Maiz y el Pais: Political Violence in Mexico and Corn’s Lessons for Justice

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Room 9204

Luz Rivera Martinez of the Consejo National Urbano Campesino (CNUC) and George Caffentzis in conversation.

Friday, February 20, 6-8PM. Room 9204


Headlines about Mexico are wildly divergent. While business magazines proclaim “the Mexican Moment” emerging from a slate of recent reforms, news of the murder and disappearance of nearly 50 rural teacher’s college students by police quickly silenced the applause.

Attacks on the Zapatistas, imprisonment of indigenous leaders defending water, and cover-ups of military executions all point to a rise in extra-judicial violence. Add to this the fact that the recent “reforms” were no less than the privatization of oil, communications, and education resources left pending after NAFTA, and you can see the extent of the turmoil.

But instead of a “troubled neighbor south of the border,” Mexico is home to inspiring movements building autonomy and justice with dignity against great obstacles.

Join Luz Rivera Martinez as she speaks about her 20 years of experience constructing autonomy, organizing outside the electoral system, and resisting genetically modified corn while protecting millennia-old varieties. She works with peasant families in Tlaxcala, Mexico – a state where corn originated, whose name means “place of the corn tortilla,” and where 52 natural varieties of corn are planted. This bountiful grain was created over thousands of years, primarily by women, and has now come to feed the world.


Just as corn is a gift of sustenance and rejuvenation Mexicans have given to all of humanity, Mexican movements such as Luz’s Consejo Nacional Urbano Campesino (CNUC) are guiding us toward daybreak after the long, cold night of neoliberalism.

George Caffentzis will join Luz in conversation with an update on the present status of the Zapatistas’ project



Luz Rivera established CNUC in the early 1990s to coordinate resistance to the impending North American Free Trade Agreement, especially regarding its dismemberment of Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which enshrined the Mexican Revolution’s battle cry that “the land belongs to those who work it.” Luz and the members of CNUC knew that NAFTA would decimate the small-scale agricultural sector that the Revolution had established at such a great cost.

As CNUC’s lead organizer, Luz has worked tirelessly to demand government accountability, defend family farms, resist the use of GMO seeds, and build inspiring, community-based autonomous projects. CNUC has a long history of disposing of corrupt leaders, democratizing the budget, coordinating community-driven infrastructure projects, including peoples’ history in education, and expanding access to healthcare.

CNUC also joins voices with organizations around Mexico and around the world denouncing State-sponsored violence and rebuilding the social fabric. As an adherent to the Zapatistas’ Sixth Declaration – an international network of organizations struggling against neoliberalism and for autonomy from the grassroots – Luz and CNUC fight tirelessly to build “a world where many worlds fit,” a world for the people of all the colors of corn.

George Caffentzis is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine, and a member of the Midnight Notes Collective and Strike Debt. He has written extensively on commoning and enclosures, especially since teaching at the University of Calabar in Nigeria for five years in the mid-1980s. That is where and when he realized that primitive accumulation of capitalism is an on-going process and that commoning has been an essential weapon in class struggle. His articles on the commons and commoning include “Commons Against and Beyond Capitalism” (with Silvia Federici), and “The Future of ‘The Commons': Neoliberalism’s ‘Plan B’ or the Original Disaccumulation of Capital?”

The Mexico Solidarity Network is an organization dedicated to popular education and autonomous community organizing. In addition to our community work in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood and speaking tours, MSN also administers a unique, social justice-oriented study abroad program that allows students to learn about grassroots movements in Mexico by living with the families that comprise them, including members of CNUC. For more information, visit

This event is sponsored by The Mexico-US Solidarity Network and Center for Place Culture and Politics, Graduate Center, CUNY.  The event is free and open to the public.


Film screening: My Brooklyn February 17, 7PM

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Skylight Conference Room, 9th Floor


Join us for a screening of My Brooklyn

February 17th, 2015 at 7:00 pm / Skylight Room.

Followed by a discussion with Kelly Anderson (Filmmaker and Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College), Sharon Zukin (Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center), and Sara Martucci (Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center).

My_Bklyn_Shabazz_still (2)

My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighborhood along lines of race and class. The story begins when Anderson moves to Brooklyn in 1988, lured by cheap rents and bohemian culture. By Michael Bloomberg’s election as mayor in 2001, a massive speculative real estate boom is rapidly altering the neighborhoods she has come to call home. She watches as an explosion of luxury housing and chain store development spurs bitter conflict over who has a right to live in the city and to determine its future. While some people view these development patterns as ultimately revitalizing the city, to others, they are erasing the eclectic urban fabric, economic and racial diversity, creative alternative culture, and unique local economies that drew them to Brooklyn in the first place. It seems that no less than the city’s soul is at stake.



