CLACS provides opportunities for M.A. and Ph.D. minor/certificate students to conduct field research in Latin America and the Caribbean, primarily through summer Field Research Grants. In exchange for receiving the grants, students agree to write brief summaries of their field research.
Findings from the Field
Pedro Guillermo Ramon Celis, Mexico, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology; Documenting Site Meanings and Land-use Practices in a Tehuantepec barrio: Foundations for Collaborative Archaeological Project.
During June and July of 2019, I have been documenting the relationship between people from Tehuantepec, a town located in southern Mexico and Guiengola, a mountain where the Zapotecs built a fortress during the 15th century. I will use this data to improve the methodology of my archaeological research at the archaeological site. The objective of this particular research is to understand the significance of the area for the local population, and with that in mind, elaborate an archaeological project meaningful for the Tehuantepec population.
Tori Collins, Mexico, MA Student, Department of International Studies; Women and Water in Mexico City.
My research in Mexico City seeks to describe how public and political actors talk about the host of water management issues in the city. Water scarcity, polluted water, and overexploited aquifers are an everyday concern in Mexico City. This issue, which is central to my research here, has affected my everyday life since I arrived a month ago. Immediately upon reaching the AirBnB apartment I would call home for two months, I learned that I must buy drinking water from a nearby bodega since tap water was too contaminated to use for drinking or cooking food.
Genoveva E. Di Maggio Ferraro, Uruguay, PhD Student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; A study of the Uruguayan Spanish discourse marker TÁ.
The research I am doing looks at forms of discourse markers such as “ta” in the Uruguayan Spanish. In all types of Spanish, there are different ways of connecting the discourse, which include a discourse marker such “luego” (Then) and “está bien” (Okay). The Spanish of Montevideo, Uruguay is especially interesting because there is an additional form of connective discourse: ta. My study is looking at the use of these forms of connectors and in what situations they are used.
Anna Lurito, Domincan Republic, PhD Student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; An analysis of implosive /s/ and compensation processes of following segments in the Dominican Republic.
I am in the Dominican Republic in the city of Santiago conducting research on how the loss or weakening of the letter “s” at the end of a word affects other letters/sounds in the Dominican dialect of Spanish. My research here in the Dominican Republic is a replication of a previous study from Puerto Rico to see if that pattern can be attributed to the Caribbean dialect, which shares many similar /s/ weakening patterns, or if that compensation of making the following consonant stronger is specific to Puerto Rico.
Daniel Runnels, Argentina, PhD Student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; Writing Against the State: The Limits of Anarchist Thought in Latin America.
My dissertation considers anarchism in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a mode of politics in Latin America in the early decades of the 20th century. In my work, I consider the anarchist political imagination in Latin America, given that anarchism was and remains an aspirational goal for many in Latin America. At the same time, I highlight what I see as some of its formal and ideological limits. My ultimate goal is to offer a productive critique that more fully recognizes the impact of anarchism in a number of Latin American litterary/cultural/political contexts.
Sacha Siani, Brazil, PhD Student, Department of Geography; The role of enforcing environmental laws in the Brazilian Amazon: a cross-scale analysis.
Thanks to support from Tinker Field Research Grant from CLACS-IU, I am spending three weeks in the Brazilian Amazon conducting field research for my dissertation. My PhD research aims to understand the role of monitoring and enforcement of forest laws on deforestation in the Amazon. Much of this debate has been largely limited to macro-analyzes, failing to benefit from data generated at the local level - data that can provide rich information on the contextual factors mediating the effect of monitoring and enforcement on deforestation.
Nathaniel Young, Mexico, MA Student, Latin American and Caribbean Studies and School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Queer Spirituality: A Comparative Look at Religious Organizations Affirming Sexual and Gender Diversity in Mexico.
My research trip to Mexico this summer was quite productive and illuminating. My research goal is aimed at discovering the societal and religious treatment of LGBT inclusion by attending many worship services, as well as several events aimed at improving religious inclusion for sexual and/or gender minorities. While there were certainly some salient themes from the interviews, participants in each city offered valuable and distinctive insight into both attitudes toward diversity among religious leaders and the firsthand experience of sexual and gender minorities within organized religion in Mexico.
Renzo de la Riva Aguero, Peru, PhD Student, School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Department of Political Science; Opening the black box: Explaining the mechanisms of municipal performance in climate change.
Classic explanations about organizational responses to climate change revolve around issues of political decision-making, governance and the policy process. Much of the research has been focused on the role of national governments and international organizations. Less research has been done to understand how local governance institutions and municipal management influence climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts in the developing world.
My goal is to explore these issues using insights from organizational theory that illustrate the value of looking inside the bureaucracy to understand the mechanisms public management characteristics and procedures inside municipalities in developing countries may affect the delivery of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
Shawn Conner, Brazil, PhD Student, School of Education; Comparative socio-legal analysis of social inclusion policies in Brazilian public universities.
My pre-dissertation research in São Paulo, Campinas, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the intersection of law, university governance, and social inclusion policies in the public higher education sector will be essential to clarify my dissertation topic, which I anticipate will be a critical examination of the divergent legal paths that social inclusion policies—in particular the legality of ethno-racial quotas—have taken in these two national contexts.
Nofiya Denbaum, Colombia, PhD Student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; The L2 Acquisition of Second Person Singular Forms of Address in the Study Abroad Context: The Case of Medellín, Colombia; Ye o ‘nay’? Perecptions about the segment /j/ in Spanish.
