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2017 Newsletter Cover

2017 Newsletter

As this issue illustrates, it has been a busy year for our program. Bolstered by four energetic postdocs—Jenny Baca (Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies), Matthew Goldmark (Romance Languages and Literature), Darien Leman (Music), and Sebastián Urli (Romance Languages and Literature), our students have been exposed to exciting new offerings this past year, including "Self-Figuration and Identity in Contemporary Southern Cone Literature" (Sebastián), "Environmental Politics of Latin America" and "Global Inequality, Social (In)justice and the Environment"  (Jenny), "Power, Play, and Resistance in the Music of the Caribbean" (Darien), and "Colonial Seductions in Spanish America" (Matthew). In addition, two new classes offered by tenured faculty enriched our curriculum: "Race and Ethnicity" (Ingrid Nelson, Sociology); and "Hispanic Cities in Cinema: Utopia, Distopia and Transnationality" (Elena Cueto Asín); Matt, Jenny and Darien will be leaving us at the end of this year. We are very grateful for their contributions to our program and wish them nothing but the best in the future.

In addition, we’re delighted that Jay Sosa (Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies) has joined our program. A wide-ranging interview with our novo companheiro is included in this issue. Next fall, Jay will offer his first cross-listed course with LAS entitled, "Carnival and Control: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Brazil". Next year, we will welcome Shana Starobin, a tenure-track hire in Government and Environmental Studies, whose research focuses on non-state actors in Central America, Mexico and, most recently, Cuba.

This year the program began to harvest the generous fruits of the Crandall Fund, the endowment dedicated to enriching our program. A symposium, "Rendering Dominicans of Haitian Descent Stateless", brought four scholars to campus this past November to present their research on the impact of a 2013 Dominican citizenship law that threatens to denationalize up to 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian Descent. Many have been living in the Dominican Republic for generations; some have been deported by the Dominican government to Haiti, while others have fled across the border and are living in poorly served refugee camps. Thanks to the College’s Santagata Fund, Junot Díaz presented a Junot-like, keynote address for the conference that packed Smith Union.

In addition, this spring, the fund made it possible to bring to campus a traveling exhibition of Chilean art which depicts the Allende and Pinochet periods (1973-1983). Rarely have I witnessed the kind of cross-campus institutional support that this exhibit elicited. It was especially rewarding that each in their own way--the symposium and the art exhibit—enriched so many courses across the College curriculum.

We’re especially proud of the outstanding work of our current students, who are not just keeping their faculty on their toes, but are tackling exciting research and service in the region. Not all of the students described in this issue are LAS majors or minors, but all share common traits—they have enlivened our classrooms, studied away or conducted research in or on the region, and happily from our perspective, been bitten by the Latin American bug.

Former students, whether they turn their attention after graduation to development work, NGOs, or education are the gift that keeps on giving.Receiving your updates that share what you’ve been up to of late are not only gratifying for those of us who remember you so fondly, but are invaluable as models for prospective and current students who can imagine futures for themselves working in Latin America or on Latino/a matters in this country.

It takes a pueblo to put a newsletter like this together. A special shout out to Hanétha Véte-Cóngolo, Krista Van Vleet, Jay Sosa, Nadia Celis, Janice Jaffe, Andrew Lardie, Corey Colwill, Margaret Boyle, and Nat Wheelwright for their contributions. Agradecimientos especiales a Jean Harrison, Gustavo Faverón Patriau and Annika Cook for assembling the swatches and producing such a beautiful fully realized fabric.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that nuestra compañera Nadia will be the director of the program next year.

Allen Wells
L.A.S. Program Director