Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Visiting Faculty


Irma Velasquez Nimatuj -  Craig M. Cogut Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies (Fall 2018 and Spring 2019)

Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj is the first Maya-K’iche’ woman to earn a doctorate in Social Anthropology. In 2002, she played a key role in the historical process of setting legal precedent through a court case that made racial discrimination illegal in Guatemala. She is the author of Pueblos Indígenas, Estado y Lucha por Tierra en Guatemala (2008) and La pequeña burguesía indígena comercial de Guatemala: Desigualdades de clase, raza y género (2002) and of numerous articles in books. From 2005-2013 she served as the Executive Director of the Mecanismo de Pueblos Indígenas Oxlajuj T’zikin (Support Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples). She also served as an advisor on indigenous issues for the Latin American and Caribbean office of UN Women (2014-2015). During the Spring 2016, as a Tinker visiting professor she taught at the University of Texas at Austin in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. During the Spring 2017, she served as a Mellon Visiting Professor at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke. She has lectured at universities in Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, the United States and Spain. Along with a team of fellow women academics they obtained an honorific mention in the first Research Price dedicated to Berta Cáceres, who was murdered in 2016. As an anthropologist, she has served as an expert witness in cases of transitional justice related to the genocide, human rights abuses, and sexual violence committed in Guatemala during the 36-year armed conflict. As a journalist in Guatemala she continues to investigate and make public the long history of colonization, dispossession, exclusion, contempt and structural racism in her weekly opinion columns in elPeriodico since 2003. Her voice extends beyond academic circles and combines her longtime work alongside local grassroots Guatemalan Indigenous communities, to informing the intellectual, legal, and political elite of Western society.

Daina Sanchez - Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow (Fall 2018 and Spring 2019)

Daina Sanchez is the Mellon Sawyer Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Latin American Studies. She received her MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Irvine and her BA in Ethnic Studies and History from the University of San Diego. Her research lies at the intersection of race, migration, and indigenous studies. She conducted ethnographic research among Los Angeles-based youth with origins in the Zapotec community of San Andrés Solaga in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her research examines how young adults form and negotiate ethnic, community, and national identities away from their ancestral homeland. Her work has received funding from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant.

Debora Diniz -  Visiting Scholar CLACS

Debora Diniz

An anthropologist by training, Debora’s research spans several issues including reproductive and sexual rights, disability, criminal justice and prison reform, and public health. 

 Debora has extensive experience arguing cases on issues including abortion and marriage equality before Brazil’s Supreme Tribunal—the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court. Since Zika first emerged in Brazil, Debora has conducted research, led communications and advocacy initiatives, and implemented community-based projects in areas hardest hit by the virus. In 2018, she brought a case before the Supreme Tribunal that challenged the criminalization of abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. 

 A documentarian, Debora’s has produced eight films that have received more than 50 awards. Severina’s Story, a 2005 documentary shot and produced by Debora—the first documentary to be shown before the Supreme Tribunal—helped pave the way for the legalization of abortion in cases of anencephaly.   Her most recent film Zika chronicles the lives of five women affected by the virus.  

 Debora served as a professor of the law department at University of Brasília and at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, and as a visiting fellow at Yale Law School. She is also a visiting scholar at Brown University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.  Debora is the author of Zika: From Brazilian Backlands to Global Threat, and is a is a regular contributor to El País and Marie Claire, Brazil. Now she is the deputy director of International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere.

Michele Mericle - Visiting Scholar CLACS. Specializations: Crypto-religion, Judaism, mentality, gender, and everyday life in colonial Mexico

Michelle Mericle 

Recent Visiting Faculty


Jean Segata- Craig M. Cogut Visiting Professor (Fall 2018)

Vera Paiva - Craig M. Cogut Visiting Professor (Fall 2017)

Cecilia Rocha - UNSAM Exchange Participant (Fall 2017)

Ramiro Segura - Craig M. Cogut Visiting Professor (Spring 2018)

Lucas Gonzalez - Craig M. Cogut Visiting Professor (Spring 2018)

Vicente Lecuna - Craig M. Cogut Visiting Professor (Spring 2018)


Jimena Ponce de León - Sarmiento Research Fellow (Fall 2016)

Daniel PartyCraig M. Cogut Visiting Professor (Spring 2017)

Florencia Malbrán - Craig M. Cogut Visiting Professor (Spring 2017)

Guillermo Wilde - Sarmiento Research Fellow (Spring 2017)


Verónica Zubillaga - Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela)

Marcelo Leiras - Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina)

Jacqueline Behrend - Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina)

Lucas Christel - Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina)

Juan Pablo Luna - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Ricardo Lagos Escobar - Former President of Chile


Maritza Paredes - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

José Carlos Orihuela - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

Verónica Pérez - Universidad de Buenos Aires  

Lucas González - Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina)

Álvaro Fernández Bravo - Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina)


María Esperanza Casullo - Universidad Nacional de Río Negro (Argentina)