Spotlight: FLAS Award Winner Kristina Caltabiano

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FLAS recipient and Guanajuato alum Kristina Caltabiano (left) with her brother in Guatemala

FLAS fellowships fund the study of less commonly taught languages and area studies coursework. This program provides academic year and summer fellowships to assist graduate students and advanced undergraduates in foreign language and area studies. The goals of the fellowship program include: (1) to assist in the development of knowledge, resources and trained personnel for modern foreign language and area/international studies; (2) to stimulate the attainment of foreign language acquisition and fluency; and (3) to develop a pool of international experts to meet national needs.

We were pleased to sit down with one of these recipients, Kristina Caltabiano.

Before pursuing a dual graduate degree in social work and public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Caltabiano served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. There, she worked as a health educator in a rural Mayan community and cemented her aspirations to work internationally in a community organizing capacity. After learning about FLAS from a Peace Corps colleague, Caltabiano pursued the opportunity and was granted an award to learn Portuguese.

FLAS was even one of the reasons Caltabiano chose to pursue UNC’s dual MSW and MPH degree. She said the opportunity allowed her to tailor course assignments to align with her interests on different areas within Brazil. Part of the award allowed her to live in São Paulo and pursue an upcoming fall semester in Rio de Janeiro, where she hopes to achieve full proficiency.

“Such a huge part of my graduate school experience is learning Portuguese, and I’m so grateful and aware of what a gift it is,” Caltabiano said.

Studying languages has always been an interest of Caltabiano. Originally from Syracuse, NY, Caltabiano attended St. John’s University where she studied both Psychology, International Relations and minored in Spanish. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Chile and then following graduation, spent one year teaching English in Spain.

“Languages are fun for me,” Caltabiano said.

In addition to learning Portuguese in her graduate studies, Caltabiano participated in the APPLES Global Course Guanajuato alternative spring break. The course allowed her to be connected to the local immigrant community and better understand the link between North Carolina and migration, specifically from Guanajuato, Mexico. Caltabiano said the oral histories particularly humanized learning about the migration experience.

“You can hear and read about migration all the time, but interviews bring to life someone’s personal account of what life looks like, what life looks back in their home country, and how their kids lives are different from theirs,” Caltabiano said.

When she’s not busy learning Portuguese, studying for her dual degree, or participating in service learning, Caltabiano enjoys traveling, being outside, and spending time with loved ones.

Thank you so much for sharing photos from your experiences in Brazil (above) and thank you for joining us, Kristina! We look forward to the great things you will do!

 

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LTAM Alumni spotlight: Ana Cristina Carrera

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Ana Cristina Carrera, UNC ’12

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with one of these accomplished LTAM alumni, Ana Cristina Carrera, UNC ’12.

Before graduating law school with a certificate in International and Comparative Law and working at a firm in the Dominican Republic, Carrera, double majored in political science and Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having grown up in the Dominican Republic, Carrera always had a lifelong interest in pursuing a career in law to fight corruption and gender inequality.

Even before she began her undergraduate studies, she visited campus as an accepted student and her passion was clear.

“The admissions officer who gave me a tour of campus asked me what I wanted to study and I said, ‘I’m here to start my journey to be a lawyer.'” Carrera said.

After taking a class her first year, however, her original plans were amended. Carrera said she never imagined she would also study Latin American studies (LTAM) along with law, but was inspired by a course taught by Lars Schoultz on the United States policy toward Latin America and declared LTAM as her second major.

Carrera did not lose any time exploring opportunities that incorporated the Latin America region and passion for law. For three years, she managed the Institute for the Study of the Americas’ Latin American film library and participated in volunteer experiences that included the Carolina Cancer Focus, Linking Immigrants to New Communities (LINC), Habitat for Humanity and participating in a Latino Migration Issues APPLES alternative spring break. She was one of 17 students that produced an album documenting local Latino music scenes, “¡Viva Cackalacky! Latin Music in the New South,” which honored the growing Latino community in North Carolina by focusing on music as a dynamic medium to explore their migration experience.

“All the courses I took gave me a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing Latin American and the Caribbean,” Carrera said.

Although the major provided a broad view of the socio-economic issues and culturally rich aspect of the region, Carrera recommended to undergraduate students considering the major to keep an open mind. She said her beliefs were not only affirmed, but also challenged.

Upon reflecting, Carrera said she sees firsthand what she learned in her education now in her career, and hopes to continue to be involved with policy to help make a change.

Thank you so much Ana Cristina, we look forward to the great things you will do!

 

 

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Pérez authors book on nineteenth-century Cuba everyday life

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ISA Director Lou Pérez explores everyday life of an emerging urban middle class in his book, “Intimations of Modernity: Civil Culture in Nineteenth-Century Cuba”

Institute for the Study of the Americas Director Lou Pérez is an award-winning author who knows the importance of multiple perspectives when learning about history. That’s why he sought to examine 19th century Cuba through a different lens that contrasts from the existent literature’s usual political viewpoint—that of looking at everyday life.

