By Kaley Michael, Staff Writer
The Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (LACLS) program seniors presented their senior Capstone Presentations on Monday, April 29, in Penn Hall’s Lyceum.
Brooke Matthews ’19 delivered her presentation entitled “Invisibilization: The Big White Lie” on how the Argentine State has erased Afro-descendants from the national narrative. After studying abroad for four months in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the Human Rights and Social Movements Program, Matthews learned about the myth of whiteness through interactions with Argentineans and the media. For her research question, the senior asked: “How did the migration of African Slaves to Argentina continue to the invisibilization of Afro-Argentineans today?” She also posed the Argentine State’s enforcement of the invisibilization, hence why it has occurred overtime.
After her research, Matthews concluded that there is distinct racial profiling of Afro-Argentineans in Argentina specifically, and it was purposely enforced by the state in the late 19th-century. There is a large amount of invisibilization rhetoric in the media and in statistics, but organizations such as Agrupación Afro Xango, Africa Vive, and the U.N. are making suggestions to the Argentinean government to improve upon the generalized whiteness of the country and blatant discrimination.
Fellow LACLS major Marina Fleites ’19 presented “Gender Roles in Times of Social Change: A Look at Nicaragua’s Civil War.” Fleites discussed the Cold War Era, the overthrow of Somoza, the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), and feminine organizing vs. feminist organizing. She used this comparison to show what it is like when a woman limits herself to being solely a housewife, whereas another woman might work at home while also having a job.
Fleities raised the point of whether or not women in the FSLN were allowed to break from the feminine/masculine binary enforced by feminine organizing and used five primary sources to establish conclusions. She found that women were not able to break from the binary and were forced to attend to their husbands and children in addition to whatever work they had to do outside the home.
The two seniors will be graduating this month representing the LACLS program.