Mexico Virtual Lecture Series

The Mexico Virtual Lecture Series is a recurring online event intended to highlight the deep connections between Notre Dame and Mexico. Each lecture focuses on the current work of a Notre Dame faculty member or researcher, covering topics that vary widely from medical research to the social sciences and arts and culture.

Many of the featured researchers have benefited from Notre Dame Global’s Mexico Faculty Research Grant to deepen partnerships with institutions throughout Mexico. These collaborations are central to Notre Dame’s engagement with Mexico and are highlighted in several of the lectures.

April 27, 2022 - The Pregnant Moms' Empowerment Program in Mexico: A Culturally Adapted Intervention to Address the Intergenerational Effects of Intimate Partner Violence

According to national statistics, more than 40% of women in Mexico have experienced intimate partner violence. However, culturally appropriate evidence-based treatment is rarely available. To address this need and in partnership with the State Women's Institute of Nuevo León, we culturally adapted the Pregnant Moms’ Empowerment Program (PMEP), gathering input from key stakeholders. PMEP is a manualized group intervention that incorporates psychoeducation, cognitive behavioral skills, and social support to enhance mothers' wellbeing and promote their children's development. Initial pilot implementation and evaluation are ongoing, with 58 women enrolled in a randomized controlled trial to evaluate program satisfaction and effectiveness post-intervention and 3 months postpartum. The participant sample is characterized by multiple risk factors: 67% identify as single mothers, 67% are economically vulnerable, and 38% are first-time mothers. Qualitative and quantitative data will be discussed to highlight the intervention elements that women found most helpful, as well as changes in women's violence experiences, mental health symptoms, resilience, and parenting attitudes. Presenters: Dr. Laura Miller-Graff and Dr. Cecilia Martinez-Torteya.

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April 6, 2022 - Disinformation & Populist Narratives Against Electoral Integrity

Julio Juárez Gámiz conducts research on political advertising, mass media coverage of elections, electoral debates, and political communication. The twentieth century has witnessed the emergence of old political narratives oriented towards a simplified explanation of social problems. Populist communication frames have gained traction across a wide range of voters globally since they a) promote a simplified understanding of social life as the permanent tension between good-innocent people and bad-corrupt individuals, and b) because they single out individuals and social groups as the culprits of complex social problems. Populist attitudes predict people’s willingness to believe false information that reinforces their view of the world.

Increasing distrust in journalism has dented the media's watchdog role in a more horizontal digital landscape. Thus, a paradox has materialized in various democracies around the world. The more platforms for information production, distribution, and consumption accessible to the public, the easier it has become to foster distrust in democratic institutions and electoral results. This is particularly worrying in countries, like Mexico, with longstanding distrust in government officials, public institutions, political parties, media and democratic elections.

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November 11, 2021 - Where Surgery is Difficult: Overcoming Barriers to Access in Chiapas, Mexico

In rural Chiapas, Mexico, poor patients often struggle to access surgical care and other medical treatment, even though access is guaranteed by law under the Mexican constitution. This case examines an innovative approach developed by Compañeros en Salud to accompany patients from rural communities through the health care system. By walking with patients through each step of a complex system, the organization in turn gains insights to barriers that can be addressed in a more systemic fashion. The case also raises questions about scale and how lessons drawn from specific cases of accompaniment might be used to address systems problems. Steve Reifenberg's work on barriers to healthcare access in Chiapas forms the basis of a case study published by Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs.

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October 14, 2021 - Building Good Neighbors: Experiential Learning Locally and Abroad

How can I have good intentions but bad manners? What do I take for granted as universal, but is actually cultural? How do I ask the right questions or give the right answers so that my Mexican friends and colleagues and I can work well together? How can I learn to "unpack" a misunderstanding and create strategies to recover from it and do better next time? In this presentation, Elena Mangione-Lora will explore how experiential and community engaged learning, coupled with guided reflection, can have incredible power in advancing cultural empathy and cultural competency to make our students better scholars, collaborators, business people, and most importantly, better neighbors to our Mexican friends, neighbors and coworkers - under the Dome and around the world.

Special guest Alec Helmke, ND 2019, will talk about how experiential and community-based learning at Notre Dame, together with his study abroad in Puebla, have impacted his work as a medical student at the University of Minnesota and shaped the initiatives he has developed there.

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September 22, 2021 - Initial Findings on the Psychosocial Well-Being of Pediatric Cancer Patients & Their Caregivers

This seminar shares the progress, to date, of an applied research project being conducted by faculty of Notre Dame and UPAEP at Una Nueva Esperanza (UNE), a non-profit association that provides services for children with cancer and their caregivers in the Mexican state of Puebla. The staff of UNE presents preliminary findings on the initial testing of the children and their caregivers prior to being assigned to therapeutic groups. The next phase of the project will be to study the impact of the groups on the well-being of the children and their caregivers. This project is partially funded by the Kelly Cares Foundation and the Harper Cancer Research Institute.

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May 12, 2021 - Building Mexico–Tenochtitlan in the Sixteenth Century

Michael Schreffler’s research centers on the art and architecture of the transatlantic Spanish world in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His work, which has been published in journals such as The Art Bulletin and the Renaissance Quarterly, examines the ways in which representation—in the form of visual images, architectural ornament, and descriptive texts—facilitated change in colonial Spanish America.