His latest book, “Intimations of Modernity: Civil Culture in Nineteenth-Century Cuba,” seeks to change the paradigm of looking at Cuba in the 19th century by looking at the habits and routines of an emerging urban middle class within the colonial system. Pérez came about writing this work after looking through periodicals where he noticed an increasing presence about the culture and language of deploying the abanico, the fan.

“The fan presents a point in which one can examine changing and shifting gender relationships,” Pérez said. “It offers insight into methods of autonomy and agency.”

Pérez found Cuban audiences were fiercely captivated by the fan. Girls learned from a young age how to communicate with the fan, using gestures as slight as the drop of the wrist or as big as opening the fan in a certain way.

The fan, however, was only the beginning.

By examining everyday life, Pérez explored the ways in which corporations and the expanding global market changed Cuban customs, trends and social practices. The culture of capitalism wove into the fabric of the urban middle class’s understanding of knowledge and moral systems, which clashed with the colonial system values of power and privilege.

All in all, Pérez hopes that by learning about the everyday life, audiences will acquire a different view of what was going on in 19th century Cuba. By considering additional factors that contributed to the collapse of the Spanish colonialism system, readers will have a greater sense of the sources of the Cuban struggle for independence.

Click to learn more about “Intimations of Modernity: Civil Culture in the 19th Century Cuba”

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Watch: Nancy Morejón, Poetry Reading

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Bilingual poetry reading by renowned Cuban poet Nancy Morejón at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on March 1st, 2017. Coordinated by Dr. Corina Dueñas and sponsored by the Department of Romance Studies, The Institute for the Study of the Americas, The Latino/a Studies Program, The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Center for Global Initiatives.

 

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LTAM Alumni Spotlight: Ph.D. Candidate Nicole LeNeave

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Nicole LeNeave, Ph.D. candidate (right) with ISA Director Lou Pérez (left)

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with one of these accomplished LTAM alumni, Nicole LeNeave, UNC ’14.

Nicole LeNeave is a Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, at The University of California, San Diego. She is studying the cultural history of the Cold War in Latin America; specifically, looking at insurgency and rebellion through a music and art lens. Since graduating as a double major in Latin American studies (LTAM) and Latin American History with a music minor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, LeNeave continues to have wide-ranging experiences in Latin American Studies.

As an undergraduate, LeNeave served as an Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) intern where she transcribed oral history interviews and supported department communications. The work encouraged her to participate in the 2014 APPLES alternative spring break, which gave her the opportunity to record oral histories herself. After interviewing UNC Latino students and speaking with members of the Guanajuato, Mexico community, LeNeave was struck by the power of an individual’s narrative.

“Oral histories are intrinsically part of the way we function.” LeNeave said. “They provide a greater understanding beyond the empirical nature of academia.”

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, LeNeave first became interested in Latin American studies after taking a first year seminar with Professor Miguel La Serna about revolution and rebellion in Latin America. When it came to declaring a major, LeNeave liked the interdisciplinary nature of the LTAM major. The political science, music, history, anthropology classes all helped to frame her other major of Latin American history.

“LTAM is a great complement to another major,” LeNeave said. “I encourage people to do it and make it your own.”

LeNeave did just that, and with a future Ph.D. and dreams of a tenure-track professor position, she is just getting started.

Nicole, we look forward to seeing your forthcoming research and the great things you will do! Thank you for joining us!

About LTAM
Stand out in the NEW South
EXPLORE | CATALYZE | LEAD

Explore. The LTAM major offers opportunities to travel to Latin America for field work and study while you are here at UNC, including ISA scholarships for LTAM majors wishing to undertake study in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an LTAM major, you are highly competitive for these scholarships.

Catalyze. The LTAM major also offers high quality advising and personal attention, which are hard to find at a big place like UNC. Departmental advisor, Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz can help you decide if this is a good major for you, select courses that fulfill requirements, plan a complete educational program, and learn about academic policies and procedures.

Lead. The Latin American studies major prepares students for graduate school and public and private sector careers such as in education, business, public health, law, communication, and government, among others. LTAM majors have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, in non-profit organizations working with migrants in the U.S., and in transnational companies that operate in the U.S. and Latin America. Click to meet a couple of these talented alumni: a Georgetown Master’s student and 2017 Peace Corps volunteer.

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Natalie Hartman Wins Consortium Award at Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) Conference

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Natalie Hartman (center), Associate Director for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke University wins a Consortium award at the SECOLAS conference in Chapel Hill, NC.

 

Read it now.

Congratulations, Natalie! Please navigate to the Consortium site for the article.

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ISA Director Louis Pérez on WCHL 97.9 FM, Who’s Talking show

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Click to listen.

Louis Pérez, J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History at UNC Chapel Hill and Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas, gives background about Cuban history and politics to help us understand today’s events. The host asks about the new travel rules as it relates to the People to People framework,  the pros and cons of the new rules, and more. Listen now!

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Associate Director Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz wins University Award for the Advancement of Women

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Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz

Associate Director Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz received the 2017 University Award for the Advancement of Women, March 7, 2017, at the Anne Queen Faculty Commons in the Campus Y. This award is given by the office of Chancellor Folt and is a way to recognize individuals for their contributions on behalf of women at the University.

