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Workshop: Field Research on Areas of Risk

Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies

Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM (CDT)

Workshop: Field Research on Areas of Risk

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Event Details

The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies 




Thursday, March 29
11:30 AM- 4:45 PM 
Dean's Conference Room, 3rd Floor, Gebauer 


The workshop will review general political and socio-economic conditions in areas of high risk in Latin America. The speakers will discuss their personal experience approaching the field, facing the government, military and police representatives, and working in instable and insecure conditions.

After attending the workshop students conducting studies in areas of risk in the Americas as well as in other regions of the world, would have a greater understanding of the risks associated with health hazards, inappropriate local health and public safety services, crime and political violence. They would also be able to prepare a proposal for travel approval in which they can demonstrate careful consideration of potential measures to mitigate any risks to their personal safety.


Registered students must commit to attend at least 4 of the 5 sessions.  If you must cancel your reservation please let us know by March 23rd.  We will send the list of attendees as well as of those who register and fail to attend to each Departmental chair and to the International Oversight Committee for their records. 


We plan to provide a certificate of participation to everyone who attended at least 4 of the 5 planned sessions. Attendance will be recorded separately for each session. We will encourage students to submit a copy of the certificate in their request for authorization to travel to UT Restricted Regions (




Registration and Lunch


12:00 PM
Challenges of Field Research in Latin America.

Charles Hale
Director, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies & Benson Latin American Collection


 12:15 PM 

Risk Assessment and Travel Approval for Restricted Regions

International Oversight Committee


Erin Wolf

International Risk Analyst
Erin graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2002 with a BA in Speech Communication and went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a Master’s in Interpersonal Communication in 2005.  Previous experience abroad –primarily in Africa, where she worked with local governments as a member of the Peace Corps -has all but made her an expert in the field of international risk analysis.  Erin serves as a member of the International Oversight Committee and specializes in student crisis management, emergency response planning, and high risk travel assessment.


 1:15 PM  


Session will address the health risks involved in working in polluted areas as well as areas that have recently suffered natural disasters that may affect the capacity and effectiveness of local emergency and health services.


Javier Auyero
Professor, Dept. of Sociology
A professor in Latin American Sociology, Javier Auyero’s main area of concentration includes research, writing, and teaching on the issues of urban poverty and marginality, collective action and violence, and political ethnography.  He has written and edited several books and newspaper articles, and his recent book, FLAMMABLE, explores the issues of environmental and health hazards in the ghettos surrounding Buenos Aires.


Bjorn Sletto
Associate Professor, School of Architecture

A native of Norway and Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, Bjorn’s real areas of interests lie in Latin American planning and development, participatory planning, environmental and social justice, and social theory. In the past decade, he has lived and worked in indigenous villages and border cities in Venezuela, investigating environmental conflicts and land rights. His current research focuses on indigenous land rights and environmental conflict in the Perija mountains on the Colombia-Venezuela border, and the ways in which these issues articulate with environmental planning and environmental justice in the Lake Maracaibo region. He has also focused on children’s perceptions and knowledge of environmental hazards and the planning implications of environmental justice activism.


 2:05 PM  BREAK



The session will discuss the challenges of conducting research in areas where the civil and political rights of citizens are not strongly protected and those who are involved in research and advocacy of these rights may be target of harassment and persecution. Speakers will discuss how to approach cautiously government and public safety representatives and how to work on communities affected by political violence.


Kamran Ali
Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology & Director of the South Asia Institute

An Associate Professor at UT’s Dept. of Anthropology, Kamran Ali specializes in subjects of gender, health, development, labor history, political movements, and urban social history in the Middle East and South Asia.  Recently he has conducted long term field work in some of the more politically unstable regions of Egypt and Pakistan where he has been witness to all the danger and conflict.  Professor Ali has conducted long term field work in Egypt and in Pakistan and has frequently contributed to the media on recent Pakistani politics. He is on the editorial committee of the Middle East Report and co-coordinates the Shehr Network, which is an academic initiative that seeks to further a critical understanding of urban practices in the Middle East and South Asia.


Eduardo Dargent
Phd student, Dept of Government

Eduardo Dargent, a native of Peru is a lecturer in the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. He is also completing a PhD in the Dept. of Government. His doctoral research focuses on technocrats in Latin America. Between 2000 and 2002 he worked in the Justice Reform and Human Rights Area of the Comisión Andina de Juristas. From 2003 to 2004 he worked as lawyer and researcher in the Special State Lawyer's Office for the Fujimori-Montesinos case on human rights violations and corruption. 




This session focuses on the special considerations that researchers must take when working with populations who may have unequal access to health and economic resources and social and political power and whose personal safety may be endangered from participating in a research study. Even though the researchers may not be in direct personal risk in these types of studies, they are ethically bound to protect their subjects.  Failure to do so can affect one way or another the researchers

Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez
Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology.

Specializing in the issues of sexuality, gender and society with populations of Mexican origin, qualitative methods and sexuality research, and incestuous relations in urbanized areas in Mexico, Associate Professor of Sociology Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez can give detailed insight into the vulnerability of marginalized populations within Latin American society.  She has written and edited several books, and is currently conducting sociological research on sexual, romantic and life experiences of adult men and women in urbanized Mexico.

Nestor Rodríguez

Professor, Dept. of Sociology

Nestor Rodriguez has conducted international research in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, and has traveled and lectured in China and Japan. His present research focuses on Guatemalan migration, U.S. deportations to Mexico and Central America, the unauthorized migration of unaccompanied minors, evolving relations between Latinos and African Americans/Asian Americans, and ethical and human rights issues of border enforcement.



The session would focus on areas in which crime and the escalation of violence can not only target those associated with criminal activity, but also may affect individuals involved conducting research on the topic as well as innocent bystanders. Speakers will address how to deal with different types of groups associated with this type of violence including policy and military forces, criminals as well as victims affected by this social problem.

Cecilia Balli
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology

An Assistant Professor at U.T.’s Department of Anthropology and affiliated with U.T.’s Center for Mexican American Studies, Cecilia Balli’s research interests include the sexual murder of women in Ciudad Juárez, the U.S.-Mexico border and the construction of a border fence, and the anti-drug campaign in Mexico.  In addition, she is an award-winning journalist who writes freelance for Texas Monthly Magazine and Harper’s.

Gabriela Polit
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese

Gabriela Polit is an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.  Her research focuses on the ways in which illegal drug trafficking is represented in Culicán (Mexico), Medellin (Colombia), La Paz (Bolivia) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).   She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Narrating narcos.  Stories from Culiacán and Medellín and previously edited the book Meanings of Violence in Latin America, (New York: Palgrave 2011).






For further information please contact Paloma Diaz , LILAS Sr. Program Coordinator,  (; 512-232-2415)

Have questions about Workshop: Field Research on Areas of Risk ? Contact Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies

When & Where

Dean's Conference Room , 3rd Floor, Gebauer

Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM (CDT)

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