Latin American Studies


Richard Seager, Ph.D, Bates and Benjamin Professor of Religious Studies

Areas of Expertise: religions of the United States, with emphasis on new, marginal or excluded groups and their relationships to the core American values; Buddhism in the U.S. over the last century; and Mexican-U.S. border issues and tensions.
Richard Seager’s field of study is the religions of the United States. His interests include immigration, religion and the environment, and cultural encounter in the age of globalization. More >>

Seager has written most extensively about the movement of Asian religions into this country. His first two books were devoted to the World’s Parliament of Religion in Chicago in 1893, a signal event in the East/West encounter. He then published Buddhism in America (Columbia, 1999), an examination of prominent communities and leading figures in a range of Buddhist traditions currently setting down roots in this country. Seager published his latest book, Encountering the Dharma (University of California Press) in March, 2006. It offers a rare insider’s look at Soka Gakkai Buddhism, one of Japan's most influential and controversial religious movements, and one that is experiencing explosive growth around the world. 

Seager is currently working on the history of the movement of Yoga from India to the West. He teaches the history of this material both in his seminar Yoga West to East at Hamilton and in Yoga teacher training retreats held under the auspices of the Yoga Institute of Houston, Texas.

Jessica Burke, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

Areas of Expertise: Latin American literature, Mexican literature and culture and gender studies.
Jessica Burke received her Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures from Princeton University in 2005. More >>

Burke's research and teaching interests include Latin American literature and culture with a special emphasis on Mexico. She has taught at Princeton and Rutgers University and has lived and studied in Spain, Argentina and Mexico.

Cecilia Hwangpo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

Areas of Expertise: Latin American literature and culture, especially early 20th century Argentinean and Cuban theatre and essay.
Cecilia Hwangpo joined the Hamilton faculty in 1998, after earning a Ph.D. from Yale University. More >>

Her main area of specialization is the discourses of national identity in Argentina and Cuba in early 20th century. Her research interests are Latin American literature and culture, 20th century theatre, el sainete criollo, and essay. Her published articles include "Indagación del choteo: un llamado para el cambio en el modo de ser cubano," "José Antonio Ramos y la identidad nacional cubana: sentido, lenguaje y espacio," and "Los inmigrantes: el otro en el teatro argentino de principios del siglo XX."

Edna Rodriguez-Plate, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

Areas of Expertise: Hispanic cinema, contemporary Hispanic Caribbean literature, and culture and Cuban studies.
Edna M. Rodríguez-Plate completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico, did master’s work at Purdue University and her Ph.D. at Emory University. More >>

Her research and teaching begins with basic questions about identity, from individual identities to a collective social-national identity: How are identities constructed, represented and contested culturally, in films, literature and the mass media? How is ideology produced and how does it affect our sense of the world, our world? Rodríguez-Plate is the author of Lydia Cabrera and the Construction of an Afro-Cuban Cultural Identity, and several articles on Cuban film, and Caribbean literature.

Heather Sullivan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Government

Areas of Expertise: comparative, Latin American and Mexican politics; protest and social movements; political violence and state capacity.
Heather Sullivan received her bachelor's degree in international studies and Spanish from Elon University and her master's degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. More >>

Sullivan's research explores the relationship between state capacity, protest and protest management, using an original dataset on protest in contemporary Mexico. At Hamilton, she teaches courses on comparative politics, Latin American politics, Mexican politics and political protest.

Emily Conover, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics

Areas of Expertise: international economic development and labor economics.
Emily Conover grew up in Colombia and came to the United States for her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College. She then studied economics at the University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne. Conover earned her Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley. More >>

Conover’s current research interests include health policy, corruption, and formal and informal labor markets, among other topics in applied microeconomics.

More about Emily Conover >>

Angel David Nieves, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Africana Studies

Areas of Expertise: race and the built environment, digital humanities, spatial humanitites, heritage preservation, urban histry, South Africa and Southern Africa, truth and reconciliation in post-conflict countries and diaspora studies.
Angel David Nieves currently co-directs Hamilton's Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) an $800,000. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant-funded project. More >>

Nieves taught in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 2003-2008. Nieves completed his doctoral work in architectural history and Africana Studies at Cornell University in 2001.

His co-edited book, ‘We Shall Independent Be:’ African American Place-Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the U.S. (2008), examines African American efforts to claim space in American society despite fierce resistance. Nieves has published essays in the Journal of Planning History; Places Journal: A Forum of Design for the Public Realm; Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies; and in several edited collections, most recently in Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing With Difficult Heritage (2009). He is also associate editor of Fire!!!: A Multimedia Journal of Black Studies, an online journal of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. His digital research and scholarship have also been featured on MSNBC.com and in Newsweek.

Nieves’ scholarly work and community-based activism critically engages with issues of memory, heritage preservation, gender and nationalism at the intersections of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South. In 2010 he received The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award.