Mario Rufer was trained as a Historian at the National University of Córdoba, Argentina. He earned a PhD in African Studies, specializing in History and Anthropology, from El Colegio de México. He is currently a full Research Professor at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico. His research interests are oriented to cultural studies and postcolonial criticism, and the social uses of the past and temporality: nation and public history, archives, memory, museums, heritage, and disruptive perceptions of time. He has published on critical methodologies in cultural studies and social sciences. Rufer is a member of the National System of Researchers of CONACyT in México.
His recent research projects have two main axes: the first one addresses the political uses of the cultural field as contemporary forms of sovereignty and as renewed modalities of distinction between history and culture. To do so, he works on the use of Mexican patrimonial narratives -mainly in community spaces, the illustrated maps of cultural diversity in Mexico, as well as activist cartographies and the specific ways in which difference is mapped in spaces of "plurality" and alterity. Secondly, he addresses subaltern forms of understanding temporality as restorative narratives of public and political memory in specific environments of violence in Mexico and Argentina.
He has been a visiting professor at the University of Bielefeld, Germany; University of Cauca; University of Buenos Aires; Universidad Javeriana; UCLA, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, among others. His books as author or editor include La nación en escenas. Memoria pública y usos del pasado en contextos poscoloniales (El Colegio de México, 2010); Entangled Heritages. Postcolonial perspectives on the uses of the Past in Latin America (co-edited with Olaf Kaltmeier, Routledge, 2017); Indisciplinar la investigación. Archivo, trabajo de campo y escritura (co- edited with Frida Gorbach, Siglo XXI Editores, 2017), The Routledge Handbook to the History and Societies in the Americas (co-edited with Olaf Kaltmeier and Stefan Rinke, Routledge, 2020); La colonialidad y sus nombres (Siglo XXI Editores-CLACSO, 2022); El tiempo de las ruinas (co-edited with Cristóbal Gnecco, UAM-Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, 2023). He also writes fiction -when he can- and his first book of short stories is La raíz de los helechos (Cartografías, 2017). Most of his publications can be found in open and free access at: https://uam-mx.academia.edu/MarioRufer
The altered archive: dreams, ghosts, murmurs
Thursday, October 5, 2023
This lecture will start from some practices of research: indigenous archives buried in Argentinean dunes in the 19th century and later exhumed by the military; archives and letters buried near Mexican community museums at the time of the Revolution; buried archives of "cédulas reales" given to indigenous peoples before being "swallowed" by the “narco” in the last decade. Stories of ghosts haunting those archives, whispers of loss: loss of leaders, of resources, of land. But there are dreams about a different history: a history of continuous possession of the lands, dreams of a leader who waters the lands already dried up by the work of extractive companies, dreams of restitution of resources. What is encrypted in this history of buried treasures? What ideas of history, restitutive memory and community do they bring into play? How do these dreams speak of a possessed history, of connective memories and an altered language of time?
In the museum of forgiveness: state, violence and culture in Mexico
Thursday, October 26, 2023
In February 2017, the Mexican state issued a public apology to three ñañú (Otomí) women who had been unjustly imprisoned in 2011, and spent years in prison on trumped-up charges by the Hidalgo state police. The press covered the apology request extensively, which was highly ritualized as a state "performance". There was just one detail that very few noticed: the place chosen for the apology was one of the auditoriums of the ethnography rooms of the Mexican National Museum of Anthropology. The conference will start with an analysis of the ritual act and then focus on some questions: Why did it seem "natural" for the State to apologize to three indigenous women in the anthropology museum? What tension does this "scenario" of the museum reveal, between State and citizenship, indigenous peoples and sovereignty, culture and history, place and justice?
During his stay at KJCC in Fall 2023, he will teach the graduate seminar “La memoria como conexión: montaje, pérdida y temporalidad insurgente en América Latina” on Tuesdays, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. More information below: