Travel Grant Recipients 2018-2019
The research I conducted with the support of the Center for Latin American Studies focused specifically on analyzing both ceramic materials and human remains found within a deposit recovered at the site of Xultun, Guatemala. The structure where these materials were excavated is the only known ancient Maya sweat bath with a preserved iconographic program. The results of the material analyses are now being added to iconographic and faunal analyses in order to tell the story of this structure’s use life, as well as the impacts of these data on our understanding of ancient Maya mythology. It is my conclusion that the deposit was a propitiatory offering to the figure depicted in the iconography and that this figure has both iconographic and ideological ties to various old goddesses known throughout Mesoamerica. Without the aid of the CLAS David Scott Palmer Student Travel Award, this scholarship would not have been possible.
My name is Laurie Garriga. I’m a PhD candidate from the Department of Romance Studies in Boston University, with a specialization in Hispanic Languages and Cultures. Last December I received the Scott Palmer Graduate Student Research Grant on Latin America in order to conduct research in Puerto Rico regarding Juan Ramón Jiménez’s archive, Sala Zenobia-Juan Ramón, which is located at the University of Puerto Rico’s General Library in Río Piedras. During my stay, between December and January, not only did I investigate in the Sala, but also there, with the help of Aura Diaz, it’s director, I was able to find important and original documents concerning Jiménez exile throughout the Americas.
While in Puerto Rico I also visited essential repositories that helped me outline the social and political climate that surrounded the Sala’s creation. In order to that, I did research on the personal papers of the island’s first elected governor (in office during Jiménez’ tenure in Puerto Rico) at the Luis Muñoz Marín foundation in Trujillo Alto. Furthermore, I investigated the documentation of the Centro de Investigaciones Históricas (Río Piedras), the General Archive and National Library (San Juan) and the Administrative Archive of the University of Puerto Rico. Thanks to the Scott Palmer Graduate Student Research Grant on Latin America and the research it has permitted me to conduct I have now a better understanding of the Jiménez transatlantic migration as well as Puerto Rico and its public University, as the space he donated his life works and his archive. The documentation I’ve gathered has eased the way I’m writing my dissertation and has cleared a few vital research questions I was confronting.
The Palmer Grant from the Center for Latin American Studies made it possible for me to go to Mexico in January to support Professor David Carballo’s community archaeology efforts in Tlajinga, Estado de Mexico. In pre-history, Tlajinga was a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Today, the area is a small town that is becoming absorbed into Mexico City’s sprawl. Carballo has excavated here over several years and has built relationships with neighbors and land-owners. On this trip, we conducted community outreach and held a neighborhood meeting, in which David and I and two other students led a “social mapping” exercise. Residents gathered around a detailed map of their community and customized it with detail on current land use, ownership, and sites for possible future excavation. I was able to use my social work and public health group facilitation skills and my familiarity with modern and ancient Mexico, to help the neighbors and the academics understand each other. The grant provided a unique opportunity for me to combine skill sets and interests of mine that seldom overlap.
The archival gathering for my research project—an index and editorial history of the Mexican political and literary periodical América (1940-60)—began while I was in Mexico City working on my dissertation this fall. There, I reviewed the issues of América exclusively held at the Colegio de Mexico Daniel Cosío Villegas library, the library of the Museo Nacional de Antropología, and the Hemeroteca Nacional. With the support of a David Scott Palmer research grant, I then traveled to Austin having reviewed 28 of the journal’s 74 issues. At UT Austin’s Benson Latin American Collection, I viewed and catalogued 41 more issues of América, including 16 held exclusively in the Benson collection. Now, I have viewed and catalogued all the issues findable in library/archive catalogs. (The missing 5 issues might be found through booksellers or in private collections, which I will investigate further.) Points of interest within the 41 issues I reviewed at the Benson collection include: the first contribution to the journal from Rosario Castellanos, my dissertation subject; a 1941 ad for bookstores in Mexico City that sold América; a 1945 editorial note on the journal’s changed mission; a 2-issue series focused on contemporary Mexican short stories; and the final issues of the journal, which provide insight on how and why its publication ceased. Because of my research trip to Austin, I now have a full picture of América’s growth and change in its 20 years of publication—and a nearly complete index of works published in its pages. My next steps are to write the editorial history of the journal, format the index for efficient reference, and—hopefully—publish the research.
