SURCLA Seminar | Born on the 31st of December
23 October, 2012
PhD candidate, Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies
This session will feature the screening of the 2011 documentary Nacimos el 31 de Diciembre (We were born on the 31st of December) by the Colombian filmmaker, Priscilla Padilla. It tells the story of one of the many acts of discrimination inflicted by the Colombian state on the country’s indigenous populations: the practice by civil registry staff to record offensive names and comments – along with the uniform birth date alluded to by the film’s title – on the identification documents of members of the Wayuu people, taking cruel advantage of their limited literacy or lack of Spanish language. Despite constitutional recognition of indigenous Colombian peoples, their cultures and their languages, it was only media attention generated by the film that pushed the registry into addressing this mass racist insult. The documentary will be presented by Brett Todd, whose PhD research examines recent moves to protect Colombia’s native languages and the cultural rights of their speakers.
Biography:A graduate in law, government and economics from the University of Sydney, Brett Todd was a solicitor with a Sydney CBD employment law firm for five years, but has spent more time doing other things in other places, living in Japan, Canada, Britain, Switzerland, Chile, Argentina and Colombia; this included internships with UNHCR and the Argentine human rights group CELS and a visiting researcher period at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá. Following postgraduate studies in applied linguistics and international studies, Brett has been a casual academic at the University of Technology Sydney since 2007 as well as an accredited Spanish-to-English translator. He is now in the final year of a PhD in Politics and International Relations with the University of New South Wales, drawing on his diverse disciplinary backgrounds to research recent policies aimed at protecting indigenous and other minority languages in Colombia.
Location: Woolley Bulding S325