Dear Alumni, Students, and Friends:
We hope that as you move into your summer, you have a few moments to read LAS Noticias in its new electronic format! This year the LAS Program has decided to “go green” with our newsletter: LAS Noticias may be downloaded as a PDF file or read on our website. The new format will enable us to save a few trees and to redirect funds from postage and printing to support additional speakers, performances, and programming related to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latin@s in the US. This volume of LAS Noticias highlights just a few of the ways the faculty, students, alumni, and staff of the LAS Program at Bowdoin aim to enhance understanding of the art, literature, and music; history, cultures and societies; and politics and economics of the region.
The Latin American Studies Program is proud to offer congratulations to our eight Latin American Studies majors who graduated in the Class of 2012. Seven of our most recent graduates were double majors (with the departments of Biochemistry, Government, History, or Spanish). Kris Klein (’12), who received Honors in LAS this year, is featured in the Student Focus section of the newsletter. As you will read, several other students participated in service learning and study away trips to various parts of Latin America, conducted independent research mentored by Bowdoin faculty, and engaged in a variety of curricular and co-curricular activities on and off campus.
During the academic year of 2011-2012, Bowdoin students benefitted from the pedagogical innovation of our permanent and visiting faculty and the interdisciplinary perspective inherent in LAS. This year LAS offered 33 different courses with a total enrollment of 564 students. Students participated in new courses such as “The Maya: Challenges of Forging Community and Identity,” “Labor, Gender and Immigration in the US Mexico Borderlands,” “Childhood Memories: Reflections on Self and Home in the Postcolonial Francophone Caribbean,” “Reading Images: Intersections of Art, Film and Literature in Contemporary Latin America,” and “CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo, and Banda: Latinos Making Music in the United States.” Our courses were cross-listed with departments and programs including Africana Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Education, Environmental Studies, French, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, Music and Spanish. In the Fall 2011 we were very pleased to welcome Lori Flores (History) and Jay Ketner (French) and to welcome back Esmeralda Ulloa (Spanish) and Mariana Cruz (Education) as Fellows or Visiting Assistant Professors. In the Fall of 2012 we will are thrilled to have Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows, Laura Premack (Africana Studies) and Elizabeth Shesko (History), contributing courses to the program.
Over the past year LAS faculty and students have been engaged in research projects here at Bowdoin and in other parts of the United States, Europe, and Latin America. The accomplishments of our faculty members are described in the Faculty News section of the LAS Noticias, but you may access even more detail (links to articles, descriptions of courses and independent studies, images and media clips, etc.) by going to individual faculty webpages http://bowdoin.edu/latin-american-studies/faculty/). In the Faculty Focus section, Assistant Professor Nadia Celis discusses her research on girls in Caribbean fiction and the impact of her own experiences in Colombia, the Caribbean, and the United States on her research and teaching.
Many of our alumni have kept us up to date on their lives and their continuing connections to Latin America. We appreciate very much the efforts of all of you who have sent emails, stopped in to talk with us about your professional and personal lives, given presentations on campus, and worked with students and faculty on a variety of educational and social issues. Michelle Greet (’93) generously describes her research on Latin American artists in Paris between the world wars, her experiences in graduate school and teaching, and her reflections on life after Bowdoin in the Alumni Focus. Please write to us with your own news, ideas, adventures, and insights—and let us know if you are interested in being featured on the website or in a future newsletter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Finally, a word of thanks to Jean Harrison, our Department Coordinator, who began working at Bowdoin just after students arrived on campus in September 2011. Jean is a tremendous asset to the Program--efficient, energetic, and accommodating, she makes all of our program projects (such as producing LAS Noticias) as well as the day-to day-running of LAS possible! Please stop in to say hello and introduce yourself if you haven’t already.
Enjoy—and best wishes for a productive and relaxing summer!
Krista Van Vleet
Director of Latin American Studies
Associate Professor of Anthropology