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C3W and the Cholula conversations

Posted by C3W Admin on January 12 2023

Andrea Espinoza

From 4 – 6 December, part of the C3W team participated in a workshop about future research and publications projects.

Cholula is a special place. The morning light hits the domes of the ‘Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios’ in a way that brings out its colour and makes the yellow contrast with the bright blue sky. In one shot, the landscape reminds you of Mexico’s flavours, brightness and joy. However, Cholula’s most captivating magic lays below, untouched by light and covered. The Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios is located on top of the Gran Pirámide de Cholula o Tlachihualtépetl, the largest pyramid in the world because of its 400-meter pyramidal basement hidden under a church and mountain. Last December, this historical town hosted a workshop for part of the C3W team. Team members Edna Suarez, Gisela Mateos, Sebastian Fonseca, Lu Chen and Andrea Espinoza were joined by collaborators Gabriela Soto Laveaga, Vivette García Deister, Joel Vargas, and Lina Pinto García to discuss future publications and research interests.

Each meal, coffee and walk created a space of conversation, contributing to developing the full agenda organised for the event. The first day of the event was centred on the discussion of Community Health and the Cold War: Special Issue for the ‘Connecting 3 Worlds’. This project aims to reposition the politics of “Community Health” in global health, medical humanities and development. It problematises the historical appropriation and performance of the concept by state and international actors. The special issue aims to present community health and community-building as a co-construction between international, regional and national development programs with local initiatives created and imagined by people and grassroots movements with their own agenda. This conversation raised questions about how we are defining communities. What are communities bringing to the table in the discussion about community health? What defines communities? What builds communities’ interest in a programme (development or health programme)?

The conversation also sparked interest in reflecting on methodology. One observation was that the different abstracts presented for the workshop showed a diverse range of methods, sparking questions like what are the methodologies picked for the projects and mentioned in the abstracts telling us about the slipperiness and the difficulty of getting at what it is socialist health or community health? What type of methodology do we need to get to understand this problem? What are we getting from the methods? Is there a need to complement one method with another, and why? These queries made the team think about the need to reflect on our methodological contribution to the study of social medicine, socialist networks, and the Cold War.

Another exciting debate was the initial discussion about mapping the work created by C3W. To do that, the team tried to think about mapping ideas beyond geographic representations, trying instead of pinpoint locations to visualise connections between elements, people, and ideas in constant transit between moving borders. The activity started with a ‘show and tell’, inviting people to share one image that could capture a little part of each person’s research and help us make visible our research interests and connections. It also contributed to thinking in future forms of sharing the research outputs of the C3W project. Cholula’s workshop was an inspiring way to close our academic work in 2022. May the conversations that started there continue in this new year!

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