Fair Food Program’s 2014 Annual Report Launch

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Room 9206/9207

Please join us for the launch of the Fair Food Program’s 2014 Annual Report

Thursday, December 11th, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Room 9206,  The Graduate Center, CUNY


Watch the livestream here:

Presentation by:

Lucas Benitez, Co-Founder, Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Sean Sellers, Co-Founder and Senior Investigator, Fair Food Standards Council

Judge Laura Safer Espinoza, Executive Director, Fair Food Standards Council

Roundtable discussion with:

Erik Brown, Senior Global Produce and Floral Buyer, Whole Foods Market

Janice Fine, Associate Professor, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University

Greg Tzeutschler Regaignon, Research Director, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Moderator: Cathy Albisa, Executive Director, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

CIW Field Shot


To see the report, please go to:

Click here for more information and to reserve your spot<>.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics.
It is open and free to the public.


Global Crisis, New Mobilizations, and the Fate of Democracy: a reconsideration of notions from a world-systems perspective on post-socialism

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Sociology Lounge, Room 6112

Global Crisis, New Mobilizations, and the Fate of Democracy: a reconsideration of notions from a world-systems perspective on post-socialism

A discussion with  Agnes Gagyi 

Monday December 8

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Sociology Lounge


Dec. 8 event


New ‘global’ mobilizations linked to the economic crisis are frequently interpreted in the framework of a decline of representative democracy, and the consequent threats and promises of populism and participation. That framework tends to brace together mobilizations in different positions in global hierarchies. Agnes Gagyi’s, coming from a world systems perspective, is that this gesture implies an universalization of the democratic experience of core countries, and  hides rather than illuminates the global social dynamics connected to the movements. To support that argument, Gagyi will offer a non-core perspective on democratization and recent movements for democracy, from post-socialist Eastern Europe.

 Agnes Gagyi is a social movements researcher with a background in social anthropology and political economy. She writes on Eastern European politics and social movements in a long-term global historical perspective, inspired by world-systems analysis. She received her PhD in 2011 from the University of Pécs, is Adjunct Professor at the Eszterházy Károly College, Eger. She is presently carries out post-doctoral research at George Mason University, supported by a Fulbright grant, entitled “The Transnational History of Contemporary Hungarian Politics and Social Movements”.


This event is cosponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics and the Department of Anthropology, Graduate Center, CUNY, and LeftEast (

Bridging Resistance: U.S. Militarism in Asia-Pacific and NYC

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Room 6112

Asia Pacific Peoples’ Solidarity presents an international conference and multimedia event with activists and organizers from South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, and New York City organizing around the issue of US bases in the Asia Pacific region and US militarism.

Friday December 5, from 6:30-8:30 P.M.
Sociology Lounge RM 6112, CUNY Graduate Center


Peoples’ resistance to militarism in the Asia-Pacific region is growing as the US military increases its presence under the auspices of the so-called “Asia Pivot”. At the same time, communities in the US, particularly in New York City, increasingly face a rapidly militarized and violent police force in our neighborhoods, streets, and schools.

Hear from activists from South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and New York City share stories and short films on peoples resistance against US militarism. Discuss how we can strengthen our solidarity and bridge our struggles for peace.

Ko Youkyoung (International Women’s Network Against Militarism, South Korea) is a long time peace activist in South Korea as the Former Director of the National Campaign for Eradication of Crimes by U.S. Troops in Korea and member of the Korean Women’s Network against Militarism, SAFE-Korea. She is also a member of the PyeongTaek Peace Center.

Raymond Palatino (BAYAN, Philippines) is an activist and writer in the Philippines. He’s the Southeast Asia Editor in the Global Voices and contributor to the ASEAN Beat of the Diplomat magazine. He’s also the chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Metro Manila.

Kozue Akibayashi (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Japan) is an activist and researcher on gender and peace. She has researched on Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, and has worked on building transnational networks of demilitarization with them. She has been active in international feminist peace movements.

Tafadar Sourov (Revolutionary Student Coordinating Community NYC, New York) is a student activist and a member of Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee New York City (RSCC NYC). As a member of RSCC, he has been leading and organizing struggle against military presence on the campus of CUNY (City University of New York).

