My name is Colleen Coyle and I am the new CentreTrail intern! I can’t wait to dig into some great historical topics with you all. I am a Senior History major here at Centre with minors in Latin American Studies and Spanish so you can look forward to my best efforts to share that interest with you! My historical pursuits are varied but generally I’m interested in early 20th century history, especially in Central America. Thematically, I am always eager to learn more about U.S. imperialism, intellectualism, and gender. Although many accuse history of being a dull discipline, I find that it has allowed me to give shape to my passions and make better sense of the modern world, which let us admit, is a bit of a mess.
I thought I would begin my CentreTrail contributions by talking a little about myself and a few other students who have been accepted to present our research at a conference at the end of this month! The conference will be hosted by the Latin American Studies Student Association at University of Texas at Austin. I thought I would spotlight these papers so if you are thinking about applying to a conference you will know some students who have already gone through the process and have some insight to share.
- Rebekah Markham, a Junior, investigates the historical contexts surrounding the liberation theology of Gustavo Gutierrez, a prominent Peruvian liberation theologist who is regarded as a founder of the movement. More specifically, Markham is examining the contradictions that have historically existed between the Catholic Church and those clergymen who were ardent proponents of liberation theology in the 20th century.
- Junior Kim Casso, frames the rise of current anti-immigration sentiment within the historical territory disputes between the US and Mexico. Casso asserts that not only are the calls for a border wall based in negative stereotypes of Mexican people, but that a border wall will only increase those sentiments and won’t stem the flow of undocumented immigrants.
- Junior Digna Cruz’s research focuses on the discursive practices surrounding historical tragedies of Latin America, such as the Dirty Wars and the genocide in 1980s Guatemala. Cruz argues that when individuals directly affected by these events draw attention to these events, they reject the erasure of public memory.
- My own work focuses on the author and activist Margaret Randall, who had her citizenship challenged by the United States, due to her connections with revolutionary Central American countries. I argue that Randall’s experiences demonstrate the ways in which the U.S. government has historically created categories and definitions of citizenship to manufacture power dynamics.
- Lainy Castenada’s work centers on the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Venezuela and argues that it’s causes can be traced to U.S. imperialism within Venezuela during the late 20th century which left Venezuela politically and economically vulnerable.
These papers range in topic and focus, but all of them have something in common; we are all seeking to make sense of the events that we have witnessed rocking the nation and much of Latin America over recent years. Pouring our passions and interests into these papers has been a way to participate in the dialogue surrounding immigration, the border wall, exploitation, and Latin America more generally and we are so excited to share them with others who share our interests in Austin at the end of the month!