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Americas Forum

Organized by Center for the Americas regular faculty and by the two Mellon postdoctoral fellows in alternate years, the Americas Forum is an annual international symposium that brings into dialogue scholars and artists from "north" and "south" around a common theme.  Topics featured in past years have included disability studies, public art, culture and ownership, and the days of the dead.  The most recent forum, "Cesaire at 100!" commemorates the centenary of Aimé Césaire. Held on the 100th anniversary of the year of his birth, it was both a celebration of Césaire’s life and his continuing influence on the arts, and an intellectual consideration of his profound contributions to our understanding of the Americas, of Marxism, of imperialism and independence, of race and racism, of the role of art as political and ethical agent.

The Americas Forum 2014  "Staging Difference/Embodying Tourism” brings together scholars from the fields of U.S. American Studies and Latin American Studies whose work investigates the ways in which display and consumption of embodied difference play a crucial role in cultural production in tourist settings.  Jane Desmond, author of Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Seaworld, will deliver the keynote address titled “Once in a Lifetime: Staging Privilege, Proximity, and Extreme Animal Tourism.”  Zoila Mendoza, author of Shaping Society through Dance: Mestizo Ritual Performance in the Peruvian Andes, will speak about the relationship between processes of folklorization and national identity in “Inca Walls and Exotic Sounds: Tourism, Folklore, and the Paradoxes of National Identity Construction.”  Bianca Freire-Medeiros, author of Touring Poverty, will address “poverty tourism” in Rio de Janeiro in the context of the preparations for the 2016 Olympics in “Commodifying Urban Poverty through Tourism: Notes from an Olympic City.”  Patricia de Santana Pinho, author of Mama Africa: Reinventing Blackness in Bahia, will discuss the practice she calls “roots tourism” and its role in shaping contemporary Afro-diasporic identities in “The Way We Were: African American Roots Tourism in Brazil and the Temporal Mapping of the African Diaspora.”

The Americas Forum will be held at the Russell house on the Campus of Wesleyan University April 4th, 2014 from 2:00-6:00pm. The event is free and open to the public

The 2014 Americas Forum has been organized by the 2012-2014 Center for the Americas Andrew Mellon Posdoctoral Fellow, Ana Paula Höfling.

For a visitors guide to Wesleyan University, please visit:



A M E R I C A S  F O R U M  2 0 1 4

Staging Difference/Embodying Tourism

Friday April 4th, 2014

Key Note Speaker:

Jane Desmond

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Zoila Mendoza

University of California, Davis

Bianca Freire-Medeiro

CPDOC, Fundacao Getulio Vargas

Patricia De Santa Pinho

University at Albany, SUNY




 2:00 P.M.

WELCOME! For more information: e-mail Ana Paula Höfling,



To view posters from our past programs, please click the slideshow below.

  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas
  • Center for the Americas