Caaav: Organizing Asian Communities
Island X
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
Sloths Against Nuclear State – SANS

Asian Student Collective at The New School
NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute
Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee

Contact us: Email:

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics.

It is open and free to the public.


Relocating Capitalism: The Global Spread of Export Processing Zones and Special Economic Zones Since 1947

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Room 9205

This presentation by Patrick Neveling  based on a book project, which will offer a pioneering empirical study and analysis of a major development in the global political economy of capitalism after the Second World War; the rise of export processing zones (EPZs) and special economic zones (SEZs), which are set up by nation-states offering tax breaks and pre-built industrial infrastructure to bring in foreign-direct investment in manufacturing.

Monday December 1
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Room 9205
Graduate Center, CUNY




Based on worldwide ethnographic and archival research in various UN agencies, the World Bank, several nation-states, multinational corporations and development agencies, the presentation offers a historical anthropology of the global spread of EPZs and SEZs from the first zone in Puerto Rico in 1947 to 3,500 zones employing more than 70 million workers in more than 130 nation-states in the present.

Three crucial analytical points emerge from the global spread of EPZs and SEZs. First, common periodizations of neoliberalism can be revised. Instead of a radical rupture in the 1970s it is suggested that a comprehensive neoliberal project for reorganizing global manufacturing began in the late 1940s. Second, and building on this, a post-regulationist approach to global capitalism can be sketched, which focuses on struggles over how relations between capital, state and labor should be framed. In the global spread of EPZs and SEZs such struggles were closely related to international relations of the Cold War. Individuals, institutions, governments and corporations central for promoting EPZs and SEZs – such as the Boston-based consulting corporation Arthur D. Little, development agencies in Puerto Rico and Ireland, or the United Nations Industrial Development Organization – often worked in concert with US and other Western Cold War development programs like Point Four and the Alliance for Progress. Third, the direction of the global spread of EPZs and SEZs is from periphery to center and this adds important data to David Harvey’s concept of the “historical geography of capitalism”, enabling us to say how this historical geography is “made” in the sphere of global light-industrial manufacturing.

Patrick Neveling (PhD, Social Anthropology, Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg) is temporary Professor at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Hamburg. He is also Researcher at the Department for Cultural Anthropology and Sociology, University of Utrecht, and Associate at the Historical Institute of Berne University. Patrick’s current research focuses on the global spread of export processing zones and special economic zones since 1947 and on earlier comparable regimes in the Indian Ocean. He is the author of Manifestationen der Globalisierung: Kapital, Staat und Arbeit in Mauritius, 1825–2005 (forthcoming, Cologne: Boehlau) and has published widely on the historical anthropology of capitalism. Patrick is also an editor of the Focaalblog, published by Berghahn Books and the journal for Focaal.

Several of Patrick’s publications are available here as open access:

This event is sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics. It is free and open to the public.


Imaginary Pathologies of Contagion and Crisis Politics at the Border

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Room 9205

In this presentation Claudia Tazreiter considers the global context of irregular migration, focusing on temporary migrant workers and asylum seekers who in many jurisdictions are labeled ‘illegal’ and are the cause of anxieties and crises in receiving societies. The presentation draws on interviews conducted with asylum seekers and irregular migrants in the Asia Pacific region.  Immanuel Ness will moderate discussion after the presentation.

Please join us on Tuesday November 25
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Room 9205
Graduate Center, CUNY


The presentation will focus on the concept of crisis and its deployment in forms of governmentality and in the biopolitics of everyday life where heterotopias as ‘non-places’ of suspended life area apparent in form such as detention camps, off-shore processing and interdiction on the high seas, applied to manage perceived crises in irregular migration. Diagnoses of twenty first century anxieties and pathologies point to multiple and often overlapping orders and disorders that evoke various crisis narratives that will be explored. The presentation considers whether crisis is a warranted narrative in the context of irregular migrant arrivals; what its consequences are; and explores alternatives such as a ‘politics of becoming’. As a case study, the externalization of borders in the case of the Australian state’s treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat as an example of deployment crisis narrative will be explored.

Claudia Tazreiter (PhD, Sociology, University of New South Wales) is senior lecturer in sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW, Australia. Her research focuses on forced and irregular migration, human rights and social change and gendered forms of violence. She is the author of Asylum Seekers and the State. The Politics of Protection in a Security-Conscious World (Ashgate, 2004, 2006), Fluid Security in the Asia Pacific. Mobility, National Security and Human Rights (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015) with Sharon Pickering, Leanne Weber, Marie Segrave and Helen McKernan, and co-editor of Globalisation and Social Transformation in Two Culturally Diverse Societies: The Australian and Malaysian Experience (Palgrave 2013) as well as numerous articles and book chapters. She is currently managing editor of The Australian Journal of Human Rights and is an associate of the Australian Human Rights Centre.

