Each year, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) selects a number of distinguished scholars and professionals, many from Latin America, to spend a minimum of one semester at Harvard. While in residence, visiting scholars and fellows spend time working on their own research and writing projects, making use of the University’s extensive library resources, participating in the center’s conferences and seminars, and interacting with faculty and students. Many of the DRCLAS Visiting Scholars and Fellows are supported by endowed fellowships named in honor of the donor. In April 2004, the executive committee of the center selected visiting scholars for the 2004-05 academic year from a pool of 80 applicants.
Following is a list of the DRCLAS visiting scholars and fellows for the coming academic year:
Silvia Alvarez-Curbelo is the Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholar for the 2004-05 academic year. As one of Puerto Rico’s foremost historians, Alvarez-Curbelo joins the center from the University of Puerto Rico where she serves as the director for the Communications Research Center. She is the author of 11 books, as well as numerous articles and essays, about Puerto Rico’s culture, history, and identity. She has also worked on several film and television projects and is a frequent contributor to newspapers and periodicals. During her stay at Harvard, Alvarez-Curbelo will be working on a publication titled “War and Outpost Identity: A Puerto Rican army regiment during the Korean War (1950-1954).” Alvarez-Curbelo holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Puerto Rico.
Guy Brett is the Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar for spring term 2005. Internationally recognized as one of the most influential writers and thinkers on contemporary art, Brett occupies a distinctive position as an independent curator and critical historian of the visual arts. He has championed artists regularly left out of the “international surveys,” particularly artists from Latin America, whose importance within the history of modern art is now being fully acknowledged. During his stay at Harvard, Brett will develop the project “Three Interlinked Investigations into Art in Latin America, Between 1950 and 1980.” This project will investigate the notion of the “void” in the work of Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Mira Schendel, and other Brazilian and Latin American artists. His research will also explore the role played by the box format and the book format in Brazilian avant-garde art from 1960, and the differences in the origins of conceptual art in Latin America, the United States, and Europe in response to formal and sociopolitical concerns.
Kathleen Coll is the DRCLAS Visiting Scholar for the 2004-05 academic year. Coll is a lecturer in women’s studies at Harvard College and will also serve for 2004-05 as the acting director of studies for the Committee on Degrees in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. As a visiting scholar, Coll will continue work on her manuscript “Remaking Citizenship: Immigrants and New American Politics.” Her project draws on anthropology, history, and legal scholarship to address the important contributions of contemporary immigrants to the rejuvenation of U.S. citizenship theory and practice. This book project developed out of her doctoral dissertation research that focused on motherhood and community activism as transformational citizenship experiences for Latin American immigrant women. Coll holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University.
Fernando Coronil is the Cisneros Visiting Scholar for fall term 2004. Coronil’s first book, “The Magical State,” won wide acclaim for its study of Venezuela’s development from a weak, decentralized state into a dominant economic, institutional, and political force. The book draws on cultural anthropology, historical sociology, and political economy. While at Harvard, Coronil will work on a project titled “Political Transformation in Venezuela” using a series of events as its touchstone, most notably, the coup d’etat and subsequent reinstatement of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002. Coronil holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. A citizen of Venezuela, Coronil is currently associate professor in the anthropology and history departments, and director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program at the University of Michigan.
Elio Gaspari is the Lemann Visiting Scholar for spring term 2005. Gaspari is one of today’s most influential Brazilian columnists, writing for “Folha de São Paulo,” “O Globo,” and 10 other newspapers. Since the publication of his first volume on Brazil’s military regime, “A Ditadura Envergonhada,” he has been widely recognized as one of Brazil’s leading historians and journalists. Gaspari has thus far published four volumes on the history of Brazil’s dictatorial military regime including “A Ditadura Escancarada” and “A Ditadura Derrotada,” and more recently, “A Ditadura Encurralada” (to be released in June). During his stay at Harvard, Gaspari will be working on the fifth volume of this series, “A Ditadura Desmontada” (The Dictatorship Dismantled), which covers the period of 1978 through 1979.
Ernesto Torres-López is the Antonio Madero/Fundación Mexico en Harvard Visiting Scholar for the 2004-05 academic year. Torres-López was trained as an immunologist and microbiologist at the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. During his fellowship at Harvard, he will be based at the Medical School, and will collaborate with David M. Knipe, Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, on a herpes simplex virus vaccine. While at Harvard, in addition to his research project titled “Implementation of Advanced Viral Diagnosis Techniques in Mexico,” Torres-López will gain additional training at Harvard Medical School (HMS) for the opening of a virology laboratory at the Hospital Universitario of the Medical School at the Universidad Autónoma of Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico.
Oscar Peláez-Almengor joins the center as the Central American Visiting Scholar from the Universidad de San Carlos of Guatemala for the 2004-05 academic year. During his stay at Harvard, Peláez-Almengor will conduct research on “The Central American Entrepreneurial Elite” through the intersection of economy and state from 1980 to 2003. Since the late 1980s, much of his research focused on the role of the economic elite in the process of state formation. His work breaks with traditional studies, which generally focus on external hegemonic forces as determinants of the region’s economic foibles, and instead looks to internal factors to better explain the course of Central American economic history. Peláez-Almengor has written extensively on Guatemala and holds a Ph.D. from Tulane University.
Mariano Plotkin is the De Fortabat Visiting Scholar for fall term 2004. A widely respected historian of Argentina, Plotkin has authored six books on the country including “Mañana es San Perón: Propaganda, Rituales Políticos y Educación en el Régimen Peronista, 1946-1955,” and “Freud in the Pampa: The Emergence and Development of a Psychoanalytic Culture in Argentina.” During his stay at Harvard, Plotkin will be working on a project titled “Intellectuals, Social Sciences and the State: A Comparative Study of the Development of Sociology in Brazil and Argentina (1930-1985).” Plotkin holds a Ph.D. degree in Latin American history from the University of California, Berkeley.
María Clemencia Ramírez de Jara is the Santo Domingo Visiting Scholar for the 2004-05 academic year. She is senior researcher at the Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia, Bogotá. Her work explores the intersections of violence and identity through the lense of public policy and state/citizen relations. Ramirez de Jara will spend her time at DRCLAS writing on the issue of “Plan Colombia in the Colombian Amazon.” Ramírez de Jara holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard University.
Maria Rodriguez-Pinto is the Luksic Scholar for fall term 2004. She joins the center from the Universidad de los Andes in Chile where she currently serves as a civil law professor. During her stay at Harvard, Rodriguez-Pinto will be writing a monograph on the “Law of Conflicts of Interest, Self-Dealing, and Undue Influences in Contracts” from a comparative perspective, using Latin American and Anglo-American sources. Rodriguez-Pinto has written extensively on private law and received her doctorate of law from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.