Kathleen Myers studies cultural and religious geographies that impact people’s ideas about history and identity. Her work spans both the colonial and contemporary periods and both sides of the Atlantic. She first became interested in history and culture as an undergraduate at Ripon College, when she studied in Madrid for a year. As a graduate student in Hispanic Studies at Brown University, she discovered an unpublished autobiography written by a nun in colonial Mexico, which would become the basis of her first books. Dr. Myers arrived at Indiana University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 1986, never suspecting at the time that she would fall in love with IU, its students, and Bloomington. In her most recent book, In the Shadow of Cortés: Conversations along the Route of Conquest, Dr. Myers interviews Mexicans from all walks of life about their interpretations of the Spanish conquest and finds that their views are closely linked to ideas about contemporary U.S. geographical and cultural conquests. Her current project is an exploration of a different kind of historical route; she is studying ancient and contemporary shepherding routes in Spain, and their influence on issues of cultural identity and ecological sustainability. As a teacher, Dr. Myers enjoys developing new courses: for example, a recent graduate course, “Conquest, Colonization, and Contemporary Mexico,” paired foundational texts from the colonial period with contemporary discourses about colonialism. A new undergraduate Latin American Culture course was taught as a practicum, focusing on how race and indigenous culture are portrayed to the general public via museum exhibits and popular culture. When she isn’t writing or teaching, Dr. Myers enjoys time with family and friends exploring Southern Indiana’s hiking routes and waterways.
Undergraduate Student SpotlightDan Kreider is a senior graduating in May 2019 majoring in International Studies and Hispanic Linguistics with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In 2017, Dan spent four months in Quito, Ecuador where he studied Ecuadorian arts, society, and politics. In the summers of 2017 and 2018, he worked as an intern for the National Immigrant Justice Center in Goshen, Indiana. Through this work, Dan developed a passion for serving the Central and South American immigrant population. At Indiana University, he volunteered for three semesters with La Escuelita para Todos where he had the opportunity to tutor Latino youth in the community, developing their Spanish and English language skills. This year, Dan is conducting senior thesis research on anti-immigrant discourse in Ecuador with regards to the Venezuelan refugee crisis. After graduation, he plans on pursuing a career in non-profit work with Latin America and the Caribbean.
Graduate Student Spotlight
Ben Fowler is a Ph.D. student in the Jacobs School of Music.
The View from El Castillo de Chapultepec
Chapultepec castle, whose construction began in 1785, is situated on a hill that overlooks a beautiful woodland. Chapultepec is Nahuatl for “grasshopper hill” because of the plentiful inhabitants. This hill and castle have been the site for many historic moments occurring during several different epochs of Mexican history. Chapultepec is a national symbol to Mexico because six brave children defended the castle against invading U.S. forces during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). It is also the inspiration for which Manuel M. Ponce and Carlos Chávez wrote musical compositions depicting its beauty.
Both Composers wrote an orchestral suite entitled Chapultepec and both compositions have reflected on different meanings this place evokes. Ponce’s Chapultepec uses French techniques with old Nahuatl melodies while Chávez employed martial rhythms that signal the military association it holds. Both of these takes on Chapultepec are based on historical accuracies because France invaded Mexico and imposed an emperor who lived at Chapultepec and for a time the castle served as a military college. All of this points to the diversity and richness to which Mexican musicians turned for inspiration! The Tinker Foundation Field Grant permitted me to explore these places that have inspired great music and to visit archives where the autograph scores reside. Dividing my time between historic sites and historic archives, I’ve been able to dive directly into the culture and music that has pervaded Mexico for centuries. Many thanks to CLACS and for the funding that has made this possible!
Christine Salinas is an IU alum and was a CLACS student from 1997-1999. After graduating, she knew she wanted to educate kids about Latin American history. She went on to design and teach elementary and middle school curriculum in Spanish and Latin American culture. After teaching in the classroom for ten years, she shifted careers to pursue education reform through nonprofit work. Now, Christine works in development where she raises money to close achievement gaps among low-income children, most of whom are Latino. She also volunteers as a Board Member of Young Dreamer Network, a nonprofit that funds high school and college education for promising teenagers in developing countries.
Among many things, her CLACS degree taught her how to write persuasively and sort through vast amounts of data. At work, she uses these tools on a daily basis. For example, when she works on a funding objective, she combs through compelling data and uses it to craft an approach that inspires prospective donors to give.
What does she miss about IU Bloomington? Mother Bear's Pizza!!