GSL Brown Bag Lunch Series - Cristina Jo Pérez and Jomo Smith

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 10:30am

Join MIT Global Studies and Languages for our Brown Bag Lunch Series: informal presentations on current research by faculty, lecturers, post-docs, and visiting scholars, giving individual presentations or informal group panels. Light lunch provided.

Monday, Nov. 9, 2015
NOON • 14E-309

Cristina Jo Pérez, Visiting Scholar, MIT Women’s and Gender Studies
“The Case of Blanca Borrego: Migrating Borders, Queer Subjects, and Disoriented Desire”

Pérez considers the case study of Blanca Borrego, arrested at her gynecologist’s office in a Houston suburb last September, a case illuminating how Mexican migrant sexuality is read as a threat to the heteronormative formations of the family and nation. Pérez examines how this threat is contained through a complex web of surveillance and detention that conjures the border to the doctor’s office. This conjured border and the accompanying logic of detention highlight how waiting has become a part of the migrant condition, one that disorients rather than forecloses the migrant’s desire for the nation state. Cristina Jo Pérez is a visiting scholar in MIT’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program and a doctoral candidate in the department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work considers how racialized, gendered, and sexualized identities are shaped and reinforced in the context of the increasingly militarized Mexico-US border industrial complex.

Jomo Smith, Visiting Scholar, History
“China’s ethnic borderlands in the 1920s: The Tibetan Yang tusi and his alleged crimes”

Smith will discuss a series of military uprisings in 1928 and 1929 Gansu, China, that illuminate the unintended consequences of an outside entity’s attempt to disrupt local power holders. This outside entity came fresh from China’s central plains war and worked hand-in-hand with the Tibetan power structure in the region. In the end, thousands of Muslims lay dead with the blame squarely at the Tibetan tusi’s feet. At a time when China was between an empire and a congealed nation-state, local loyalties were often strained by the wishes of centralizing authorities who had minimal local knowledge. Jomo Smith is a visiting scholar in MIT’s History Department and a Ph.D candidate in Modern Chinese History at the University of California, San Diego. His work considers the problems societies face (and particularly Republican era, southern Gansu) when technologies of modernity and the institutions of progress come face to face with the realities on the ground.