PhD Student Profiles
Sergio Alcocer is one of the most progressive multicultural marketers in the world. LatinWorks, the cultural branding agency he leads as President and Chief Creative has been named Multicultural Ad Agency of the Year in the USA three times and a Top 10 advertising agency in the country twice. Sergio is a constant speaker in international forums on marketing to multicultural minorities and has served twice on a jury at the Cannes Lions Festival. His main interest both professionally and academically is the advancement of Latinos in the USA. He holds an MBA from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership.
Research Interests: Latinos in the USA; multiculturalism; race; self-identification; advertising; culture
Ana-Isabel Braconnier holds a master’s degree in Comparative Political Sociology with a focus on Latin America from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris) and a bachelor’s in Political Science from the same school. Since 2009, she has occupied several positions as a socio-political researcher and consultant for nonprofit organizations in Quetzaltenango and Guatemala City. Her specialization embraces multicultural and intercultural studies. Recently, she has focused on legal pluralism, indigenous peoples’ access to justice, and the judiciary in Guatemala. As a political science lecturer at the Universidad Rafael Landívar, she explored ludic and artistic pedagogical methods with her students.
Research Interests: Legal pluralism; human and indigenous peoples’ rights; multicultural politics; the judiciary; Guatemala; Latin America
Rony Castillo Guity received a bachelor´s degree in Philosophy from the Universidad Seminario Mayor Nuestra Señora de Suyapa de Honduras in 2002 and a master’s in Project Management from the Catholic University of Honduras in 2006. Since 2003, he has worked on several educational projects at the Secretary of Education in Honduras, and at the Bilingual and Intercultural Education Program for Garifuna and Indigenous people throughout Central America. His current focus of study is on the revitalization, restoration, and conservation of the Garifuna language and culture in Honduras. Rony is also interested in visiting North Africa, Saint Vincent Island, and Venezuela to include the history of Garifuna language in his sociolinguistic research, and to rewrite that history.
Research Interests: Garifuna history; culture; languages; African diaspora; intercultural; bilingualism and education
Mario N. Castro-Villarreal received a bachelor's in Mexican Letters from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León and currently holds a master of arts in Mexican American Studies from the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Austin. His master's thesis, "Fictionalizing Juarez: Feminicide, Violence and Myth-making in the Borderlands," focused on fictional representations of the feminicides of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. In the doctoral program at LILLAS, his research will continue to explore the intersections of gender, race, and class in the ongoing violence occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Research Interests: Latin American and Chicano literature and film; U.S.-Mexico border violence; Mexican drug war; narco culture; gender and ethnic studies
Anthony Dest is researching the impacts of violence and development on Black communities in Colombia. Prior to beginning his graduate studies at LLILAS, he founded the Colombia Land Rights Monitor and worked at the Washington Office on Latin America. Anthony received his bachelor's degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and former Fulbright Scholar.
Advisor: Charles R. Hale
Research Interests: Colombia; African Diaspora; violence; development; racism; activist research
Prisca Gayles has a bachelor’s in Hispanic Languages and Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and a master´s in Latin American Studies from the University of South Florida. She works as a Study Abroad coordinator and teaches Human Rights in Buenos Aires while continuing her research on Afro-Argentine activism. Her research focuses on the racial discourse in Buenos Aires and activist methods of combatting racism in educational curricula, the media, and vernacular language.
Research Interests: Cultural politics; Afrodescendants; civic engagement; citizenship; social inequalities
Adriana Linares Palma received a bachelor´s in Archaeology from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala in 2009 and an MA in Latin American Studies from UT Austin in 2014. She has gained expertise working in the field since 2002 in several archaeological projects in the Maya Lowlands and Highlands of Guatemala. Her current focus of study is community-based archaeology in the Ixil area, in the Western highlands of Guatemala, as an ongoing project that addresses with indigenous leaders the benefits and risks of conducting archaeological research in their communities, incorporating their concerns into a community project for knowledge production about their ancestors for their own use. Adriana is also interested in including ethnography and oral history in archaeological research for a better understanding of the past.
