Who we are
Reflectere is a project that emerged in 2014 in the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (in Spanish, UNAM). Its aim was to initiate urgent debate around current issues in Mexico and was motivated specifically by the shocking events of Ayotzinapa. Since 2014 our initiative has grown to include other universities both inside and outside of Mexico. We are academics, professors and students who stand in solidarity with Ayotzinapa and who want to broaden and deepen our understanding of the role of education in our societies. We look to bring people together to develop discursive and practical tools with which to face direct and structural violence. We hope to envisage possible ways of solving the humanitarian and ecological crisis in Mexico and elsewhere.
In 2014, the enforced disappearance of 43 students from the Normal Rural Teachers’ School of Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero, revealed just how blurry the line between the state and criminal organisations in Mexico really is, and the increasing distrust in the official narrative of the so-called ‘war against drugs’. Since 2006 it is estimated that more than 30,000 people have gone missing and more than 300,000 people have died as a result of this conflict.
Mexico is today one of the most dangerous places for environmental activists and journalists; unrestricted mega-projects and land-grabs threaten indigenous and poor rural and urban communities alike, while forced migration is on the rise and working conditions deteriorate across cities. Furthermore, more than 80% of the population live in poverty and have little to no access to good quality education.
The earthquakes of last September 2017 revealed a state mired in corruption and inefficiency, and it is increasingly evident that civil society in Mexico has been left to fend for itself. Women, children, LGBTQ communities as well as those from indigenous and African-Mexican communities fight daily against sexism, racism and femicide.
And yet the war in Mexico cannot be understood without a broader reflection on the global situation, in which migrants, ethnic minorities, women and children are subject to growing human right abuses, deportation and hate.
We know that there are thousands inside and outside universities who are not only defending new and better forms of education but also play an active role in responding to the social and political problems of our uncertain present. In the face of injustice, inequality and impunity we invite academics and students, as well as those working and studying within other spaces where learning takes place, to participate in Reflectere, a week of joint multi-disciplinary collective reflection about conflict both within and outside of spaces of education which affect all of the communities of which we are part.
Reflectere aims to give a wider and deeper meaning to education in order to challenge apathetic attitudes and institutions that ignore, minimize or even normalize the horrifying realities experienced by diverse communities across the globe. It is an invitation to start creating new tools for critical reflection and social change and aims to build solidarity between individuals and groups, wherever we live and work.
What is Reflectere about?
Reflectere (Reflecter) is a week of thought and debate that focuses on the specific conflicts that are affecting our local communities. It takes place both inside and outside of the classroom and aims to insert itself into existing academic or educational timetables as a way of re-contextualising and politicising syllabus.
Our idea is simple: we hope that, over the course of one week, students, researchers, teachers, educators, cultural communicators and communities, amongst others, take the opportunity to work together in order to develop new theoretical and methodological approaches to their shared contemporary realities. Reflectere looks to cross both academic disciplines and geographical locations as a way of building international hope and solidarity related to the social and political issues that we all have in common.
Far from drawing attention away from academic course outlines or planned activities, the aim of Reflectere is to support participants to establish classes, workshops, debates, etc. that are part of existing timetables and syllabus and that make space for discussion and critical reflection. How might maths or theatre studies connect with the theme of impunity? In what way can organic chemistry, psychology, philosophy and health sciences help us better understand crime, corruption and injustice in Mexico and elsewhere? What tools for social transformation might emerge from architecture, history, multimedia arts and geography? The themes, just like the academic subject areas are limitless. We invite you to start your discussions from wherever it is that you are researching or studying and to interrogate the practical application of your field to local social and political realities.
Reflectere is an initiative that has been running in Mexican universities and learning spaces since 2014. It was initially set-up following the forced disappearance of the 43 students from the Normal Rural Teachers’ School of Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, and now takes place over a week of each semester.
This semester (Jan-March 2018), Reflectere will take place from Monday 22 October to Friday 26 2018. Your participation can also take place during this period in accordance with your own class timetable.
Reflectere sessions occur inside the classroom, laboratory, workshop, seminar room, lecture hall or theatre, in short, wherever it is that you normally meet for class. If you normally teach your class online then your Reflectere session can take place on the online portal of your choice. Occasionally students and educators decide to run their sessions off-site. If you are keen on doing this, then we strongly recommend that you carefully check the relevant regulations of your institution or organization before doing so.
Why register your activity as part of Reflectere?
Through Reflectere we are encouraging educators to use their spaces for learning to discuss the lived realities and to try to find solutions to the very complex problems that affect our communities. We acknowledge that every space of learning and every group has its own ways of teaching and learning but we also strongly believe in the need for deliberately demarcating space and time to discuss such topics and to do so in a way that unites us across national borders. Registering your activity or debate in Reflectere will allow us to share and disseminate it so that we might all learn a little more about the challenges and adversities we face individually and collectively as well as our diverse approaches to facing these issues head-on. We encourage you to send to us pictures, videos, texts, etc., so that we might be able to share with others some of the outcomes of your activities.
How to register your activity?
We invite you to send us (https://reflectereffyl.wordpress.com/) a description of the lecture/seminar/event/activity that you have planned. Please tell us what the topic of your event will be, the date and time, and the location in which it will take place. Please specify whether your event or activity is closed (i.e. open only to students already enrolled on a specific course or seminar), or whether it is open to a general public. We will include your activity or event in an online calendar of solidarity.
Proposals must be submitted by 11th October 2018 so that they can be included in the Refléctere blog.
How will your activity take place?
Once you have registered your proposal, our team will upload it, together with other proposals, to the blog https://reflectereffyl.wordpress.com/, so that researchers, teaching staff, students and the general public can find out more about proposals and are able to participate wherever it is possible.
The next step is up to you: organize your session and carry it out at the planned place and time. If you have planned a session that is open to the general public then be ready to welcome people that might have found out about your session through the Reflectere blog.
Is it compulsory to be an academic to participate?
No, it is not necessary to be an academic to participate, if you are a student or an independent educator you can subscribe your activity in Reflectere by sending an email to email@example.com with the title of your proposal (e.g. student proposal)
I have already registered; what should I do now?
Our team will do its best to advertise your session. However, the advertising you do on your own among your colleagues, students and the general public is also crucial.
Is Reflectere a virtual space where educators gather to discuss?
No. Reflectere takes place in classrooms and other learning spaces although occasionally online classes have also been part of the initiative. By registering specific date(s) (selected by you), part of your course or program of studies will be adapted to make way for a one-off event that aims to reflect the realities affecting your community and their relevant links to global conflicts.
If I have problems registering or I have other inquiries; what can I do?
If you have any problems registering, or would like to ask any further questions, or have any comments please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We always aim to reply promptly and look forward to hearing from you.