IN honor of May Day, the International Day of the Worker, we would like to announce the launching of USEU’s official scholarly journal, Nueva Conciencia! The purpose of this journal is not only to publish and share work written by Salvadoran and Central American scholars, but more importantly to increase the amount of research being conducted on our community so that we can give back to the greater public. Nueva Conciencia is a journal aimed at facilitating the flow of new information and research on the Central American community to make it easily accessible to every-day, working-class people as well as to upcoming scholars in the field. Nueva Conciencia, which in translation means “new consciousness”, is essentially a call to a new generation of Central American scholars to continue dedicating their studies to improving and giving back to our community, and contributing their knowledge and research to the betterment of our society–to promote democracy, inclusivity, and equity.
After 2 long years of planning, organizing, researching and meeting, and after an inspirational 4th Annual Statewide Conference, we are happy to say that Nueva Conciencia is now up and running and will become a consistent annual scholarly publication. We are now accepting submissions on a rolling basis and look forward to learning about and publishing your work in future years to come!
Breena Nunez, 2012
Within the broad spectrum of graphic design, creatives have an obligation to use their discipline for visualizing data in order for it to speak to a wider audience. An infographic is used to compel viewers to read and understand the body of information in one cohesive setting. In the case of El Salvador, we barely notice the surface of the dwindling population of mangrove trees in places like Bahía de Jiquilisco. With the use of typography and computer generated illustration I sought out to provide a subtle but general context of El Salvador. And meanwhile the challenge in infographics is to explain why viewers should be aware of past and current trends within the country’s natural ecosystem through visual communication.
Fatima Duran, 2012
This research paper will link the theoretical concepts of collective memory, sites of memory, self-deception, generational memory and journalism’s relationship to the preservation of memory. Through interviews with second generation Salvadoran students from the transnational organization, U.S.E.U. and the students’ parents, I will explore how parents’ memories about El Salvador during the Civil War have impacted the shaping of their children’s cultural identity. I also hope to shine light on the ways cultural organizations such as U.S.E.U. and media documents such as U.S.E.U.’s Spanish newsletter, Nueva Sintesis (New Synthesis,) can serve as sites of memory that encourage cultural preservation and expression. My contribution to knowledge lies in that although there is literature on the shaping of cultural identity issues of Salvadorans that immigrated during the war, not much has been written about their children and the development of their cultural identity in the United States.
Empowering and Validating Voices: Salvadoran Educational Experiences at a California Community College (Castro 2012)
Andy Castro, 2012
Community college is the primary point of entry to post-secondary education for most Latina/o, low-income, first generation college students. Existing studies of Latina/os in higher education often focus on issues as they are experienced by what is presumed to be a homogenous group. While providing valuable insight into the experiences of community college students, these studies overlook important nuances for different national-origin groups. Although Salvadoran students have unique histories and experiences, those particularities are erased when they are lumped into the larger Latina/o group. Nationally, Salvadoran students have the lowest educational attainment rates among all Latina/o sub-groups. What are the reasons that Salvadorans do not matriculate through the educational pipeline? By utilizing a mixed methods approach, I intend to give voice to their experiences and examine the factors that collectively shape and affect their academic performance and achievement. Interviewees will be students participating first year experience programs at a community college in Los Angeles. The primary aim of these programs is to assist low-income, first generation, students of color transfer to a four-year institution. The interviews will be transcribed and coded to find salient themes in the students’ educational experiences. In particular, I will look for existing interrelationships between Salvadoran ethnic identity and transferability. Findings will not only empower these students and validate their everyday experiences, but will also contribute to the lack of research on the Salvadoran community.
Art in Revolutionary Movements: Memoria Histórica and the Murals at the University of El Salvador (Rivas 2012)
Carlos Rivas, 2012
This paper will look at the role of art in revolutionary movements, focusing specifically on the role of the murals at the University of El Salvador (UES) within the Salvadoran revolutionary struggle for liberation. Any person that walks through the UES is immediately struck by the very leftist tone and content found within the majority of the murals. To best of my knowledge, however, there has been little academic discussion on the murals at the UES, their history, or their significance. Likewise little has been written on the role of art within the ongoing Salvadoran revolutionary struggle as academia in general has continued to overlook El Salvador. I will argue that the murals are part of the same revolutionary struggle encompassed by the leftist political party Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) and represent a powerful form of resistance on behalf of UES students against not only the right in the country (represented by the right-wing political party Alianza Republicana Nacional, or ARENA), but against global capitalism in general. These murals simultaneously serve as mechanisms to preserve and promote a national memoria histórica that helps continue the spirit of Salvadoran and Latin American revolutions in the minds and consciousness of all who visit the UES campus but especially to UES students who view these murals on a daily basis, aiding them in their ability to analyze their reality critically and effectively.
Jennifer Brenes, 2011
The purpose of this study is to examine how Salvadoran youth in the capital of El Salvador, San Salvador have experienced the coming of age process post-civil war. I will be analyzing the experiences of youth who were born immediately prior to and following the Peace Accords of 1992. I will be discussing the role of neoliberal policies implemented throughout four successive ARENA governments (1989-2009) which provided the context for the adolescents’ “coming of age,” a period of transition of youth into adults. Neoliberal policies have impacted the world in unprecedented ways. This research examines the effects of neoliberalism on Salvadoran youth and its role in shaping youths’ political awareness and approach. Through questionnaires and interviews, I will explore how this neoliberal reality implemented by ARENA officials has influenced Salvadoran adolescents’ coming of age experience post civil war and has shaped their political views throughout their transition into adulthood.
Central American Murals in the Mission District of San Francisco: A History of Resistance Painted on Walls (Ramirez 2012)
Mauricio Ramirez, 2012
The goal of this study is to document the history of murals that relate to Central America, old and new, found in San Francisco’s Mission District. My research explores what role Central Americans played in developing the Mission Mural movement. The Mission District of San Francisco began its major mural production during the early 1970’s, which coincided with the large number of Central American immigrants who arrived to the Bay Area fleeing from wars that plagued their homelands consisting of mostly Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees. The combination of different immigrant cultures facing similar problems, and sympathetic U.S. citizens, resulted in a community mural movement in San Francisco. The main goal of the community mural movement was to educate and create a dialogue about issues of relevance to Mission residents, including a number of political refugees who were working to raise consciousness among the U.S. public about the wars occurring in Central America. While there is a large amount of written material on Mexican American/ Chicano art in California, there is little written about Central American and specifically Salvadoran murals and art. My historical analysis of Mission murals related to Central America is based on past scholarly literature. I also provide an interpretive analysis of three murals from three different decades (1980s, 1990s and 2000s) to demonstrate Central America’s and Central Americans’ contributions that to the mural movement in San Francisco’s Mission District. The goal of this study is to document the history of Salvadoran art produced in San Francisco and to acknowledge its contributions to the community mural movement in California.