Yucatec Maya students make connections

The Level 2 students of the Yucatec Maya  Institute deepened their knowledge of the continuity between ancient and contemporary Maya culture last week through an excursion to the archeological sites of Uxmal and Mayapán.  They were joined by a group of students studying Education and Migration under Dr. Patricia Baquedano-López of the University of California at Berkeley. The trip was enriched by the contributions of archeologist Felipe Chan Chi, whose family has lived alongside the Uxmal site for generations and who offered privileged insight into the purpose, function, and symbolism of the historic structures, and by Dr. Juan Castillo Cocom, who made a surprise appearance at Mayapan to explain how oral accounts of ancient events serve competing power interests today. The day’s activities fostered unique conversations about the conditions under which the Yucatec Maya language has developed and continues to flourish.

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Angela Stuesse (Anthropology) awarded 2017 C.L.R. James Award and 2016 Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Prize

Angela Stuesse (Anthropology) received the Working-Class Studies Association C.L.R. James Award for Published Books for Academic or General Audiences and the Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Prize for her book Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016.)

 

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Cynthia Radding (History) awarded Fulbright-García Robles Senior Scholar Fellowship

Cynthia Radding, Gussenhoven Distinguished Professor, was awarded a Fulbright-García Robles Senior Scholar Fellowship to complete her book project, “Bountiful Deserts: Environment, Nutrition, and Cultural Resilience in Arid Lands.” She will be in residence in Mexico City during Academic Year 2017-2018, where she is affiliated with the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. During May-August 2018, she will be in residence with a fellowship at the John Carter Brown Library of Brown University.

 

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From the Director: Academic Year 2016-2017 in Review

Louis A. Pérez is the J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History and the Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

As the tempo of academic life at Carolina slows into “summer mode,” we pause to reflect upon the accomplishments of the past year with a rightful sense of satisfaction. We are especially pleased to announce that during the academic year 2016-2017, the Institute for the Study of the Americas has awarded more than $250,000 in the form of grants, fellowships, and stipends to support undergraduate education, graduate-student research, graduate-student recruitment, language training, travel, and faculty development projects. The study of Latin America is indeed flourishing in Chapel Hill and in the aggregate makes for a vibrant environment of innovative research and professional engagement.

Global Take Off: Puerto Rico program offers first-year students a fully-funded opportunity to participate in a first-time travel experience.

ISA initiatives have continued to increase in numbers and expand in scope. The breadth of interest in Latin America at Carolina has served as the basis for a number fruitful collaborative projects on the basis of shared goals and common purpose. These have involved multiple and multifaceted activities across the College and throughout the University, within the humanities and social sciences, and the development of wider collaborative networks with the professional schools. The success of the activities during academic year 2016-2017 serves to sustain the pursuit of best practices in undergraduate education, graduate training, faculty research, and outreach initiatives.

ISA joined with the Center for Global Initiatives, the Stone Center for Black Culture and History, and the University of Puerto Rico in support of the Global Take Off: Puerto Rico Program. The open-access program offers first-year students a fully-funded opportunity to participate in a first-time travel educational experience. Twelve students participated in this year’s study program organized around the theme of food security in Puerto Rico.

ISA has also joined with the Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine in Cuba to support the development of collaborative projects dealing with teaching, graduate student training, and faculty research.

Under the auspices of the Consortium, Duke and UNC hosted the very successful 64th annual meeting of the Southeastern Conference of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS) in March 2017. The 2017 Conference was one of the best attended SECOLAS programs in recent years, and included 265 registered participants from 22 states. A total of 66 panels addressed a diverse Latin American topics within the social sciences, humanities, and health sciences.

The City of Sanford awarded keys to Latino Migration Project Director Dr. Hannah Gill and Building Integrated Communities (BIC) Researcher and Coordinator Jessica White (pictured second from right) in recognition of the statewide BIC initiative.

In the course of the past year, ISA has continued to sponsor a variety of speaker programs designed to provide a venue for scholars from both within the University and beyond, including the Faculty Lecture Series, Latin America Speaker Series, and the Federico Gil Lecture Series. In this regard, we are especially gratified to announce the inauguration in 2017 of the George and Anne Platt Distinguished Lecture Series. The Series is designed to bring to Carolina annually a distinguished scholar of Latin American and/or Latino/a studies. This year’s inaugural scholar was Professor Vicki Ruiz, Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California at Irvine, who spoke on the subject of “Why Latino History Matters to U. S. History.”

In 2017, the Latino Migration Project (LMP) celebrated its tenth anniversary, providing research and public education about Latin American migration and integration in North Carolina. Some accomplishments this year include the expansion of staff capabilities with a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, new partnerships with Chapel Hill and Siler City to create municipal immigrant integration plans, and the tenth Guanajuato trip as part of APPLES Global Course Guanajuato. LMP was recipient of the National League of Cities’ City Cultural Diversity Award, and the Key to the City of Sanford. The NEH-Funded New Root Oral History initiative, a collaborative project with the University Libraries and the Southern Oral History Program, was recipient of the 2016 Elizabeth B. Mason Award from the Oral History Association.

