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Faculty Research Awards

LLILAS supports the scholarly excellence of UT Latin Americanists by providing funding to our faculty affiliates to conduct field research in Latin America and the Caribbean. Proposals are assessed by a faculty committee appointed by the director each spring semester. Awardees receive full or partial travel funding.

Faculty Research Leave

The purpose of the Faculty Research Leave is to provide LLILAS faculty with the opportunity to engage in productive and creative intellectual projects, otherwise impossible to achieve during the course of the academic year.

College of Liberal Arts

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Lina Del Castillo, LLILAS and Department of History
Del Castillo will conduct research during 2022–23 for her book project titled "Colombia’s Paper Empire: Cosmopolitanism, Print Culture, and Geopolitics in the Age of Revolution." This book traces how "Columbia," a poetic late-eighteenth-century name that set Anglo-America off from Britannia, came to evoke, by the turn of the century, a “Columbian” project to unite the entirety of the Western Hemisphere, which eventually morphed into the massive and short-lived Gran Colombian Republic from 1819 to 1830. The book follows the initial "Columbian" vision for North and South America as it migrated to Europe via cosmopolitan Spanish Americans only to return in the form of a Latinized continental "Colombia."

Del Castillo was the faculty organizer of the 2022 Lozano Long Conference, “Archiving Objects of Knowledge with Latin American Perspectives.” She is the author of Crafting a Republic for the World: Scientific, Geographic, and Historiographic Inventions of Colombia (U of Nebraska Press, 2018).

Mellon Faculty Research Travel Grants

An endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provides funding for faculty to carry out summer research on topics focusing on Latin America. Meet the 2022 Mellon Travel Grant awardees.

College of Liberal Arts

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Iyaxel Cojti Ren, Department of Anthropology
Cojti Ren travels to Guatemala to conduct research for her project "K'iche' expansionism and the politics of the Maya highlands during the Postclassic period." This is a continuation of her research on the geopolitics of the Maya highlands during the Postclassic period (900–1524 CE), where she is reconstructing the political networks among various Postclassic political units. According to Cojti Ren, “the few investigations that have been carried out on the archaeology of the Maya highlands focus on the history and culture of single sites without considering their political and economic interactions at the regional level over time. This research would be the first attempt to apply the network theory in the Maya highlands from a diachronic approach. Network theory focuses on the use of networking techniques to explore aspects of regional connectivity over time.”

College of Liberal Arts

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Kenneth Greene, Department of Government
Under the heading of “Political Accountability in Mexico,” Greene will conduct fieldwork in Mexico to further work on two different research projects. The first is a book manuscript in progress about vote buying and the quality of democracy. Greene describes vote buying as a systemic attempt to “buy citizens’ votes” by offering “selective access to material benefits and services.” One of the questions he asks is, Is it effective? His second project, a newer one, examines political organization in Mexico’s 30,000-plus ejidos. “The degree of centralization or decentralization in ejidos governance impacts multiple aspects of rural life,” writes Greene, “including the distribution of resources among ejido residents, the quality of public services, feelings of community integration, and the ability to resist the incursion of outside actors ranging from clientelist political parties to criminal organizations. Surprisingly, there is as yet no social science research on the variation in ejido governance.”

College of Liberal Arts

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Gabriela Polit, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Polit’s summer research concerns her project titled “Female Fantasies: Trauma and Drive in Difficult Times.” Citing sobering statistics about the high rate of femicide in Latin America, especially Mexico, Argentina, and Ecuador, Polit notes that women’s movements in these countries have achieved unparalleled strength. “Grief and drive, and trauma and activism, operate on a compass with a complex and intriguing aesthetic balance in women’s contemporary literary works,” writes Polit. She plans to look at a range of works by Latin American women authors, conduct interviews with the authors, and explore the specific contexts in which the works were created. In writing about the works in conversation with one another, Polit says she will pay special attention to “the rich intersections between fantasy and creativity; vulnerability and ethics; mourning and the construction of political selves; and syntax and the representation of fear.”

Translation Grant

This award supports the translation of books published in English by LLILAS affiliated faculty into Spanish or Portuguese. 

College of Liberal Arts

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Robin D. Moore, Butler School of Music
Moore has been awarded funds for translation into Spanish of his book Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba (University of California Press, 2006).

College of Liberal Arts

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Gabriela Polit, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Professor Polit has been awarded funds for translation into Spanish of her book Unwanted Witnesses: Journalists and Conflict in Contemporary Latin America (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019).