Travel Grant Recipients 2022-23

Natalie Cisneros

“In February 2023, with funding from the David Scott Palmer Grant, I was able to travel to Washington D.C. to conduct archival research at the Library of Congress, where I gained access to resources and reading materials held exclusively in the Main Reading Room, the Hispanic Reading Room, and the PALABRA Archive. The nine books I reviewed include a Kichwa language poetry book showcasing Indigenous worldviews and cosmologies, books emphasizing the complex performances and characteristics of urban Indigeneity in Ecuador, books tracing patterns of internal and transnational migration by Indigenous communities from Ecuador, and books that lay the groundwork for critical Indigenous and border studies. The findings of this archival research serve as a complement to the oral histories, interviews, and local embodied knowledge that shape the heart of my Honors Thesis about urban Indigenous communities across Ecuador and New York City. I am grateful to the Center for Latin American studies for supporting my ability to access resources that align with my methodological approach of sourcing materials that center Indigenous authors, scholars, and voices.”

Morgan Crago

“I used the funds from the grant for archival research at Princeton Theological Seminary’s special collections in Princeton, NJ, USA. Their special collections contain many documents regarding the Confederação Evangélica Brasileira and writings from several important Brazilian Protestant ecumenical leaders, and I used my days in the special collections to scan as many of these documents as possible, for my dissertation research.”


Kumera Genet

The Scott Palmer Travel Grant funding was truly transformative for my research and academic progression. I was able to leverage these funds in order to support domestic travel within Colombia in January 2023. I had previously received external funding that allowed me to travel to Bogotá, but did not have the necessary support to pay for fieldwork in the Colombian Pacific. I was able to fund hotel stays in the cities of Bahía Solano, Cali, and Buenaventura with the Scott Palmer Travel Grant funding.

During these fieldwork trips, I was able to document decimas (traditional black oral poetry and oral history performance) and alabaos (funeral songs) in Bahía Solano in the Pacific Department of Chocó. In Cali, I met with black researchers, historians, dancers, and musicians. These interlocutors helped me to find rare Afro Colombian recorded music and to secure local informants in the city of Buenaventura. I also was able to take lessons from local singers, dancers, and marimba players.

My visit to Buenaventura completely changed the course of my MA thesis. After spending two days in this city, I decided to reorient my MA thesis and research project towards the local history of Buenaventura. My trip in January was so successful that I decided that I must return to Colombia in the Spring 2023 in order to follow up with the new contacts that I made. In March 2023 I was able to:

  • represent Boston University and facilitate a conference presentation at the University ICESI in Cali. I presented as a guest of the Music Department and the Center for Afrodiasporic Studies. My presentation was on the Ethiopian music and ethnic politics in the Horn of Africa, which is a rare topic in Spanish
  • I returned to Buenaventura in March 2023 and conducted deeper ethnographic research including (7) interviews with local elder musicians and grassroots historians, I recorded (5) videos of decima poetry by an elder poet
  • I have also organized a network of Colombian musicians, scholars, and culture workers who I have began to work with in collaboration on different research projects. These contacts are in Bogotá, Cali, and Buenaventura

Leah Olivo

“The funds from the Scott Palmer Grant were used for the flight to Santo Domingo. While on this trip, I was able to to visit multiple museums and document the art that is available at each institution, as well as obtain contact information for the museum for future research. I also visited other cultural locations in Santo Domingo and documented the art on public display, including the Plaza de la Cultura Juan Pablo Duarte and the Colonial City.”


Zachary Sherman

“In March 2023, I went to Havana, Cuba to study the religious leadership and dynamic of the Havana Jewish community. As a result of the funding from the Palmer Grant, I was able to visit Temple Beth Shalom of Havana to interview the congregants and attend Shabbat services. I was also able to partner with BU Hillel to do a medical supplies fundraiser and bring those supplies to the synagogue in Havana. In addition, the Palmer Grant funding allowed me to visit Viñales and Varadero to interact with Cuban Jews who live outside of Havana. I am grateful to both Pardee and the Center for Latin American Studies for having funded me to pursue my passions for Migration Studies and the Jewish diaspora.”


Samantha Nadel

he funds were used to cover most of the cost of a round-trip flight between Boston and Mexico City. While in Mexico, I achieved multiple important milestones in my dissertation research. First, I selected artifacts from collections held in Tlaxcala for future analysis of their chemical residues. Then, I returned to the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where I excavated my buried experimental materials. I re-analyzed these materials, and my analysis demonstrated that ceramic and ground stone tools used to process cochineal will maintain residues of carminic acid, even after being buried in a semi-tropical environment for one year. (Pictures of this stage of analysis are attached.) After this, I used my same methods to analyze the 18 artifacts I selected from Tlaxcala for chemical residues. Furthermore, throughout my time in Mexico, I visited several museums of popular and Indigenous culture to better understand the extent to which people today are using cochineal in their artwork.


Jorge Sanchez

The David Scott Palmer Research Scholarship gave me the opportunity to travel to Argentina this past summer. While I was in Buenos Aires, I was able to interview several contemporary Latin American women writers that are actively disrupting the literary canon with their works. Talking with them about my project, about Latin American literature and about the current issues that marginalized groups confront was a profound experience. It was also very compelling to hear Ana María Shua and Liliana Heker say they loved how I knew their works even better than themselves, yet they offered insights that I could not have gained without the opportunity to sit with them for hours over coffee. On the other hand, Vera Giaconi and Agustina Bazterrica were extremely grateful that their work is a core part of my dissertation, and that I am advocating for a new literary tradition that sheds light into women writers. Meeting them in their favorite writing places and bookstores allowed me to experience their society and context and integrate that into my research.