The Department of Chicano and Latino Studies and the Graduate Program in Visual Studies presents

"Latinas/os in the Crosshairs: Media and the Politics of Nativism"
with Hector Amaya, Associate Professor, University of Virginia

October 9, 2013
3:00-4:30 p.m.
Humanities Instructional Building, Room 135

In the new century we have seen an increase in the presence of Latinos in public culture, but we have also seen the rise of anti-Latino nativism. At the beginning of 2003, the US census declared that Latinos had for the first time surpassed African Americans in number, officially becoming the largest ethno-racial minority in the nation. Many applauded. But by 2005, groups of zealous citizens (the notorious Minuteman) organized around the US-Mexico border as a militia, to, in their words, “stop the invasion of illegals.” Such nativist politics moved, within a few years, from the political periphery to mainstream. By decades end, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona had pushed for and passed Arizona SB 1070, a set of policies and legal decisions that were meant to reduce dramatically the quality of life of undocumented immigrants and anyone who looks like them. Today, nativist policies like SB 1070 are everywhere, in many states, counties, and cities. This radicalization of politics, I argue, is not the result of “bad civics,” or, if you prefer, citizens behaving badly. It is, rather, the logic and predictable outcome of a political culture constituted around the principles of nativist excess. This political culture, which is partly constituted through media, enables the accumulation of political capital by ethnic majorities and disables ethnic minorities such as Latinos from using and accumulating political capital. To support this argument, this talk discusses the 2006 pro-immigration reform rallies and the media practices that gave life to these marches. This case clearly shows how the process of political capital accumulation affects minoritarian and majoritarian media systems.

Hector Amaya is media studies associate professor at the University of Virginia. He writes on globalization, Latino media studies, the cultural production of political identities, and Latin American film/media. His first book Screening Cuba: Film Criticism as Political Performance During the Cold War (2010: University of Illinois Press) investigates links between transnational film flows, criticism, and citizenship between Cuba and the United States. His second book, Citizenship Excess: Latinos/as, Media, and the Nation (2013: New York University Press) explores the relationship of media to citizenship and the impact this relationship has on Latinos/as and law. Amaya’s journal articles have appeared in places like Media, Culture and Society, Television & New Media, Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, New Cinemas, Critical Discourse Studies, Latino Studies, and Text and Performance Quarterly.

This event is free and open to the public.

CLS will sponsor a reception following the lecture from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Jeff Garcilazo conference room, Social Science Tower, Room 318. Open to all CLS faculty, graduate students, and majors.

For further information, please contact Debbie Michel, 949-824-1424.


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