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Latin American Studies

Faculty News from the LAS Newsletter 2013

Story posted July 15, 2013

Greg Beckett taught a new course in Fall 2012 called “The Caribbean in the Atlantic World.” His chapter “Rethinking the Haitian Crisis” will appear in the edited volume The Idea of Haiti in May 2013. Greg’s chapter urges us to think about crisis and emergency response in new ways that are attentive to the human experience of suffering and social vulnerability. His article “Sustaining Slums: The Problem of Planning in Port-au-Prince” is currently under review. In it, Greg explores the failures of two urban renewal projects and the emergence of slums and vulnerable communities in Haiti. This year he has also attended and spoken at several events celebrating the life and work of Caribbean scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot and is currently writing an article on Trouillot’s contributions to the anthropology of the Caribbean.

Michael Birenbaum Quintero was awarded a Fulbright Core Scholar Fellowship to spend his sabbatical year 2013-2014 in Cali, Colombia, where he will be offering a seminar in the Universidad del Valle’s doctoral program on Afro-Latin American Culture, Society and History. Primarily, though, he will be hard at work to finish his book on Afro-Colombian music - Rights, RIghts, and Rhythms. A Genealogy of Musical Meaning in Colombia’s Black Pacific, forthcoming on Oxford University Press.

Margaret Boyle spent the last year completing her book, Unruly Women: Performance, Penitence and Punishment in Early Modern Spain (forthcoming from the University of Toronto Press). She continues her research on early modern women’s literary and cultural history, offering for the first time at Bowdoin a course on women’s roles in theater in Spain and Latin America. In October 2012, she gave a talk entitled “Return to Eden: Monastic Women Writing Nature” at the Grupo de Estudios sobre la Mujer en España y las Americas, and in April 2013 she spoke about sumptuary laws, morality narratives and the Peruvian actress Michaela Villegas at the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. Professor Boyle was also recently awarded a grant from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for her translation (English to Spanish) of the play Querida Gabby: las confesiones de una ambiciosa. During the academic year, she served as a committee member for Juan Del Toro’s honor’s project “Gay Latino Life Writings: Narrative and Identity at the Intersection of Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality”.

Nadia Celis worked primarily on the completion of her book manuscript La rebelión de las niñas: El Caribe y la conciencia corporal, which is currently under review. Her chapter “The Rhetoric of Hips: Shakira’s Embodiment and the Quest for Caribbean Identity” was published in the collection Archipelagos of Sound: Transnational Caribbeanities, Women and Music; and a second article, “A 50 años de El hostigante verano de los dioses: Fanny Buitrago y la ‘autenticidad’ Caribe”, is forthcoming in Revista Iberoamericana. Professor Celis took students in her course on Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude in “A Journey Around Macondo”, a faculty–led trip aimed to introduce them to the actual locations and cultural trends that inspired the Nobel Prize winner’s work. Celis also directed two exciting Honors projects for LAS, with graduating students Juan Del Toro (on Gay Latino Writers) and Matthew Silton (on Nuyorican Identities). As a re-elected member of the Caribbean Studies Association’s Executive Council, Prof. Celis continues to lead their initiatives to promote trans-lingual exchange.

Elena Cueto Asín traveled to Panama where she followed the steps of Spanish writers Vicente Blasco Ibáñez and León Felipe who spent time in the country during the 1920s and 1930s.

Gustavo Faverón spent most of the the year in Peru. He was an invited speaker for the Peruvian Literary Association and the Psychoanalytic Society in Lima. He taught a three-session course on Literature and Cannibalism at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas. He was invited as a guest speaker for two events in Guayaquil (Ecuador). The second edition of his co-edited book, Bolaño Salvaje was launched in Barcelona in May. He has been researching for a book-length project on Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño as well as writing his second novel. The English language edition of his first novel, The Antiquarian, will be published in January in the US by Grove/Atlantic

