Stoll writes: “At a time when some predict that the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic could leave many unemployed for months or years, and when the working-class already endures the worst of everything, in a rolling crisis of despair, Modern Times doesn’t look like an excavated relic but a message from the dawn of the American Century to its dusk. The story of the Worker, played by Chaplin, and his homeless partner, the Gamin, played by Paulette Goddard, depicts alienation and disillusionment with capitalism, law enforcement, and the world of industrial work that had failed the working class.”
On Saturday, August 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas, a 21 year old white male brandishing a semi-automatic rifle walked into a Walmart known to be popular with Americans and a convenient destination for Mexicans crossing the nearby border for their weekly shopping excursion into the United States. He began to shoot, deliberately targeting people of apparent Mexican and Latin American descent. Twenty three people died in the shooting (the last dying in April of 2020), and another twenty three were injured. News organizations identified the dead as thirteen United States Americans, eight Mexicans, and one German citizen. A deeper look, though, reveals that of the thirteen Americans killed, eleven were of Latinx descent. As a result, the El Paso Walmart shooting was the worst mass murder of Latino people in modern American history.
The murderer has been identified as a white supremacist with a deep hatred of Latinos, someone who consumed white supremacist literature and wrote a manifesto at the time of the shooting. This is not a surprise, as in the last five years the United States also has suffered mass shootings of African Americans (Charleston, June 17, 2015) and Jews (October 27, 2018). In his manifesto, the shooter argued that Mexicans specifically, and Latinxs generally, are invading the United States, taking jobs away from U.S. citizens, and endangering the white majority populace. This rhetoric reveals anti-Latinx sentiments with roots deep in United States history. It also calls attention to the historical and continuous race-based and structural violence that affects minority communities in the U.S. and at the border.
Father McShane has suggested that the Fordham community commemorate and discuss these tragedies in November. For now, though, it is important to mourn the victims of August 3 and to remember how and why they died:
Andre Anchondo, 23
Jordan Anchondo, 24
Arturo Benavides, 60
Leonard Cipeda Campos, 41
Angelina Englisbee, 86
Maria Flores, 77
Raul Flores, 77
Guillermo Garcia, 36
Jorge Calvillo García, 61
Maribel Hernandez, 56
Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, 68
Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66
David Alvah Johnson, 63
Luis Alfonso Juarez, 90
Ivan Hilierto Manzano, 46
Gloria Irma Marquez
Elsa Mendoza Márquez, 57
Margie Reckard, 63
Sara Esther Regalado, 66
Javier Rodriguez, 15
María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, 58
Teresa Sánchez de Freitas, 82
Juan Velázquez, 77
Father McShane asked the University Church to offer the Sunday (August 2) Mass on behalf of the victims and the El Paso community, an appropriate gesture for a community and a people very serious about their religious faith.
For our part, we mourn the dead and summon the living to reflect on what we can do to support our own communities. The El Paso Museum of History will display a digital memorial in remembrance of August 3. The public can join virtually by submitting pictures and memories on Digital El Paso at http://www.digie.org. We invite you to take part and encourage everyone to become active in supporting some of those organizations working on behalf of our communities in El Paso, the Southwest, and in New York. We can best honor the dead by fighting for and supporting justice at home and around the nation:
On July 7, 2020, Professor Christopher Maginn has just published an article in a special Early Modern Classroom supplement (2020) devoted to teaching in the era of COVID-19. Below is a link to the piece. Someone may find its discussion of pedagogy useful.
On June 20, 2020, former Fordham history Professor Carina Rey, now at Brandeis University, published an op-ed piece in The New York Times called, “”Could the Police Kill Me, Too?’” You can read the piece on this link: https://nyti.ms/2Bma1UL
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We are excited to announce that the Peru Section of the Latin American Studies Association has awarded Prof. S. Elizabeth Penry’s new book, The People Are King: The Making of an Indigenous Andean Politics (Oxford University Press, 2019), the 2020 Flora Tristán Prize for the best book on Peru published in the previous year.
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The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced that Prof. Yuko Miki is one of its 2020 cohort Fellows. The “ACLS Fellowship program honors scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who have the potential to make significant contributions to knowledge in their fields.”
Yuko Miki’s project is entitled, “Emancipation’s Shadow: Stories of Illegal Slavery.” This project is a narrative history of illegal slavery in the nineteenth-century Atlantic World. Through four intertwined stories, it investigates how illegal slavery thrived throughout the Atlantic World in general, and in Brazil in particular, in the very midst of the “Age of Emancipation.” Attention to the lived experiences of women, men, and children forced into, or who profited from, illegal slavery challenges the predominant history of the nineteenth-century as a period marked by the triumph of abolition and freedom. Drawing on literary analysis and archival ethnography, this project asks how illegal slavery can critique these liberal, modernizing narratives that have been foundational to the study of slavery and abolition, and Atlantic world history more broadly.
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