PLAS awards five to six Lassen Fellowships in Latin American Studies annually to outstanding first-year graduate students nominated by their home department who have a demonstrated commitment to the study of Latin America. This prestigious fellowship covers full tuition and fees for the first year, a 12-month stipend, and a summer grant to support research in Latin America.
Lassen Fellows, 2021-2022
Santiago Conti (History)
Santiago Conti is a first-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History and holds a B.A. in history from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina. He has done research on encomiendas in the governorship of Tucumán (Viceroyalty of Peru) during the 17th century and the de-structuring effects of the conquest over Indigenous communities. Focusing on the case of Catamarca, he puts forward the existence of a specific type of encomienda called "domestic encomienda", whose formation was related to the key military role that the encomenderos had in securing the borderlands and their capacity to avoid royal regulations regarding Indigenous labor. In Santiago’s view, this resulted in the depopulation of Indian towns and severely limited Indigenous peoples' capacity to contest the terms of colonial impositions. Conti has presented work-in-progress in conferences and published an article and a book review in Memoria Americana, the ethnohistory journal of the UBA. He has also participated in research groups focused on popular politics in Latin America in the UBA's Instituto de Historia Argentina y Americana "Dr. Emilio Ravignani".
For his doctoral project, Conti is planning to study the north-east frontiers of the Rio de la Plata region, specifically the Guaraní political and military engagement during the age of revolutions and the independence wars, the role of Indigenous tribute, as well as on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state. Outside academia, Conti has been a high school teacher, a researcher assistant for local and international researchers, and has written content for history school books, museums and television shows.
Dante Furioso (Architecture)
Dante Furioso is a first-year doctoral candidate in the School of Architecture and holds a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University and a B.A. in history from Wesleyan University. A writer, designer, and educator, Dante is a licensed architect registered in New York State. After serving as one of the editors of the 2018 issue of The Yale Architectural Journal, Perspecta 51: Medium, he worked as a founding editor and contributor to The New York Review of Architecture. He has written articles for CLOG, Constructs, and Architect. While at Selldorf Architects he designed a range of architectural scales, including art exhibitions, residential renovations, and public infrastructure projects. He comes to Princeton from New York City where he split his time between independent design projects including workspace renovations, an art bookstore, and site-specific installations, while teaching an undergraduate studio course at the Michael Graves College of Public Architecture at Kean University.
Dante is interested in the relationship between the architecture of cities, construction history, and labor politics. He attended a bilingual school in his hometown of Washington, DC, where he grew up in a multilingual community. Doing volunteer work in rural Honduras and Nicaragua as a teen, and later studying at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, he developed an interest in the history of radical trade unions and immigration in Latin America. Framing architecture’s relationship to political ideology in an Atlantic intellectual context, his research at Princeton aims to foreground workers and the design professions in the history of 19th- and 20th-century of Latin American nation-building projects.
Victória Bárbara Lopes (Spanish and Portuguese)
Victória Bárbara Lopes is a first-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She holds a B.A. in history from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), with minors in Latin American studies, Afro-Brazilian studies, and Greek-Latin culture. She also holds a law degree from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO). While studying literary theory, Victória developed a passion for literature as not only a way of understanding the past, but also of accessing how subjects intervene and seek to change reality through it. That interest was combined with a previous research interest for counter hegemonic politics and social movements in Latin America, developed during her years as a law student. As an undergraduate, she focused on Aimé Césaire’s works, especially his play A Tempest and its use of Orisha culture as a way to convey political alternatives to the colonial order.
Victória’s interests include Afro-Latin American religions, counter hegemonic politics, theater, Afro-Cuban literature, Afro-Brazilian literature, French Caribbean literature, postcolonialism and decoloniality.
Nora Muñiz (Spanish and Portuguese)
Nora Muñiz is a first-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and holds a B.A. in both Latin-American literature from the Universidad Iberoamericana and English literature from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She is an experienced editor and writer. Among other things, she has published the essay “Diegetic Overflow: From the Corporeal to the Literary limits in Operation on a Malignant Body by Sergio Loo” in the Connotas Journal. Recently, Muñiz was awarded the Fulbright García Robles Scholarship for her graduate studies in the U.S.
Muñiz’s work and professional practice has been defined by her interest in intermediality, as she has worked in both the artistic and literary spheres in Mexico City. Her research interests include Latin-American contemporary literature written by women, studies of the body, feminism, ecocriticism, and the intersection of these disciplines within the text.