Faculty on Faculty: An Interview With Stephen Meardon

Story posted July 07, 2010

stephen meardon
Economist Stephen Meardon

There are over 20 faculty members affiliated with Bowdoin's dynamic Latin American Studies program, including Bowdoin alum Stephen Meardon '93, assistant professor of economics. In a recent newsletter, Associate Professor of Romance Languages Elena Cueto Asin took a moment to interview her colleague about the continuum of his Bowdoin saga.

Below, are excerpts from that interview:

ECA:What has changed most at Bowdoin since you studied here?

SM: Nobody uses Smith-Corona typewriters with LCD displays and 29k memory anymore, and upon entering the library one doesn't encounter a massive card catalog. But there's plenty that hasn't changed. The sundial on Hubbard Hall keeps time just as well as it did fifteen or twenty years ago.

ECA: What have you done in the years since you graduated from here?

SM: I went to graduate school in economics at Duke, and then (in no particular order) lived for a while in Mexico and Colombia, taught at Williams and Bowling Green State University, worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, got married, rode a motorcycle to Labrador, had two boys, bought a house, and have thought for a couple of years about painting it.

In some ways it all amounts to a long distance traveled since Commencement Day. In others it doesn't. Two of my favorite courses at Bowdoin were History of Economic Thought and Allen Wells's freshman seminar on the Cuban Revolution. Now I teach the first subject, and my research connects often with Latin America.

ECA: In your opinion, what is the role and/or importance of economics in the Latin American Studies curriculum?

SM: Economics is the study of tradeoffs. Problems in Latin America that appear from a humanistic perspective to present a clear moral imperative get muddier when one considers who stands to lose what and when. Economics is good training for that dirty but honorable work.

Visit Latin American Studies for the full interview in the June 2010 newsletter.

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