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Óscar Martínez on “A History of Violence” and Edu Ponces on “En el camino”

May 19, 2016 @ 6:00 pm

Óscar Martínez and Edu Ponces will discuss “A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America” and “En el camino: México, la ruta de los migrantes que no importan.”

Co-sponsored by Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, the Workshop on Latin America and the Caribbean, SGSC, The Franke Institute for the Humanities

At the Co-op

About the book: “A History of Violence” is a book about one of the deadliest places in the world. El Salvador and Honduras have had the highest homicide rates in the world over the past ten years, with Guatemala close behind. Every day more than 1,000 people—men, women, and children—flee these three countries for North America. Óscar Martínez, author of “The Beast,” named one of the best books of the year by the Economist, Mother Jones, and the Financial Times, fleshes out these stark figures with true stories, producing a jarringly beautiful and immersive account of life in deadly locations.

Together with photojournalist Edu Ponces—whose photographic work on “En el camino” has earned him plenty of accolades—Martínez travels to Nicaraguan fishing towns, southern Mexican brothels where Central American women are trafficked, isolated Guatemalan jungle villages, and crime-ridden Salvadoran slums. With his precise and empathetic reporting, he explores the underbelly of these troubled places. He goes undercover to drink with narcos, accompanies police patrols, rides in trafficking boats and hides out with a gang informer. The result is an unforgettable portrait of a region of fear and a subtle analysis of the North American roots and reach of the crisis, helping to explain why this history of Central America’s violence should matter to all of us.

Join the Workshop on Latin America and the Caribbean for a conversation with Óscar Martínez about “A History of Violence,” and with Edu Ponces about his photographic work on Central America and “En el camino,” which will also be on display at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture throughout the Spring Quarter, in an exhibition entitled “Crossing the Vertical Border: On the Central American Migrant Trail.”

About Óscar Martínez: Óscar Martínez, whose prolific career as a journalist includes directing the Salvadoran investigative journalism project Sala Negra, is also one of the co-founders of what is perhaps the most celebrated online news outlet in Latin America, For the past decade, Martínez has been reporting extensively on the northern triangle of Central America—Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—and exposing the systemic causes of the violence in the region. “The Beast,” his first book in English, was named one of the best books of 2013 by the Mother Jones, and the Financial Times.

About Edu Ponces: Edu Ponces is the co-founder of RUIDO Photo, a Barcelona-based photographic agency that currently has projects in more than fifteen countries. The reports and productions created by the agency over the last several years have received prizes in the spheres of cinema and photography, journalistic investigation and the promotion of human rights. Ponces own photographic work in “En el camino” has earned him accolades such as Best Photography Book of Latin America in 2010, the REVELA International Prize, and the National Journalism and Human Rights Award of El Salvador, among others.

About CSRPC: The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (CSRPC) was established in 1996 under the direction of Professor Michael Dawson. From its inception, faculty, students, and staff who have been involved with the Center have been committed to establishing a new type of research institute devoted to the study of race and ethnicity, one that seeks to expand the study of race beyond the black/white paradigm while exploring social and identity cleavages within racialized communities. Scholars affiliated with the Center have also endeavored to make race and ethnicity central topics of intellectual investigation at the University of Chicago by fostering interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public debate among students and faculty. Fundamentally, the Center is committed to producing engaged scholarship that rejects the false dichotomy between rigorous intellectual work and community activism. We seek, instead, to contribute intellectually challenging and innovative scholarship that can help people transform their thinking and their lives. Towards those goals, the Center has provided funding and other types of support for a number of projects initiated by faculty affiliated with the Center, graduate students, and visiting fellows. After extensive renovations in 2013, our building now features seminar rooms to host classes and workshops, space for our events and community activities and other resources.

About The Workshop on Latin America and the Caribbean: The Workshop on Latin America and the Caribbean is an interdisciplinary forum and intellectual community for graduate students and faculty who are interested in the academic problems and literature pertaining to the region. The workshop hosts regular presentations of works in progress by students, faculty, and invited guests, as well as special events and gatherings. Participants come from a wide range of disciplines from across the social sciences and humanities, enabling an interdisciplinary conversation and exchange around questions of common interest to those whose work focuses on the region. We welcome any and all who share an interest in the history, literature, politics, culture, and social life of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The purpose of this organization shall be to organize special events that facilitate student encounters with professors and experts in Iberian and Latin American studies from around the world, outside the usual academic environment of coursework and classroom lectures. Our interdisciplinary events, ranging from workshops to our annual graduate student conference, are planned by members to deepen their understanding of their areas of interest. Through these activities, the Spanish Graduate Students Committee of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (SGSC) aims to be a leader in generating campus debates among students and faculty alike. Our vision is to create imaginative forums for discussion between the world s leading scholars and the students of the University of Chicago.

About The Franke Institute for the Humanities: The Franke Institute for the Humanities is both an idea and a place. Conceptually, it represents the highest research and teaching ambitions of the University of Chicago, sponsoring creative and innovative work in established academic disciplines in the arts and humanities and encouraging new projects that cross traditional disciplinary and departmental lines. Materially, its physical space–a suite of offices and public rooms in the Regenstein Library–provides facilities where scholars and artists can do their work, and where that work can be tested and disseminated through discussions, debates, symposia, and public conferences.


May 19, 2016
6:00 pm


The Seminary Co-op Bookstores


The Seminary Co-op Bookstores
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637 United States

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