PLAS Graduate Works-in-Progress: Andy Alfonso and Francisco Cabezon

Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 12:00 pm

Andy Alfonso

Um lugar chamado Angola: Archival Absence, Imaginative Inquiry, and the Current Stakes of Cuban Studies

Andy Alfonso (Spanish and Portuguese, Princeton)

How do we write through, around, and across the archival absences that pervade the Cuban Revolution? To reframe Cuban Studies today, despite and because of this silence, inherently requires us to practice what Christabelle Peters calls ‘imaginative inquiry’: a tantalizing approach to listening to history based on inferences and speculation, hypotheses and imagination. Defetishizing the official archive, this research methodology not only spins the ‘wheel of historical revisionism’ by establishing alternative connections among extant documents and factual information; in doing so, it also debunks the notion of a linear, teleological History devoid of affect and fragmentation, both organic and absolute. This paper aims to examine Karla Suárez’s Um lugar chamado Angola (2017) as a ‘counter-archivistic exercise’ in response to the dearth, hermeticism, and polarization of a myriad of archived materials that concern the Angolan Civil War and Cuba’s foreign policy for Africa around that time. Delving into questions of memory, history, and diaspora, my ultimate goal is to explore the processes of ‘imaginative inquiry’ whereby this psychological fiction (re)produces the ‘intervention’ of Cuba in Angola — processes complicated by the clashing discourses of Latin-Africanism, re-‘education’, and ‘decolonization’ evolved from Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s Tricontinental strategies of the 1960s.

Andy Alfonso is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, where he studies some of the shadow lives of the Cuban Revolution, that is, journeys and discourses that exceed the limits of “official” narratives while challenging the linear, organic teleology of “national History”. His research interests lie at the intersection of historiography, literature, and cartography, with a special focus on diasporic, circum-Atlantic exchanges from the colonial period to the present. He has published some of his work in Cuba CounterpointsHypermedia Magazine, and the New West Indian Guide.



Income Deductions and Labour Supply in the Developing World

Francisco Cabezon (Economics, Princeton)

The effect that taxes have on income has been widely studied in developed countries. These studies have shown that taxes reduce taxable income and this effect is stronger for high income people. Similar studies for developing countries are scarce. Leveraging in a quasi-experiment that affected Chilean workers, I estimate the elasticity of taxable income with respect to income deductions. In contrast to developed countries, I found a larger elasticity which is even greater for low income workers. This response is mainly driven by workers leaving the formal economy. In particular, low income workers who have less experience in the formal sector and thus, could be potentially moving to the informal economy or leaving the labor market. In addition, income deductions reduce retirement age and voluntary savings. The estimated elasticities are important in the prescription of taxes and social security policies in countries with large informal sectors.

Francisco Cabezon is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics at Princeton University and with the Princeton Program in Public Finance. Francisco holds a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from the PUC-Chile where he graduated with honors. Francisco’s research interests include pensions and the financial aspect of them.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch provided.

216 Burr Hall