Research Interests: Mesoamerican archaeology; women figurines; public archaeology; community-based archaeology; multivocality; feminist archaeology; decolonizing archaeology
Marianela Muñoz is a Fullbright-Laspau sponsored student from Costa Rica. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Philology and a master’s in Literature from the University of Costa Rica. She also earned an MBA in Cultural Enterprises and Institutions from the University of Salamanca and Santillana Institute, Spain. She is a joint professor in the Literature Department of the School of Philology, Linguistics and Literature at the University of Costa Rica. As a cultural cooperation consultant, she has worked in cultural projects in Costa Rican public institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and international agencies operating within Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Spain.
Research Interests: Oral traditions of the Afro-descendant and indigenous populations in the Central American Caribbean and their relationship with cultural and educational politics
Yoalli Rodríguez Aguilera was born and raised in Mexico. She received a bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology from the Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, and a master’s in Social Anthropology from the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social in Mexico City. She has worked in the areas of juridical anthropology, gender, feminism, and human rights. Her research seeks to understand the various conceptions of justice, dignity, and human rights of women organized in Mexico. She has also worked in the area of visual anthropology.
Research interests: Human rights; justice; gender; history of ideas in Latin America
Edwin Román-Ramírez is a doctoral candidate in Latin American Studies. He obtained his licenciatura in Archaeology from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. He holds a master´s degree in Latin American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.
Edwin has participated in several archaeological projects in Guatemala, most recently at the sites of Cival, La Joyanca-Zapote Bobal, Sierra del Lacandón, El Perú-Waka, Piedras Negras, and in the Motagua Valley. In addition, he worked at the Maya site of San Bartolo for five years. Since 2009, Edwin has been the co-director of the El Zotz Archaeological Project located in Petén, Guatemala.
Research Interests: Maya archaeology; Mesoamerica; anthropology; indigenous epistemologies
Patricia Núñez de Ruiz-Healy is completing a doctorate in Latin American Studies (ABD) with a concentration in Art History. Her dissertation director is Professor Andrea Giunta and her focus is on the work of German-Mexican artist Mathias Goeritz. She is the author of the recently published book Mathias Goeritz.
She obtained her masters in Art History in 2005 at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Her thesis title is: "Tina Modotti, Frida Kahlo, Ana Mendieta: Complexities of Their Artistic Recognition." She has done postgraduate work in London, England, at Sotheby's Institute of Art and Courtauld Institute of Art. She currently serves on the boards of Artpace San Antonio and the San Antonio Public Library. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum.
Committee Members: Andrea Giunta (Chair), Roberto Tejada, Arturo Arias, Héctor Domínguez Ruvalcaba, and Matthew Butler
Research Interests: History of mid-20th century architecture and Spanish literature
Before arriving at The University of Texas at Austin, Angela Tapia worked as a lawyer defending indigenous rights in Peru. She received her MA in Latin American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and completed her thesis, titled “The Kakataibo Indigenous Peoples: The Sense of Belonging.” Her current doctoral research continues to focus on indigenous peoples, however she has changed her focus from the Amazon region to the highland Andes. This change reflects her own origins as a Quechua woman born in Puno.
Her current research focuses on clothing, specifically polleras. In her work she asks questions such as, "why do indigenous peoples from the Andes wear polleras if this garment involves a pejorative meaning?"
Research Interests: Sex; queer identities; gender; ontologies; colonialism; art; aesthetics; clothing; spirituality; race
Ricardo Velasco is a social documentary media producer interested in violence, trauma, human rights, and transitional justice in contemporary Colombia. His academic degrees include a Bachelor of Music from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and a Master of Arts in Social Documentation from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ricardo’s research has focused on the uses of documentary for the construction of historical memory, and in the political potential of the uses of new media technologies among organizations of victims of the Colombian armed conflict. With the support of a fellowship from the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley (2013–2014), he recently produced the documentary After the Crossfire: Memories of Violence and Displacement, a testimonial account of the emergence and escalation of the armed conflict, and the effects of violence among the civilian population of Colombia's remote north Pacific coast region.
Research Interests: Latin American cultural and media studies; memory and documentary studies; audiovisual testimony, trauma, transitional justice, and the Colombian armed conflict; media literacy, solidarity networks, and ethno-territorial social movements in the Pacific coast of Colombia
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