Stephen Meardon presented his research-in-progress on an episode in the history of U.S.-Mexico trade relations, “The Doomed Trade Deal of Messrs. Ulysses S. Grant and Matías Romero,” at two conferences last summer: the biennial Policy History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, and the annual History of Economics Society conference in St. Catharines, Ontario.  In Fall 2012 he taught a new upper-level Economics course called “Trade Doctrines and Trade Deals,” culminating in a discussion and several student essays about the recently-implemented U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Laura Premack devoted the 2012-13 academic year to designing and teaching three new seminars and to finishing her doctoral dissertation, “Hope and the Holy Spirit: The Global Pentecostal Movement in Brazil and Nigeria, 1910-2010.” The seminars – on Afro-Brazilian culture, global Pentecostalism, and demons and deliverance – relate to her ongoing research interests in religion and culture in the Atlantic World. She also chaired a panel on colonialism and Christianity at the annual meeting of the African Studies Association and prepared a chapter on a Nigerian Pentecostal church’s outreach efforts in Brazil for inclusion in a forthcoming edited volume on African new religious movements in diaspora. She is looking forward to spending the summer pursuing her research on Brazilian Spiritism and to returning to Bowdoin in the fall to spend another year as Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies and Latin American Studies.

After successfully defending her dissertation at Duke University in July 2012, Liz Shesko joined the Latin American Studies faculty at Bowdoin for a year as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow. Her research focuses on the effects of obligatory military service on citizenship and ethnic identity in Bolivia. She taught “Colonial Latin America,” “Indigenous Identity and Politics in Latin America,” and a seminar on “Dictatorships, Human Rights, and Memory in Latin America,” all of which were crosslisted in History and Latin American Studies. Throughout the year, she worked with an honors student on a project about the work of University of Chicago-trained neoliberal economists during the Allende and Pinochet era in Chile (The Chicago Boys). She also gave papers at the annual conferences of the American Historical Association (New Orleans), the Latin American Studies Association (Washington, D.C.), and the New England Latin American Studies Association (New Haven). She has recently completed an article on the 1932-1935 Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay. In June, she traveled to London to complete research in the archives of the British Foreign Office.

Krista Van Vleet continues research and teaching on popular religion, gender, sexuality and family in Latin America, especially Peru and Bolivia. In the Fall 2012 she taught “Global Sexualities/Local Desires” which was cross-listed for the first time with LAS. In the Spring 2013, a course on “Religion and Social Transformation in South America” and a new course on “Children and Youth in Global Perspective” also contributed to the Program. Throughout the year, she enjoyed working with an Honors student in Anthropology on reproductive health in Ecuador. In May she traveled to Cusco, Peru to conduct follow-up fieldwork for a research project that analyzes single motherhood, modernity, and global discourses of reproduction. Funded by a Gibbons Fellowship she will be working with a student this summer to develop a qualitative database integrating visual (photographs, videos, and websites) and audio data from her fieldwork. She acted as a discussant for the panel “Transnational Masculinities and Heterosexuality” presenting a commentary entitled, “Rethinking Sex and Gender in Transnational Contexts” at the American Anthropological Association Meetings in San Francisco in November 2012.

Hanétha Vété-Congolo has had a productive academic year. She hosted Caribbean Interorality in the New Millennium on campus from October 11-12, 2012, a symposium where prominent experts revisted core aspects and questions related to the Caribbean oral tradition. In November 2012, she was also invited to the Rencontres caribéennes de l’oralité in Martinique where she gave a talk entitled, “L’interoralité caribéenne: sa raison, son sens”. She attended the 39th African Literature Association Conference in Charleston, South-Carolina where she chaired a session Social Change and Natural Disaster in the French Caribbean and gave a paper, “Le mot caribéen”.

