A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Reports

Section Annual Report 2021

By: Caroline Egan

Business meeting (7:00 PM EST, Saturday, May 27, 2021)

On 10 June, 2021 (the date this report was finalized), the Colonial Section had a total of 142 members. About 20 people attended the 2021 Business Meeting of the Colonial Section, where the following items were discussed:

Caroline Egan (Chair) provided an overview of term activities, as follows:

  • The Section continued with its regular activities this year, including: organizing three panels for the 2021 Congress; creating and disseminating the newsletter Colonia/Colônia; recognizing the outstanding work of members through prizes.
  • The Section also developed new initiatives during 2020-21, including: a new prize for the Best Article Published by an Advanced Scholar; a series of “Virtual Seminars” (two held this year); funding to defray the costs of conference registration for members (no applications were received).
  • The Chair thanked the Executive Council, the editorial team of Colonia/Colônia, and the awards juries for their outstanding work.

Rocío Quispe-Agnoli (Vice-Chair and Chair of the Awards Committee) presented the Section awards for “Best Article by a Junior Scholar” and “Best Article by an Advanced Scholar.” See our website for details on the winners. The prize was open for submissions from September 2020 through 2 January 2021. Members were invited to submit articles published between January 2018 and December 2020 (given the triennial nature of the prize). Two juries (one for each prize) received and reviewed a total of 38 submissions.

Valeria Añón (Secretary-Treasurer) provided a report on Section funds, noting that they had gone primarily toward Section prizes this year.

Finally, attendees discussed upcoming plans, including the following:

  • Continuing regular Section activities, including the 2020-21 initiatives.
  • Revisiting the Section’s communications, namely: evaluating the methods of communication currently used by the Section (email, social media, newsletter); considering the use of alternative or additional means of communication (Slack, WhatsApp); possibly circulating “highlights” of recent issues of Colonia/Colônia in the weeks following publication to increase visibility; finally, taking another look at the responsibilities of the Communications Committee, and developing a call for new members of this Committee.

The week following the Business Meeting, the Section elected a new member of the Executive Council, Mariana-Cecilia Velázquez (University of Nevada, Reno). The Executive Council of 2021-22 will therefore be:

  • Rocío Quispe-Agnoli, Chair
  • Valeria Añón, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Awards Committee
  • Yamile Silva, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Mariana-Cecilia Velázquez, Council Member
  • Caroline Egan, Council Member and Past Chair (2020-21)

Section Annual Report 2020

By: Nathan Gordon

1. Business meeting (12:00 PM EST, Saturday, May 16, 2020)

Presiding, Nathan Gordon; secretary, Rocío Quispe Agnoli. Nineteen section-members attended the meeting via Zoom, due to the drastic changes caused by COVID-19. The meeting was recorded and permission was granted by section members in attendance. Gordon, the section’s chair, discussed the cancelation of section panels produced by the worldwide pandemic, the transference of those panels to the 2021 LASA Congress in Vancouver, and the uncertainty of an additional three panels granted by LASA for 2021. Gordon also announced that elections had been delayed because of COVID-19 and discussed the new timeline, beginning 18 May 2020 and ending on 26 June 2020. He also reported the need for new section communication members in the near future.

• Member announcements/comments/suggestions at the meeting included:

  • Caroline Egan discussed the details of the Maureen Ahern Doctoral Dissertation Award in Colonial Latin American Studies and announced the winner and honorable mention.
  • Rocío Quispe Agnoli gave a thorough breakdown of finances and highlighted the future direction of section grants.
  • Members deliberated the future of LASA congresses, including the possibility of hybrid virtual panels that are more inclusive to Latin American scholars and more cost effective.
  • Various members proposed the possibility of holding virtual sessions throughout the year that would emphasize section unity and afford more scholarly debates and opportunities.

2. Elections:

The new Executive Council members are Caroline Egan (chair), Rocío Quispe Agnoli (vice-chair and chair of Awards Committee), Valeria Añón (secretary-treasurer), TBD (council member), Nathan Gordon (ex-oficio council member).

3. Term activities and plans for the coming term:

• Issues of the section’s newsletter, edited by Pablo García-Loaeza, were published and will continue to be published.

