NAFTA and the TPP: Ni Una Mas

Whether or not you have a newfound love of macroeconomics like I do after this past semester, it’s hard not to hear about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and it’s pending fast-track into enactment. Coming from a long line of trade agreements before it, the TPP will lower tariffs and promote trade between twelve countries along the Pacific Ocean — or at least that’s what we’ve been told, since the full text of the agreement has not been made available.

What we do know is that the twelve nations involved in the TPP represent a wide array of economic development, and we know that this uneven representation leads to an influx of manufacturing and outsourced industry from more developed nations, impunity afforded to corporations under both the trade agreement and unstable local judicial processes, and mass violence as the final step in a long process of dehumanization of local workers. We know this because we have the North American Free Trade Agreement at our doorstep, and we can see the femicide trend that has plagued Ciudad Juárez and El Paso since the mid-90s.

The Juárez femicide trend has been a personal project for me for a long time, and in the interests of full disclosure, I should note that not only have I spoken about this issue at previous conferences, but I am also from El Paso. Raising awareness is a pet project that I feel, deeply. Reading about the relationship between NAFTA and the TPP, what springs to my mind are the words of Susana Chavez, a femicide activist and victim, “ni una más” — not one more murder.

Continue…

Chican@, Reimagined

This year, I worked on a research project for the University Archives Diversity Research Fellowship, through the Special Collections Research Center at the Gelman Library, and it was the perfect project for my first year at GWU. The goal of the fellowship was to search the George Washington University archives and find the voice of minority experiences there. Naturally, my focus was on finding other Chican@s in the history of the university, and knowing that I had institutional support behind me as I searched for my community meant the world to me, even when ultimately, I had to reckon with the fact that Chican@ experiences in Washington, D.C. and at GWU were not archived, and may not have existed at all. Continue…

Conversations with Steve Conn

“There’s no there, there…in as much as we don’t talk about it”

I find discussions of material culture so fascinating, as it is one of those easy ways to understand the complexity  of museums, as often contentious spaces of authority and agency. I had the opportunity last week, although in grad school chronology it feels like a month ago, to cross the disciplinary divide into Museum Studies. The department was hosting Steve Conn, professor of History at Ohio State University, who focuses on 19th and 20 century cultural and intellectual history, urban and public history, and my favorite, how ideas are given physical form in landscapes. He wrote a few books too, you might of heard of one, Do Museums Still Need Objects?, and he is the founding editor of the online magazine, Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective (the latest from the zine, “From Harlem to Ferguson: LBJ’s War on Crime and American’s Prison Crisis” check it out)Surprisingly, what I expected to be a lecture, turned out to be a roundtable discussion, which made for a lively conversation. The topic: Does material culture serve our project or do more to destroy its significance?

Conn shared an article he wrote for an upcoming edited volume, about the relationship between material culture to history. Unfortunately, I am unable to share the article as it has not been released for public use. Although Conn admits to not studying material culture directly (even though I would then be interested in his methodology in understanding how ideas take physical form), he delved into a 50 year history of material culture in order to write this essay. Still, the topic raises some debate, one being that material culture as a historical source seems to perpetually be on the cusp, but why? and how? Continue…

Welcome to BGMB

Maybe the blog title gave us away; we are obviously two brown girls interested in blogging about our experiences in the museum industry, but there’s more to Ravon and I than just that! We’re excited about building a community of people who, like us, are interested in museum minority experiences, and to that end, we interviewed each other in order to start the conversation.

On a beautiful spring day outside of an uptown D.C. cafe, we sat down to interview each other about the basic resume stuff, favorite things, ultimate goals– to share a bit about who we are. Continue…