Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
CLACS

Affiliated Graduate Students

Africana Studies

Melaine Ferdinand-King

Melaine Ferdinand-King is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Africana Studies and 2019-2020 Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Collaborative Humanities. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College, where she concentrated in Women’s Studies and African Diaspora & the World. Her research interests include Black radical thought, Black feminist theory, and visual and performance art. She is currently exploring the role the arts play in creating new political visions and histories for people of African descent in Latin America and the impact race, gender, and sexual identity have on the operation of power and resistance.

Nasir Marumo

Nasir Marumo is a “rap-ademic” from New Orleans, Louisiana and a second-year doctoral student in the Africana Studies Department at Brown. He received his B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Smith College and his M.A. in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a graduate certificate in African Diaspora Studies. Nasir interested broadly in the fields of black popular culture, black political thought, and Caribbean Studies, especially in thinking about how culture becomes revolt. His research maps migrations of performances of "badness" in post-slave societies and employs a cultural studies approach to investigate the ways these “bad” personas have been reconstituted in the neoliberal context. Nasir also produces The Rap Scholars Podcast, which explores contemporary black youth culture through curated dialogue. 

Alexandria Miller-CLACS

Alexandria Miller is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Africana Studies. She earned B.A. with distinction in African & African American Studies and History from Duke University. Before graduate school, Alexandria served as a College Advisor with the Duke College Advising Corps. and as a Research Associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. Her research interests include social movements, Black Feminism, Caribbean performance art and music, and Afro-Jamaican women’s protest. Her current research explores the history of Jamaican reggae and contemporary music culture and activism.

Watufani Poe earned his B.A. from Swarthmore College in Africana Studies with a minor in Latin American Studies. Prior to pursuing graduate school, Watufani spent two years in the San Francisco Bay Area as an Americorps member, working with various LGBTQ activist organizations whose main goals were to educate and to promote youth activism, especially among the youth of color. His research interests include the African diaspora in Latin America, Brazil's Black social and political movements, Black queer theory, Black Transnationalism, and intersectionality. 

Anthropology

Ben Salinas

Ben Salinas is a graduate student in the Anthropology department at Brown University. His interests lie in representations of Indigenous identity through hip hop. Specifically, he is interested in the use of indigenous or native languages in rap, as well as representations of environment/human relationships in video and sound. Ben graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Cornell University in 2018 where he studied with ethnomusicologist Catherine Appert as a Mellon-Mays Fellow. At Brown, he hopes to expand his research to look at the politics of indigenous language rap movements and its effects across Latin America.

Omar Andres Alcover Firpi was born and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico. He got his BA in Archaeology and Latin American Studies from Boston University in 2013. His current research focuses on settlement and landscape change during the Late Preclassic and Early Classic transition and the role of the royal court in the Maya Lowlands of Guatemala and Mexico. Although most of his research experience has been in Guatemala, specifically in the sites of Xultun, San Bartolo, El Zotz and most recently Piedras Negras, he has also worked in coastal and CRM projects in Puerto Rico. 

Lauren E. Deal is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology specializing in linguistic and sociocultural anthropology. She is also a graduate fellow for the 2018-2019 Mellon-Sawyer Seminar on Race and Indigeneity in the Americas. She received her BA in anthropology from The George Washington University. Her dissertation research examines ideas of race, indigeneity, and identity in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Specifically, it examines how Argentines of European descent engage in projects of indigenous linguistic and cultural revival to consider the politics of appropriation and the meanings of whiteness in Latin America. She has previously conducted research in Buenos Aires on language and music in protest, and the language of Opera pedagogy.

Mallory Matsumoto is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. Her research addresses the interface between language, material culture, and identity in pre-Columbian and colonial-era Maya communities. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Mexico, Guatemala, Hungary, Peru, and the United States. Before coming to Brown, she earned an MA from the University of Bonn, an MSt from the University of Oxford, and a BA from Cornell University.

Bryan Moorefield is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology. His dissertation looks at Mexican citrus workers and the H-2A guestworker program in the state of Florida. Bryan has conducted extensive fieldwork on labor migration, agriculture, and rural life throughout Mexico, Guatemala, and the southern United States. He holds an MA in Anthropology from Brown and a BA in Latin American Studies and History from the University of Virginia.

