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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, 2015-2016

Ingrid Brioso Rieumont


Ingrid Brioso is from Havana, Cuba where she studied at the most important formative school for literary studies and creative writing in Cuba, the Centro de Formación Literaria Onelio Jorge Cardoso. She holds a B.A. from Smith College, where she received the Elizabeth Wanning Harries Prize for excellence in the study of literature, and graduated from there with highest honors in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. Her Honors Thesis, “ O(s) livro(s) de Arístides Fernández: Oito contos e um comentá rio” involved the translation of eight short stories into Portuguese by Cuban writer Arístides Fernández (1904-1934) and the critical introduction of his work to the Brazilian/ Brazilianist readership. At Princeton, she is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures. Her academic interest is to articulate different scenarios to think modes of contact, flows, gazes, coincidences, and counterpoints, between Cuba and Brazil in the XIX and XX centuries. Presently she is studying James J. O’Kelly’s travel accounts of Cuba (1872) and Brazil (1878); these narratives, Ingrid would like to argue, create foundational scenes that allow readers to anticipate and connect cultural realities at a moment in time when people in the United States, and even in the Latin American imaginary had not begun to think about Cuba in relation to Brazil. Recipient of several literary prizes, Ingrid published her first book of short stories “Una recta entre dos puntos negros (coedition) in Cuba in 2010. She is currently working on a second book provisionally titled “El libro infinito de Hélio Oiticica,” stories which explore the intricacies within artistic and political relations in contemporary Cuba and Brazil through the lens of a romance of a Cuban Brazilian couple.


Brandon Hunter


Brandon Hunter is a first year Cultural Anthropology PhD student. Before coming to Princeton Brandon completed his law degree at Georgetown University where he focused his interests on labor and employment law, and before that completed his BA and MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Brandon has conducted research and worked in a number of contexts in Latin America including human rights fact finding in Costa Rica and institutional ethnographic work Mexico City examining the role of civil society working to combat sexual violence. In addition, Brandon has been involved in immigrant rights organizing in the United States and has worked with immigrant and workers rights centers in Austin and Washington DC.     Brandon’s academic interests lie at the intersection of human rights, transnational law, labor, international development, and tourism. In particular, Brandon is interested in worker unions in tourism zones in Latin America and the way law shapes both worker organizations and the experience of work itself. Brandon hopes to critically explore the use of tourism by states and international financial institutions as a vehicle for economic development, paying close attention to the way such schemes are embodied and negotiated by workers.


Galileu Kim


Galileu Kim holds a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. His principal research interests are political economy of development, specifically how historical changes in political institution can affect the long-term economic performance and social indicators at a local level. Galileu has spent the previous two years participating in a research project on the Peruvian Andes, analyzing the diverging trajectories of two provinces in Huancavelica. He is now a doctoral candidate for a Ph.D. in politics at Princeton University.


John Paul Paniagua


John Paul Paniagua is a first year Ph.D. student in the History Department. Before coming to Princeton, John earned his B.A. in History and Economics from Whittier College. He has twice been the recipient of Phi Alpha Theta’s national Nels Andrew Cleven Founder’s Prize for superior paper by an undergraduate. He has been a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow (MMUF) and held an internship for the Institute for Recruiting Teachers at Phillips Academy Andover. His work has been published in Argus-a, the MMUF Journal, and the Yale Historical Review.
He is interested in the many ways that Native Americans experienced the European colonization of the Americas, and how they navigated and negotiated the contested spaces of early America. With particular focus on connecting interior borderlands to oceanic worlds, he is interested in how, why, and when indigenous Americans crossed the Atlantic, took part in its commerce, or were thrust into oceanic diaspora during the early modern period. John conceives of the colonial Americas as an integrated hemispheric space that despite its demographic and topographic diversity must be broadly defined by the presence of Amerindian populations that shaped the formation of European colonial projects. Moreover, seeking to situate his work within the still nascent field of Red Atlantic Studies, John wants to move beyond the land-centric historiography of Native American Studies to illustrate the roots and routes of Amerindian experiences in the broader Atlantic world.
At Princeton, John plans to build on his MMUF thesis, “Apaches in the Red Atlantic: Indigenous Exile from Northern New Spain, 1729-1816.” The project explored the contingencies that made the exile of over 2,000 Apache prisoners of war from the American Southwest to Mexico City and Havana possible. Seeking to broaden the scope of this study to other Amerindians, John hopes to chart their experiences in the Caribbean and Atlantic via archival research in the Southwest, Mexico City, Havana, and Seville.


Candela Potente


Candela Potente holds a Licenciatura in Philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires. Her undergraduate thesis explored the relationship between museums and aesthetic theories, namely she analyzed different moments in the history of museums in order to find the philosophical implications in each one of them. She was a member of the editorial staff at the contemporary art magazine of the Centro de Investigaciones Artísticas (Artistic Investigations Center) in Buenos Aires for three years, where she also published articles, and has written several book reviews for the cultural section of the Argentine national newspaper La Nación. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature, and her interests include aesthetics, philosophy of history, and contemporary art.


Belén Unzueta


Belén Unzueta received a BA in Social Anthropology from Universidad de Chile and a MA in Sociology from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Her MA thesis, "Movilidad Escolar y Rendimiento Académico. Evidencias a partir de la prueba SIMCE" received the award for best thesis in the Instituto de Sociología - UC (ISUC) and was conducted with a fellowship from the Consejo Nacional de Educación (CNED). Prior to Princeton, Belén worked as a research assistant at the Interdisciplinary Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Studies (ICIIS), where she focused on the determinants of indigenous identification and also collaborated in the design of a survey study of intercultural and indigenous relationships. Her research interests include the relationship between the politics of the state, ethnic identity and narratives about the nation, and a more general concern about the definition of ethnicity in Latin America.