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Christina García, on her experience in the Latin American Studies Grad Emphasis

On your right, Christina García, Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston and UCI Spanish and Latin American Studies Grad Emphasis alumni, on your left, Ivette Hernández-Torres, her advisor at UCI.

"I am currently teaching an undergraduate introductory course on Latin American and Caribbean Studies. This fall [2018] I joined the faculty at the College of Charleston as a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. It is hard to imagine I would be here without having participated in the various events hosted by the Latin American Studies Center at the University of California, Irvine, and the mentorship of its affiliated faculty. As a graduate student in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at UCI, I had the opportunity to present my dissertation research at the Latin American Studies Center symposium Emerging Frames and New Research in 2016. This was a chance to present my work to a group of scholars from various academic disciplines working on Latin America. The presentation I prepared for the symposium together with the critical feedback I received from professors and students who attended resulted in what would later become my job talk for the College of Charleston. As I put my syllabus together for the introductory course I am teaching this fall, I drew from the various articles and essays discussed at UCI LASC workshops. The films I have assigned my students to watch are films I first learned about during LASC sponsored film festivals. As a graduate student, with sponsorship from LASC, I was able to bring a visual artist and scholar from Cuba to present his work at UCI. LASC’s invited speakers introduced me to current scholarship that proved essential for the development of my research. This is to say nothing of the various courses I took with LASC affiliated faculty. The content of their work, their feedback and mentorship, not only impacted my research, but the way in which I engage with my students today and how I imagine Latin American Studies. As a field that entails immersing oneself in a specific geopolitical context, while drawing from various disciplines, Latin American Studies provides opportunities to reexamine presumed universal theories and paradigms and leads one to foster more complex views of the world. Specifically, the LASC at UCI has initiated dialog and collaborations with students and professors across various schools; it brings scholarship and cultural works to the campus that would otherwise remain unknown. LASC is also very much engaged with the Latino and Hispanic community of Orange County, hosting public speakers, screening and exhibitions."

Christina García