Two students in LACS were accepted to present rsearch projects for the Undergraduate Research Conference on April 29th.

Aisling Sive, student in ALCS330, "Tourism and the Caribean" with Dr. Christine Preble, Spring 2016

Title: Marti and Marx: Cuba’s Denial of Racism

Abstract: This paper examines how issues surrounding race in Cuba have been constructed by two of the country’s most important historical figures: Jose Marti and Karl Marx. The starting point of this paper describes the ways in which Cuba’s national hero, José Marti, explores issues of race in his writings. Through his own personal history with slavery, growing up in Cuba and later moving to the United States, he argues that “we are one race,” we cannot divide ourselves, and we must unite. I ague that Cuba’s Independence War would not have been successful without the Marti’s influence toward the unification of Afro-Cubans and creole Cubans. Secondly, this paper analyzes how race has been viewed in Cuba in the context of the nation’s political shift to communism in the 1960s. Karl Marx influenced Fidel Castro in relation to the absence of acknowledging race. Castro used Marx’s framework of communism in structuring the revolutionary government so much so that issues regarding race got left behind, to the extent that in Cuba’s constitution, “race does not exist.” This project questions how ideologies of both Marti and Marx, in their acknowledgement or lack thereof, have constructed an atmosphere of denial regarding racism in the current sociopolitical landscape of Cuba.

Nadia Rodriguez, student in ALCS283, "Latinization of U.S. Cities" with Dr. Johana Londono, Spring 2016

Title:Title: Environmental Pollution in Staten Island’s North Shore and its Effects on Latinos and other Ethno-Racial Minorities

Abstract:Staten Island’s North Shore is unlike other neighborhoods on Staten Island. The area contains old infrastructure, dense housing, as well as a diverse population of whites, African Americans, and Latinos, with the majority being Blacks and Latinos in the neighborhoods of Mariners Harbor and Port Richmond, respectively (CUNY, 2011). The 2010 Census shows Staten Island’s once exploding population has slowed down, but what has not slowed down are the number of new Latino immigrants moving to Staten Island wanting to live in what is popularly considered to be the cleanest, greenest, safest borough of the city (Oddo, 2014). Ironically, the North Shore also has a reputation for having the borough’s highest crime, poverty, unemployment rates, and—particularly important for this paper—high levels of pollution. Since the area’s industrial beginnings in the late 1800s, the North Shore has come into frequent contact with oil spills occurring in the NY Harbor. Dangerous fumes from New Jersey factories travel to the North Shore, resulting in the worse smog faced by any borough in NYC. This paper examines how Staten Island’s environmental issues, which are concentrated in the North Shore affects Latinos—specifically in terms of public health, equity, social, and environmental justice. In doing so, this paper aims to expose the challenges Latinos and other ethno-racial minorities disproportionately face as they try to improve their lives and make a new home in Staten Island.