Campus & Community

Rockefeller Center’s program bridges Americas

5 min read

The Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies Program provides an opportunity for distinguished Latin Americans to teach at Harvard for one semester in any field.

The RFK Visiting Professors are teaching such diverse areas as liberation theology, educational equity, human rights, and ethnic studies. With their presence, six new courses have been created across the University. Among the special activities is the RFK lecture, “Three Perspectives on the Future of Mexico,” 4:30 p.m., Nov. 6, at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

Since its founding in 1994, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) has been bringing distinguished scholars of Latin America to Harvard through its administration of the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor Program and the DRCLAS Program of Visiting Scholars and Fellows. In addition to the three RFK Visiting Professors, there are six visiting scholars and fellows currently in residence at the center, conducting research on issues ranging from the conflict in Chiapas to Brazilian immigrants in the Boston area, from “dollarization” in Ecuador to concepts of citizenship in the Americas.

The three RFK Visiting Professors for this semester:

Enrique Dussel, a member of the faculty at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, is widely recognized as a leader in the study of philosophy and theology, with particular expertise on liberation theology. Dussel has written more than 50 books on theology and history, and has taught at institutions including the University of Notre Dame and Duke University. He is in residence at Harvard Divinity School and is teaching two courses, World History and Christian Ethics and A Critique of Political Reason and Will.

Carlos Muñoz-Izquierdo, a professor of education at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, is now in residence at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Muñoz-Izquierdo studies the determinants of educational inequality in Mexico and has focused on issues of education and equity in Latin America. His publications include several books on the relationship between education and social inequality, and education policy and planning. Muñoz-Izquierdo is teaching the course Research Paradigms: Analyzing Educational Inequalities in Latin America and a seminar on educational reforms titled “Lessons from the Mexican Experience.”

Rodolfo Stavenhagen is an anthropologist who is currently on the faculty at the Colegio de Mexico, having taught at academic institutions all over the world. His research interests include human rights, ethnicity, and culture. Stavenhagen has also played an important advisory role in the Chiapas peace negotiations. He is now teaching two courses in the Department of Anthropology, Peasants, Indians, and Activists in Latin America and Ethnic Conflicts, Nation States, and the Politics of Identity.

The following are DRCLAS Visiting Scholars and Fellows for the fall 2000:

Todd Eisenstadt, from the United States, is assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire, where he teaches comparative politics and international relations. He will be finishing a book manuscript titled “Courting Democracy in Mexico: Political Parties, Adjudication of Post-Electoral Disputes, and Political Opening.” Eisenstadt is also directing a multiyear project sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development titled “Transparency of Mexico’s Subnational Electoral Institutions: A Comprehensive Research and Training Program,” which involves researchers in six of Mexico’s regions.

Gastón Gordillo, the de Fortabat Visiting Scholar from Argentina, is a cultural anthropologist who has done extensive research on indigenous groups and written widely about related subjects affecting indigenous communities in Argentina. His latest project is titled “The Production of Memories of State Repression: Indigenous Voices from the Argentine Chaco.”

Alvaro Guerrero Ferber is a visiting fellow who served as the former chairman of the board at the National Council for Modernization (CONAM) in Quito, Ecuador. While at CONAM, he implemented state reforms and served as a member of the presidential cabinet. During his time at DRCLAS, Guerrero Ferber is doing research on the process of “dollarization” in Ecuador and other public sector reforms.

Erika Pani is the Fundación México en Harvard/Madero Visiting Scholar. She is a Latin American historian who focuses on 19th century Mexico. This fall, Pani is doing research on constructing political citizenship in the new world, Mexico, and the United States, 1776-1917.

Teresa Sales, the Lemann Visiting Scholar from Brazil, is a professor of sociology at the University of Campinas and member of the editorial board of Travessia — Revista do Migrante at the Center for Migration Studies. As a visiting scholar at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1995-96). Sales studied Brazilian immigrants in the Boston area, leading to the publication of the book “Brasileiros Longe de Casa” (“Brazilians Far From Home”). At DRCLAS, Sales is furthering her research on this subject and works closely with the Harvard Immigration Project.

Carlos Tello Díaz has written extensively for various publications both inside and outside his native Mexico. His 1995 book, “La Rebelión de las Cañadas,” recalls the events that resulted in the indigenous uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. Tello Díaz is spending his semester at Harvard expanding the text for a new edition of the book on Chiapas and is also working on a travel book about the Lacandón Rainforest in Mexico.