I was very fortunate be the recipient of one of the College Arts and Sciences Dissertation Research Fellowships for academic year 2020-2021. This fellowship has allowed me to enjoy some extra freedom in what turned out to be a rather strange year. Like many of us, my research and travel plans for summer 2020 were upended by the pandemic, but I have done my best to continue to find ways to be productive in spite of the unique challenges of the year. I have made a good deal of progress on my dissertation, taking advantage of the fact that our increased embrace of video conferences has made it a bit easier to engage in conversation with folks around the world about our various objects of inquiry.
Graduate Perspective: Daniel Runnels
In this past year, I've presented bits and pieces of my dissertation at the yearly conferences put on by the Latin American Studies Association, Modern Language Association, and American Comparative Literature Association, the department's Literature and Culture Colloquium, and I have also attended numerous talks and discussions about related topics in other venues.
I've also taken advantage of the increased flexibility of a fellowship year to advance some other projects. Over the summer of 2020, I collaborated with the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, England on some public talks about a Bolivian architect I've published on. I remain in touch with the organizers there and plan to continue working with them on some future projects. I've also taken time to dive into some poetry by Texas-based author mónica teresa ortiz. I have come to like her work quite a bit, so I also expect to develop a few ideas about her work in the coming year, building on an interview I conducted with her that is forthcoming in Chiricú.
Finally, it has been a unique pleasure to expand my teaching portfolio this year through a collaboration between the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Department of International Studies. I have really enjoyed leading a series of courses on various topics in contemporary Latin America, helping students to practice their Spanish by discussing themes that don't often find their way into our language curricula. All in all, it has turned out to be a nice year, even in the midst of all the uncertainties. As my time at IU comes to a close, I remain grateful to colleagues and friends who make it a great place to live and work.