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Forum for Latin American Studies
2018 - 2019

Fall 2018 Talks

“An American Language: The History of Spanish in the United States,”
Dr. Rosina Lozano, Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University, Sep. 18th, 2018.

Dr. Rosina Lozano presented a part of her book An American Language: The History of Spanish in the United States, which examines the political history of the Spanish language in the United States from the end of the Mexican American War in 1848 to the Second World War, with some discussion of the following decades as a way to discuss present-day concerns. 



“Borders and Boundaries: New Hemispheric Realities,” Dr. Silvia Peart, Dr. Bradford Barrett, and Dr. Robert Stone, October 17th, 2018.

USNA Faculty in Languages and Cultures as well as Oceanography held an interdisciplinary discussion about immigration. Dr. Peart and Dr. Barret spoke about their collaborative project examining connections between climatic shock events and immigration from Mexico and Central America to the United States, whereas Dr. Stone discussed immigration from Morocco to Europe.


Spring 2019

“Operation Condor: Eliminating Political Opposition in South America,” Mr. João Pina, Photographer, February 6th 2019

Mr. Pina presented a collection of pictures taken in several Latin American countries, focusing on the violations of human rights during the dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Brazil and other countries of the region.  An amazing storyteller, Mr. Pina brought to life some of the hidden voices and first-person accounts of those who suffered during those years.

“The Venezuelan Crisis in Historical, Political, and Military Perspectives,” CDR Wagener, Dr. John Polga-Hecimovich, and Dr. Sharika Crawford, February 11th 2019

In response to the crisis in Venezuela, three USNA faculty from the departments of history, political science, and languages and cultures with regional expertise led a robust discussion about the past, present, and future of Venezuela. 


2016 - 2017

Fall 2016:

15 September
Dr. Marcy Schwartz, Rutgers University: "Public Pages: Reading, Public Space, and the Citizenship in Latin American Cities." 

Marcy Schwartz specializes in 20th century Latin American literature and culture, with particular emphasis on urban studies, exile, and photography.  Her current research concerns contemporary public reading programs in Latin American cities that rely on public space and urban infrastructure for a book in progress entitled, “Public Pages: Reading along the Latin American Streetscape.”

25 October
Dr. Jacqueline Loss, University of Connecticut: “Visualizing the Soviet-Cuban Friendship.” Jacqueline Loss (PhD, 2000, Comparative Literature, University of Texas-Austin) teaches Latin American and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies. Her publications include Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary (University of Texas Press, 2013) and Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (Palgrave, 2005). She is the co-editor with José Manuel Prieto of Caviar with Rum: Cuba-USSR and the Post-Soviet Experience (Palgrave 2012) and with Esther Whitfield of New Short Fiction from Cuba (Northwestern University Press, 2007). In addition she served as an advisor for Literature from the Axis of Evil: Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations (New Press, 2006). Among the writers she has translated into English are Víctor Fowler Calzada, Antonio Álvarez Gil, Ernesto René Rodríguez, Jorge Miralles, Anna Lidia Vega Serova, and Armando Suárez Cobián. Her critical essays have appeared in Nepantla:Views from South,  Chasqui, Latino and Latina Writers, Mandorla, New Centennial Review, La Habana Elegante, Bomb magazine, La Gaceta (Cuba), Kamchatka (Spain), Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos and Revista de estudios latinoamericanos (Poland), among others. She is also in charge of the “Translation Magic” column of Cuba Counterpoints, for which she serves on the advisory board and is working on a digital humanities and documentary project around Cuba at


2015 - 2016


6 October, 2015
Ambassador Dennis Jett, Penn State: "American Ambassadors – Where They Come From, Where They Go, What They Do and Why They Still Matter."

On 6 October, 2015 Ambassador Dennis Jett met with midshipmen and faculty to discuss the nature of a career path as a Foreign Service Officer, specifically ambassadorial appointments. Our guest provided an overview of American diplomacy with salient moments in American history that lend insight into the challenges of work abroad. Enjoying a career both as diplomat and U.S. Naval Officer Ambassador Jett lent a great deal of credibility and dry wit to his lecture, all widely enjoyed by attendees.

