Fall 2022 Sciame Lecture Series: "Nuestra América: Why Does Family History Matter Today?" featuring Claudio Lomnitz

Wed, Sep 21, 2022 - 06:00 PM — Wed, Sep 21, 2022 - 07:30 PM
Admission Fee
Free and open to the public
Event Address
The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture (CCNY)
141 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031
Phone Number
Event Location
Sciame Auditorium and via Zoom
Event Details

This lecture is held in-person and is part of the Fall 2022 Sciame Lecture Series, titled "Border Crossings: Architecture and Migration in the Americas."

Claudio Lomnitz is Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, and is a member of Mexico's El Colegio Nacional.

His books include Evolución de una sociedad rural (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1982); Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in Mexican National Space (University of California Press, 1992); Modernidad Indiana: nación y mediación en México (Planeta, 1999); Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism (University of Minnesota Press, 2001); Death and the Idea of Mexico (Zone Books, 2005); El antisemitismo y la ideología de la Revolución Mexicana (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2010) and, with Friedrich Katz, Una conversación sobre México, su revolución y su historia (Edicioines Era, 2011), and The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón (Zone Books, 2014).   More recently he published a book of essays titled La nación desdibujada: México en trece ensayos (Ediciones Malpaso, 2016).  His critically acclaimed Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation is a study in Jewish and Latin American family history, published by Other Press in 2021; it was listed by Kirkus Reviews in the top 10 non-fiction books for that year.  Lomnitz's most recent book, Isles of Rights, Sea of Extorsion: On Mexico's New State, published originally in Spanish in 2022 under the title El tejido social rasgado, and is in press with Duke University Press.

Claudio Lomnitz published a bi-monthly column for the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada for many years; he now writes monthly in the political and literary magazine Nexos.  He also wrote an historical play, co-authored with his brother Alberto Lomnitz, that received Mexico’s National Drama Award in 2009; and a second play, also based on his original research and written in co-authorship with Alberto Lomnitz and musicalized by Leonardo Soqui was produced by Mexico's Compañía Nacional de Teatro in 2018.  Lomnitz served a 6-year term as editor of the journal Public Culture and serves on the board of numerous journals and academic institutions.  Several of his books have won prizes; he was a Fellow at the Wissenchaftskolleg zu Berlin for 2011-12, and was awarded Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Prize in 2016.

Nuestra América: Why Does Family History Matter Today?:  Immigration often means learning new languages and forgetting old ones. What does this mean for inter-generational communication? Can we understand our own family’s past, its history, when we don’t speak the language or languages that our grandparents spoke? Claudio Lomnitz will talk about the nature of family bridges in the face of sharp cultural discontinuities by way of a discussion of his critically acclaimed family memoir, Nuestra América: My Family in the Verigo of Translation, that is about his grandparents, who were Jewish immigrants to South America in the early 20th century.

Professor Maria Carrizosa will introduce the speaker.

Suggested Reading: Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation

"Border Crossings: Architecture and Migration" in the Americas presents meditations on the topic of migration from nontraditional, creative, and interdisciplinary perspectives. The distinguished speakers -- architects, landscape architects, architecture historians, social historians, a philosopher, an anthropologist, and an attorney -- question conventions, especially the conceptualization of migration as linear. They frame migration as a multivalent process, considering the lived realities and material conditions of migration, historically and in the present. Migration in the Americas is more than just the movement and resettlement of bodies, numbers that cross lines and appear/disappear in different places. Migration is not merely (dis)placement, it is also a metamorphosis. Migrants are human beings who are transformed to the core by their movement, and they transform not only their places of departure and arrival, but the entire space that is filled with their journeys.

All lectures are free, open to the public, and held in the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture Sciame Auditorium with remote option available. See https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/return-campus for current requirements for in-person visitors.

This lecture series is made possible by the Spitzer Architecture Fund and the generous support of Frank Sciame ’74, CEO of Sciame Construction.

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