Each spring, the Program in Latin American Studies seeks departmental nominations of promising entering Ph.D. students who have demonstrated strong commitment to the study of Latin America. A select cohort is awarded the PLAS Lassen Latin American Fellowship, which provides outstanding first-year students with:
- Full tuition
- A 12–month graduate stipend
- Research funds to support fieldwork during their first year at Princeton
Nominations are evaluated for depth of anticipated scholarship in Latin American studies, and guided by a departmental assessment of each candidate’s overall success potential. Lassen Fellowships, appointed by PLAS, are administered by the Graduate School.
Lassen Fellows, 2019-2020
Lucas E. Allegretti Prates
Lucas E. Allegretti Prates is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology. He received his LL.B. from Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil, and his LL.M. with Distinction in Human Rights from Birkbeck, University of London. For the past decade he has been working in the Brazilian civil society, researching and advocating for human rights at local, national and international levels. He has experience with issues ranging from urban planning to rural public policies, having worked alongside indigenous peoples, landless workers and traditional communities. In the last 4 years he was working with FIAN, a leading international NGO in the field of human rights and, specifically, the Right to Food. He has acted as a National Counselor for the Brazilian Council of Food Security and Nutrition (CONSEA) and he is also a lawyer registered in the Brazilian Bar Association.
Allegretti Prates’ research interests include legal anthropology, human rights, democracy, political identities and state power. He is particularly interested in what has been called ‘lawfare’: the misuse of law to produce political, economic and/or social outcomes. Building from his master’s investigation on the Operation Car Wash (Operação Lava-Jato) in Brazil, he plans to develop an ethnography within the country’s judicial system in order to deepen the analysis of lawfare and its ontological consequences in contemporary societies.
Julia Kornberg is a first-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She studied Letters in the University of Buenos Aires and completed her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College with a focus on Latin American and Comparative literature. At Sarah Lawrence, she was awarded the Spencer Barnett Award by the Spanish Department for her essay on the politics of space in Brazilian Modernism, which studied the works of Oswald de Andrade, Mário de Andrade, and Graciliano Ramos. Her senior thesis focused on the productions of Clarice Lispector and Manuel Puig through the lenses of queer cosmopolitanism, feminism, and translation. In 2017, her book El Tiempo Muerto was the recipient of the special mention of the Ficciones Award, organized by the Argentine Ministry of Culture in honor of Jorge Luis Borges. Her book Los Infiernos Analógicos was published by María Susana in August 2019 and her first novel will be published in June 2020 by Club Hem Editorxs.
Kornberg’s research interests include modern Latin American literature, translation, and cosmopolitanism, focusing on queer and feminist literature from Brazil and Argentina of the later 20th century.
Ana Isabel Martinez Jimenez
Ana Isabel Martinez Jimenez is a first year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature. She received her B.A. in CompLit from the University of Chicago where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and her MSc with distinction in Literature, Languages, and Cultures from the University of Edinburgh. Her undergraduate thesis and master’s dissertation triangulated poetic theory, race studies, and psychoanalysis in order to understand both the conceptual frailty and the powerful ideological influence of racialization. Before beginning her B.A. studies, Ana Isabel was a resident of Tijuana, Mexico and crossed the international border daily for sixteen years to attend school in San Diego, California. Beyond her formal and professional education, this experience is the primary motivator behind her work as a comparatist. Broadly speaking, Martinez’s current interests lie in the intersection between poetic language and the formation of female subjectivity. Her literary focus is 20th century Latin-American women’s literature which she analyses alongside the feminisms that arose from French Écriture féminine and Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Sebastián Rojas Cabal
Sebastián is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Sociology. He graduated summa cum laude from New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in 2017, where he studied Social Research and Public Policy with a concentration in Economics. His undergraduate thesis explored how inequalities in the legal recognition of ethnic identity categories and the expansion of the extractive frontier contribute to intergroup land conflict in southwest Colombia.
Before arriving at Princeton, Sebastián first worked as a research assistant at the Carlos III-Juan March Institute in Social Sciences in Madrid, and then as a researcher in the Environmental Justice area at Dejusticia, a Colombia-based research and advocacy organization that promotes social justice and human rights. At Dejusticia, Sebastián worked in an ethnographic project aimed at understanding the experience of environmental displacement and planned resettlement in Gramalote, northwest Colombia.
Sebastián is interested in culture, technology, inequality, globalization, ethnicity, climate change, and development. He wants to study how all of these interact to create conflict in Latin America and the Global South.
Jonathan A. Romero
Jonathan A. Romero is a first-year graduate student at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Institute for English Language and Literature and the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universitaet Berlin. His paper „La síntesis borgeana entre la Cábala y el platonismo en ‘El Golem’ y ‘El Aleph’“ explores the influence of Platonic and Kabbalistic notions of language in the work and thought of the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. Through a paradigmatic examination of two of his works, Romero sheds light on a Borgesian tendency to hybridize different semiotic systems (e.g. Cabbalistic and Platonic) by framing them into complementary relationships. In a further paper on David Fincher’s Se7en (1995) he revisits his approach to Jewish mysticism to posit that the film renders poststructuralist semiotics an anachronic version of cabbalistic hermeneutics, thereby exposing the necessity of the Middle Ages as a chronological Other for the theoretical foundation of (post)modernity. His honours thesis expands on medieval cultures by focusing on their continuity and inherent alterity in representations of abjection in (post)modern popular culture.
Romero’s research interests are broad and interdisciplinary—ranging from semiotics and syncretism to Human-Animal Studies and medievalism. At Princeton, he aims to further delve into the dialogic tension between the modern and the premodern by focusing on Latin American works and semiotic systems that embrace cross-culturality and potentially subvert anthropologocentric modes of thinking and writing.