By Prof. Christina Baker.
Seniors, Katie Freund and Rachel Merriman-Goldring, presented at the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS), held at the University of Virginia, March 24-5. The senior Monroe Scholars attended panels on the topic of articulating Latin/o American identities in the United States on Friday, March 24th, engaging with presenters during Q & A sessions and beyond, during the reception and dinner portion. The two also presented during the 8:00 am session on Saturday, March 25th, accompanied by Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies, Christina Baker. Their panel, At the Intersections of Artistic Engagement: Creative Initiatives, Embodied Acts and Social Justice, garnered the attention of several scholars and community members from Virginia, Pennsylvania and Mexico.
Rachel Merriman-Goldring, a senior majoring in Environmental Science and Policy, with interdisciplinary interests, presented on the topic of materiality and art. Her talk, “Matter in Art: Vital Materiality in Vik Muniz,” applied theories of materiality by Jane Bennett to the work of Brazilian visual artist, Vik Muniz. Merriman-Goldring explored questions of ethics, art and affective qualities in Muniz’s work, which uses re-animates items from the trash dump, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Katie Freund, a senior majoring in Hispanic Studies and Economics, presented on notions of creative industries, performance art and poetry with a focus on Colombia. Her talk, “Creative Interventions in Latin America: Economic and Social Projects that Work,” explored part of her senior thesis process. Blending theories from various disciplines, Freund highlighted the importance of artistic endeavors, and specifically, the Medellín International Poetry Festival amidst environments of violence and social upheaval.
Christina Baker, Visiting faculty in Hispanic Studies, presented, “Sounds of a Modern Nation: Mexico’s Landscape of Terror and Soundscapes of Fear,” rounding out the hemispheric and inter-arts conversation. Her presentation explored a particular theatre piece through theories of embodiment, musicology and post-traumatic stress. Part of a broader consideration of sound praxis and social trauma, this talk considered Mexico’s border region, drug violence and bullets as fertile ground for sound creation.
To hear the first minutes of Katie Freund and Rachel Merriman-Goldring’s presentations, please see the video here. They will soon be defending their excellent senior theses projects.
Participation in MACLAS was made possible by the generous support of Dean Homza, Latin American Studies, The Charles Center, The Parents Fund and Hispanic Studies.