Latin American Studies Essay Contest Winners!

Latin American Studies Essay Contest

As a means of fostering the study and appreciation of Latin America at Boston University, earlier this spring the Center for Latin American Studies announced, on March 19, an essay contest with separate prizes for graduate and undergraduate students and separate juries for each competition. Gradaute essays were judged by David Colmenares, Assistant Professor of Spanish; Paul Hare, Professor of the Practice of International Relations in the Pardee School of Global Studies; Luis Menéndez-Antuña, Assistant Professor of New Testament at the School of Theology; and Veronika Wirtz, Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the School of Public Health. Undergraduate essays were judged by Michael Birenbaum Quintero, Associate Professor of Music in College of Fine Arts; Rodrigo Lopes de Barros, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Rachel Nolan, Assistant Professor of Interational Relations at the Pardee School, and Jeffrey W. Rubin, Associate Professor of History.

The competition was open to students in any concentration in any school or college of the University. The rules called for essays up to 3000 words, written in English, Portuguese, or Spanish, on any topic related to the societies and cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean as viewed from regional and global perspectives, as well as on Latinx topics. We were looking for essays that inform, engage, and entertain readers.

We were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response to the competition (we received 21 graduate and 33 undergraduate essays), reflecting the deep interest in Latin American Studies across the University, as well as by the high caliber of the essays submitted. The selection process was not an easy one for the juries!

A list of the winners and their essay titles follows:

Undergraduate Prize Winners

1st Prize
Anthony Aguirre (Political Science, 2021)
Mexican Deaths, Mexican Killers, U.S. Guns

2nd Prize
Samantha E. de Jesú (International Relations, 2021)
#RickyRenuncia, Reggaetón, and Puerto Rico’s Uncertain Political Future as of December 2019

3rd Prize
Bella Faber Rico (Psychology, 2023)
Seeds of Change: Fruit and Chicana Ecological Activism in Lorna Dee Cervantes’s Poetry

Honorable Mention
Max Crossan (Political Science and Business Administration, 2020)
The United States’ 21st Century Response to Cuban Medical Internationalism

Graduate Prize Winners

1st Prize
David Shames (PhD candidate, Hispanic Language & Literatures)
Seeing the City: Intellectuals and Visual Media in 1920s Mexico City

2nd Prize
Damaris Posadas (Master of Theological Studies candidate)
Buried in the Desert – Miriam Seen Through the Eyes of a Mujerista

3rd Prize
Cristina Hernandez (Master of Divinity & Master of Social Work candidate)
Coca in Every Day Life: An Exploration of the Life, Culture, and Beliefs of Indigenous Andeans through Traditional Coca Practice

Braden Marshall Clinger (PhD Candidate, Hispanic Language & Literatures)
“Mi Gauchito Gil”: Musical Reflections on a Folk Saint

Honorable Mention
Ana María Rodriguez Alfonso (Master of Divinity candidate)
Neomexicaneidad y el culto religioso de los concheros

Constanza Andrea Robles Sepúlveda (PhD candidate, History of Art & Architecture)
Faces of Memory: Public Space and Interventions in the Façade of Londres 38, Memory Site

Edgardo Tormos (PhD candidate, Hispanic Language & Literatures)
Reveling in Filth: Ecocriticism and Biopolitics in Independent Mexican Cinema of the 1970s

Francis Vanaria (PhD candidate, American & New England Studies Program)
Neoliberalism and Dialogism: ‘Alfonso Cuarón’s Sólo con tu pareja’

José Luis Nogales Baena (PhD candidate, Hispanic Language & Literatures)
War and Peace in Chiapas, or 1994-1996: Mexican Writers in the Face of the Zapatista Uprising

Karina Sembe (PhD candidate, Hispanic Language & Literatures)
The Natural Man: Biopolitics of Racialization in José Martí and Mario de Andrade

Sebastián Wanumen Jimenez (PhD candidate, Musicology and Ethnomusicology)
César López’s Escopetarra: Colombian Caringscape, Technologies and Apparatuses for Care

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