Immanuel Ness teaches political science at Brooklyn College CUNY and is author of numerous books on migrant labor and workers movements.


This event is sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics
It is open and free to the public.




Between Representation and Marginality

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Skylight Conference Room, 9th Floor

Between Representation and Marginality

Lucia Trimbur, James Newitt and Genève Brossard

24.11.2014, 6pm

Skylight Room (9100)

Graduate Center, CUNY

Repreentation representation 2

This panel discussion brings together three streams of research which independently explore the boxing gym as a complex site to discuss class, gender, race and social relations through investigations undertaken in New York and Lisbon, Portugal. Within the session Lucia Trimbur will discuss how pugilistic training can be used to answer back to forms of inequality, such as anti-black racism, class stratification, and gender subordination. Lucia argues that the boxing gym in post-industrial New York offers its members the ephemeral possibilities of new identities while at the same time packaging and commodifying their lived experience. James Newitt will present documentation and excerpts from his recent exhibition in at Lumiar Cité in Lisbon titled, A Sort of Shadow, where he explored shadow boxing as a form of choreographed movement that represents inter-personal struggle without direct conflict. Within his videos and text, the idea of the shadow represents the nonspecific image of the ‘other’ that the boxers negotiate through their own reflected image in the impossible ‘there’ of a mirror. Genève Brossard will further discuss the possible forms of representation of the boxer beyond the image of a static body, speaking from the perspective both as an artist and former competitive boxer.

Lucia Trimbur is an Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College, the City University of New York (CUNY) and Doctoral Faculty in Criminal Justice at CUNY’s Graduate Center. Prior to joining CUNY, she was an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow on Race, Crime, and Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice. She completed her doctoral degree in African American studies and sociology at Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include race and racisms, gender, urban sociology and inequality, the sociology of crime and punishment, sport studies, occupational health and mining in South Africa, and ethnographic field methods. Her book, Come Out Swinging: The Changing World of Boxing in Gleason’s Gym, was published by Princeton University Press in 2013. She is currently doing work on a class-action suit against the gold mining industry in South Africa on behalf of black workers who developed occupational-health diseases, such as silicosis.

James Newitt is an artist and lecturer in Fine Arts at the Tasmanian College of the Arts, where he completed a doctoral degree in 2008. James’ work explores specific social and cultural relations, often embracing mutability and paradox. His videos and installations investigate the spaces between individual and collective identity, memory and history, fact and fiction through personal, observational and performative approaches. James’ has exhibited extensively in group and solo exhibitions throughout Australia and Europe. He has been awarded international studio residencies in Los Angeles and Liverpool, UK through the Australia Council for the Arts. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Samstag Scholarship to participate in the Maumaus Independent Study Program in Lisbon. In 2010 he won the City of Hobart Art Prize and in 2009 he was awarded the Qantas Foundation, Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award. He currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

Genève Brossard is an artist/educator/researcher with an international record of exhibitions at venues such as Kentler Drawing Space and Frere Independent Miami/Paris. She also has work in the permanent collection of University Of London Women’s Art Library. She contributes to a variety of publications, including Texte Zur Kunste and N+1. She is a 2000 NYC Teaching Fellow and has been working in public art education for 15 years. She is currently finalizing a PhD in Art Practice at Goldsmiths College in London. Genève has competed internationally as an amateur boxer and is a two-time NY Golden Gloves Champion, a three-time Metro Games Champion, a three-time Empire State (NYS) Champion, and was Nationally ranked at #4. She is based in NYC and the Berkshires.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics

It is open and free to the public.

Confronting Racial Capitalism: The Black Radical Tradition & Cultures of Liberation

Confronting Racial Capitalism: The Black Radical Tradition & Cultures of Liberation

11/20/2014 - 11/21/2014
All Day
Skylight Conference Room, 9th Floor

Occasioned by the work of Cedric J. Robinson, this symposium brings together leading radical thinkers to consider the history and ongoing struggle against racial capitalism. From Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition to his more recent work, Forgeries of Memory and Meaning: Blacks and the Regimes of Race in American Theatre and Film Before World War II, Robinson’s scholarship has been unafraid to think big. Through two days of conversation, we aim to do the same.

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