Students (above) participated in the tenth APPLES Service-Learning Global Course Guanajuato taught by Hannah Gill

Important outside funding this past year has served to support important facets of ISA programs. An award from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for $118,000 has provided the Latino Migration Project (LMP) vital support for the expansion the Building Integrated Communities (BIC) initiative. BIC assists municipal governments in North Carolina in working with foreign born residents to promote economic development, enhance multi-cultural communication, and improve community relationships.

ISA also acknowledges with appreciation the receipt this past year of a generous gift of $50,000 for the creation of the Director’s Fund for Excellence in Latin American Studies. The fund was formed to support the strategic priorities of the Curriculum of Latin American Studies, including but not limited to faculty and student support, public lectures, and program events.

It is with pleasure that we welcome Joanna Shuett to our corner of the Third Floor in the Global Education Center. Joanna has assumed the position of Department Manager and within just a few months has established a welcoming and efficient presence within ISA. We wish also to welcome Jessica White to Latino Migration Project to assume the new position of Research and Program Manager of Building Integrated Communities. We are delighted to have Jessica with us.

Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz

Hannah Gill

Several notable accomplishments were registered within ISA in the course of the past year. The accomplishments of Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz and Hannah Gill–long recognized within the community of Latin Americanists at Carolina–have been recognized by the University community at large. Beatriz received the University Award for the Advancement of Women, given by the office of Chancellor, in recognition of her contributions on behalf of women at Carolina, including mentorship of young professionals, years of leadership and advocacy of policies and cultures affecting women faculty, staff, and students. She has been an influential leader in collaborative efforts among area-study centers in the expansion of global education in North Carolina and Latin American Studies nationally.

Hannah was recognized for her years of engaged teaching and her commitment to the APPLES Service-Learning Global Course Guanajuato. Hannah was recipient of the 2017 Office of the Provost Public Service Award for Engaged Teaching. The annual spring semester course serves to train bilingual students to understand the contemporary and historical complexities of immigration through research, service-learning with immigrants in North Carolina and travel to communities of migrant origin in Guanajuato, Mexico.

2016-2017 graduating class of LTAM majors

We are delighted to congratulate the 2016-2017 graduating class of LTAM majors: Verónica Aguilar, Iris Chicas, Raina Enrique, Luis Daniel González Chávez, Lauren Groffsky, Jacqueline López, Michael Olson, Laura Ornelas, Damaris Osorio, Diego Suárez Salazar, and Jackson McKenna Wright. ISA extends its warmest best wishes for their continued success.

We end this review of academic year 2016-2017 to reflect on the personal and professional loss with the passing of Shelley Clarke. Shelley was vital a presence in all our endeavors for almost two decades. The lives of three generations of LTAM majors and two generations of graduate students were enhanced and their projects enabled through Shelley’s efforts. We will–and we do–miss Shelley–but the impact of her presence at ISA and the Latin Americanist community will endure for years to come. We celebrate her presence, the life she lived among us, and the ways she enriched the lives of almost everyone with whom she shared so much of herself.

 

Lou Pérez
June 2017

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Former LTAM major Jackie López featured in “Amateur archivists”

Fourteen high school students listened attentively as University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill anthropologist Gabrielle Vail invited them to examine letters, drawings, photos, diaries, codices, newspapers and other Maya materials from the Southern Historical Collection in Wilson Library.

It was also a great experience for two Carolina undergraduate students who served as mentors. Jacqueline López was a senior pursuing a double major in Latin American studies and public policy. She spent six weeks in Yucatán in 2015 and worked with the students on learning Yucatec Maya.

“I didn’t start developing the tools to explore my own culture until I arrived at UNC,” said López, a first-generation college student. “To help them do that earlier in their careers has been so rewarding.”

Read the article in its entirety here: http://college.unc.edu/2017/05/30/amateur-archivists/

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Congratulations to the class of 2017!

LTAMgraduates

Congratulations to our graduates! We look forward to the great things you will do.

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Guarani Linguistics in the 21st Century

guariniWe are pleased to share the work of ISA faculty member, Bruno Estigarribia. The associate chair, department of romance studies assistant professor of Hispanic linguistics has a book to be published by Brill in the Brill’s Studies in the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (BSILA) series. His book (co-edited with Justin Pinta), “Guarani Linguistics in the 21st Century,” bring together a series of state-of-the-art linguistic studies of the Guarani language.

Guarani is the only indigenous language of the Americas that is spoken by a non-indigenous majority. In 1992, it achieved official status in Paraguay, with Spanish. Current language planning efforts focus on its standardization for use in education, administration, science, and technology. In this context, it is of paramount importance to have a solid understanding of Guarani that is well-grounded in modern linguistic theory. This volume aims to fulfill that role and spur further research of this important South American language.

We hope you will enjoy!

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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

intimations

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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