1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Did you study abroad and if so where?
I grew up in New Hampshire, and went to college at nearby Bowdoin College, where I dragged my feet as long as possible before selecting a major in my senior year—the illustrious Self-Designed Major. In fact, my coursework centered around Latin American Studies, but at the time, that was not a major that Bowdoin offered. As an undergraduate, I really loved the truly liberal arts curriculum, which allowed me to take classes from Art History to Anthropology to Religion to Film Studies to Chemistry to Calculus (ok, Calculus was a mistake). I studied abroad with School for International Training (SIT) for a semester in Oaxaca, Mexico. Mexico remains my favorite place on earth. In particular, I love browsing through the antique book market in downtown Mexico City in the alleyway between the Museo Nacional de Arte Nacional and the Casa de Azulejos.
2. How did you end up working for Miami and how did you decide to come to MUDEC?
I’ve been at Miami since 2008, when I was hired as a joint faculty the departments of History and Global and Intercultural Studies (in the Latin American, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies Program). In Oxford, I teach classes on Latin American Revolutions, Consumerism and Pop Culture, Development and Equality, Mexican History, and Modern Latin American history. I also teach a few courses in the history of childhood. Check out last semester’s LAS student capstone projects for the course Child and Nation in Latin America. I was incredibly honored to be named the 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Educator last year, during the strangest semester we’ve all experienced. I came to MUDEC to witness history and its legacies from the vantage point of another hemisphere.
3. What are you looking forward to the most while teaching at MUDEC?
I’m most looking forward to the rare, unique opportunity to teach face-to-face in a time period when many college courses will be delivered online. I’m excited to teach a group of students that, for the most part, have majors outside of HST and LAS. In particular, I can’t wait to delve into the archival and oral history projects that my students will be carrying out this semester. I’m also looking forward to lots of forested hikes on the weekend, improving my Portuguese and learning French, and spending a year without driving a car.
4. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature’s resiliency. I’m also inspired by people who speak truth to power—I’m energized by the young people around the world who have spoken out against structures of injustice, at great risk to their lives and safety, and look forward to seeing their efforts transform our futures. I love seeing former Miami students making positive changes in the world, and keeping in touch with me about their work.
5. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
One of the most absurd things to happen to me was encountering a very famous Mexican artist that I was writing a paper about—in his own private museum, of course—and being so star-struck that I circled around him five or six times before changing my shoes to cute ones (complicated detail) and approaching him to introduce myself. He was charming and complimentary, let me take a photo with him and *gasp* complimented my feet! (?!). When I stumbled out of the museum, incredulous about our encounter, I fell headlong into a giant charco—essentially, a very nasty puddle of fetid street water. I had to walk home looking like I had waded through the Fire Swamp, but it was one of the greatest days of my life.
6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m all grown up, but in my next stage of life, I aspire to successfully plant, grow, and harvest my own tomatoes. I’ve not yet accomplished the entire cycle of this goal.