Faculty


Jean R. Aguilar-Valdez (Ph.D., North Carolina) is a daughter of immigrants from Cuba and Panama, and was born and raised in Miami, FL. She received her B.S. in physics and chemistry at the College of Charleston, masters study in physics at Wake Forest University, and her Ph.D. in science education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has spent several years as a scientist in biophysics and physical chemistry, and as a middle school science teacher to predominantly Latin@ students in a bilingual setting, in Los Angeles, California and North Carolina. She is licensed to teach K-12 Physics, Biology, Middle School General Science, and ESL. Her research focuses on critical and decolonizing approaches to science education, Latin@ critical race theory, Chican@ feminism, borderlands theory, and social justice for Latin@s in education and in science. She is a scholar activist for Latin@ rights and immigrant rights, and an advocate for a paradigm shift in education towards critical, anti-oppressive, decolonizing lenses. She teaches Principles of Education, Science Methods, English Language Learners: Issues in Education and observes student teachers, along with working with students to develop community activist approaches to education through decolonizing mentorship, establishing confianza and  familia, and creating outlets for testimonio.

 


Gwendolyn Barnes-Karol (Ph.D., Minnesota) is a specialist in Spanish Literature and has special interest in the interaction between oral and written/print culture, the reception of literature, and the development of the Spanish literary canon. She is one of the general editors of the Hispanic issues monograph series published by the University of Minnesota Press. As an undergraduate, she studied at the University of Santiago de Compostela, the University of Granada, and the Complutense in Madrid, Spain. As a graduate student, she completed studies at the Instituto Internacional of Madrid. Her work in the use of authentic cultural materials and the development of foreign-languages-across-the-curriculum programs is nationally recognized. Because of her widely recognized work in the use of authentic cultural materials, she was selected to teach graduate courses for American high school Spanish teachers in Madrid. This graduate program was sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the Fundacion Ortega y Gasset. She has taught St. Olaf groups of students in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico.

 


Seth Binder  (Ph.D., Yale) is a specialist in sustainable development with a particular interest in the Southern Cone. He earned his bachelors of foreign service (BSFS) in International Political Economy at Georgetown University, during which time he spent a semester studying at La Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago. After receiving his MSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and working as research fellow with the Inter-American Development Bank, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He teaches in the departments of Economics and Environmental Studies, offering two courses of particular relevance to the Latin American Studies program: Economic Development, and Sustainable Development.

 


Maggie Broner (Ph.D, Minnesota) is a specialist in Hispanic sociolinguistics. A native of Argentina who grew up in Venezuela and Canada, she was exposed at an early age to dialectal variation and cross-linguistic communication (and miscommunication). Her personal family history had a profound impact on her developing a personal interest in Latin America, which she has been able to share with students through teaching the Spanish FLAC course, Latin American Politics, with Kris Thalhammer (Department of Political Science). Broner’s linguistic courses have a strong emphasis on how social variables intersect with issues of language rights, language policy, and language use in Latin America and the U.S.

 


Sylvia G. Carullo (Ph.D., New York) At St. Olaf since 1990, Sylvia Graciela Carullo is a native of Argentina, who received her Ph.D. from State University of New York at Buffalo. Her area of specialization is Colonial Spanish-American literature. Her research focuses mainly on the literary representation of the female figure in Spanish- American literature. Her book on the literary portraiture in some poems by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, El retrato literario en Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, was published by Peter Lang in 1991. She has presented and published scholarly articles on Spanish-American 20th century writers on literary iconography of the female model, love, honor, marriage, among other topics. She also conducts research in Florence, Italy, on Renaissance art and literature. Her scholarly interests also embrace Hispanic American literature, Latinas/os writers. She teaches Spanish Low, Intermediate and Upper Level courses, on campus as well as abroad. She also has taught in the Great Conversation Program.

 


Chris Chiappari (Ph.D., Minnesota) became interested in Latin America in college, as he began to learn more about international development. This interest led him to the master’s program in International Agricultural Development at the University of California at Davis, and from there to the Ph.D. program in anthropology at the University of Minnesota. His primary research interest is religion and social change, with a focus on Protestantism and Maya spirituality in highland Guatemala. His other research and teaching interests include social movements, identity, immigration and popular culture.

