Greetings from Donna Goldstein, New Director, LASC 2014-2015
September 24, 2014
Dear Latin American Studies Center (LASC) Colleagues,
Welcome back to the Fall Semester 2014. My name is Donna Goldstein, and in August 2014, I became the director of the Latin American Studies Center at CU Boulder. I wanted to introduce myself to you as well as give you a brief preview of some of the things the Latin American Studies Center is planning for the coming year.
I am a cultural and medical anthropologist and professor in the Anthropology department. I have worked, lived and carried out field research in Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina. My current work engages with a broad range of themes within medical anthropology and the anthropology of science that include: pharmaceutical politics; environmental damages and toxicities and the health of individuals, communities, and populations; science under neoliberalism; and the history of genetics and nuclear energy. I am currently developing a collaborative research project with colleagues at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Brazil and at CU, including scholars in the natural and social sciences. We are about to begin research on a pilot project that investigates issues related to the health of populations living proximate to the Angra nuclear complex in Brazil.
I sincerely hope that your summer was excellent and that it provided the appropriate context for rest and regeneration that is much needed by all after the long school year.
This is my first semester directing the Latin American Studies Center, and I am pleased to take on this position from Lorraine Bayard de Volo. Our goal as a Center is to continue to support Latin American research, scholarship, and related activities on the CU campus. LASC is fortunate to have a line for the position of Graduate Research Assistant, and this year we are pleased to announce that Dani Merriman has agreed to take the position. Dani is a PhD student in anthropology and will be doing research on violence, history, and memory in Colombia in the near future. We are grateful for her contributions in this crucial transitional year.
There have been some institutional changes that have taken place this year. LASC will be supported with part-time administrative personnel that it will share with CARTSS (Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences). LASC and CARTSS are working together in the process of hiring for this position and we feel that this support will ultimately help LASC grow its programs and responsibilities—albeit slowly. Our budget within the College of Arts and Sciences is small, but we are currently seeking additional external funding. To date, we are continuing to fund activities on campus through co-sponsorship, as well as funding small Research Clusters of scholars working on common themes. In the past we have supported the following constituents: Graduate Student Research Cluster, Brazil-U.S. Network for Environment, Society, and Governance Cluster, Research Cluster on Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and the LASC-ALF Working Group. Scholars in these groups have organized lectures and film screenings, shared and discussed drafts of writing projects, and formed interdisciplinary research and writing collaborations. We plan to support new Research Clusters this coming year and we will be sending out a Call for Proposals soon. We will also continue to be an information gathering and sharing organization that tracks and supports the many Latin America related activities on campus and beyond.
Our vision is one that includes enhancing collaborations, research, and scholarship in the broadest manner, and to that end we are currently seeking funding to provide research and travel grants to scholars of Latin America. We are now in the process of applying for the Tinker Foundation’s Field Research Grants and we hope to be successful and to make these additional sources of support available to graduate students working in the region. At the same time, we hope to be able to offer modest start-up seed grants for faculty working in Latin America.
LASC has survived on a shoestring budget and good will during the last three years. I wanted to take this moment to personally thank Rob Buffington and Lorraine Bayard de Volo—and the students and staff who worked with them—for enabling LASC to grow and thrive during these lean years! While we don’t know what the future may bring, we hope that we can continue to slowly grow and expand the reach and program building we have begun and to remain organized as a community of Latin American scholars.
Donna M. Goldstein
The mission of the Center for Latin American Studies is to provide an institutional space for research, teaching and discussion on Latin America at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Its general purpose is to bring together CU faculty, students and visiting scholars interested in Latin American issues: recognizing the diversity of their interests and approaches; supporting their research, teaching, and studies; and strengthening their links with Latin America and with communities of Latin American origin in the United States.