During the Latin American Studies Association conference in May 2012, held in San Francisco, CA, several members of the Indocumentales team presented updates on the project. On behalf of what moves you?, Shamina de Gonzaga described how Indocumentales is designed to help connect communities of diverse background, generation and experience around immigration issues. Bringing the series to different neighborhoods in New York (where it was launched) and to a wide range of venues across the US, and accompanying all screenings with interactive discussions with guest speakers, are key to ensuring that all participants have the opportunity to contribute their knowledge, opinions and ideas to the complex issues raised by the featured documentaries.
As it was the third time that Indocumentales was presented at LASA, beyond inviting the participants representing academic institutions to consider bringing the series to their campus, participants were also urged to break into smaller groups and reflect on issues in their community that they felt could benefit from the Indocumentales model – i.e. partnering with non-academic organizations, reaching out to interested constituencies in their local community, including documentaries, oral history and other non-traditional resources among learning materials.
Participants discussed the challenges of addressing polarizing topics in the classroom and how to ensure that, as faculty, one doesn’t bring in one’s own political views when presenting documentaries and dialogues on issues such as immigration. The Indocumentales experience has shown that framing the diverse experiences recounted through the documentaries and guest speakers as lenses through which one can better understand the issues, can be effective for stimulating genuine discussion, enabling people to air their views and ask questions.
Posted by Shamina de Gonzaga, co-founder, what moves you?