Lassen Fellowships in Latin American Studies, 2016-2017
Gabrielle Girard is a first year graduate student in the Department of History. She earned a BA in History and Spanish from Cornell University, and has also studied at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires. Before beginning graduate studies, Gabrielle worked in Ecuador and Uruguay for a year as the recipient of a Princeton in Latin America fellowship. Her research interests include historical memory, solidarity movements, human rights, and modern Latin America.
Juan Diego Pérez
Juan Diego Pérez is first year Ph.D. student at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures. Throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies, he has turned his focus to cultural practices of memory and mourning in the context of the Colombian armed conflict, which he has tackled on the basis of a transdisciplinary dialogue between literature, philosophy and visual studies. He holds a B.A. in Literature with a minor in Art History from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia), where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Building upon trauma theory and deconstructive criticism, in his undergraduate thesis he explored how the aesthetical enactment of mourning could be understood as an allegory of reading through a comparative analysis of Paul Celan’s poetics and Doris Salcedo’s plastic imagery. Before coming to Princeton, Juan Diego completed an M.A. in Philosophy with a concentration in continental aesthetics at the same university. Taking J. L. Nancy’s reflections on touching, sense and the image as a starting point, in his Cum Laude monograph he traced three figures of mourning in three works of contemporary Colombian artists –Clemencia Echeverri, Doris Salcedo and Óscar Muñoz- which address the absence of the desaparecidos through a reconceptualization of the corporeal dimension of mourning memory. Juan Diego’s current academic interests move across trauma and memory studies, body culture studies and modern secular mysticism. At Princeton, he wishes to explore the endurance of mysticism in twentieth-century Latin American cultural objects that revolve around the intimacy between desire and violence, whether it is as illness, hunger, pain, desolation, disappearance or death. More specifically, Juan Diego plans to delve into the plausible mystical foundations of the idea of corporeality that lies at the core of the “aesthetics of violence” in Colombian visual culture dating from 1980 to the present, as well as into its consequences in an understanding of trauma as a figurative rather than a solely negative force.