Speaker: Christian Vásquez Infante, doctoral candidate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University 

Christian Vásquez Infante is a Fullbright doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL.) The focus of his research is cultural initiatives around the promotion of literacy and environmental protection in war-affected regions of Colombia. He is also an editor with Himpar Editores, an independent publishing house based in Bogotá, Colombia. His research has been published in academic cultural journals in Colombia and Chile. Christian holds an M.A. in Literature from Universidad de los Andes, where he worked in the Writing Center as a coordinator for teacher-training procedures and an instructor from 2015 to 2018.

Title: How to communicate the climate emergency? Two Alternatives from Colombian Mass Media

Abstract: In recent years the climate emergency has become the most significant existential concern around the world. This phenomenon has led to the incorporation of specialized topics and discussions within mass cultural productions in an effort to reach wider audiences. In the Colombian case, like other countries in the global south, communicating the stakes of the climate emergency requires understanding the communities whose territories are directly affected by this problem; for instance, those ravaged by extractivism, one of the main causes of environmental degradation.

In this presentation Christian analyses two recent cultural productions that illustrate communication between specialized knowledge and mass audiences. First, the transmedia project Muerte lenta: el pueblo uitoto acorralado por el mercurio [Slow Death: The Uitoto People Cornered by Mercury] (2018), published by Revista Semana, one of the most widely distributed print and digital publications in the country. And second, the documentary El camino de la anaconda [The Path of the Anaconda] (2019), produced by Caracol Televisión, the highest audience TV station in Colombia. Christian analyses how these productions communicate the environmental crisis and its effects on the communities at the center of their narratives: indigenous peoples that inhabit the Amazon region of Colombian. In addition, this project studies the way in which the epistemologies of these communities are transmitted and translated to ensure legibility among wider non-specialized audiences.

About Latin American Studies Seminar Series

The aim of the Latin American Studies Seminar series at UQ is to create a space for independent researchers, post-graduate students and academic staff conducting research on Latin America in the humanities and social sciences in order to share the outcomes of their research.

If you are interested in presenting in our series, please contact either Dr Roberto Esposto or Dr Sol Rojas-Lizana.

Seminars are held regularly and are free to attend. UQ staff and students, staff and students from other universities, and members of the general public are welcome to attend. If you would like to be included on our mailing list, please contact the SLC Events team via email.

We look forward to seeing you at our first seminar of the semester!


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