Riefkohl Muñiz was recognized for her mentorship of young professionals, leadership, and advocacy with policies and cultures affecting women faculty, staff, and students in numerous ways. She has been a central leader in a collaborative effort among area study centers to expand global education in North Carolina and Latin American Studies nationally through her work at the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the national Consortium in Latin American Studies Programs.

One of her many accomplishments included mentoring women staff.

“Beatriz elevates the status of women by giving women credit for their labor, ideas, and innovation,”Emily Chávez, Outreach Director of the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University said.

In addition to her mentorship, Riefkohl Muñiz’s leadership was recognized across departments.

“Beatriz’ leadership provides a clear example of what UNC should aspire to: the integration of respect and support for women into all facets of institutional culture and policy,” Hannah Gill, Assistant Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas said.

And Riefkohl Muñiz isn’t stopping.

“This award gives us an opportunity to think about all the great contributions women make to Carolina on a daily basis,” Riefohl Muñiz said. “Recognizing women’s achievements helps us to develop new opportunities that take into consideration women’s voices, aspirations, and work.”

Congratulations, Beatriz! We look forward to the great things you will continue to do!

About the award

A committee of faculty, staff, and students was given the task of reviewing the many nominations received to select one faculty member, one staff member, on graduate/professional student, and one undergraduate student to receive the award. The committee was given the following criteria to us in selecting award recipients:

  • Mentored and supported women students, staff, faculty, and/or
    administrators;
  • Elevated the status of women on campus;
  • Helped to improve campus policies affecting women;
  • Promoted and advanced the recruitment, retention, and upward mobility of women;
  • Participated in and assisted in the establishment of professional development opportunities for women; or
  • Participated in and assisted in the establishment of career or academic mentoring for women.
  • Both women and men who have contributed in one or more of the above ways were eligible.
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LTAM Major Spotlight: Raina Enrique

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

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Raina Enrique, class of 2017

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Raina Enrique, class of 2017 LTAM and Psychology double major, who departs for Peru August 2017 to serve in the Peace Corps.

Originally from Orlando, Florida, Enrique entered UNC Chapel Hill as an undergraduate student in 2013 and took LTAM 101. She was quickly inspired to pursue the major.

“It was like a match lit within me,” Enrique said. “I learned things I had never been exposed to before.”

With personal ties and interests in Latin America, Enrique identified with the subject and wanted to pursue learning more about LTAM history, politics, and perspectives, which included not only how the United States saw Latin America, but also how Latin America saw the United States. She quickly developed a passion for the region, and sought out an international experience to study Yucatec Maya abroad.

“Going to Mexico was my first time leaving the country,” Enrique said. ” Once I was there, it clicked with me and the experience really tweaked my passion.”

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Enrique received a FLAS award to study a second summer in the Yucatan.

Enrique liked the Yucatec Maya program so much, she went again as a FLAS recipient. Having had such a transformative experience learning an indigenous language and culture, Enrique applied to the Peace Corps with the intent on working with indigenous populations in Latin America.

“I loved the culture, the story, and the history,” Enrique said. “I still use my Maya today when I talk to my friends.”

In applying for the Peace Corps, Enrique requested to work with indigenous populations in Latin America. She will officially get that chance as she accepted an opportunity to serve in Peru as a Peace Corp youth development facilitator. In this position, Enrique will also add a fifth language of Quechua to her already existing skills in Portuguese, Spanish, Maya, and English.

Although she has not yet graduated, Enrique is looking ahead. She hopes to eventually earn a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology after taking this spring’s APPLES Global Course Guanajuato. Enrique said the LTAM major gave her the flexibility to tailor her interests in the Maya region and Mexico, and pull from many departments for a well-rounded perspective. Overall, Enrique said the LTAM major is enriching to learning.

“Not only is LTAM one of the majors that will change your perspective, it will also subsequently change your heart,” Enrique said.

Thank you for speaking with us, Raina! We look forward to the great things you will do!
ABOUT FLAS@UNC

FLAS fellowships fund the study of less commonly taught languages and area studies coursework. This program provides academic year and summer fellowships to assist graduate students and advanced undergraduates in foreign language and area studies. The goals of the fellowship program include: (1) to assist in the development of knowledge, resources and trained personnel for modern foreign language and area/international studies; (2) to stimulate the attainment of foreign language acquisition and fluency; and (3) to develop a pool of international experts to meet national needs.

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In Memoriam: Dr. Henry Landsberger

Renown sociologist of Latin America Henry Landsberger passed away on February 1, 2017 at the age of 90.  Professor Landsberger graduated First Class Honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1948.  The following year he enrolled at Cornell University, where he completed his PhD in 1954 at the School of Industrial and Labor relations. Prior to his appointment to the faculty of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Landsberger taught at the Latin American Studies Center in Zurich and the University of Manchester. A scholar of known for his wide-ranging research interests, Professor Landsberger examined such varied themes as rural protest and peasant movements in Latin America, trade union movements, and the church and social change.  He served as President of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) between 1973 and 1974.

Professor Landsberger enjoyed a long and distinguished career at Carolina until his retirement in 1994.

The Latin Americanist community at Carolina mourns and laments his passing as we celebrate his life.

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