Professor Dennis Jett is a former American ambassador who joined Penn State's School of International Affairs after a career in the U.S. Foreign Service that spanned twenty-eight years and three continents. His experience and expertise focus on international relations, foreign aid administration, and American foreign policy. Professor Jett's career abroad began in 1973, when he was a political officer in the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He later spent several years in Africa, first as the deputy chief of mission in the U.S. Embassy in Malawi, where he assisted in the response to an influx of more than 500,000 Mozambican refugees, and then as deputy chief of mission in the U.S. Embassy in Liberia, where he was the second ranking officer during the Liberian Civil War. For his service in Liberia during this tumultuous time, he received the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award for “exceptional service, superb leadership, keen perception and adroitness in the formulation and execution of U.S. foreign policy.”

 Professor Jett then became special assistant to the president and senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, where he was responsible for Africa policy during the first six months of the Clinton Administration. He went on to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Mozambique (from 1993-1996) and Peru (from 1996-1999).

As ambassador to Mozambique, he helped bring about the successful conclusion of one of the world's largest peacekeeping operations, enabling the country to hold its first democratic elections. For his efforts, he received the American Foreign Service Award Association's Christian Herter Award. He was subsequently appointed U.S. Ambassador to Peru, where he managed the second largest aid program in Latin America and helped to open Peru's markets to U.S. companies.

Professor Jett's recent book, Why American Foreign Policy Fails: Unsafe at Home and Despised Abroad, was published in 2008 by Palgrave Macmillan. Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, calls the book a “bracing read” that analyzes how “American foreign policy has become completely captive to American domestic politics.” His most recent book, also published by Palgrave Macmillan, is entitled American Ambassadors -- The Past, Present, and Future of America's Diplomats came out in December 2014.

15 October, 2015
Dr. Jennifer Tobin, Georgetown University: "Assessing the Impact of Saude Crianca: Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poverty and Health Shocks."

Jennifer Tobin joined the Georgetown Public Policy Institute in 2008 after completing doctoral studies at Yale University and a fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford. Her main research interests are in the political economy of development, specifically focusing on international investment, small and micro-finance, trade, and development assistance. She is currently working on projects focusing on property rights enforcement for small investors, free trade agreements in emerging market economies, and the emergence of pro-poor economic policies in developing countries. Prior to joining Georgetown she was a fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a Global Economy and Development Fellow at the Brookings Institution and worked for micro-finance institutions in Uganda, Haiti, and Mexico. At GPPI Jennifer teaches the public management course focused on developing countries.


29 February, 2016
Dr. Bryan McCann, Georgetown University: "Rio and the Challenges of the Olympics." 

On 29 February Professor Bryan McCann of Georgetown University spoke to midshipmen and faculty surrounding his research on the upcoming Summer Olympic in Brazil. He provided a balanced analysis of the challenges faced by Brazilian government officials, both on the national and local level, as well as the local denizens of Rio de Janeiro's Favelas as they attempt to join the club of nations that have hosted one of the world's premiere sporting events.

McCann teaches courses on Colonial and Modern Latin America, particularly Brazil. Professor McCann has published works on a wide range of topics in Modern Brazilian history. His books investigate the history of favela politics in Rio de Janeiro, the history of Brazilian radio and popular music, and the transformation of Brazil since the 1980s. He is the author of Hard Times in the Marvelous City: From Dictatorship to Democracy in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro(Duke University Press, 2014)

7 March, 2016

Dr. Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz, University of Colorado, Boulder:  “Almodóvar’s Cinema in International Film Cultures Today.”
Center for Regional Studies Film Festival: 

From 7-10 March, The Center for Regional Studies hosted an International Film Festival for midshipmen and faculty. Dr. Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz of University of Colorado, Boulder provided the inaugural lecture putting into perspective the work on Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar and his place in international film cultures. The festival itself focused on the theme of Revenge presenting films ranging from Almodovar’s “Le Piel Que Habito.”, or the “The Skin I Live in.” to the Korean film “Oldboy.”, by Park Chan-wook. The films were meant to augment current course offerings in the Departments of English and Languages and Cultures as well as an attempt to pique the interest of midshipmen in the Brigade.

Dr. Naida Garcia-Crespo who teaches Film and Literature in the Department of English developed the above program in order to expose international, cross-cultural narratives to midshipmen in an often overlooked medium. Her in-depth knowledge of film theory, international literature, and cross-cultural nuances challenged the midshipmen attending to move past the differences in language and culture to a broader empathy to human similarities, in this case revenge.

