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Lassen Fellowships in Latin American Studies

The Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS) Lassen Fellowships in Latin American Studies provide outstanding first-year graduate students with full tuition, a 12–month graduate stipend, and research funds to support fieldwork in the region during their first year at Princeton. Each spring, PLAS asks departments to nominate the most promising entering graduate students for this fellowship.

Nominations are evaluated for evidence of strong commitment to the study of Latin America, guided by a departmental assessment of each candidate’s overall potential for success. Lassen Fellows are appointed by the Program in Latin American Studies and the fellowships are administered by the Graduate School.

LASSEN FELLOWS, 2012-2013

Benjamin Fogarty Valenzuela (Anthropology)


Benjamin Fogarty Valenzuela earned the B.A. with Honors in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University in New York. During his Ph.D., he plans to explore how new forms of education in Guatemala sit at the intersection of citizenship movements and transnational capital. A citizen of Guatemala and the US, a variety of experiences inform his plan of research: teaching health education in a majority Latino high school in New York; completing research on drug violence, security and gangs in Guatemala City; conducting human rights research in Lahore, Pakistan; and working on a drug violence awareness campaign in New York. Central to all this is a commitment to visual work.

Gerardo Muñoz (Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures)


Born in Cuba, Muñoz majored in political theory and philosophy, and received the M.A. in Hispanic Literature from the University of Florida. His recent investigations take up questions related to the debates around cinema and Marxism, which were explored in a symposium he organized in 2011 “Early Revolutionary Cuban Film 1961-1968: Ideology, Aesthetics, and Censorship.” At Princeton, Muñoz is eager to extend his research on the debates and reception of Marxism in a broader Latin America context (1950-1970s), with particular focus on the work of philosopher León Rozitchner, relations between intellectuals and the State, and the cultural legacies of revolutionary ideologies as represented and imagined in cultural production.

Jean Nava (Sociology)


Jean Nava earned the B.A. in Sociology, Economics, and Mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin. His Honors thesis explored the impact emigration has had on population structure in Mexico on a state and regional level by examining census data and providing a brief historical analysis of Mexico-to-U.S. migration. His research interests include economic sociology, neoliberalism and globalization, the international flow of labor, and macroeconomic processes in general.

Paula Elena Vedoveli Francisco (History)


Paula E. Vedoveli is a historian working on the relations between Latin America and the Third World during the Cold War. She is trying to understand the rise and fall of the idea of Third World solidarism, focusing specifically on the 1950s and 1960s. This project addresses the broader question of how Latin America influenced the dynamics of the Cold War and the development of the Global South. She has conducted multi-archival research in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Brazil, and Argentina. Before coming to Princeton, Paula worked as a research fellow at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She graduated summa cum laude in History from the University of Rio de Janeiro. She later earned the M.A. in International Relations at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.