Meeting with Professor Ezequiel Adamovsky

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Journal Entry:

16 June 2014 Monday

Today we went to a lecture by Professor Ezequiel Adamovsky. (nice name right?)

The place where we went is called La Cazona De Flores and while I don’t understand fully why it’s so significant I do know that a lot of learning takes place there and many educators such as writers and authors give speeches there.

There to welcome us was another anthropologist named Nicolas Fernadez. He sat us down and told us a little history about La Cazona De Flores. It was an upper class house full of paintings owned by a rich family. However,  when the city begin to grow, the neighborhood swallowed up the smaller rich neighborhood.

Now it’s an open space used for studies.  He told us that it is also used a base to connect study courses with employment. I guess that’s the equivalent to an internship. “The house has achieved prestige among the intellectuals, he commented, and the neighborhood of Flores is associated with Afro-Argentine families.”  I think this means a lot, but currently I am not sure why I think this.

Fernadez switched the topic to race in Argentina and I jotted down some of his quotes that I thought were intriguing:

The meaning of race has been a challenged  myth of the country since the beginning

The problem with the stereotypes is not that they are false but incomplete.

Education and violence is what constructed the nation and the false ideas that race doesn’t exist   

If you want to evolve, leave your ethnicities behind

The difference is the resistance of the people and how change comes (his comment in regards to other nations and their response to inequalities)

During the discussion, we spoke about how the government is in control of maintaining the history of Argentina and telling the history of Argentina. He then showed us the 100 peso. There are currently two circulating. One of them, the older one, has the father of the disappearance on it, Julio Argentino Roca (we spoke a little bit about him at the Cemetery) and the other peso has Maria Eva Duarte De Peron’s picture on it.

After his quick discussion, we had lunch and at a popular dish among the indigenous people. ( I am an Indian/ Bolivian dish and it was called Tarte Quino.  I enjoyed it. It did not include meat (surprise!). If I learn how to make one thing on this trip, I would want it to be that!

After lunch the lecture began. Economic, Cultural, Moral and Racial Distinctions in the Making of Class Distinctions in Modern Argentina was filled with complexity for me. I had a hard time following along with the readings because Adamovsty’s voice was monotone and there was a humming in the room. I was just distracted and even dozed off a bit. I am glad he said he would email us the readings.

Nevertheless, I did get something out of the readings. Currently, Argentina is in the middle of social changing and are working to bring about change in relations, schools, newspapers, and even behaviors…The last word makes me think of enculturation all over again. When will governemts learn that certain change is out of their control?

In the 1920’s the middle class and it’s ideologies about society is introduced. Class identity and class separation are not far apart.  

One quote that jumped out at me –which I later asked Adamovsty about – is “ the current president Cristian Fernandez de Kirchner is a defender of ethics”.  Regardless of what Adamovsty meant, how can anyone defend something so vauge and unattainable as ethics? You see why I have to read it myself?

 

Tonight we had a discussion with Dr. Anderson. Apparently I wasn’t the only one trying to grasp the concept of Adamovsty’s paper. She told us how hard it is for Adamovsty who translated his paper into English and also had to read it in English.

Idenity had always been about exclusion in Argentine history. This quote is by Dr. Anderson. Once again we were discussing our favorite topic- race and class. She informed us of a new term: New Poor. The old middle class is slowly becoming new poor and the level of violence has increased. There has never been this many poor people  and it’s becoming a reality for people everywhere. There is also a term to refer to those who are below the poor and it it’s destitute.

One question I now have is- were these terms coined for Argentina or are they social science terms relating to poor and below poor people everywhere? Can we use the term destitute in America to refer to a begger by the wayside?

I am not sure if we are following the Itinerary. I think we are already running out of time.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

 

Even though it’s cold outside, I gave in and ordered Vanilla ice cream mixed with nuts. It was so good.

Journal Entry

15 June 2014 Sunday

After that shop we ran out of time and went to the pizza shop where we all planned to meet. Since we were the first ones, we waited outside. It’s there we came across a cult of some sort, an American man from Utah, his wife and followers stopped us. They acted like they were Christians but their testimonies did not sound convincing. They did not testify to the water baptism nor the Holy Ghost and kept saying everyone lived in the same apartment. When they gave us a tract, it was over 30 people in the picture! Children included. It seemed weird. Juan pulled me aside and told me they were a cult and we quickly got away. It seemed also weird that they did not have a church even though they were trying to witness- of what? I don’t know.

After everyone came, we walked quickly to a bar-restaurant to watch the World Cup.  By this time I was missing church. It felt weird being anywhere else and not in service. During the game, I sat beside Dr. Anderson who was great company. We spoke about the readings for the class. Her article in particular. It was something to actually read an article and have the author sitting right next to you willing to talk to you about their work! This was the second thing I appreciated that day (the first being able to make a video of the indigenous woman explain the meaning of her flag and Lisset willing translating everything).

I don’t remember all we spoke about Dr. Anderson did explain the last line of the article to me: “This treatment unfortunately sends the message that we are not really welcome in the country; every day that remind us in a million little ways.”  I asked her why she used the word little as I thought little would damper the plight that the black argentines are suffering with. However she told me that little refers to the micro-violence’s of putting people in their ‘place’ and reminding them constantly of the color of their skin. Little refers to all the small events that break us down.  I say us, because I can relate to their situation…or at least I think I can. 

Dr. Anderson also explained to me, the word Enculturation. She told me that the term assimilation is now outdated, I guess because people are often mixing with one another anyway and the term enculturation means to be forced to let go of what you are (your culture) and forced to pick up a new one. In this case, you don’t really have a choice.

I ordered some good ice cream! I shared it with Juan who I notice loves to eat.

Argentina won against…well, I don’t know who they were playing against but they did win. The place went crazy and I think the most noise came from my table…a table full of Americans.    

We ate dinner at another restaurant close to home…I think.