CLALS | Affiliated Doctoral Students

Questions?

  • Latin American/Latino Studies
    202-885-6178
    Fax: 202-885-6430
    clals@american.edu
    4545 42nd Street, Room 308

    Stinchcomb, Dennis A
    Program Coordinator

Mailing Address

Erik Alda

Justice, Law and Criminology, School of Public Affairs
Year of program entry: 2011

Erik Alda holds a BA in International Affairs and an MA in Latin American Studies from American University. From 2001 to 2003 he lived in the slums of Fortaleza (Ceará), Brazil where he worked with an NGO and learned from community leaders and youths living in poor urban communities. In the past ten years, Erik has conducted extensive research on Latin America and the Caribbean, publishing research on crime and security issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has also helped design and implement programs for the IADB and World Bank.

Erik's main interest lies in the differences in crime and security in different countries within Latin America, and and his dissertation will measure police performance within developing countries.

Maya Barak

Justice, Law & Society, School of Public Affairs
Year of program entry: 2011

Maya holds a BA in Social Anthropology, and Peace and Social Justice with an emphasis on U.S.-Latin American relations, and an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice with an emphasis on critical criminology and “crimmigration,” or the criminalization of immigrants in the U.S. Prior to joining AU she was lead community organizer and then a board member at the Washtenaw County Workers’ Center, a bilingual immigrant and labor rights organization working predominantly with undocumented Latin American immigrants in SE Michigan.

Her doctoral research explores the link between immigrant legal consciousness and procedural justice as manifested in deportation hearings of Salvadoran and Guatemalan immigrants. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach that draws from the fields of criminology, and law and society, her work offers a holistic examination of U.S. immigration policies and practices, with a special emphasis on Latin American immigrant communities and their experiences in the United States.

Aaron Bell

History, College of Arts and Sciences
Year of program entry: 2007

Aaron holds a BA from Syracuse University (2004) in History and African-American Studies. Prior to joining AU, he spent three years teaching middle school History and English at Missouri Military Academy. His dissertation, entitled “Transnational Conservatives, El Salvador, and the Development of ARENA” examines how transnational conservative networks influenced the Salvadoran Right as El Salvador transitioned to democracy in the midst of civil conflict in the 1980s.

CLALS Jesus Bores

Jesus Bores-Lazo

American University, Washington College of Law
Year of program entry: 2013

Jesús Bores, an S.J.D., is completing his dissertation titled “Regulation and Role of Industrial Property Rights in Innovation and Development within the Framework of Global, Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements." His research mainly focuses on Latin America, Europe, the United States, and development and the protection of geographic indications. Prior to joining the S.J.D program he worked as an attorney with Bores y Cia Abogados and Gomez-Acebo & Pombo in Brussels, and on the Task Force for Justice and Home Affairs of the European Commission in the field of civil and commercial cooperation in Europe. In conjunction with his legal practice, Mr. Bores has advised the European Commission on international legal projects, mainly in Latin America, the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and the Baltics.

In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Bores was a Professor of International, European and Trade Law in several European institutions including the Bar Associaton of Seville, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Europaische Recht Academie, and the Escuela de Organización Industrial.

Further info: www.jesusbores.com

Rachel Cantave

Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
Year of program entry: 2010

Rachel completed her Bachelor’s degree at NYU: The Gallatin school of Individualized Study. She focused on post-colonial theory in Latin America and the Caribbean within her interdisciplinary concentration, “A Literary Approach to the New World.”

Her doctoral thesis is a comparative study of the impact Catholic and Pentecostal churches, and Candomble terreiro’s have on their respective communities in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil. Rachel was awarded a Tinker Field Research Grant in 2011 to carry out preliminary research for her dissertation, and has been awarded a Fulbright to complete her research.

Brian D’Haeseleer

History, College of Arts and Sciences
Year of program entry: 2008

Brian’s specialization is in 20th Century U.S.-Latin American relations. His dissertation, entitled From the Jungles to the Mountains: The American Experience in El Salvador, 1979-1992, focuses on the U.S. counterinsurgency intervention in El Salvador during its civil war. The U.S. intervention has been viewed as a successful application of counterinsurgency that supposedly offers lessons for subsequent conflicts (e.g. Iraq). Brian also investigates the various COIN policies the U.S. used in El Salvador (and throughout the region) from 1961 until 1989.

Emma Fawcett

International Relations, School of International Service
Year of program entry: 2012

Emma holds a BA from Rutgers University in Political Science and Spanish. While at Rutgers, she studied abroad in Mérida, Mexico (Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán), and conducted field research in Oaxaca, Mexico for her undergraduate thesis exploring the impact of labor union mobilization and state politics on education reform. She received an MS in Nonprofit Management from The New School where she conducted field research in Haiti for two different projects: first supporting a World Bank-funded study on the apparel industry in Port-au-Prince, and second, for her master’s thesis on fisherfolk organizations in Marigot.