Alejandra Roche Recinos is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. She was born in Guatemala City, where she also received her Licenciatura (5-year degree) in Archaeology in 2013 from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Her work focuses on Mesoamerican economic systems of trade and exchange through the study of stone tool production. She has conducted archaeological research in the Guatemalan archaeological sites of La Corona, Kaminaljuyu, Río Seco, Tak’alik Ab’aj, El Soch and more recently in the site of Piedras Negras as part of Projecto Paisaje Piedras Negras Yaxchilan directed by Andrew K. Scherer from Brown University and Charles Golden from Brandeis University.

Joshua T. Schnell is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. His research utilizes the frameworks of bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology to study how the ancient Maya understood human bodies, both theirs and others, in life and in death. His dissertation work focuses on human bone in non-funerary contexts to study how the Maya worked, used, and interacted with both living bodies and dead bodies, as well as how these activities intersected with other spheres of life such as commerce, religion, or medicine. His work includes topics such as ancient dentistry, human war trophies, objects made from human bone, body modification, violence and sacrifice, and mortuary ritual. He has previously worked at a variety of surface and cave sites in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. 

Harper Dine is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. She earned her BA in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Miami in 2017. Her research focuses on social aspects of food, human-plant relationships, and agriculture in the Maya lowlands as well as overarching questions about food security and diet change over time. She has also participated in archaeological fieldwork in Puerto Rico and Florida.

Picture of Morgan Clark, CLACS graduate student affiliate

Morgan Clark is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. She is particularly interested in the designations of animation expressed in ancient Maya art, architecture, grammar, and hieroglyphic variation. She completed her BA in Anthropology, Linguistics, and English at The University of Texas at Austin, during which time she conducted archaeological fieldwork in Texas and Belize. While studying at Brown, she will begin archaeological fieldwork in Guatemala.

Archaeology and the Ancient World

Miriam Rothenberg is a doctoral student at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. She holds a B.A. in anthropology and archaeological studies from Oberlin College (2012) and an M.A. in archaeology from Durham University (2014). Miriam’s current research focuses on the archaeology of volcanic disasters, with her primary case study being the current eruptive episode of the Soufrière Hills Volcano on the island of Montserrat. Her dissertation will look at the effects of this traumatic event by studying the abandoned settlements on the edge of the now unhabitable ‘Exclusion Zone’, how these sites persist in Montserratians’ cultural memory, and how the Exclusion Zone’s landscapes have been used – often illicitly – since the beginning of the eruption in 1995.

Comparative Literature

Brendan Lambert is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature. He holds an A.B. in Classics from Kenyon College, where he also completed an interdisciplinary program in Humanities. His current interests include 20th Century Latin American narrative, aesthetics and politics, critical theory, and literary translation. His research has been enriched by travel throughout Mexico and the Southern Cone, including an immersive program completed during the summer of 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Mariajosé Rodríguez Pliego is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature from Monterrey, México. She holds a B.A. in Economics and English from Wellesley College. Her interests include 20th and 21st-century Latin American fiction with a focus on digital humanities, computational linguistics and indigenous studies. She is also interested in translation theory and the relationship between globalization and the translation and distribution of Western literature in Latin America. 

 

Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences

Benjamin Chilson-Parks is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences. He graduated with a BA in geology from Carleton College in Minnesota. His current research focuses on assessing the chemical composition of volcanic rocks erupted in the Andes, particularly those from central and southern Argentina and Chile. Using the compositional 'fingerprints' of the lava samples from this region, he investigates the formation and modification of the South American continent, as well as how the convergence of the South American tectonic plate toward its neighboring plates to the west relates to the volcanism that populates much of the Andes. This work fits into the broader context of using the chemical makeup of lavas and magmas to better understand the history of continents and their relationship with the dynamics of Earth's deep interior.

Economics

Graduate Affiliated with CLACS

Santiago Hermo is a Ph.D. student in Economics at Brown University. He is interested in applied microeconomics in general, with a focus on issues relating to human capital and labor markets. He has studied the determinants of relative wages and inequality in Argentina, work for which he was awarded the Young Researcher Award 2017 of the Argentinian Association of Economic Policy (AAEP). He has worked as a consultant for the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in Argentina (INTA), in a project analyzing the determinants of innovation in agriculture. He obtained his BA at Universidad de Buenos Aires and his MA at Universidad del CEMA (both in Argentina).

