Why LALACS? The Faculty’s Perspective

Posted on October 25th, 2017 by

Scott Ickes || Faculty in History

I love teaching the historical diversity of Latin America and deflating the common stereotypes of the region, and I love disrupting the self-serving narrative here in the U.S. of North American “success” versus Latin American “failure.” Latin American History for me is a fascinating theater of contrasts and similarities, of parallels and differences across the Americas. Students appreciate learning of the courage, achievement and ingenuity in the region in the face of adversity. I teach Latin America as a workshop on the world, to expose students to so much more of the human condition and the variety of political, cultural and economic landscapes in which they will soon be making their way. I feel very lucky to apply the history of the region to sharper understandings of how things work “here at home” and of each student’s place in our globalized world — and all this quite apart from the reality that “Latin” America has long been and is increasingly part of who we are here in the U.S.


Beatriz Torres || Faculty in Communication Studies

Being born in Argentina, migrating to Mexico and traveling throughout several Latin American countries deeply transformed what I know/understand about the rich cultural diversity of Latin America and had made me become a more conscious engaged citizen in the USA. I want to be able to help change the social, political and economic conditions that create health inequalities among the Americas.


Patric Giesler || Faculty in Sociology / Anthropology

Once Brazil entered my bloodstream during my Peace Corps days I was addicted. I am much more me in Brazil and in Latin America than anywhere else in the world. It is a love, a warmth, a connection and an intrigue that only increases with age. These are a people that touch others deeply and you don’t ever forget. In many ways, I am nothing. Period. Brazil and Latin America are life for me.


Suzanne Wilson || Faculty in Sociology / Anthropology

LALACS is key to understanding the current world. As an undergraduate I studied abroad in Colombia and fell in love with the region. This led me to study U.S. Drug Policy in Colombia and Latin America, a subject I teach and research today.


Angelique Dwyer || Faculty in Spanish

I first experienced the richness of Latin America as an undergraduate student in Mexico. I lived in a big house with students from Colombia, Puerto Rico and Argentina. The caleñas taught me how to dance salsa and the bogotanas illustrated the value of the phrase: “vámonos de rumba;” the boricuas introduced me to arroz con gandules while the cordobesas reminded me that Argentines simply don’t sleep. Later, that exploration of diversity and warmth of culture continued throughout graduate school in the Midwest, where I befriended peers from Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It was during these years and in the U.S. that I learned to understand both academically, as well as personally, the wealth and complexity of Latin America. Today, I teach and research Cultural Studies — no surprise from an American who happened to grow up in Mexico, right? — and thanks to all that dancing and “rumba” I focused my expertise on Performance Studies. And yet, there’s so much more to learn.


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