
  • Pardos and Pretos: Are We Returning to Traditional Color Classification in Brazil?, António Sérgio Guimarães (Universidade de São Paulo) [May 2019]
  • Partisans, Antipartisans, and Nonpartisans: Voting Behavior in Brazil, David Samuels (University of Minnesota) [February 2019]
  • Building from Ashes: The African Collection of Museu Nacional as an Experience of Research and Education, Mariza de Carvalho Soares (Universidade Federal Fluminense/Former Tinker Visiting Professor) [January 2019]