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, 2018-2019
Elise Y. Chagas (Art and Archaeology)
Elise Y. Chagas is a first-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Archaeology. She earned an M.A. from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, and a B.A. with honors in Art History, and minors in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Critical Theory, from Northwestern University. Her qualifying paper at Williams looked at the Argentinean artist Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos, making an argument for the ludic and the local in Latin American conceptualism. While at Williams, she was also Graduate Curatorial Fellow at MASS MoCA, where she curated Etel Adnan: A yellow sun A green sun a yellow sun A red sun a blue sun, the Lebanese-American artist and poet’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States.
In broad terms, Chagas is interested in the political and historiographical circumstances of global art history. Her area of specialization is modern and contemporary Latin American art, with a focus on Brazil and Argentina.
Constanza Dalla Porta (History)
Constanza Dalla Porta is a first year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, earning a B.A. in History and receiving the 2012 Jaime Eyzaguirre award (valedictorian). Upon graduation, she pursued a diploma in Education, Memory, and Human Rights at the Museo de la Memoria and the Universidad de Chile, and successfully completed an M.A. in History also at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Her master’s thesis focuses on the history of rural sociopolitical violence in the midst of the Chilean agrarian reform and the eve of the dictatorship (1965-1975). Through the analysis of how peasants experienced the state, this thesis sheds light upon larger narratives of political violence and deeply problematizes the binary understanding of democracy and dictatorship in Cold War Chile. During her career, Dalla Porta has received a Comisión Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONICYT) fellowship and one of the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos’ thesis awards. Before coming to Princeton, Constanza worked as an education specialist at the Parque por la Paz Villa Grimaldi, one of the foremost memory sites in Latin America.
Dalla Porta’s research interests include the modern history of Latin America and Chile within a global landscape of human rights struggles. Her doctoral dissertation project is a study of impunity and its role in shaping social, political, and cultural developments in post-conflict societies.
Amanda Rivera (Anthropology)
Amanda Rivera is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology and graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Rivera directed and produced her own short documentary film (“American Bilingue”) and developed her own independent research in collaboration with Rutgers’ Anthropology and Latino and Caribbean Studies Departments.
Rivera's passion lies with Puerto Rico, the island of her heritage, and how postcolonial politics, neoliberal economic policies and geriatric neglect converge and impact elderly communities as they recover from Hurricane Maria. Via interviews and documentary film, Rivera wants to develop a project which both addresses the difficulties elderly Puerto Ricans experienced in obtaining basic necessities in the storm’s immediate aftermath, and how these communities of the campo (countryside) will politically mobilize to advocate for themselves. The Project seeks to understand how older Puerto Ricans, having lived through decades of political shifts (both towards and against statehood, autonomy, and maintenance of the protectorate status), will shape conversations of neocolonialism in the 21st century and change the island’s political landscape for years to come, through voting, running for office, and other means of activism.
Rivera's research interests run the gamut from bilingualism and identity to personal expression as a means of political activism.
María Aránzazu Rodríguez (Politics)
María Aránzazu Rodríguez is a first year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics. She received her B.Sc. in Economics from la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and an M.P.A. in International Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. During the past 4 years, she has been working as Senior Research Associate and Project Development Coordinator for Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia. During her time at IPA, she managed five different RCTs and a qualitative project which seeks to understand armed-group governance, the market structure of urban gangs, and how, if possible, to transition from armed groups to state rule with non-violent strategies.
Rodríguez’s research interests span from conflict and armed groups to informal governance institutions in state and peace-building to state capacity and development. These lie at the intersection of comparative politics, political behavior, international relations, and political economy of development. She is particularly interested in exploring the role that bounded rationality and misinformation can play as recruitment and motivation mechanisms for urban gangs.