Her doctoral thesis focuses on the political economy of tourism and development in four Caribbean case studies: Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Mexican Caribbean. During summer 2013, she conducted preliminary dissertation field research in the Dominican Republic and Cuba thanks to a Tinker Field Research Grant through CLALS. She is a member of the Latin American Studies Association, and serves as a research assistant to Dr. Cathy Schneider.

Kia Hall

International Relations, School of International Service (ABD)
Year of program entry: 2008

Kia Hall holds a BA with a concentration in mathematics from Sarah Lawrence College, an MS in Computer and Information Sciences from Temple University and an MA in International Communications from American University. She has been awarded the Sylvia Forman Prize for best graduate student paper in feminist anthropology at the American Anthropological Association meeting in Chicago in November 2013, the Kuklys Prize runner-up for the best graduate student paper at the Human Development and Capabilities Association (HDCA) meeting in Managua in September 2013, and a U.S. Student Fulbright Grant to conduct research in Honduras from October 2011-August 2012.

Her dissertation, “Making Ereba: An Exploration of Food, Culture & Capabilities among Honduras’ Garifuna Community” explores grassroots development from the perspective of the Afro-indigenous Garifuna women who practice their ancestral agricultural tradition of making cassava bread, or ereba (in the Garifuna language). Through a Black feminist analysis, she explores how this traditional form of “women’s work” is improving development opportunities, and especially educational opportunities, for the rural, Garifuna communities of Honduras.

Kia hopes to expand her dissertation project through postdoctoral research that further explores grassroots development in Garifuna communities in Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua. There has been little work done on the collaborative development efforts within Central America. The efforts of the Garifuna communities in Nicaragua and Belize were responsible for having the language, music and dance traditions of the community recognized by the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as “a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage” in 2001. She hopes to investigate other forms of transnational collaborative development work.

Identifying as a Black feminist scholar-activist, her research is linked to ongoing engagement with the Garifuna community of Honduras. Her goal is to be as active in scholarship as in her activist work to create better living conditions for the communities she engages. In August 2013, she launched a fundraising effort to provide critical funds to the groups that make ereba. Every month, you can find updates about Kia’s work at http://www.erebairiona.org/, a website she developed in collaboration with the Ereba Makers of Iriona, Honduras.

Kenneth Sebastian Leon

Justice, Law & Criminology, School of Public Affairs
Year of entry: 2013

Ken holds a BS in Criminology and an MA in Criminology with a concentration in sociological theory. Prior to coming to Washington, Ken worked with the Florida Parole Commission's Office of Executive Clemency, where he gained first-hand exposure to the disproportionate representation of men and women of color in the criminal justice system.

Primary research interests include drug policy, vice regulation, criminal organizations, corporate crime, critical criminology, and state power and control. He is currently exploring the theoretical and functional parallels between the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, and how the U.S. has used these concept wars to promulgate hegemonic policies with other countries. More specifically, as a native of Colombia, Ken intends to show how the concept of narco-terrorism represents the fusion of these two "wars" as they pertain to U.S.-Colombia relations.

Other interests include colorism and issues of identity within ethnic communities, and the testing of criminological theories in international contexts. Ken serves as an adviser for two Latino student organizations at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University.

Abby Lindsay

International Relations, School of International Service
Year of program entry: 2013

Abby holds a MA in International Environmental Policy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University, and a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Mary Washington. Abby has studied tropical ecology and environmental policy in Costa Rica and Brazil; researched sustainable development in Mexico; and completed Masters field work in Honduras and Costa Rica about renewable energy and international climate policy. She has also worked with the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy, as well as done volunteer work in Ecuador and Haiti. Prior to coming to American, Abby worked at the State Department on environment and trade policy, where she had a heavy focus on Latin America, collaborating with governments to advance environmental policy and incentivize private sector adoption of environmental technologies and practices.

Abby’s focus within the field of Global Environmental Policy is water governance. Her doctoral research will look at international influences in domestic water policy, with a comparative analysis of water technology adoption in Latin America. Abby is currently research assistant to Sikina Jinnah, and is working with American University’s Center for Environmental Policy and the Partnership for Technology Innovation and the Environment on scaling up water technology adoption.

Carlos Martínez Ruiz

History, College of Arts and Sciences
Year of program entry: 2012

Carlos Martínez Ruiz holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from Brandeis University in socio-cultural anthropology. His research interests lie at the intersection of historical and anthropological theory and methods. He has conducted research in Venezuela, Philadelphia, and Central America. Under the supervision of Dr. Max Paul Friedman, Carlos is focusing his doctoral research on science, medicine, and power in modern Latin America; US-Latin American relations; and transatlantic history.