 


Carlos Gallego is an Associate Professor of English. He is originally from the U.S.-Mexico border town of Nogales, AZ (born on the Mexican side and raised on both sides of the border). He graduated from the University of Arizona and afterward attended Stanford University where he received his doctorate in English literature. While finishing his dissertation, Carlos worked as an educator with at-risk middle school and high school students in central and south Tucson. His research interests include Chicano/a studies, 20th century American literature, comparative ethnic studies, philosophy and critical theory, and cultural studies. He has published work in the academic journals Biography, Aztlán, Cultural Critique and Western Humanities Review, as well as collections like The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein and The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic. His book, Chicana/o Subjectivity and the Politics of Identity: Between Recognition and Revolution, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011. Along with Professor Gordon Marino, he trains amateur and professional boxers in his spare time. He is currently serving as the St. Olaf Boxing Club Coach and is working on a book project examining psychopathology in American popular culture.

 


Jeane DeLaney (Ph.D., Stanford) became interested in Latin America as an undergraduate majoring in International Development at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. After her junior year, she spent a year in Colombia, where she studied at economics and history at the University of Medellín. Upon graduating from UNC, she received a Fulbright scholarship that to study rural cooperatives in Colombia. She later entered graduate school at Stanford University, earning an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Ph.D. in history with specialization in Latin America. Her research focuses on immigration, nationalism and national identity in Argentina. She also has developed a strong secondary interest in Cuba, and leads an interim program to that country in alternate years. Her on-campus Latin America-related courses include: Modern Latin America, Environmental History of Latin America, Conquest and Colonization, 20th-Century Cuba, American Empire (focusing on U.S.-Latin America relations). She is also active in the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum program.

 


León Narváez (Ph.D., Minnesota) Professor Narváez received a B.A. degree in political science and a Ph.D. degree in Hispanic literature and linguistics from the University of Minnesota. He finished his secondary training at Colegio Nueva Granada (Bogota, Colombia), completed part of his college work at the Universidad de Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) and has lived in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Spain, and Costa Rica. His research interests include cultural and migration studies as well as literary and linguistic analysis. He has worked as an administrator, consultant, editor, interpreter, recording artist, and translator. In addition to numerous articles, and some language games and reviews, his published work includes nine books and two workbooks edited or written by him or in collaboration with others. Narváez is the former president of the state association for teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, former coordinator of the Minnesota State Spanish Contest, and site coordinator for the Festival Quijote. He has served twice as the president of the North Central Council of Latin Americanists, one of eight regional associations for specialists in Latin America, as well as three separate times as the Director of the programs of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) in Costa Rica. Of over fifty awards/honors, some examples are: in 1987 he received the Ricardo A. Narváez Award for excellence in the teaching of Spanish from the Minnesota chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) and in 1988 he was recognized by the AATSP through a national teaching award as the outstanding college/university teacher of Spanish in the United States. In 1989 he was awarded the Emma Birkmaier Award by the MN Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages as the outstanding foreign language teacher in MN. In 2001 Narváez was given the Award of Merit by the North Central Council of Latin Americanists (NCCLA) for promoting understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and Latin America. In 2007 he received awards from the NCCLA and the MN Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures for excellence in the preparation of teaching materials. In 2012 his decades of working with students at St. Olaf to encourage their out-of-class learning through the Spanish Conversation Table, the Spanish Club and other activities was recognized through the Gertrude Hilleboe Award. Narváez was one of two St. Olaf faculty members selected to give a Mellby Lecture (about his professional work) to the campus community during the 2013-2014 academic year.

 


Bruce Nordstrom teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and is also director of the Race and Ethnic Studies Program. His course “Race and Class in American Culture” includes comparisons among different Hispanic groups in the U.S. as well as differences and similarities in the experience of Hispanics and African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asian-Americans. His course “Gender Issues in Cross-Cultural Perspective” includes attention to gender issues in Latin America and among Latino/a immigrants to the U.S. Bruce is likely the only member of the Latin American Studies Program who does not speak Spanish well, though he’s been trying to learn a bit more for a number of years!

