PLAS Graduate Works in Progress | Camila Reyes Alé (ARC) & Alonso Burgos (COM)

Nov 17, 2022, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
PLAS 3rd Floor Atrium, Burr Hall (open to students, faculty and invited guests)



Event Description

Princeton graduate students, faculty and visiting scholars are invited to learn more about our graduate students' current research.

Unión Panamericana

Unión Panamericana, “Centro Interamericano de Vivienda Informe Annual 1953”, CINVA Inter-American Housing Center Records, Columbus Memorial Library-OAS, Washington D.C. Photo by Camila Reyes Alé.

“Pan Americanism at Work”: CINVA and the Portable Brick Machine

Camila Reyes Alé,
Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Architecture

This presentation traces the history of the CINVA-RAM, a manual machine for the production of stabilized-earth blocks created at the Centro Interamericano Experimental y de Adiestramiento en Vivienda (CINVA) in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1957. Founded in 1951 as a training center under the “technical cooperation” arm of the D.C.-based Organization of American States (OAS), CINVA trained and educated architects, engineers and social workers from across Latin America with a focus on manual construction techniques applied to housing development and urbanization, during a period of intense economic and social growth across the region, and the proliferation of its attendant inequities. CINVA’s primary mission was to research, experiment and develop technical solutions that were rooted in local materials, practices and forms of knowledge. The CINVA-RAM was one of these solutions. Acquired by Rockefeller’s International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC), the CINVA-RAM was later patented and sold in multiple countries worldwide becoming a kind of global instrument, synonymous with terms such as ‘development’, ‘self-help’ and ‘third world’. This presentation aims to situate the history of the CINVA-RAM as specific both to the history of CINVA as institution and to forms of rural/local building knowledge grounded in South America, while questioning the neocolonial contradictions of its dissemination as a universal building solution.

Camila earned a Bachelor’s in architecture from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2013) and a Master's in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia University (2017). She has been the recipient of scholarships from Fulbright (2015-2017), CONICYT/ANID (Chile) (2015-2021), and the Lassen Fellowship from PLAS at Princeton University (2017-2018). Her work has been published in Revista ARQThe Avery ReviewRevista Materia, among others. Since 2020, she has been developing her dissertation on the architectures in and of circulation across the Americas during the second half of the twentieth century.

Ana Ozaki,
Princeton-Mellon Fellow in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities


Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera: La epopeya del pueblo mexicano.

"Violence in the House of Fiction. Conflict and the Forms of Literary Realism in Mexico after the Revolution."

Alonso Burgos,
Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature

The development of the contemporary literary field in Mexico suggests that the overbearing scale of violence and loss that has taken over the country since the start of the "War against organized crime" has thoroughly seeped into the field of cultural production. Indeed, what many of the most acclaimed and prominent writers of the present share seems to be a concern with the violent disintegration of the communal fabric of the country and its representation in the literary text. In this context, the turn to the archive and the deployment of documents within the literary form have been hailed as some of the distinctive traits of contemporary Mexican literature. Rather than taking the documentary turn as an unprecedented change in the literary form in Mexico, this dissertation project will seek to frame documentation as a form of literary realism by taking a look at other documentary practices and realist procedures that were deployed in Mexican literature during past periods of conflict in the last century. By taking a look at the place and role of narrative literature during the Revolution and the Dirty War, the dissertation aims to offer a better understanding of the situation and the possibilities of the literary field in Mexico amid the contemporary moment of relentless violence.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Alonso Burgos came to Princeton after completing his undergraduate studies in Comparative Literature and Political Science at the Free University of Berlin. His dissertation project seeks to explore the development of literary realism and methods of documentation in Mexican narrative literature of the 20th and 21st centuries, focusing especially on the three central periods of conflict in the recent history of the country: The Revolution, The "Dirty War" and the "War against Drugs". Alonso worked as a McCrindle intern at the Princeton University Art Museum during the academic year 2021-2022. He has taught at the Department of Art and Archaeology and at correctional facilities in New Jersey through Princeton's Prison Teaching Initiative. His fiction has appeared in literary journals in Mexico, the U.S. and Germany. In May of 2019, he published his first book of short stories, Nada más que diablos.

Nora Muñiz Hernández, Ph.D. candidate in Spanish and Portuguese

Maria Smith,
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Open to students, faculty, visiting scholars, staff and invited guests. A boxed lunch will be provided while supplies last.