2017-18 Tinker Grantees

News Release, May 30, 2017—The Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies recently announced  seven graduate students as the recipients of its first Tinker Field Research Grants. Tinker Field Research Grants are open to students across all academic disciplines and graduate degree programs to assist master’s and doctoral students with travel and field-related expenses for brief periods of field research in Latin America. 

Also, three graduate students will receive CLLAS Graduate Student Grants for research projects to be carried out over the summer.

Additionally, Kristin Yarris, assistant professor in the Department of International Studies, will direct a CLLAS Faculty / Collaborative Grant Project with two graduate students and community organization Centro LatinoAmericano.

Award winners and their projects are listed below.

2017-18 Tinker Grant Awardees

  • “Uses of the Copal Tree in Zapotec Oaxaca: Ritual and Economy.”
    Timothy Herrera, Department of Anthropology. This collaborative project with two Zapotec communities along with Dr. Alejandro Avila from el Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, explores the multiple ways that Zapotec and Zapotec-descendent artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico, conceptualize and consume the copal tree, known as Bursera spp, in a rapidly growing globalized world. This project seeks to explore how meaning is read into the material world through consumption, economy, and ritual. Finally, my project seeks to illuminate whether or not the consumers of copal are interested in and committed to preserving the species, and what practices are already being used to engage in reforestation and forest protection of Bursera spp


  • “Gender, Indigeneity, and Activism: An Intergenerational Look at Indigenous Women’s Organizing in Manaus, Brazil.”
    Emily Masucci, Department of Anthropology. Through ethnographic research, I propose to explore the ways in which the indigenous women who comprise the Associação das Mulheres Indígenas do Alto Rio Negro (AMARN), in Manaus, Brazil, navigate the critical juncture created by their shift from domestic labor roles to activism and politics. One defining commonality among many of the members in AMARN is the transition from working in the domestic labor sector, as housekeepers, nannies, and elder care workers, to working as full-time activists, teachers, students, and community leaders. Considering the formative nature of this transition, this study considers how female indigenous activists have experienced this change and how it has, in turn, shaped their activism. More broadly this research addresses questions about the ways in which ethnic identities and strategies of organizing are shaped by shifts in gendered roles in local political economies.


  • “Transit Cities and Migrant Incorporation: The Haitian Crisis in Tijuana.”*
    new title: “Contemporary Displacement Patterns and Responses: Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico Border.”
    Brenda Garcia Millan, Department of International Studies. Tijuana is currently impacted by the massive arrival of Haitian people who seek asylum in the United States. The influx of Haitians to Tijuana is a consequence of the 2010 post-earthquake displacement to Brazil and the Brazilian political crisis of 2016. My research analyzes the incorporation of Haitian displaced people to the city of Tijuana. Drawing from a socio-political framework, I argue that the structural changes that occur in the migrants’ places of departure and settlement impact the experiences of displacement and incorporation.


  • “Neoliberalism, “Globalization” and Its Alternative: A Parallel Internationalism.”
    Eli Portella, Department of Philosophy. This project focuses on one particular case of parallel internationalism: Cuban internationalism. Cuban support of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, among the more well-known of these endeavors, is still underrepresented in the scholarly literature. This represents a distinct model for a collaborative internationalism which is qualitatively different from that of the multinational business practices and market relations characteristic of neoliberalism. Other scholars in Latin American Studies have proposed this collaborative model as an “alternative globalization” on the basis of Cuba’s “health internationalism.” However, in order to theorize a more complete alternative model of internationalism, research on other Cuban internationalist projects is necessary. This project, therefore, functions in two ways: first, to bridge a significant research gap in the field of Latin American Studies as well as the subfield of Cuban Studies, and second, to intervene in U.S.-based scholarly literature on neoliberalism to reflect the insights from an alternative model of internationalism. In other words, this project will produce both historiographical work as well as conceptual tools in the hopes of a meaningful enrichment of the scholarly literature on neoliberalism.


  • “Indigenous Community Responses to Extractivism in the Bolivian Lowlands.”
    Evan Shenkin, Department of Sociology. After decades of struggle, indigenous peoples of the Bolivian lowlands began to receive official communal land titles to their ancestral territories. The success of indigenous Original Communal Lands in addressing social and environmental needs has been mixed, with extractivist interests threatening the viability of protected territories, most in the TIPNIS conflict. My project examines indigenous community responses to external territorial threats in the Guarayos TCO (Tierra Comunitaria de Orígen) in the Department of Santa Cruz, a frontier region experiencing rapid deforestation in the Bolivian Amazon. I analyze the strategies indigenous communities use to resist extraction and advocate for territorial integrity and resource conservation.


  • “Decolonial bodies: La Entrada Folclórica del Gran Poder in Bolivia.”
    Javier Velasco, Department of Romance Languages. My object of research is the Bolivian “Fiesta,” which I analyze regarding one of its components: La entrada folclórica (the folklore parade) that happens every year at the festival of Gran Poder in La Paz. La entrada is an aesthetic event with political resonances and becomes the central attraction in the festive calendar. For some years now, Bolivian scholars, mainly from the San Andrés University in La Paz, have been developing the idea of “decolonization of the body,” a notion in which decolonization, as a process, focuses on alternative fictional projects that concentrate the analysis in nonverbal manifestations as dances, cinema, and photography, among others. Decolonizing the body is the idea of everyday experience of living coming back to the subject’s body, as a place where social meanings are permanently resignified. I believe that la entrada, as a performative manifestation, has a strong connection to this idea because it is mainly a discourse of the body, moving, dancing and acting during the festive celebration.


  • “The Geneaology and Poetics of Betrayal in H.G. Oesterheld.”
    Yosa Vidal-Collados, Department of Romance Languages. My dissertation project addresses the question of traición/tradición (betrayal/tradition) in literature of the Southern Cone and its development within the larger context of the military dictatorships in Chile and Argentina. My corpus deals with novels by contemporary writers, such as Ricardo Piglia’s Respiración Artificial, Roberto Bolaño’s Amuleto, and the graphic novel by Hector Oesterheld, El Eternauta (Oesterheld himself a victim of the military regime in 1977). I will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in order to compile the necessary archival material to develop the first chapter in my dissertation, provisionally titled “The Poetics of Betrayal in H.G Oesterheld.”