My research goal is to collect linguistic data from native Spanish speakers in Medellín, Colombia from May 9 to May 30, 2018. This data collection will be the first phase in a research project that will examine how second-language learners acquire dialectal variation of second-person-singular forms of address (2PS) in the context of study abroad. The main purpose is to examine if learners studying abroad are capable of acquiring usage of 2PS similar to that employed by native speakers.
Rosemary Motz, Peru, Latin Americam and Caribbean Studies and School of Public Health; An Assessment of Food Security in a Peruvian Quechua Community.
This study proposes to explore food security in the Quechua community of Cajamarquilla in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range of the Callejón de Huaylas, Peru. The objective of this research is to describe the food landscape of the community by exploring areas of need, establishing links to food limitations, and documenting food access points while also identifying the state of food security in the community. This research will facilitate understanding of food security development in Cajamarquilla and in communities with similar demographics and will establish a methodological framework for evaluating food security in the region.
Benjamin Fowler, Mexico, PhD Student, Jacobs School of Music; The Conservatorio Nacional de Música: A Cross Current of Music.
In the midst of uncertainty in nineteenth century Mexico, musicians and musical institutions found ways to flourish. The Conservatorio Nacional de Música was created, in 1886, because the Philharmonic Society aimed to foment a more musical culture. Its importance in the development of Mexico’s musical scene is firm, but its role in the development of the nation’s most important composers is not clearly understood.
A study of this opera might reveal a composer steeped in political expediency, something not well known at this point in time. Focusing on these topics will deepen the discussion on nineteenth-century Mexico and begin bring clarity to Melesio Morales, the man.
Chris Jillson, Nicaragua, PhD Student, Department of History; “We’re Not Trying to Throw Out the Government, but if It Falls, It Falls”: The Frente Sandinista and Neoliberalism, 1990-1996.
The proposed study is a historical investigation of the effects of neoliberalism on left-wing political parties and their supporters in Nicaragua.
My dissertation project examines the individuals within UNAG and the FSLN to answer the following research questions: How did left-wing organizations respond to challenges brought by globalization and neoliberalism? What internal and external forces pushed the FSLN into becoming a transformed political party, under the unchallenged rule of Daniel Ortega? Are there limits to legal or extra-legal challenges to neoliberalism and macroeconomic forces? The project builds upon a body of literature on labor organizing in Latin America by considering a period in Nicaraguan history which has so far been overlooked.
Casey Korducki, Dominican Republic, PhD Student, Department of History; Understanding the Opposition: the Dominican Republic, the PRD, and the Dictatorship with Popular Support.
My project examines the ideological development of Juan Bosch, the founder of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), and the public debate surrounding his rejection of liberal democracy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Party leadership focused on factionalism within the party overlooks how the public framed the collapse of the PRD, how the PRD interprets this period of their history, and the extent to which Bosch’s ideological shift shaped the country’s political future.
Juan Morilla Romero, Mexico, PhD Candidate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; A Shared Courage of Truth: From Journalists under Threat to Citizens Journalists in Mexico's Drug Wars.
My research goal is to obtain first-hand information about journalists who work under the permanent threat of violence to cover the drug wars, and to more clearly understand the diverse ways citizens are using the Internet and social media outlets to inform and keep themselves informed as the events unfold.
William Palomo, El Salvador, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Title: The Biography of Roque Dalton.
The details of Roque Dalton Garcia's extraordinary life have yet to be collected in a concise, readable biography meant to inspire future writers and activists and preserve his memory. In writing his biography in English, I will be granting a wider audience to Dalton’s writing and the political issues concerning this critical Central American country. My research will begin by collecting interviews and developing relationships with writers and revolutionaries associated with Roque Dalton. These interviews and relationships will supplement my academic research on Dalton’s life and will be crucial to writing Dalton’s biography.
Julio Alberto Ramos Pastrana, Mexico, PhD Student, Department of Economics; From Common to Private Property: Explaining the Evolution of Property Rights.
My dissertation aims to examine the factors that determine the choice of property institutions, in particular, the choice between common and private property. The land reform of 1992 allowed each of these communities (ejidos) to decide whether to continue as common property or transition towards private property. This voluntary shift in property rights will allow me to study the factors that conditioned their decision, shedding light on the conditions under which collective action is able to persist. I will explore the impact of this voluntarily decision by analyzing how geographical, socioeconomic and political factors shaped the ejidatarios’ decision(s).
Amanda Waterhouse, Colombia, PhD Student, Department of History; Modernization's Architects: U.S. International Development in Colombia, 1948-1971.
My research delves into US international development programs and social movements in Colombia during the early Cold War period, late 1940s through early 1970s.
It will investigate how Colombian students enrolled in the Architecture School at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, understood their own protest, and how other social movements resisted. Preliminary research indicates that indigenous communities may have been another site of Cold War contestation over agricultural development, especially in the Cauca Valley.
Julio César Zambrano Gutiérrez, Ecuador, PhD Student, School of Public and Environmental Affairs; The effects of Citizen Participation and Social Learning on the acquisition of Foreign Aid: The case of the Ecuadorian Municipalities.
My field trip in Ecuador had two main objectives: (1) Explore whether and how local Ecuadorian authorities apply collaborative governance recommendations through interviews and (2) to share my dissertation proposal research design with local authorities and academics for feedback and improvement suggestions. I'm studying whether different types of collaboration generate administrative innovations in the governance of local governments. I traveled to Ecuador with the idea that municipalities that have access to a larger number of channels for interacting with citizens should have more participatory mechanisms for generating innovative ways to address their responsibilities.