The past year has been a busy one for the Latin American Studies Program at Bowdoin. We have welcomed some new faculty members and said goodbye to long time colleagues and mentors. We have had students participating in several new courses, in service learning and study away trips to various parts of Latin America, and in various curricular and co-curricular activities on and off campus. Several highlights from this year are collected in the pages of this newsletter. We hope that you will enjoy reading about faculty, friends, alumni, and colleagues and that you will write to us with your own news, ideas, adventures, and insights.
Over the past decade the Latin American Studies Program has offered many courses, endeavoring to introduce and deepen under- standing of the cultural production, social relationships, history and politics of the region. The program has always cast a wide net around “Latin America” including Central and South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Latino/a communities in the United States. This year LAS offered a total of 33 courses and almost one- third of the Bowdoin student body (539 students) participated in these courses. The courses were cross-listed with departments and programs including Africana Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Education, Film, French, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, Music and Spanish. New courses such as “Black Musics in Latin America and the Caribbean,” “Transnational Cosmologies: Andean Examples,” “Dress and Body Politics in Latin America,” “New Waves in the New World: Latin American Cinema,” and “Latinos and Latinas in the United States” enrich our curriculum with at- tention to scholarship from diverse disciplinary perspectives. Our students have also benefitted from the pedagogical innovation of our permanent and visiting faculty and the interdisciplinary pers- pective inherent in LAS at Bowdoin.
This year the Latin American Studies faculty have pursued exciting research and teaching agendas and collaborated on several discus- sions about the current state and future goals of the program. In the Fall 2010, we were very pleased to welcome Michael Birenbaum Quintero (tenure-track in Music), Sarah Childress (visiting in Film Studies), Esmeralda Ulloa (visiting in Spanish), and Mariana Cruz (visiting in Education). We were thrilled to congratulate Gustavo Faverón (Spanish) on his promotion to Associate Professor of Spanish with tenure. We look forward to enjoying several more years of his “distinction in scholarship and excellence in teaching” as well as his insight and amiability.
We also celebrated the accomplishments of our friend, teacher, and colleague, John Turner, who retires after almost 30 years of teaching Spanish. Co-founder and chair of the Latin American Studies Committee since the 1970s, John helped to make the LAS Program a reality and was one of the driving forces in the creation of our major in 1999. In his honor, the prize given to the graduating major who best exemplifies outstanding academic achievement and passion for Latin America has been renamed “The John Harold Turner Senior Prize in Latin American Studies.”
This short letter would not be complete without words of thanks. On behalf of faculty, students, and staff I would first like to express appreciation for Enrique Yepes who has been such a wonderful director of LAS over the past several years. His energy and enthusiasm are unsurpassed. The organizational skills and good humor of Emily Briley and Lori Quimby, who have acted as coordinators for the program this year, have been invaluable. Finally, thanks to all of you who have kept in touch, contributed photos or updates, supported LAS through your presence and interest in courses, events, and programs, and in a myriad of ways have shared a passion for learning about the literature, landscapes, cultures and societies, art, music, history, and political and economic relationships of the Americas.
Krista Van Vleet
Associate Professor of Anthropology