Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

ILASSA Hosts XXVII Annual Student Conference on Latin America

Thu, February 1, 2007

The Institute of Latin American Studies Student Association (ILASSA) will host its 27th annual conference February 1–3, 2007, at the UT Thompson Conference Center. The ILASSA conference is the oldest and most prestigious student-run academic conference on Latin America in the world.

Brazilian social activist, Anderson Sá, will deliver the conference's opening address at the Thompson Conference Center on the UT campus at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 1. A former drug trafficker turned social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro's most feared slum, Sá was the subject of the recent critically acclaimed documentary, Favela Rising. The film chronicles the rise of Sá's AfroReggae music movement and shows how the music and culture of Brazil's underclass transform into a catalyst for grassroots social change. Through hip-hop music, the rhythms of the street, and Afro-Brazilian dance, Sá rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police.

The conference's closing speaker, Oscar Olivera, will speak at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 3, at the Thompson Conference Center, UT campus. For the past decade, Oscar Olivera has been among the most respected leaders and voices of Bolivia's dynamic social movements. A former shoe-factory worker, Olivera has been at the center of many popular struggles to resist the privatization of natural resources, to ensure that all Bolivians have access to basic needs, and to deepen democracy by developing mechanisms for local autonomy. In 2000, Olivera emerged as the leader of the people of Cochabamba's successful resistance to the privatization of the city's water supply. His importance to the continued work of popular social movements to assert themselves in Bolivian national politics cannot be overstated.

Nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate students from Texas and the U.S., as well as Canada, Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Europe will present their research. Student research varies in academic discipline and subject, but includes remittances and the economics of immigration, national identity, social movements, and indigenous rights. Discussion moderated by UT faculty and doctoral candidates follows each student presentation.

The event is a major effort of ILASSA, an organization of graduate students in UT's Latin American Studies program, and its sponsors include the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), the College of Liberal Arts, RTF Department, Mexican Center, Law, Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, Brazil Center, History Department, Strauss Center for International Security and Law, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Center for African and African American Studies, BRAFCCO, the Graduate Student Assembly, and the Events Co-Sponsorship Committee. The entire conference is free and open to the public.

For more info. and a conference schedule, visit the ILASSA Conference webpages or contact Catherine Pees Scott at 512.659.8426.

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