Erica Danielle Wilson
All of my preconceived notions about Cuba were challenged by my study abroad experience. Cuba is considered by the United States to be a third world country. That was evidenced by the many decaying buildings in Havana and the excessive amount of family members living in one apartment due to a housing shortage, but other than that Cuba is extremely advanced. They are a leading exporter of medical supplies, they actively and effectively tackle issues such as racism and sexism and have incredible educational and medical systems. Further, Cuba’s state-supported art programs openly and boldly challenge issues such as politics, body image, and sexuality. There is lack in Cuba. Every citizen makes on average 25 US dollars a month, but Cuba is far more advanced than I was aware of.
As part of the scholarship granted by the Latin American Studies program, I was helped to travel Stockholm, Sweden to present at the IRSCL conference my paper “The Sounds and Utopias of the Mexican Children’s Avant-Garde,” in a panel focused on the role of institutions shaping childhood in different latitudes. This is a research I have been working on since last year, when I locate documents pertaining to the SEP’s radio station in Mexico. My paper explored the relationship of the Mexican avant-garde and their technologized vision of the country, within the context of post-revolutionary Mexico. This specific context was a time when nationalism, linked to a wider cultural tendency towards integration and citizenship, promoted the creation of viable child subjects for the nation. Presenting at this conference was a nourishing and fulfilling experience, one which provided me the opportunity to listen and dialogue with renowned scholars in the field. Similarly, I was able to learn from other perspectives and contrasting realities abroad more about how to understand or rethink childhood from our contemporaneity.
Mexico City, Mexico
Continuing a project, I have been developing over the past year, this time a returned to Mexico City to explore the periodical publications of “El Pulgarcito”, “El Murciélago”, “Fermín”, “El Maestro Rural” at the Hemeroteca Nacional de México. This research has been possible since their early stages through a scholarship the program of Latin American Studies granted me. In this research, I reviewed some of the similarities between many magazines during the XXth century in Mexico and the connection they had with the avant-garde movement, intellectuals and projects of national identity. Along with reviewing digitalized and physical editions, I had the opportunity to attend the Seminar of Mexican Children’s Literature in the UNAM, as well as talking with prof. Lilian Alvarez, who was extremely helpful in providing me the information and lectures that contextualize better this magazines, among other publications of the time. Indeed, this trip provide me with fundamental questions and material to develop the second part of this research in the Mexican Children’s Literature field of the XXth century.
I am a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Language and Literature at Boston University. In November 2018, I traveled to France conduct fundamental archival research for my doctoral studies with the support of the Center for Latin American Studies. There, I worked with the archive at the Université de Toulouse, France, where I had access to materials about the circulation and reception of Latin American literature in Europe. My stay was very productive, due to the documents that have been collected by L’IPEAT, Institut Pluridisciplinaire pour les Études sur les Amériques à Toulouse and the Centre d’Études Ibériques et Ibéro-américaines à Toulouse, and the Centre de Documentation sur l’Amérique Latine à Toulouse.
Thanks to this research stay, I had access to a valuable core of materials as French translations, “memorires d’ habilitation,” theses and doctoral dissertations, written at this institution in France. These materials allowed me to understand transatlantic academic dialogue and the relevance of translation into French: as a bridge that allowed Latin American literature to circulate in France and move across Europe. In addition to my research activities, I delivered a talk on Mexican literature and the performing arts, at the International Colloquia Le théâtre hors de lui: performativités politiques dans le contexte hispanique actuel at the Université de Toulouse. This talk was a relevant opportunity to present my current doctoral research to a specialized audience in European academia.