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Controversial Bolivian scholar speaks tonight on marginalized people finding a voice

Loyola press release - October 19, 2009

Acclaimed and controversial Bolivian scholar and Latin American historian Waskar Ari Chachaki will speak at Loyola University New Orleans on Monday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m., in Mercy Hall Room 313.

Ari, an expert on the Aymara people of Bolivia and other indigenous peoples of Latin America, will present “Subaltern Strategies to Speak Out.” The lecture will focus on how people who are typically not empowered to speak out against injustice are finding new ways to have their voices heard and effect governmental change.

“It is extremely beneficial for our students to hear this talk, especially since it addresses the core Jesuit value of social justice. This lecture is also timely for our area because New Orleans has a large population of people who feel that their voices go unheard,” said Nathan Henne, assistant professor of Latin American studies and Spanish. “Ari’s work looks at how these people at the heart of society can forge an effective voice to achieve dignity and social justice in the face of powerful interest groups who oppose them”

Ari is an assistant professor of history and ethnic studies at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in political science from the Universidad de San Andres in La Paz, Bolivia. He also earned a doctorate in history from Georgetown University.

“Ari gained notoriety in 2005, when, upon arriving in Bolivia for a short visit, he was denied a visa to re-enter the United States for two years because of his support of the Aymara people in their resistance against U.S.-dictated policies in the country’s indigenous majority,” said Henne.

Ari had just been hired by the University of Nebraska when his visa was denied. On his behalf, the university sued former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and appealed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for his return.

Ari has published several articles and books in Bolivia, including “Historia de una Esperanza,” a book on economic change and the making of new traditions. He co-authored “Tata Fermin,” a book on the Indian leader Fermin Vallejos and indigenous resistance movements in the southern part of the Cochabamba region of Bolivia.

For more information about the lecture, contact Henne at nchenne@loyno.edu or call 504-865-3842.

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LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.