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April, 22, 2021 - Mexico Immigration: The South Bend Case

Mexican immigrants are the largest immigrant group in South Bend, and one that is growing. In this lecture and discussion, you learn about the demographic profiles of these new immigrants, why they have come to the Midwest, and South Bend, in particular, the history of their migration and settlement and how they are adapting and contributing to South Bend economic and social life. Using research findings of Notre Dame Latino Studies students and scholars, Karen Richman will cover the innovative adaptations of this migrant community, especially the growth of an ethnic enclave of small businesses that both unite Mexicans as an ethnic group and sustain their ties to their homelands. Kinship networks, economic relations, political activities and religious practices involve Mexicans in home and diaspora locations. The relationships between Mexicans' immigrant integration and their transnational allegiances are key to understanding their lives in South Bend.

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November 18, 2020 - "De desamor:" Cristina Rivera Garza’s Literary Landscapes

Dominique Vargas examines Mexican literary representation of fictional border landscapes as aesthetic analysis of contemporary realities. Focusing on Cristina Rivera Garza’s novella, El Mal de La Taiga and her collection, Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, this talk addresses the way that the fictional setting and the eponymous Taiga syndrome paradoxically removes characters and readers from their realities and also grounds them in an intensely contemporary moment complicated by neoliberal political, economic, and gendered border space. Ultimately, Vargas' presentation will consider the way that literature illuminates the relationship between real landscapes and those who occupy them.

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October 15, 2020 - Culver-México-Paris-Torreón: The Transnational Journey of Mexican Maoism in the Long Sixties

After the Tlatelolco massacre of October 2, 1968, student activists felt an urgent need to find a way forward. Adolfo Orive Bellinger and a group of militants offered an answer in Hacia una política popular (Towards a People’s Politics). The mimeographed pamphlet had a yellow cardboard cover, and young student militants in northern Mexico called it “The Yellow Document,” mirroring Mao’s “Little Red Book.” It contained a critique of the Mexican left and unions’ strikes in the 1950s and 1960s and proposed a different form of political action based on three principles: (1) Trust the masses and obtain their support, (2) ideas must come from the masses and then return to the masses for their discussion, and (3) be the student of the masses before being their teacher. These ideas originally appeared in China in the 1930s and were in vogue in the French student circles of the 1960s. But, how did they arrive in Mexico? To answer that question, Jorge Puma examines the trajectory of Adolfo Orive as an example of transnational mobility and how ideas moved beyond the walls of classrooms and borders.

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September 30, 2020 - Consuming patterns: Exploring the role insects play in people's diets in Oaxaca, Mexico

Dr. Kayla Hurd's talk investigates how the seasonal consumption of grasshoppers has nutritional implications for residents of Oaxaca, using a multi-disciplinary approach that combines ethnography, nutritional assessment, and chemical analyses of these grasshoppers. More broadly, she explores the entanglement of human-insect relationships through the context of health, political economy, and nutrition.

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August 19, 2020 - Who cares for whom? The division of household and care work in Mexico throughout the life cycle.

Dr. Estela Rivero’s talk considers how, as in most countries of the world, women in Mexico are responsible for the majority of housework and care activities. These responsibilities limit women's opportunities for engaging in paid economic activities that provide them with financial independence and the ability to leverage their bargaining power in household decisions. Additionally, by having to juggle multiple roles, women usually see their leisure and resting time affected. Dr. Rivero’s presentation will examine how household chores and care work are distributed among household members throughout the life cycle and the implications of this distribution.

 Mgc Virtual Lecture Series Web

July 15, 2020 - Marriage to a Citizen: Just a Relief Valve for Immigration Policy or also a Reason behind Marital Instability?

Dr. Eva Dziadula examines whether family-centered immigration policy may be associated with marital instability, with particular relevance to Mexican migrants who marry U.S. citizens. Within the framework of U.S. policy, marriage to a citizen is one of the fastest pathways to obtain permanent legal status and ultimately U.S. citizenship. Once permanent residency is established, these marriages may be less stable as other characteristics would play a larger role. Dr. Dziadula investigates the relationship between the immigrants’ current citizenship status, which is an observed measure of their permanent legal status in the U.S., and the likelihood of divorce.

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June 30, 2020 - Partners for a Cure: Fighting Cancer in Mexico

Dr. Sharon Stack of the Harper Institute, Dr. Thomas Merluzzi for the Psychology Department, and Dr. Maria del Rocio Baños Lara of UNE share their current efforts regarding their integrative research that confronts the complex challenges of cancer. Through collaboration with long-time Notre Dame partners, Una Nueva Esperanza (UNE) and Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), they hope to advance the understanding of leukemia and other cancers that affect children in Mexico.

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May 26, 2020 - Combating Vector Borne Diseases in Mexico

Dr. Nicole Achee and Dr. John Grieco are entomologists who connected the mosquito and tick populations to dengue, chikungunya, zika, and other diseases in Chiapas, Mexico. Their research also develops strategies to control these vector populations and limit disease spread. 

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May 19, 2020 - Doctors on the March: (Extra) Ordinary Practice, Violence, and Protests

Dr. Vania Smith-Oka is a medical anthropologist and recipient of an NDG Mexico Faculty grant. Her research examines medicine and culture in Mexico, including the role of gender for health outcomes in rural and indigenous communities. Dr. Smith Oka’s recent project looks at decisions that physicians make when caring for women and patients from marginalized groups.

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May 12, 2020 - Poverty reduction policies in Mexico: Are universal policies better than conditional cash transfers?

Dr. Alejandro Estefan is a native of México who worked as a policy analyst in the office of the President of the Republic of Mexico before entering academia. His research focuses on economic development, labor economics, and public finance in México and aims to provide a solid evidence base for impactful policy formulation.

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