Mark Overmyer-Velázquez

You Should…Pre-election Edition. Part IV.

In advance of the upcoming election, we’ve asked members of the UCHI community to suggest a book, article, poem, painting, video, or piece of music that they think everyone should take a look at in this current moment.

Mark Overmyer-Velázquez says you should listen to…

The melancholy, cleansing rhythms and melody of Ozomatli’s “Cumbia de los muertos,” in honor of the Day of the Dead and the Covid-fallen.

A group of men standing in a field.
Ozomatli, 2013. Photograph by Christian Lantry. Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Amy Meyers says you should look at…

One of John Constable’s cloud studies. Take a moment to contemplate a beautiful study of clouds and wheeling birds, painted by John Constable on Hampstead Heath in 1821—the year when the artist devoted himself to an intensive empirical and, to the standards of the day, scientific examination of the sky. The pink-tinged clouds rush above a thin band of earth, and the birds soar, calling our attention to the clear, blue heavens above—just the momentary release we now need from the tragic pandemic and heightened cultural tensions that we face as a nation.

A painting of clouds over a blue sky, with some small birds flying through them.
John Constable (1776-1837), Cloud Study, 1821, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection. B1981.25.155.


Mark Overmyer-Velázquez is Professor of History and Latino & Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut and Campus Director of the University of Connecticut–Hartford. His book Visions of the Emerald City: Modernity, Tradition and the Formation of Porfirian Oaxaca, Mexico (Duke University Press, 2006) won the 2007 Best Book Prize, New England Council on Latin American Studies.

Amy Meyers (Yale Ph.D., American Studies, 1985) retired from the directorship of the Yale Center for British Art in June of 2019. Prior to her appointment in July of 2002, she spent much of her career at research institutes, including Dumbarton Oaks; the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, where she served as Curator of American Art from 1988 through June of 2002. Meyers also has taught the history of art at the University of Michigan, the California Institute of Technology, and Yale, where she was an affiliate of the History of Science and Medicine Program and an adjunct professor in the Department of the History of Art. She is the University of Connecticut Humanities Insitute’s 2020–2021 Luce Foundation, Future of Truth Fellow.

You SHOULD…Read and Listen: Teaching Community


“You should have a reading and listening jam session, engaging bell hooks’ Paulo Freirean-inspired critiques of structures and systems of power in Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope (2003) while absorbing the liberatory sounds of the Wynton Marsalis Quintet’s “Free to Be” (2004). In ensemble, these two works offer at once intensely personal and collaborative learning frameworks for creative action. In Teaching Community hooks interrogates how our gendered, sexualized and racialized bodies intersect and operate in the context of historically segregated educational institutions. Yet, she insists that when working in solidarity with and in diverse communities beyond the university, “democratic educators” can foster a pedagogy of hope. Similarly, as a cultural form born from resistance to oppression and as an expression of freedom, jazz music –as exquisitely interpreted by Marsalis in “Free to Be”– functions through three interconnected elements. It grounds us in the historical pain and blues of inequality and discrimination; it celebrates individual creativity and strength in improvisation; and it promises that, if we intentionally and empathetically listen to and collaborate with each other, the music and experience will swing!”


Mark Overmyer-Velázquez,
Professor of History and Latino & Latin American Studies
University of Connecticut – Hartford