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2017 Newsletter Cover

2018 Newsletter

We are thrilled to share the highlights of another rewarding year of work at the Latin American Studies Program at Bowdoin.

With a wide array of courses, from the arts of ancient Mexico and Peru to contemporary trends in the Southern Cone, Brazil, the Andes, the Hispanic and Francophone Caribbean, and the Latin American communities in the United States, our Program continued to demonstrate our strong commitment to engaging our students with the richness and complexity of Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx cultures and realities. A robust agenda of scholarly events further enriched our course offerings (see page 24). Linked to Professors Jay Sosa’s “Carnival and Control: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Brazil”, Carolyn Wolfenzon’s “Mexican Fictions: Voices from the Border”, Nadia Celis’ “Beyond the Postcard: Thinking and Writing the Hispanic Caribbean”, and Sebastian Urli’s “The Hispanic Avant- Garde: Poetry and Politics”, the lectures and symposia sponsored by the generous endowment of the Crandall Family Fund, brought the work of a stellar group of scholars to Bowdoin, visiting us from Mexico, Colombia, and the US (see page 20).

As usual, we are proud to showcase the research, service and achievements of our remarkable LAS students and alumni (see pages 10 and 18). Every year, our own passion for Latin America is reignited by projects such as Jonah Watt’s honor thesis, “Que vivan los estudiantes”, or Kelsey Freeman’s ’16 inspiring work with migrants on the Mexican side of the border (see page 15). In addition to our students, alumni, and our faculty’s latest endeavors (see page 6), this newsletter features two additional sections. Professor Jay Sosa’s article, “In solidarity with Puerto Rico”, condenses the responses of LAS students and faculty to the humanitarian crisis left by Hurricane Maria (see page 13). Professor Susan Wegner and Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, Ellen Tani, walk us through recent acquisitions enriching the Bowdoin Museum of Art’s collection on Latin America (see page 22).

We are delighted to offer a well-deserved homage to the fabulous work of Nat Wheelwright in this issue’s Faculty Focus (see page 3). After more than three decades of passionate teaching, inspiring research and committed service to LAS and Bowdoin, we are wishing Nat a fun, active and restful retirement. This was also the last year of teaching for our one and only Allen Wells, who will enjoy a sabbatical prelude to his actual retirement next year. Allen, we are simply not ready to say goodbye yet. LAS will also see the departure of Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Greg Beckett, and Associate Professor of Economics, Steve Meardon, who will be pursuing new positions at other institutions. We thank them both for their contributions to our program and wish them “buen viento y buena mar”.

Next year we’ll be receiving an exciting cohort of both permanent and visiting LAS faculty. Javier Cikota will be joining the Department of History as an Assistant Professor. Javier’s research focuses on borderlands, legal culture, and state formation in Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries, and he’ll be joining us from UC Berkeley, where he recently completed his thesis on “Frontier Justice: State, Law, and Society in Patagonia, 1880-1940.” He’ll be teaching a stirring variety of new courses, including “Borderlands in the Americas: Power and Identity Between Empire and Nation”. We will welcome two Postdoctoral Fellows in Latin American Studies, Marcio Siwi and Irina Popescu. Marcio is a historian of Brazil and has recently worked as a College fellow at the History Department in Harvard University. His research, centered on the connections between São Paulo urban planners and New York modernist architecture, cuts across the fields of urban, art and architectural history. Next fall he’ll be teaching “Race and Culture in Brazil: The Paradox of Progress”. Irina Popescu’s research explores human rights discourses in Latin America and the US. Her dissertation, which she recently completed at UC Berkeley, is titled “The Empathy Archive: History, Empathy, and the Human Rights Novel in the Americas”. Irina will be teaching a first year seminar on “Human Rights in the Americas”. We are also thrilled that the Music Department has hired a scholar of Latin American colonial music. Ireri Chávez-Bárcena will be joining us as an Assistant Professor in the 2019-2020 academic year, after completing a postdoctoral position in Yale University.

Thanks to all of you who have supported the Program, and me, during this first year of my term as the LAS Director. I’m indebted to the former directors for passing on their wisdom, faculty for contributing to our ongoing conversations on curriculum and programming, students for keeping us humble and excited about our work, alumni for staying in touch and contributing updates, our wonderful coordinator, Jean Harrison, for keeping us on track and grounded, and the community for being present and showing interest in our activities. You all make the LAS Program possible!

Cordialmente,
Nadia Celis
Program Director, Latin American Studies