Conference “Challenges and (Re)definitions of the Left in Latin America”

Event Sponsor
Center for Latin American Studies
Vanderhoef Studio (University of California, Davis)
Robert and Margarit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616

Co-sponsored by Hemispheric Institute of the Americas at UC Davis, Stanford Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), and the Department of Modern Languages San José State University

Many countries in Latin America have recently elected governments that claim to represent a renewed left. What are the historical circumstances that facilitated the election of Gustavo Petro in Colombia, Lula Da Silva in Brazil, Gabriel Boric in Chile, and Andres Manuel López Obrador in Mexico? What are the main challenges they are facing to implement their agendas? What opportunities can arise with them? How are these governments understood and experienced by different communities in and out of the region? The “Challenges and (Re)definitions of the Left in Latin America” conference is a one-day event exploring these questions. To that end, we have invited four panelists from Colombia, México, Chile, and Brazil to share their experiences, reflections, and proposals, first in their respective countries and then in the larger Latin American region. These presenters bring a diverse set of perspectives ranging from political sciences, cultural studies, musicology, permaculture, grassroots activism, education, and the arts. Their presentations will be supplemented and enriched by four local respondents who will help understand the ways in which these Latin American processes are impacting their work in California and beyond. We encourage students, faculty members, activists, and other community members to participate in this vibrant event. Previous registration is not required.


10:00 – 11:00 AM: Colombia

“Stories of the Colombian Diaspora: Between Seeking Protection or the Fallacy of the American Dream”

Fernanda Perdomo Arciniegas (City of Sunnyvale, CA)

Respondent: Patricia Vergara (UC Merced)

11:00 – 11:15 AM: Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:15: Mexico

“The Paradoxes of Mexico’s Left”

Viridiana Ríos (Author, Academic, Columnist)

Respondent: Alberto Díaz Cayeros (CLAS, Stanford)

12:15 – 1:00 PM: Lunch provided

1:00 – 2:00 PM: Chile

“Unequal Democracies in Weak(er) States. Assessing Latin America’s Development Trap”

Juan Pablo Luna (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Respondent: Cristián Bellei (Universidad de Chile)

2:00 – 2:15 PM: Coffee Break

2:15 – 3:15 PM: Brazil

“The Challenges of Popular Movements in Popular Governments”

Cinézio Feliciano Peçanha, aka Mestre Cobra Mansa (Kilombo Tenondé, Bahia)

Respondent: Cliff Welch (Universidade Federal de São Paulo)

3:15 – 3:45 PM: Capoeira performance led by Mestre Cobra Mansa

4:00 – 5:30 PM: The Region

Roundtable with the eight panelists plus Charles Walker (UC Davis) reflecting on the challenges of the left in the broader Latin American context.

Moderator: Cheyla Samuelson (SJSU)