Graduate Affiliated with CLACS

Emilia Brito is a Ph.D. student in the Economics Department. She specializes in public economics and labor economics. Her research uses applied microeconomics methods to study gender inequalities in education, labor markets, and health. Her current projects include gender differences in educational expectations, role-model effects in male-dominated fields in academia, and sexual harassment in universities and in work environments. She holds a Master's and Bachelor's degree in Economics from Universidad de Chile.

Felipe Burges

Felipe Brugués is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Brown University. His research focuses on industrial organization with applications in development economics. He has studied the dynamics of firms' networks in the presence of liquidity constraints. Current projects study how political connections affect the allocation of government procurement contracts and how weak legal enforcement hinders intra-national trade. He holds a BA in Social Sciences from Amsterdam University College and an MSc in Economics from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

 Juan Pedro Ronconi

Juan Pedro Ronconi is a Ph.D. student in Economics at Brown University. His research interests include topics in comparative development and applied microeconomics. He is currently studying regional differences in disease burden as a determinant of the long-term orientation of individuals around the world. He is also working on a project about contraceptive access and religiosity during the second half of the 20th century. In the past, he has studied the role played by labor unions on the evolution of income inequality in Argentina in the aftermath of the 2001 economic crisis. He obtained his BA at Universidad de San Andres (Argentina) and his MA at CEMFI (Spain).

Samuele Giambra

Samuele Giambra is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Brown University. He holds a joint BA degree from the University of Trento and the the Technical University of Dresden and a Master in Analysis and Policy in Economics from the Paris School of Economics. His research focuses on government corruption in Ecuador. His current work looks at the misallocation of procurement contracts when firms use political connections to influence the contract allocation process. He also collaborated with researchers at the World Bank on projects that investigate the relationship between self-employment and migration in developing countries. 

Diego Passaro

Diego Gentile Passaro is a Ph.D. student in the Economics Department specializing in Applied Microeconomics, Policy Evaluation, and Data Sciences. My interests include Labor, Health, and Urban Economics. My current work explores the effects of improved access to safe abortion on the labor market and health outcomes both in Uruguay and the United States; the labor market effects of internal migration due to Hurricane Katrina, and the rise and fall of railroad infrastructure in South America. Before arriving at Brown, I was an undergraduate student at Universidad de la República (Uruguay), a Master student in Urban Economics at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina), and a Master student in Economics of Public Policy at Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Spain).

Jorge Eduardo Pérez is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Brown University. His current research is on urban economics and labor economics, with a focus on minimum wages and place-based policies. He has publications on-demand analysis in Colombia and fiscal policy in Latin America. Before Brown, he was a Research Fellow at the Inter-American Development Bank, and a young researcher and adjunct professor in Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia. A Colombian citizen, he holds an M.A in Economics from Brown University, and B.A.'s in Economics and Finance from Universidad del Rosario.

Lorenzo Aldeco Leis a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Brown University. His research focuses on urban economics. He has studied the dynamics of ozone pollution in Mexico City and global exposure to particulate pollution. Current projects cover the spatial dimension of court services in Mexico State and population displacement after the Mexican Drug War. He holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Economic Theory from ITAM, in Mexico City. 

Catalina Ravizza is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Brown University. Her research focuses on pension and health economics. She has studied how human psychology and behavior affect savings for retirement in the Chilean pension system. Currently, her projects analyze the impacts of health programs and pension reforms in Latin American countries. Before Brown, she was a researcher in the MAPS Chile project and an adjunct instructor at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. She holds a BA and MA in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and an MA in Economics from Brown University.

Hispanic Studies

Ethel Barja is a Ph. D. student from Peru. She holds a BA in Hispanic Literature from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (2011) and received her M.A. in Hispanic Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2015). Her areas of interest include comparative and philosophical approaches to literature, literary translation, literary theory, and the construction of Hispano-American modern poetics in both 20th centuries Latin American fiction and poetry in regard to the appropriation of avant-garde ideas and the Iberian literary tradition.

Nicolas Campisi is a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Studies from Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Argentina. He holds a B.A. in Art History and Hispanic Studies from Washington College. His current interests include 20th and 21th Century Southern Cone narratives, avant-garde poetics, travel literature, trauma and memory studies, Judaic Studies, and world literature. He is also interested in Latin American soccer fiction, and he has co-edited an anthology of soccer short stories (Por amor a la pelota: Once cracks de la ficción futbolera) published by Editorial Cuarto Propio in Chile.