• Section elections will proceed as planned, and a new executive committee member will be elected by the end of June.

• Towards the end of summer 2020, the section will look to replace social-communications officers, Nathan Gordon and Caroline Egan, with new Colonial Section members for a three-year term.

• At the request of the section, during the business meeting, the section will work on organizing more regular virtual discussions to highlight and support the work of members.

4. Section prizes:

During the 2019-20 year, the Colonial Section awarded the third “Maureen Ahern Doctoral Dissertation Award in Colonial Latin American Studies.” We received 19 initial submissions (abstracts, CVs, and letters of recommendation). Submissions came from candidates who had completed their doctoral work at institutions in Argentina (2), Chile (1), Ecuador (1), Italy (1), and the United States (14). Submissions included dissertations written in English (15) and Spanish (4).

In the first round, jurors selected five finalists. Those finalists submitted copies of their dissertations, which jurors read in full. Jurors then submitted individual scores and evaluations which were used to select the winner and honorable mention:

  •  Ximena A. Gómez (University of Massachusetts Amherst), for her dissertation Nuestra Señora: Confraternal Art and Identity in Early Colonial Lima (completed at University of Michigan)
  • Honorable mention: Santiago Muñoz Arbeláez (Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá), for his dissertation The New Kingdom of Granada: The Making and Unmaking of Spain’s Atlantic Empire, 1530-1620 (completed at Yale University)

Drs. Gómez and Muñoz Arbeláez were recognized at the 2020 Section meeting, held via Zoom on 16 May.

The Executive Council thanks all those who participated in the 2019-20 competition for their excellent work. We are also very grateful for the incredible work of the jurors, Drs. Luis Millones, Benita Sampedro, Olaya Sanfuentes, and Karen Stolley.

Section Annual Report 2019

By: Kelly McDonough

1. Business meeting (Sunday, May 26, 2019)

Presiding, Kelly McDonough; secretary, Caroline Egan. Twenty section-members attended the meeting. McDonough, the section’s chair, offered an update on the number of section members (140) and guaranteed sessions for LASA 2020 (3). She also announced that elections for the Executive Committee will begin June 1st and close on June 15th. McDonough also reported on various items from the LASA section chair’s meeting, particularly the fact that for the foreseeable future LASA will not take place in the United States.

  • Member comments/suggestions at the meeting included:
  1. expanding the section newsletter to other digital media formats
  2. concerns about the lack of a Colonial Literatures track
  3. encouraging more Spanish-language submissions to prize competitions
  4. the possibility of using section funds for graduate student travel scholarships

The remaining topics addressed at the section meeting were the following:

2. Elections:

The new Executive Council members are Nathan Gordon (chair), Caroline Egan (vice-chair and chair of Awards Committee), Rocío Quispe Agnoli (secretary-treasurer), Valeria Añon ( council member), Kelly McDonough (ex-oficio council member).

3. Term activities and plans for the coming term:

  • Four issues of the section’s newsletter, edited by Pablo García-Loaeza, were published and will continue to be published.
  • The section’s social-communications officers, Nathan Gordon and Caroline Egan, will continue to maintain and look for ways to increase the section’s presence on social media. We discussed bringing on a new social-communications officer since Nathan Gordon will be chair of the section. This will be discussed by the Executive Council of the Section.
  • Caroline Egan, along with two section members, will draft a letter to the incoming president of LASA regarding concerns about the elimination of the Colonial Literatures track (and track changes in general).
  • The Executive Council will review our current prize configuration and discuss whether we want to make any adjustments to encourage Spanish-language submissions.
  • The Executive Council will discuss the possibility of offering one or more travel scholarships for graduate students next year (while ensuring that we maintain a prudent reserve).

4. Section prizes:

The 2019 Best Book in Colonial Latin American Studies was presented to Bianca Premo for her book The Enlightenment on Trial: Ordinary Litigants and Colonialism in the Spanish Empire. Premo was awarded $500. The award committee was chaired by Nathan Gordon. Next year’s award will be the “Maureen Ahern Doctoral Dissertation Award in Colonial Latin American Studies.” The award committee will be chaired by Caroline Egan.