The following articles were published in refereed journals and book chapters: “The Ripening’s Epic Realism and the Tragic Martinican Unfulfilled Political Emancipation” (The CLR James Journal: A Review of Caribbean Ideas, Vol. 18, No.1: 153-179) and “L’Acomat, le Féal. Edouard Glissant” (Revue de Sciences Humaines n°309/janvier-mars, Paris: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion,  2013) while “Tuer le statu quo et faire naître l’Homme neuf du couple nègre d’Amérique insulaire: les exemples de D’eaux douces et Fado” (Frantz Fanon: un héritage à partager. Paris: L’Harmattan)  is forthcoming in Spring 2013.  Additionally, Hanétha published a foreword : “Montrer pour dire l’intériorité ou parler la Pawòl anba fèy” (Rudy Rabathaly. Pawòl anba fèy: Ecrits d’imaginaires créoles. Pointe à Pitre : Editions Jasor, 2012.  Her entry “Maryse Condé” in Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies is forthcoming in 2013.

Susan Wegner traveled to Portugal in June, 2012 to research connections forged between that maritime nation and the “New World” by fisherman, explorers and colonists in the early modern period.  Materials collected from this trip will be incorporated into Art History 130 (1300):  Introduction to the Arts of Ancient Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean; Art History 232 (2320):  Art in the Age of Velazquez, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio; and Art History 332 (3320): Painting and Society in Spain:  El Greco to Goya.

While on leave during 2012-13, Allen Wells conducted research in Caracas, Venezuela and San José, Costa Rica. He published “Playing God:  Choosing Central European Jewish Refugees for the Dominican Republic during World War II,” in Exile and the Politics of Exclusion, eds., Luis Roniger, James Green, and Pablo Yankelevich (Portland, OR:  Sussex Academic Press, 2012), 80-99; and, with Steven Topik, “Commodity Chains in a Global Economy, 1870-1945,” in A World Connecting: 1870 to 1945, ed., Emily Rosenberg, A History of the World (Cambridge, MA and Munich: Harvard University Press and C. H. Beck Verlag, 2012); HUP 5:591-812, 1051-1077; C. H. Beck Verlag “Warenketten in einer globalen Wirtschaft,” trans. Thomas Atzert, in Geschichte der Welt:Weltmärkte und Weltkriege, 1870-1945 (Munich:  C H. Beck Verlag, 2012), V:  589-814 and 1042-1063. In addition, Wells delivered two lectures: “EE UU y la democratización en el Caribe: Charles Porter, Rómulo Betancourt, Pepe Figueres y Luis Muñoz Marín,” at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (Caracas); and, “Charles Porter and the Latin American Crusade for Democracy,” at the University of California, Irvine.

Genie Wheelwright taught Spanish 203 and 102 this year. Her 203 class was a community-based course and all the students volunteered as English tutors at the Centro Latino in Portland. This was a big commitment on their part, as every student committed to one night a week for half the semester. Many of the Latinos attended all 3 nights every week, so they clearly felt they were learning. Genie will be on half sabbatical, half leave next year. She hopes to spend a month of that time in Argentina working on her southern cone ‘sho’ pronunciation.

Carolyn Wolfenzon published the article “El Tercer Reich  y la historia como juego de guerra”. Bolaño Salvaje. Segunda Edición ampliada. Ed. Edmundo Paz Soldán y Gustavo Faverón. Barcelona: Candaya, 2013 and her article "Las muertas y Los relámpagos de agosto de Jorge Ibargüengoitia: la violencia como esencia de lo mexicano” has been accepted for Bulletin of Spanish Studies, forthcoming 2014. Two more articles about Bolivan authors that depict their History and violence in contemporary Bolivia are now under review for publication: “La figura del aparapita en Felipe Delgado de Jaime Sáenz: nacionalismo,misticismo y conflicto social” and “Río Fugitivo en El delirio de Turing, Sueños digitales y Río Fugitivo de Edmundo Paz-Soldán: lo urbano como metáfora de lo político en Bolivia”. This academic year she directed Alexandra Fogarty Honors project in Romance Languages entitled: "Civilización o barbarie: la ficcionalización de la figura del gaucho en la literatura de 1810 a 1945" and she also taught a new seminar for LAS and Spanish entitled: Andean Modernities.

Enrique Yepes has spent his sabbatical leave conducting research on his book project on ecological thought in Latin American poetry. He has presented his work in several venues, the City University of New York Graduate School and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese among them. He has also submitted part of his work to be published as articles and reviews.