Maria Florencia Chiaramonte is a Ph.D. student from Mar del Plata, Argentina. She holds a professorship in literature from Mar del Plata National University. Her broad interests include 19th and 20th Centuries Latin American narrative and film, as well as the role of fictional means toward understanding the history and politics of the region. Recently, she has been researching about the representation of subalternity in 19th Century Latin American texts, with a focus on the representation of the indigenous people from the southern "frontier" in Argentina. Her main interests in the 19th Century look into matters of race, gender, and sexuality.

Mateo Díaz Choza is a Ph.D. student from Lima, Peru. He holds a B.A. in Peruvian and Latin American Literature from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. His current interests include 20th and 21th Century Latin American Narrative, as well as the relationship between religious discourse, utopia, fundamentalism, and fiction.

Regina Pieck Pressly is a Ph.D. student in Hispanic Studies at Brown University. She is from Mexico, D.F. She has studied at el Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), Harvard University, and Boston College. Her interests include 20th-century and contemporary Latin American literature (fiction and poetry), the literature and cinema of the Mexican Revolution, borderlands, and literary theory. 

History

Thamyris Almeida is a Ph.D. student in the History Department. Her research interests are Modern Latin American history, Afro-diasporic Religions, and Political and Social Repression in 20th century Latin America. She received her BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2012 and an MA in 2015. Her MA thesis focused on a Maoist guerrilla movement headed by members of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and their choice of Araguaia, a region at the border of Goiás and Pará, as the stage for a popular insurrection. Though originally from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, her family immigrated to Massachusetts in 1998.

Javier Fernandez Galeano is a Ph.D. candidate in the History department at Brown University. His dissertation explores how state authorities, scientific experts, and sexual nonconformists battled over the meanings of male homosexuality in Argentina and Spain between the 1950s and 1980s. This project shows that medical taxonomies replicated commonly held categories based on sexual roles and social behavior. Sexual nonconformists resisted the state’s codification of homosexuality as a "social danger" through their appropriation of traditional values such as romantic love, religiosity, and family life, or through hypersexualized performances of femininity or masculinity. These strategies of resistance circulated between Argentina and Spain through exiles’ intellectual works and artistic performances, while the discreet, homophile politics of respectability gave way to the liberationist politics of visibility. He has a BA cum laude in history and a BA cum laude in anthropology, both from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He also received an MA in historical studies from The New School, where he studied as a Fulbright scholar. In 2018-2019, he will be a Mellon/ACLS fellow. He has published in the Journal of the History of Sexuality and has an accepted article in the Latin American Research Review.

Daniel McDonald is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. He has a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst as well as an A.M. in Latin American History from Brown University. His research interests are in modern Latin American history, which focuses on twentieth-century Brazil, urban history, social movements, consumption, and democratization in South America. His MA thesis examined the intersections of race and space in the construction of the planned city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais during Brazil’s Old Republic (1889-1930). His dissertation project examines the ways in which everyday citizens and civil society contested the political economy of the Brazilian state during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) and in the first decade of democracy.

Diego Luis is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History focusing on trans-Pacific connections, namely the 16th and 17th century Pacific movement and consequent socio-cultural transformations in Mexico. He graduated in 2014 with a BA in creative writing and history from Emory University. His identity as an individual of Chinese and Afro-Cuban descent has been a guiding sensibility to his approach to history. He's particularly attentive to how Asians, or "chinos" as they were called, navigated the complex and multi-ethnic world of colonial Mexico and how they eventually blended into existing free and enslaved communities. The broad thrust of his research is to emphasize the importance of the Pacific to Colonial Latin American history--as a balance to Atlantic World scholarship--and to historicize the notion of "Asian America" to the Philippines and Mexico.

History of Art and Architecture

Bill Skinner studies architectural history. His dissertation examines mass housing and town planning in Barbados. He is interested in the legacy of the plantation system on housing development between the 1930s and 70s, especially its connection to town and country planning on the island. Before coming to Brown, Bill worked as a curator in Belize. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Design from the University of the Arts and an M.A. in the History of Architecture and Urban Development from Cornell University.

Music

Luis Achondo is a Ph.D. candidate and Fulbright scholar from Chile. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Music from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Brown. His doctoral project examines Latin American soccer fandom from a transnational perspective. A multi-sited ethnography, Luis’s dissertation explores the intersection of sound, violence, and media among Chilean, Argentine, and Latinx supporters.

