Fall-in-Review from LACIS’ Faculty Director, Dr. Sara McKinnon

Dear LACIS Community,

It has been just over two months since I began as Faculty Director and each day, I am getting a clearer sense of the diverse research and teaching activities of our LACIS faculty and students, as well as the impressive events and outreach that LACIS generates for communities in Wisconsin and beyond.

Dr. Michelle Wibbelsman

Thus far this fall we’ve hosted five Tuesday lunchtime lectures with anywhere between 25-55 people in attendance in person or virtually. The talks have been on important themes including remembering the 1973 Chilean Coup, health communication in Puerto Rico, Indigenous environmental struggles in Latin America, and Corruption discourse in Guatemalan political campaigns. Our lecture this Tuesday was given by one of our visiting Tinker Professors, Dr. Jesus Arroyave Cabrera. Professor Arroyave’s talk was titled “Are the Colombian Media Contributing to War or Peace? The Role of the News Media in Covering the Colombian Conflict.” If you missed this or any of the other talks, make sure to check out our YouTube channel where we post videos of all past lectures.

Antonia Urrejola, Former Foreign Minister of Chile

In addition to these regular lectures, we offer special events like the ongoing art exhibition, “Dancing with Devils: Latin American Masks Traditions,” which we encourage you to see at the Hillel Center if you haven’t already.  LACIS co-sponsored the honorable Antonia Urrejola’s visit on campus a few weeks ago, who gave the J. Jobe and Marguerite Soffa Lecture, “Accountability for Crimes against Humanity: From Pinochet to the Present.” We also helped organize so that 20 Latinx students and parents from Komrey Middle School in Middleton got a chance to attend the concert of Mariachi Herencia de México at the Overture Center and spend time with the musicians before the concert making connections and learning about the importance of Mariachi in Mexican Culture. For November, we will be offering a professional development session for our graduate students about tips for preparing to apply for PhD programs, which is something the students expressed interest in learning about. If any faculty have interest in chatting with our graduate students about this and other things, please let me know.

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico


Also in November, we will be co-hosting a two-day workshop for K-14 educators at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison entitled “Refugees, Dehumanization, and Rehumanization: A Practical, Pedagogical Workshop.” This workshop is a follow up to a Fall 2000, month-long program for educators which covered “The Growing Crisis of Refugees and Statelessness.”

“Loteria” by Karla Arenas Valenti

Then, in December, we are looking forward to hosting Midwest author, Karla Arenas Valenti, who will be speaking about her book “Lotería” during a one-day “International Children’s Literature Celebration: Folk & Fairy Tales” for educators, as well as visiting a local middle school for a classroom presentation.

Keep an eye out for our weekly Noticias emails and follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more on the exciting events we have to come. Also, if you know someone on campus who you think would benefit from the LACIS community, share our information so they can join as well. And if you know someone who would benefit from being an affiliated faculty member, send me their email so I can connect with them.

All best,