 


Jonathan O’Conner received his Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2011. He specializes in the literature and culture of sixteenth-century Spain. Through the assistance of two research grants, he has conducted archival research in Madrid and Toledo, Spain, at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Archivo Histórico Provincial de Toledo and the Archivo Capitular de la Catedral de Toledo. His dissertation examines the vibrant intellectual and cultural life of sixteenth-century Toledo and its connection to the culture of Renaissance Italy. His research and teaching interests include Spanish Golden Age Literature, cultural histories and the history of the Spanish language.

 


Nancy Paddleford (B.M. and M.M., Indiana University; D.M.A., University of Minnesota) has a long-term interest in Hispanic music. Her doctoral thesis treats the folk elements in the piano music of Enrique Granados. She has traveled in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Puerto Rico, and lived in Costa Rica and Spain. In 1988 Paddleford was a Visiting Artist at the University of Costa Rica in the area of piano performance. In the summer of 1991 she took part in the National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on Latin American music at the University of Texas-Austin studying with Dr. Gerard Behague and since then has written about Costa Rican composers. For two years she served as Associate Director of the ACM Latin American Programs in Costa Rica. She has twice been an invited performer at the International Festival of Music of Costa Rica, performing both times in the historic Teatro Nacional in San Jose. In addition, she has performed multiple times at the Monteverde Festival of Music and in other venues in Costa Rica. She was part of an international jury that judged a piano competition for Central America. Paddleford has served as Vice President and President of the North Central Council of Latin Americanists, one of eight regional associations in the U.S. for specialists in Latin America. At St. Olaf she has assisted in hosting the visits of many distinguished Latin Americanists, among them, Jean Franco, Peter Smith, Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Roderic Camp and Jonathan Brown. Her work in promoting the use of Spanish was recognized by the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures through the Pro Lingua Award. At St. Olaf her record as a teacher and scholar led to her selection to give a Mellby Lecture to the campus community. Her topic, “Ravel or Rice and Beans”, focused on her life as a pianist with strong ties to the Hispanic world. Paddleford has toured within the U.S. as a piano soloist with a program devoted to classical music of the Spanish-speaking world.

 


Ariel Strichartz (Ph.D., Kansas) first became fascinated by the Spanish-speaking world in her native state of New Mexico. As an undergraduate at Rice University, she majored in Spanish and studied Spanish language and art history in Madrid, Spain. She later earned an M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico. Her master’s thesis, inspired after a summer of graduate study in Mexico City, focused on the mythical treatment of revolutionary figures in Mexican history and their subsequent demythification in contemporary Mexican theatre. She later earned a doctorate in Spanish at the University of Kansas, where she continued to pursue her interest in Latin American literature, and in theatre in particular. Her research focuses on theatre of the Southern Cone, particularly that of Argentina and Chile, theatre under dictatorship, and literary treatment of the culinary. She teaches a variety of courses in the Spanish program, including interim abroad courses in Ecuador, and has taught the Hispanic Studies seminar with a Spanish language component through the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum program at St. Olaf.

 


Kristina Thalhammer (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) specializes in comparative politics, Latin American politics, and individual political behavior. Her work focuses on human rights issues and citizen resistance to government repression. She has lived in Argentina and done research on why citizens were able to form a human rights movement there during the last military regime.

 


Alberto Villate-Isaza (Ph.D., Boston College) received his B.A. in literary studies at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2008 in Hispanic Studies at Boston College. Besides teaching a variety of courses in Spanish language, culture and literature, through different fellowships he has had the opportunity to conduct research in the Biblioteca Nacional in Bogotá and in the Archivo de Indias in Seville. His dissertation deals with the topic of Hispanic-American baroque historiography in Nueva Granada (modern-day Colombia) and its influence on discourses of national identity during the nineteenth century. His research and teaching interests include Peninsular and Hispanic-American Baroque Literature, Political and Social Theory of the Baroque, Discourses of Latin-American Identity and early Twentieth-Century Hispanic-American literature, especially modernismo and the essay.