2014 - 2015


27 August,2014
Dr. Miguel Tinker Salas, Pomona College: "Beyond Chavez: Navigating Contemporary Venezuelan Politics."

Miguel Tinker Salas is one of the nation's foremost authorities on political and social issues confronting Latin America. He is the author of The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture and Citizenship in Venezuela (Duke University Press, 2009); co-editor with Steve Ellner of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez and the Decline of an Exceptional Democracy, (Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007); co-editor with Jan Rus of Mexico 2006-2012: neoliberalism, movimientos sociales y politica electoral, (Miguel Angel Porrua and Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, 2006) and author of Under the Shadow of the Eagles, The Border and the Transformation of Sonora During the Porfiriato, University of California Press 1997. 

His expertise includes: contemporary Latin America, society and politics in Venezuela and Mexico, oil, culture and politics in Venezuela, the drug war in Mexico, Mexican border society, Chicanos/as and Latinos/as in the United States, and Latin American immigration. Miguel Tinker Salas is currently a Professor of Latin American History and Chicano/a Latino/a Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California.

19 November, 2014
Dr. Edith Grossman, world renowned translator of Spanish Literature:  "Cervantes, Faulkner, and Marquez: Four Centuries of Literary Tradition."

Edith Grossman is best known for her rendering of Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera (Knopf, 1988) and for her universally acclaimed translation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote (Ecco Press, 2003). Among the many other authors whose works she has translated are Mario Vargas Llosa, Jaime Manrique, Mayra Montero, Ariel Dorfman, Carlos Fuentes, and Antonio Muñoz. She earned a BA (1957) and MA (1959) in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania; she travelled to Spain as a Fulbright Fellow in 1962-63. She then resumed her teaching and, in 1966, her graduate studies, receiving a PhD in Latin American literature from New York University in 1972. Over the years, her work has consistently earned plaudits: her translations of Alvaro Muria’ Maqroll’s Three Novellas and Augusto Monterroso’s Complete Works were both hailed as Outstanding Translation of the Year by the American Literary Translators Association, in 1992 and 1996, respectively; The Los Angeles Times acclaimed both Love in the Time of Cholera (in 1989) and Memories of My Melancholy Whores(in 2006), also by García Márquez, as Novel of the Year; and she won the PEN-BOMC Translation Prize in 2001 for her rendering of Mario Vargas Llosa’s Feast of the Goat. In 2006, she received the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation for her lifetime achievement in the field.


14 January, 2015
Dr. Marixa Lasso: "Tropical Politics of Depopulation at the Panama Canal Zone: 1904-1916."

In 2014, Panama and the United States commemorated the centennial of the completion and opening of the Panama Canal. It was remembered as an engineering feat that helped to formulate the United States into a nation full of great possibilities. In “Tropical Politics of Depopulation at the Panama Canal Zone, 1904-1916,” Dr. Marixa Lasso traces the dismantling of robust towns located ten miles along the canal. She traces the removal of some 40,000 Panamanians and the destruction of a 400-year old commercial route replaced by manicured suburban lawns. This is a history not yet told neither in Spanish nor English.

Dr. Marixa Lasso is the author of Myths of Harmony: Race, War, and Republicanism in the Age of Revolution, Colombia, 1795-1831 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2007) and several articles as well as book chapters in English and Spanish. She has most recently received prestigious fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (2013-14) and the National Humanities Center (2013-14) to write her manuscript on the communities surrounding the Panama Canal. In 2014, Dr. Marixa Lasso joined the Department of History at the National University of Colombia in Bogota.

10 April, 2015
Jean-Marie Simon: "Guatemala's War: Historical Memory and Historical Accuracy."

Jean-Marie Simon is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School. Simon was a Fulbright scholarship and was awarded the Bunting fellowship (Radcliffe/Harvard). Simon's photographs have appeared in Time, The New York Times, The New Republic, Harper's, Geo, Vogue, and Newsweek. She has had solo exhibits at O.K. Harris Gallery (NY), The Photographers' Gallery (London), and Parco (Tokyo). Simon's photographs were also part of a widely-reviewed, 10-photographer group exhibit, "On The Line: New Color Photojournalism," which also included photographers Susan Meiselas and Gilles Peress. Simon's book, Guatemala: Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny (WW Norton, NY and London), sold 20,000 copies. In June 2010, Guatemala: Eterna Primavera, Eterna Tiranía, the Spanish-language edition of the original edition, will be published. The new edition, which was digitized at National Geographic and at Estudio/A2 in Guatemala, will contain 150 color photographs, including 50 new photos. Copies will be available for sale through Sophos bookstore and through its online sales department.

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