The Mexico Virtual Lecture Series is a recurring online event intended to highlight the deep connections between Notre Dame and Mexico. Each lecture focuses on the current work of a Notre Dame faculty member or researcher, covering topics that vary widely from medical research to the social sciences and arts and culture.
Many of the featured researchers have benefited from Notre Dame International’s Mexico Faculty Research Grant to deepen partnerships with institutions throughout Mexico. These collaborations are central to Notre Dame’s engagement with Mexico and are highlighted in several of the lectures.
November 18 - "De desamor:" Cristina Rivera Garza’s Literary Landscapes
Dominique Vargas examines Mexican literary representation of fictional border landscapes as aesthetic analysis of contemporary realities. Focusing on Cristina Rivera Garza’s novella, El Mal de La Taiga and her collection, Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, this talk addresses the way that the fictional setting and the eponymous Taiga syndrome paradoxically removes characters and readers from their realities and also grounds them in an intensely contemporary moment complicated by neoliberal political, economic, and gendered border space. Ultimately, Vargas' presentation will consider the way that literature illuminates the relationship between real landscapes and those who occupy them.
October 15 - Culver-México-Paris-Torreón: The Transnational Journey of Mexican Maoism in the Long Sixties
After the Tlatelolco massacre of October 2, 1968, student activists felt an urgent need to find a way forward. Adolfo Orive Bellinger and a group of militants offered an answer in Hacia una política popular (Towards a People’s Politics). The mimeographed pamphlet had a yellow cardboard cover, and young student militants in northern Mexico called it “The Yellow Document,” mirroring Mao’s “Little Red Book.” It contained a critique of the Mexican left and unions’ strikes in the 1950s and 1960s and proposed a different form of political action based on three principles: (1) Trust the masses and obtain their support, (2) ideas must come from the masses and then return to the masses for their discussion, and (3) be the student of the masses before being their teacher. These ideas originally appeared in China in the 1930s and were in vogue in the French student circles of the 1960s. But, how did they arrive in Mexico? To answer that question, Jorge Puma examines the trajectory of Adolfo Orive as an example of transnational mobility and how ideas moved beyond the walls of classrooms and borders.
September 30 - Consuming patterns: Exploring the role insects play in people's diets in Oaxaca, Mexico
Dr. Kayla Hurd's talk investigates how the seasonal consumption of grasshoppers has nutritional implications for residents of Oaxaca, using a multi-disciplinary approach that combines ethnography, nutritional assessment, and chemical analyses of these grasshoppers. More broadly, she explores the entanglement of human-insect relationships through the context of health, political economy, and nutrition.
August 19 - Who cares for whom? The division of household and care work in Mexico throughout the life cycle.
Dr. Estela Rivero’s talk considers how, as in most countries of the world, women in Mexico are responsible for the majority of housework and care activities. These responsibilities limit women's opportunities for engaging in paid economic activities that provide them with financial independence and the ability to leverage their bargaining power in household decisions. Additionally, by having to juggle multiple roles, women usually see their leisure and resting time affected. Dr. Rivero’s presentation will examine how household chores and care work are distributed among household members throughout the life cycle and the implications of this distribution.
July 15 - Marriage to a Citizen: Just a Relief Valve for Immigration Policy or also a Reason behind Marital Instability?
Dr. Eva Dziadula examines whether family-centered immigration policy may be associated with marital instability, with particular relevance to Mexican migrants who marry U.S. citizens. Within the framework of U.S. policy, marriage to a citizen is one of the fastest pathways to obtain permanent legal status and ultimately U.S. citizenship. Once permanent residency is established, these marriages may be less stable as other characteristics would play a larger role. Dr. Dziadula investigates the relationship between the immigrants’ current citizenship status, which is an observed measure of their permanent legal status in the U.S., and the likelihood of divorce.
June 30 - Partners for a Cure: Fighting Cancer in Mexico
Dr. Sharon Stack of the Harper Institute, Dr. Thomas Merluzzi for the Psychology Department, and Dr. Maria del Rocio Baños Lara of UNE share their current efforts regarding their integrative research that confronts the complex challenges of cancer. Through collaboration with long-time Notre Dame partners, Una Nueva Esperanza (UNE) and Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), they hope to advance the understanding of leukemia and other cancers that affect children in Mexico.
May 26 - Combating Vector Borne Diseases in Mexico
Dr. Nicole Achee and Dr. John Grieco are entomologists who connected the mosquito and tick populations to dengue, chikungunya, zika, and other diseases in Chiapas, Mexico. Their research also develops strategies to control these vector populations and limit disease spread.
May 19 - Doctors on the March: (Extra) Ordinary Practice, Violence, and Protests
Dr. Vania Smith-Oka is a medical anthropologist and recipient of an NDI Mexico Faculty grant. Her research examines medicine and culture in Mexico, including the role of gender for health outcomes in rural and indigenous communities. Dr. Smith Oka’s recent project looks at decisions that physicians make when caring for women and patients from marginalized groups.
May 12 - Poverty reduction policies in Mexico: Are universal policies better than conditional cash transfers?
Dr. Alejandro Estefan is a native of México who worked as a policy analyst in the office of the President of the Republic of Mexico before entering academia. His research focuses on economic development, labor economics, and public finance in México and aims to provide a solid evidence base for impactful policy formulation.