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Faculty Spotlight

Vivian Halloran Faculty Photo

Vivian Nun Halloran is associate professor of English and American Studies. Her research and teaching focus on Caribbean literature and food studies scholarship. Dr. Halloran is the author of The Immigrant's Kitchen: Food, Ethnicity and Diaspora (Ohio State University Press, 2016) and Exhibiting Slavery: The Caribbean Postmodern Novel as Museum. Dr. Halloran will be presenting her recent work on Edwidge Danticat's picture books and young adult fiction published through Scholastic at the annual meeting of the Caribbean Studies Association in Haiti in June 2016. This fall, Dr. Halloran is offering a graduate class on Caribbean fiction titled: "Blood on the Sand: Conflict in Caribbean and Diasporic Literature." Readings will include CLR James' The Black Jacobins, Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings, and Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring, among others. Dr. Halloran's at work on her next book project, tentatively titled Invoking the Caribbean, an analysis of how public figures or fictional characters strategically invoke their respective Caribbean heritage as a symbol of "acceptable exoticism" when addressing American reading and viewing audiences in mass market memoirs, Broadway musicals, comic books and graphic novels, children's and young adult literature, Sesame Street, and television sitcoms.

Undergraduate Student Spotlight

Maria DeSanto is a senior graduating in May 2016 majoring in Political Science and Hispanic Literature with minors in CLACS and Latino Studies as well as a certificate in Political and Civic Engagement. In 2015, Maria spent six months in South America where she studied Social Policy, History, and Literature in Buenos Aires, Argentina and volunteered at a non-profit in La Paz, Bolivia. This opportunity allowed her to learn firsthand about the politics and political movements in both countries and to further her interest in U.S. - Latin American Relations and human rights accountability. While in both Argentina and Bolivia, Maria enjoyed engaging in the local communities by volunteering as a tutor at non-profit community centers for marginalized populations. At Indiana University, she worked with the the Global Human Rights Brigade where she received the opportunity to travel to Panama and shadow local lawyers giving free legal aid in the Darien Region. This year, Maria has conducted senior thesis research on Bolivian short stories from the Revolution of 1952 and their use as social and political propaganda. After graduation, Maria will join Teach For America as a English-Spanish bilingual elementary school teacher in Chicago, Illinois.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Ricardo Higelin Ponce de Leon, is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology, within the archaeology and social context program, and Ph.D. minor in CLACS. His research focuses on mortuary practices and social organization of prehispanic Zapotec and Mixtec groups from Oaxaca, México. In addition, he studies cultural heritage and indigenous identity of present-day Zapotec peoples. Ricardo was awarded the Mellon Innovating International Research, Teaching and Collaboration by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President to conduct his doctoral dissertation research on "Engaging Descendant Communities with the Ancient Past: Zapotec Cultural Heritage from Oaxaca, Southern Mexico." He was also selected to participate in the IU Graduate Student Program by the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at IU to develop the project "El Patrimonio Cultural Zapoteco del Valle de Oaxaca: Arqueología Aplicada para el Impulso de la Multiculturalidad en México" at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México - México. With these projects, Ricardo continues to further his expertise in bioarchaeology, while expanding his research in public archaeology and cultural heritage. He plans to continue to publish and present on the results in both English and Spanish contexts.

Alumni Spotlight

Kevin Coleman - Kevin Coleman is an Assistant Professor of Latin American History at the University of Toronto. He earned his MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in 2007, and his Ph.D. in History in 2012. In his recently published first book, A Camera in the Garden of Eden: The Self-Forging of a Banana Republic, Coleman argues that the "banana republic" was an imperial constellation of images and practices that was checked and contested by ordinary Central Americans. Drawing on a trove of images from four enormous visual archives and a wealth of internal company memos, literary works, immigration records, and declassified US government telegrams, Coleman explores how banana plantation workers, women, and peasants used photography to forge new ways of being while also visually asserting their rights as citizens. He tells a dramatic story of the founding of the Honduran town of El Progreso, where the United Fruit Company had one of its main divisional offices, the rise of the company now known as Chiquita, and a sixty-nine day strike in which banana workers declared their independence from neocolonial domination. In telling this story, Coleman develops a new set of conceptual tools and methods for using images to open up fresh understandings of the past, offering a model that is applicable far beyond this pathfinding study. recently covered his book, and featured a number of striking photographs by Rafael Platero Paz, one of the central characters in A Camera in the Garden of Eden; you can check that out here: "Vintage Photographs of Banana Workers."

Coleman's recent articles and book chapters examine the intersection between photography, labor history, and theorizing ways to read political subjectivities through visual archives. In "The Right Not to Be Looked At," he argues that recent theorizations of "the civil contract of photography" and "the right to look" need to be tempered with what is at once a more old fashioned defense of the right to privacy and an utterly pressing contemporary concern with electronic intrusions into our lives by governments and businesses. In "Photographs of a Prayer," Coleman outlines a methodological framework for historians who wish to engage with photographs, a source material of unique evidentiary and poetic force.