Working Through the Archives of Latinx Ecomedia

Image of cover of a United Farm Workers coloring book
How have migrant farmworkers and their allies reimagined and reshaped the U.S.–Mexico food system?

Beginning with a description of how César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and the rest of the United Farm Workers (UFW) struck against California’s agribusinesses, guest lecturer Professor Carlos Alonso Nugent brings focus to the union’s media experiments, moving beyond existing conversations about its physical mobilizations. By working through radio broadcasts, documentary films, and serial publications, he argues that the UFW helped publics see, hear, smell, touch, and taste otherwise imperceptible problems. Nugent contends that UFW media shaped the form and content of Victor Villaseñor’s Macho! (1973), Cherríe Moraga’s "Heroes and Saints" (1994), and Helena María Viramontes’s "Under the Feet of Jesus" (1995), permanently changing public conversations about socioeconomic inequality and ecological toxicity. By doing so, he challenges the widespread tendency to define Latinx environmental justice activists as inheritors to—or imitators of—white environmentalists. At the very moment that Rachel Carson’s "Silent Spring" (1962) linked a singular author to solitary readers, Latinx ecomedia catalyzed conversations across a much more diverse range of communities. In the following decades, media allowed these communities to continue caring about—and fighting for—places they had never visited and people they had never met.

Professor Lee Bebout (ASU Department of English, Affiliate of the School of Transborder Studies and the Program in American Studies), will act as the respondent.


Attendance Information: Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 4 PM-5:30 PM, MU 242 (La Paz Theatre)* and streamed via ASU Live:

This event is sponsored by the IHR Desert Humanities Initiative, the Environmental Humanities Initiative, and the Department of English.

*Please note that per updated ASU event guidelines, masks are required for all in-person attendees. We also encourage participants to receive a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending the event.*

About the speaker

Carlos Alonso Nugent is an Assistant Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching interests include 19th- and 20th-century U.S. culture, 19th- and 20th-century Latinx culture, critical race and ethnic studies, and the environmental humanities. His current book project is a literary, cultural, and environmental history of the U.S.–Mexico borderlands from 1848 to the present. A piece of this project, entitled “Lost Archives, Lost Lands: Rereading New Mexico’s Imagined Environments,” received the Norman Foerster Prize for Best Essay of the Year in American Literature. Nugent is particularly pleased to be presenting at Arizona State University, for he grew up in Tucson, Arizona.

About the respondent

Lee Bebout is a professor of English at ASU, where he is affiliate faculty with the School of Transborder Studies and the Program in American Studies. Bebout teaches on and researches in the areas of race, social justice, and political culture. His articles have appeared in Aztlán, MELUS, Latino Studies, and other scholarly journals. His book, "Mythohistorical Interventions: The Chicano Movement and Its Legacies" (Minnesota 2011), examines how narratives of myth and history were deployed to articulate political identity in the Chicano movement and postmovement era. His second book, "Whiteness on the Border: Mapping the US Racial Imagination in Brown and White" (New York University Press 2016) examines how representations of Mexico, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans have been used to foster whiteness and Americanness, or more accurately whiteness as Americanness. He has recently co-edited (with Philathia Bolton and Cassander Smith) "Teaching with Tension: Race, Resistance, and Reality in the Classroom" (Northwestern UP), a volume on the challenges of and strategies for teaching about race.

Lisa Han
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, 4-5:30 p.m.
La Paz (242) /
Memorial Union (301 E. Orange St.) / Livestream
Tempe campus
Free of charge and open to the public

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