Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez has been the Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies at Princeton University Library since 2003. In addition to being responsible for the development of Princeton’s world class library collections from Latin America, Portugal and Spain, he oversees all collections and resources related to Latino Studies in Firestone Library. A fundamental part of that responsibility is to assist Princeton’s students and faculty in the discovery and use of its vast library resources. As such, Fernando welcomes all students in the Latino Studies Program to or meet with him in person in Firestone. He also invites all program affiliates to start exploring the Library’s vast resources through the online Latino Studies research guide that he created.
Fernando came to Princeton from The New York Public Library where he served as its Latin American Bibliographer starting in 1997. He earned both his M.L.I.S. and his M.S. in Politics at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2009-2010, he served as President of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM), the international professional organization that groups librarians, book vendors, and other information professionals specializing in that part of the world. He was the editor of the Papers of the 55th Annual Meeting of SALALM, a volume published in 2012 titled The Future of Latin American Library Collections and Research: contributing and adapting to new trends in research libraries.
Two PAW readers were critical of the Pan-African, Latino and LGBT graduation ceremonies (September 19, 2012 “Special graduation ceremonies). Both questioned whether separate ceremonies defeat the integration goal that a diverse campus is supposed to achieve. Are the special ceremonies justified? Do the special ceremonies reinforce group stereotypes and foster separatism? By allowing special ceremonies, is Princeton University pandering to political correctness? How you answer these criticisms?
Leticia Garcia-Romo is a second generation Mexican-American immigrant from Salinas, CA and has 3 younger brothers. She is majoring in Sociology and getting certificates in Spanish and Latino Studies. Garcia-Romo is interested in immigration and education; enjoys playing soccer and basketball; and going to mass with loved ones. She plans on pursuing a Ph.D. after graduating from Princeton.
Ali A. Valenzuela writes and teaches about American electoral politics, with a focus on Latino public opinion, immigrant socialization, voter turnout in American elections, religion and politics, and the politics of race and ethnicity in the U.S.
His current research combines the use of nationally representative surveys with Census and electoral data to investigate contextual and political sources of Latino group identities. This work is complemented by qualitative field research investigating state and local representatives’ strategies of group mobilization and experimental research that test the consequences of identity-based political appeals on Latino voter turnout and support for public policies such as immigration reform. A third area of his research asks how regular churchgoing and characteristics of the church environment together influence Latino policy attitudes, interest in politics, and group attachments such as ethnic and party affiliation in the U.S. His research has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, American Politics Research and Presidential Studies Quarterly.
In Fall 2012, Professor Valenzuela is teaching two seminar courses. One, open to undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors, is on Latino Politics in the U.S. and is cross-listed with Latino Studies and Latin American Studies and qualifies as an elective for American Studies (POL 423 / LAO 423 / LAS 423). The second, Identity Politics (POL 547), is intended primarily for Ph.D. students and the focus is on major racial, ethnic and religious groups in the U.S. context with some attention devoted to works from comparative politics on identity formation and change in developing country contexts.
It is my pleasure to welcome new and returning students, faculty, and alumni to participate in the Latino Studies Blog! As our program matures, this venue will help record the numerous events and accomplishments that give our community a presence at Princeton University.
I have so much good news to report. Three new assistant professors joined the LAO community effective July 1 and will greatly enrich the course offerings that satisfy the requirements for the Latino Studies Certificate: Jessica Delgado in the religion department; Brian Herrera in the theater program; and Ali Valenzuela in politics. In addition, Rosina Lozano will join the history department in fall of 2013! Jessica Delgado, who was trained at UC-Berkeley, has been affiliated with the religion department since 2009 as a Stewart Fellow and lecturer. This semester she will be teaching REL 378/GSS 378/LAS 379 Religion, Gender, and Sexuality in Early Latin America; REL 505/LAS 505 Studies in the Religions of the Americas – Religion and Church in Mexican History; and REL 521 Religion and Culture Workshop. Trained at Yale, Brian Herrera taught performance history at the University of New Mexico before joining the Princeton faculty. Professor Herrera will offer THR 330 Special Topics in Performance Practice – Casting: History, Theory, Practices in fall 2012. Ali Valenzuela has been in residence at Princeton since fall 2011 as a research fellow in the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. In fall 2012, Professor Valenzuela will offer POL 423/LAS 423/LAO 423 Seminar in American Politics: Latino Politics in the U.S. and POL 547 Identity Politics. We look forward to Lozano’s arrival next fall.
LAO exists, in part, because of the accomplishments of its alumni and seeks to forge stronger ties with the Association of Latino Princeton Alumni (ALPA). With the assistance of Jessica Gamboa ’10, we seek to establish ties with certificate recipients as well as ALPA members to plan activities that will invigorate the intellectual content of the program offerings. For example, we will plan a session for reunions and welcome your suggestions. Jessica will reach out to recent concentrators to solicit their suggestions but please use the BLOG venue to keep in touch.
We face several challenges, including fund-raising to support student activities and academic events on campus. To date, LAO has largely assumed a “co-sponsorship” role, but with the vibrant faculty additions, LAO is now well positioned to take the lead on new academic initiatives. We welcome your ideas.
The Program in Latino Studies also welcomes submissions from students, alumni, faculty, and members of the Princeton community. If you are interested in submitting an article for possible posting on the LAO blog, please send your submissions to for review.
Finally, on behalf of the executive committee, I welcome your ideas about ways to revamp the gateway course so that it becomes a draw for students from across campus.