Violet Cavicchi is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology and Graduate Fellow for the CLACS Mellon-Sawyer Seminar for 2018-2019. Her dissertation research with musicians in Andean Peru examines how they engage with multiple, overlapping mediations, navigating imperatives to professionalization and commercialization along with folklorization and community participation. Rather than positing a juxtaposition between unmediated traditions and mediated modernizations, this research interrogates the co-constituting ideologies and performances of meditation and music. Violet has also conducted research on indigenous voice and community live music broadcasts in Cusco, and on Latin music DJs as cultural intermediaries in NYC. Violet holds a BA from Vassar College in Anthropology with a correlate in Music and Culture.

Jamie Corbett is a Ph.D. candidate in the Music Department and focuses on the contemporary political life of traditional music of the southern region of Brazil. After completing a B.Mus from the University of Toronto in music history and an A.M from Brown in ethnomusicology, she is currently oscillating between Providence and her field site in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. There, she researches traditional genres of music and dance that many associates with the Azorean colonial settlement but are also likely of Afro-Brazilian provenance. Her dissertation examines the role of folklore in the public sphere, musicians’ interactions with government funding agencies, and cultural funding in the conservative political landscape of Brazil’s South.

Political Science

Aimée Bourassa is a Ph.D. candidate from Canada studying comparative politics with a regional emphasis on Latin America. She holds a B.Sc. in International Studies from the University of Montreal and an M.A. in Political Science from McGill University, both with a concentration in development studies. Her research interests include comparative federalism and decentralization, social policy (in particular social housing), and state-society relations.

Hannah Baron is a second-year Ph.D. student in Comparative Politics. She studies the domestic and international politics of diverse Latin American countries. Her primary research interests include political economy, labor, and development. She holds a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Harvard.  

Cyril Bennouna is a Ph.D. student in comparative politics and international relations. His research focuses on the causes of political and interpersonal violence in low- and middle-income countries and on the management of forced migration. He has previously held senior research positions at the Program on Forced Migration and Health at Columbia University, the CPC Learning Network, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, and the Center on Child Protection and Wellbeing at the University of Indonesia. He has a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan.

Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

Photo of Pedro Almeida

Pedro Almeida is a doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and holds a Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Collaborative Humanities (2018–2019) with the Cogut Institute at Brown. His research focuses on issues of representation, identity, transnationalism, and coloniality in Brazil, Portugal, and Angola through travel writing and photography from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. The development and appropriation of the ideas of speed, temporalities, and connectedness are paramount to his work. Almeida’s interests also include environmental studies, literary theory, and intellectual history, as well as Portuguese and Brazilian cinema.

Photo of Alexsandro Menez

Alexsandro Menez is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. He received his B.A. in History from the Faculdade Porto-alegrense, both Postbaccalaureate in Brazilian Literature and M.A. in History from the Pontíficia Universidade Católica do the Rio Grande do Sul. He also holds an M.A. in Literary Studies from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria. His interests are la historia intelectual latinoamericana, Brazilian regionalisms, Latin American urbanism in the late 19th century, and cultura gauchesca. Currently, his research focuses on the nation and nationalism, with emphasis on historiography, criticism, and fiction from Brazil and Portugal during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Sílvia Cabral Teresa is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. She holds a BA in Linguistics (with a concentration in Political Discourse Analysis) from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and a Masters in Lusophone Literatures and Cultures from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her current research interests include African literature; 20th-century Brazilian literature; Gender Studies; the relationship between Fiction and History; Ethnicity and Identity; and Race relations in Brazil.


Sociology

Benjamin Bradlow is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Brown University. His dissertation research compares urban governance of public goods (housing, public transportation, and sanitation) in São Paulo and Johannesburg after transitions to democracy. This work has won grants from the Fulbright Foundation and the Brazilian Studies Association. His research interests are in the political economy of globalization and development, comparative urban sociology, and state-society relations. 

Ricarda Hammer has a BA in Social & Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a Graduate Diploma in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Brown University and interested in historical sociology, postcolonial and social theory and state formation. Her dissertation examines the question of colonial subjecthood in the British Empire and the ways in which the position of West Indian colonial subjects influenced the development of British civil rights and welfare.

Jon Nelson graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Kansas in 2013. After graduation, Jon worked on a farm specializing in asparagus and other vegetables. Jon came to Brown in 2014 to begin a Ph.D. program in Sociology. His area of interest is environmental sociology and he focuses on small farmers in Brazil's Atlantic rainforest and will employ mixed methods to better understand peasant agricultural techniques as well as their environmental effects; he is also interested in researching possible avenues for sustainable development.

