Roland Álvarez Chavez, Third President Néstor Kirchner Fellow 2012-2013, successfully completed an enriching academic exchange at The New School
March 7th, 2013 · The New School · New York
Roland Álvarez Chavez, PNK Fellow 2012-2013, has completed his Fellowship experience in New York. For two weeks, Roland met with experts in the field of human rights, LGTB rights, health, governance, activism, law, and gender studies, to discuss his ongoing research. Roland won his PNK Fellowship based on his demonstrated commitment to public service and academic contribution to the field of sociology in relation to the LGTB community in Peru.
Roland's research was centered on the marginalization, exclusion, and reproduction of poverty in Peru's LGTB community. As a case study, he focused on the experience of Peruvian transgendered sex workers who migrate to Italy and Spain to overcome economic and social marginalization in Peru. His analysis presents a close-up on the role of the State in entrenching inequalities in Peruvian society. Through his research, he is asking challenging questions on rule of law, society, governance, role of activists, societal structures, human rights, questions of identity and representation, international migration, and economic impacts of exclusion. Roland is a sociologist and LGTB activist for the Homosexual Movement of Lima (Mhol). He specializes in social development projects, with emphasis on health issues, citizen participation, human rights, surveillance, advocacy, and social research projects.
Seminars with the The New School Community
During his time at The New School, Roland presented his work at two closed-door seminars with 20 invited New School faculty and students. Roland had his first seminar on February 26th, and the invited Faculty included Everita Silina, Chris London, Michael Cohen, Margarita Gutman, Visiting Fulbright Scholar Luis Colon, and students Camila Osorio, Rebecca Pons, Ricky Price, and Jacqueline Katanekzsa. Also in attendance were members of the OLA team, Amanda Entrikin and Lucila Pugni Reta. This multidisciplinary group provided feedback from the perspectives of governance, economics, social movements, gay rights, quantitative/qualitative research methodologies, and journalism.
In this first seminar, Roland presented his paper and discussed the central themes and theories he used to develop his analysis. From his audience of faculty and students, he received constructive feedback regarding his use of specific theories, clarifying questions of citizenships, analysis of methodology, use of terminology, reference points and examples, questions of political/economic policies, and expectations of change.
On March 5th, Roland had his second seminar with another group of New School Faculty and students. Included were New School Faculty Tracyann Williams, Robert Buckley, Sean Jacobs, Ricardo Montez, and Executive Dean David Scobey. OLA faculty and staff present included Michael Cohen, Margarita Gutman, Amanda Entrikin and Lucila Pugni Reta. This group of faculty responded through their areas of expertise in gender studies, queer theory, neoliberal theory, legal structures, social/cultural analysis, international migration theory, economics, and urban studies.
Faculty and students during this seminar focused on Roland's discussion of institutionalized marginalization and exclusion, the impact of neoliberalism in the case of Peru, the next stage of rights development in Peru, the role of the church in the state, HIV and health, the role of the state, and the broader implications of migration on individuals, economies, and Peru.
Interviews and Visits in New York
From February 25th to March 8th, Roland met with a wide range of experts from throughout New York. He met with: Robin Hayes (Milano, The New School); staff of International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission; Rafael de la Dehesa (CUNY); Randall Chamberlain (Immigration Lawyer); Maria Josie Saldaña (Gender and Sexuality Studies, NYU); Chris London (SGPIA, The New School); Pooja Gehi (Silvia Rivera Law Project); Lisa Duggan (Gender and Sexuality Studies, NYU); Katherine Franke (Columbia Law School); PhD Candidates at NYU; and Sally Merry (NYU).
Roland's final task was a Public Lecture hosted at The New School. His colleague, PNK Fellow Lucas Noura Guimaraes shared the stage, and also presented his work related to the PNK Fellowship. The full audience included a wide array of guests, including Faculty from various universities in New York, students from The New School and beyond, and visiting guests from the New York City community.
Margarita Gutman introduced the evening, and New School President David E. Van Zandt, a juror in the PNKF selection process, spoke about the intense selection process and commended the jury on choosing such accomplished Fellows.
Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, Argentina, introduced Roland to the audience. She noted the importance of Roland's research and pointed out the need for action in human rights regarding development. She recognized the need for law and theory, but also pointed out the need for social and cultural change if we are to make marked improvements to equality and equity in Latin America. She concluded by saying that Roland's work is an important contribution in bridging the gap between theory and reality.
Roland gave an excellent presentation having benefited from the constructive feedback he had received from previous discussions with New School faculty and outside experts. He drew on the many meetings he had throughout his two weeks at The New School, and discussed the central theories, concepts, and examples in his work. He spoke to the lack of action by Peru's current government in recognizing the rights of the LGTB community, and reviewed the evidence regarding an institutionalized homophobia. Roland analyzed the current situation by looking at the neoliberal experience of Peru, the existing social fragmentation, and the role of traditional social actors in supporting marginalization, exclusion and the extension of poverty for the LGTB community.
Roland received excellent feedback from the panel and the audience. He responded to questions of the role of the media, the future of LGTB rights in Peru, and the impending hurdles that must be overcome before change can manifest.