CLAS: Center for Latin American Studies

News and Highlights

UM Students Present at the 9th Annual South Florida Latin American and Caribbean Studies Graduate Student Conference

April 25, 2011

The University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University, and Florida International University hosted the 9th Annual South Florida Latin American and Caribbean Studies Graduate Student Conference at FAU's Boca Raton campus on Thursday April 14th. The conference, with its central theme "Cultural Identities of the Americas in a Globalized World," attracted graduate students from all over the state and as far away as North Carolina to present research among their peers who have a common interest in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Planned and presented entirely by graduate students of South Florida Universities, the conference showcased 16 graduate students from subfields as varied as West Indian Education, Argentine-Jewish Religious Studies, and Social Justice in Colombia.

Three University of Miami students participated in the event, each presenting research from different fields of study and varied areas of focus. Gabriela de la Torre, MA student in Latin America Studies exhibiting work from her Master's thesis, presented "Microfinance and Financial Literacy: A Case Study on the Uniones de Crédito y Ahorro in Peru." Also Ph.D. candidate from the School of Education, Tracy McLeod, presented "Perceptions of West Indian Families & Special Education" and Lilian Yaffe, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of International Studies, presented "Armed Conflict in Colombia: An Institutional Approach to Explain the Regional Variation in the Levels of Violence."

Presenters for the conference were selected from a highly competitive pool of abstracts. A peer committee read full papers of selected presenters and chose the top three. The conference is proud to congratulate its three winners:

  • 1st Place, Monica Vera, FIU. "Taking Issue with History: Reconciling Vestiges of Enslavement and the Power of Creative Intervention"
  • 2nd Place, Valeria Schindler, FIU. "Motherhood: Its Influence on the Work of Latin American Congregational Rabinas"
  • 3rd Place, Bonnie Lucero, UNC. "Nation and Nación? Cultural Strategies of Belonging among Afro-Descendants in Cuba circa 1898"

One of the winners, Bonnie Lucero from the University of North Carolina, used the UM Library's Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) as a basis for her research during Fall 2010, investigating the social and cultural climate in Cuba at the turn of the century.

CLAS and UM graduate students look forward to the next Graduate Student Conference during the 2011-2012 academic year.