Photo of Kristen Oneill

Kristen McNeill received a BA in International Development Studies from McGill University and a Master's of Public Administration from the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology with an interest in economic sociology, gender, and international development. Her dissertation, with a microfinance provider in Colombia, examines the gendered effects of microcredit on clients and their households, as well as the gendered evaluation of creditworthiness by loan officers.

Amy Teller graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Carleton College, worked in agricultural policy in support of organic agriculture and public agricultural research, completed an M.S. in Ecology from Brown through the Open Graduate Education program and is now a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at Brown. Her dissertation is based in the historical cacao-producing region in the state of Bahia, Brazil. She draws upon ethnographic, historical and structured interview methods to merge environmental sociology with the sociology of the future and civic engagement in order to understand how long-term and new residents in the region are imagining its social, economic, and ecological futures after a crisis with its monoculture export crop. Amy is proficient in Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish.

Apollonya Porcelli is currently a Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department. Broadly, her work examines the way that social inequality and environment are interlinked--spanning remote fishing villages in Brazil to large metropolises such as Lima, Peru. Specifically, her dissertation examines the role of intellectuals involved in Peru's New Left following the collapse of the world's largest marine fishery, the Peruvian anchovy fishery. Apollonya is also a member of the Open Graduate Program (OGE,) which enables Ph.D. students to earn a Masters in a second field, having recently completed her Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) in 2016. Prior to coming to Brown Apollonya worked in a small fishing town on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua examining the conflicting and overlapping environmental management practices of Garifuna and Meskito communities. She has also spent considerable time in Brazil, working in Amazonian riverine communities around açaí extraction and land entitlement.  

Jonathon Acosta is a Ph.D. student in sociology. He earned his BA in Political Science (Theory track) and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. As an undergraduate, he was a research assistant for Kay Warren, an anthropologist, studying human trafficking, prostitution, and labor migration in Latin America and East Asia. He was a public school math teacher in Miami-Dade County and Central Falls, RI before becoming a Dean of Culture. During this time, he earned an MA in Urban Education Policy at Brown. Broadly speaking, his research interests are in political sociology, social stratification, segregation, race, class, and ethnicity. He's particularly interested in the representation of historically marginalized groups in Latin American politics. In his spare time, he's a youth wrestling coach, a member of the Juvenile Hearing Board, and a City Councilman representing Ward 1 in Central Falls, RI. 

Alejandra Irene Cueto Piazza was born and raised in Lima, Perú, where she earned her BA degree in Sociology at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. Her research broadly addresses the interface between political sociology and labor relations. She has conducted research on the strengthening of labor inspections in Lima, Perú and the role of public unions. Before arriving at Brown, she earned an MA in Sociology from Columbia University where she studied Latin American immigrants' participation in the informal economy in New York.

Katie Duarte is a Ph.D. student in Sociology. After completing her bachelor's degree in Economics at Vassar College, she worked as a research assistant at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (DSI) under the tutelage of Dr. Ramona Hernández. As a research assistant, she focused on Dominicans who migrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. More recently, she worked as a legal administrative assistant for the Reproductive Freedom Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). One of the cases she worked on, which received national attention, was the Garza v. Hargan case about an undocumented immigrant minor that was being blocked her constitutional right to seek an abortion by the federal government. Her research interests include first-generation and second-generation immigrant integration into U.S. society by way of higher education attainment and reproductive health practices, specifically focusing on Dominicans.

Photo of Maria Lopez-Portillo.

María López-Portillo is a Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department. She holds a BA in political science from El Colegio de México and an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She focuses on organizational change, political processes and subject-making in Latin America. She is currently researching the indigenista profession in Mexico since the 1980s using interviews and archival work. 

Theatre Arts and Performance Studies 

Marlon Jiménez Oviedo is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. He is from Costa Rica, and received his BA in Theatre and Environmental Studies at Lewis and Clark College, in Portland, OR. As an artist/scholar, Marlon seeks to situate his academic and artistic practice where he is personally rooted, Costa Rica and Latin America at large, always trying to learn and theorize with people who are not published authors. He is interested in movement traditions that live outside systems of authorship and stage or museum spaces, with special attention to embodied knowledge, social discourse, and bodily theorizing. Thus, he engages popular and folkloric dance, queer performance, and indigenous performance traditions to understand negotiations around identity creation, formations of sociality and nation-building in the context of post and neo-colonialism.