Luciano Melo

Comparative Politics, School of Public Affairs
Year of program entry: 2013

Luciano Melo is a Brazilian student with a BA in Communication from Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Brazil; and an MA in International Relations from CUNY, USA. His areas of interest are transparency and democratization of the Southern Cone, as well as the integration of Latin American countries.

Prior to coming to the U.S. he was was an instructor in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, giving classes and lectures to more than 1,000 students from the tri-border area of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.

Rachel Nadelman

International Relations, School of International Service (ABD)
Year of program entry: 2011

Rachel earned her BA in Comparative Literature (French and English) from Brown University, Rhode Island and her MA in International Affairs (international development) from The New School, New York. She has studied and worked abroad in Nicaragua and was awarded an Educational Fellowship with the Argentine Ministry of Economy and Finance, Secretariat for Economic Policy in 2006.

Rachel’s dissertation focuses on an in depth case study of El Salvador as a “Deviant Case” in the role of the diverse anti-mining coalition and the country’s current anti-mining macro-economic policy, which is distinct for the region. The case study will be embedded in a mapping/categorization of Latin American nation-states based on a comparative analysis (from secondary research) of the intersections among: national/regional mining policy (depending on the system of governance, i.e. federal or centralized); response/backlash to such policies and their implementation; and the result effects (if any) on national/regional policy (by government and/or private sector as relevant). The final stage will use the lessons from El Salvador and explore the potential for applicability elsewhere.

Rachel has dedicated her work and studies for the last decade on Latin America (and the Caribbean), with substantial research and development project experience in Nicaragua, Paraguay, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, El Salvador and Haiti. She has worked with several organizations that work specifically on Latin America, and continues to consult with the World Bank’s Latin America region and with The German Development Corporation (GIZ). Rachel’s goal has always been to try and support the strengthening of the voices of those who are so often invisible. Learning and becoming fluent in Spanish has deepened her commitment to working and knowing this region of the world and it is where she plans to focus her professional and intellectual work in the future.

Paula Orlando

Communication, School of Communication
Year of program entry: 2011

Paula Orlando earned her BA in Journalism from the Universidade Estadual de São Paulo (UNESP) and worked for several years as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor prior to moving to the U.S. and receiving her MA in Political Science from Illinois State University.

Paula Orlando’s dissertation focuses on alternative and activist media, produced by social movements in the context of systematic police violence in Brazil, São Paulo in particular. Paula was awarded a Tinker Field Research Grant in 2012 through CLALS to carry out preliminary research for her dissertation. Her previous research examined the visual representations of HIV/AIDS in Africa utilized by international development organizations, and the relationship between women’s rights violations and HIV/AIDS prevalence in Zambia.

Ivanova Reyes

Economics, College of Arts and Sciences
Year of program entry: 2009

Ivanova holds a BA in Economics from the Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo, an MA in Macroeconomics from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and an MA in Development Economics from Georgetown University. Her expertise is in analyzing macroeconomic developments, conducting projections, and analyzing crisis scenarios. In addition to her graduate studies, Ivanova works on various projects focusing on Latin America & the Caribbean as part of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Her dissertation research focuses on the impact that the growth of China has had on Latin America and the Caribbean. In her first chapter, she evaluates whether the economic cycles of China are now aligned with, and influencing, those of Latin America & the Caribbean; her second chapter measures the impact that Chinese growth has had in the productivity of manufacturing firms from Chile; and lastly she presents an engendered view of China’s impact on the manufacturing sector of Chile, with the expectation that industries that have a higher concentration of female workers are more negatively affected when a competitive nation like China experiences rapid growth.

To learn more about Ivanova and her work, please visit her website.

Amy L. Ruddle

Department of Government, School of Public Affairs
Year of program entry: 2012

Amy graduated from Old Dominion University in 2011 with a BA in Political Science. As an undergraduate, she completed an independent study on Peruvians’ access to improved water sources, for which she traveled to Peru for exploratory fieldwork, and conducted interviews in Spanish. Her work generally focuses on democratization, institutions and institutional trust, public goods provision, and political behavior/public opinion. She is particularly interested in understanding how citizens’ perceptions of inequality and the government’s provision of public goods influence the public’s political behavior and their perceptions of regimes/democracy. Latin America provides fertile ground for this particular interest, and Amy is currently studying the different forms utilized by the Latin American populace (including voting, the creation of social movements, and protests) to try to make their governments responsive and accountable.

Marcela Torres

Comparative Politics, School of Public Affairs
Year of program entry: 2011

Marcela holds a degree in Law and a Master’s in Anthropology from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica, in Lima-Peru. Her doctoral research focuses on the legal strategies, both formal and informal, used by indigenous organizations in the Andean Countries to achieve control over natural resources.