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SU colloquium addresses the crisis of feminicide in the US-Mexico border region Nov. 2
SU colloquium addresses the crisis of feminicide in the US-Mexico border region Nov. 2October 25, 2005Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Mexican, U.S. and Spanish scholars will meet at Syracuse University to discuss the crisis of feminicide at a colloquium titled, “Killing Women at the Border: Death and Transnationalism in Ciudad Juarez.” The event will take place in the Kilian Room, 500 Hall of Languages, from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Stolkin Auditorium in the Physics Building from 5-7:45 p.m.
Since 1993, more than 400 women have been brutally murdered in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua City in a case of overt feminicide that involves the U.S.-Mexico border and beyond. With the victims often raped and mutilated before being killed, the horror continues today with complicity from local authorities and federal negligence. After several appointments and resignations of special prosecutors, state and federal commissions, and significant academic research and activist work, the crimes remain unsolved.
During the colloquium, participants will discuss the scope of feminicide, the contexts that make it possible in the U.S.-Mexico border and elsewhere, its conceptual implications for the world we live in and the challenges posed by the call for equality and justice in the global society. The colloquium will provide options for involvement in international groups, advocacy organizations and government agencies in pursuit of an end to the killings, as well as individual opportunities to act against murderous impunity as citizens who are members of transnational communities.
“SU and the Syracuse community will have a unique chance to learn about the phenomenon of feminicide and engage in dialogue with Mexican specialists on the issue,” says Inmaculada Lara Bonilla, professor of Languages, Literatures andLinguistics at SU. “Our very special guests are the best-regarded researchers on feminicide from Juarez, including Julia Monarrez and Socorro Tabuenca Cordoba, director of the renowned research center Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF); and Alma Gomez Caballero, former congresswoman from the state of Chihuahua who is also the legal representative of families of the victims in Juarez and Chihuahua City. Professor Roselyn Costantino, of Pennsylvania State University is also joining us to present her work on feminicide in Guatemala.”
The objectives of the colloquium are:
- To provide an overview of the situation of structural violence and human rights violation suffered by women in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua City and Guatemala as examples of persistent gender-based violence in the global society
- To explore the conditions that still allow for brutal crimes against women to happen with impunity as a consequence of political irresponsibility internationally
- To discuss the implications of gender-based violence at a transnational level with the hope of establishing conceptual paradigms that enable academics to tackle this difficult issue
- To reflect on the need and feasibility of global activism, including the transnational pressure to classify feminicide as a judicial category to be processed internationally as a crime against humanity
- To review some of the current options for fighting impunity and establish preventive programs, compensatory measures and human rights guarantees among the resources needed by women in the exploitative work environments of many developing economies
- To establish links among feminists working in different parts of the world, particularly the United States, Mexico and Guatemala, in order to continue collaborating on women’s human rights beyond the occasion of the colloquium
In morning and afternoon sessions, guest speakers from Ciudad Juarez will present their research and evidence following a background presentation on the facts of feminicide in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua.
At 5:15 p.m., there will be a screening of Lourdes Portillo’s documentary, “Se?orita Extraviada” in the Physics Auditorium. All members of the university community and the city of Syracuse are invited to attend this screening, which is free and open to the public.
At 6:40 p.m., the speakers from the morning and afternoon sessions will join SU faculty from various departments and academic units to discuss the challenges and possibilities that the Mexican and Guatemalan waves of feminicide pose to transnational feminists and the international community. The roundtable will explore the new role of feminist academics in the transnational scene in relation to violence against women, as well as the potential for civil society in the United States to take action against these crimes and the alarming degree of impunity with which they occur.
Bonilla hopes the interdepartmental roundtable discussion will be an opportunity for professors across campus to discuss their views on gender and violence and the role of academia in preserving women’s rights. “We are convinced that international pressure will play a key part in solving at least some of these cases,” says Bonilla. “We need to emphasize the need to stop the chain of misogynist violence, inept social procedures and obscurity around the crimes, as well the need to legislate from a gender perspective in the global era.”
The event is organized by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics and the Latino-Latin American Studies Program with the support of the Women’s Studies Program and the Program on Latin America and the Caribbean (PLACA). For more information, please contact Bonilla at 443-5487 or Laura Derr at 443-3133