‘Forbearance as Redistribution’: Holland explores legality and politics in Latin America

July 11, 2017 9:42 a.m.

While at Princeton, Alisha Holland, a 2007 alumna, wrote her senior thesis on the political and legal responses of Central American nations to rampant gang-related violence, and traveled to El Salvador and Guatemala to conduct fieldwork.

Then, she said that she intended to return to Latin America after graduation — and she did.

Now an assistant professor of politics at Princeton, Holland went to Colombia, Chile and Peru to conduct research for her first book, “Forbearance as Redistribution: The Politics of Informal Welfare in Latin America” (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics, 2017), which grew out of her doctoral dissertation at Harvard University. Holland studies the comparative political economy of development, with a focus on Latin America, urban politics and social policy.

“Forbearance as Redistribution” draws on intellectual passions that she has been nurturing since she was an undergraduate: for the law, social policy and inequality.

As a student, Holland was awarded the University’s Moses Taylor Pyne Honor, the highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate. She majored in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and earned a certificate in Latin American studies. Holland co-founded the Latin American Studies Student Organization and helped start Princeton Against Protectionism, a group dedicated to promoting freer trade in food.

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Rock stars: Exploring the ruins and royalty of ancient Maya courts

This expansive vista of Palenque is only accessible atop the Temple of the Cross: the site’s tallest step-pyramid and the central structure in its iconic “Cross Group.” In the distance lie the excavated palace as well as the burial site of the Palenque’s famous King K’inich Janaab Pakal. Next to Pakal’s pyramidal tomb is the burial chamber of the mysterious “Red Queen,” whose unidentified body archaeologists found coated in brilliant red cinnabar. Our first archaeological stop in Chiapas, Palenque seemed as vibrant a mystery as the Red Queen, as great a legend as King Pakal, and intellectually speaking, as energizing a challenge as the many stairs leading up to the apex of the Temple of the Cross. Photo and caption by Joani Etskovitz, Class of 2017, English major

Jamie Saxon, Office of Communications
July 10, 2017 noon

This spring, 11 Princeton undergraduates in the course “The Art and Politics of Ancient Maya Courts” had an unusual assignment: deciphering hieroglyphs.

“This course is a deep dive into the art and culture within Maya courts from about 600-800,” said Bryan Just, the Peter Jay Sharp, Class of 1952, Curator and Lecturer in the Art of the Ancient Americas. “While visual culture was our focus, the goal was to provide students with the basic skills to contextualize and understand that material. This included learning to read hieroglyphs as well as exploring archaeological and ethnographic literature in addition to art historical studies,” he said.

Our class stopped in the interior court of Palenque’s palace, and I was drawn to the multiple sets of stairways leading down into the court from all sides. My sketchbook is always with me when I travel so I can jot down notes alongside drawings, and here I made note of the interesting glyphic staircase describing Palenque’s return to regional prominence under the direction of King K’inich Janaab Pakal. The sketch proved quite useful when I referenced the readings on Palenque after the visit, and allowed me to contextualize our visit by orienting my sketch alongside maps of the site.
Caption by Crystal Wang, Class of 2018, economics major; photo by Lacey-Ann Wisdom, Class of 2017, history major

According to Just, the wide variety of the students’ majors helped everyone on the trip “rethink certain aspects of what we saw in new ways based on the students’ particular perspectives and backgrounds.” Whatever their academic concentration, he said he hoped all “gained an appreciation for the richness, sophistication and visual splendor of the ancient Maya. Many came to the course with some basic knowledge of the culture, but I suspect all were rather surprised by many impressive aspects of ancient Maya art.”

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The Best Old Place of All

Speaking at Princeton’s 250th anniversary convocation in October 1996, novelist and professor Toni Morrison began with a reference to William Wordsworth’s meditation on “the spirit of the place,” in The Prelude. Morrison thought there were two ways of thinking about Princeton: as a place of collective memory that is part of the nation’s history, and one of private memory.  Read more

PLAS certificate student wins Dale Award

Senior thesis: Rosales transforms his immigrant experience on page and stage from Princeton University on Vimeo

Senior Edwin Rosales, a first-generation college student who emigrated from Guatemala with his parents when he was a child, drew on his own family stories and extensive research to write not one but two senior theses. The first, an original collection of short stories, “The Art of Stones,” satisfied the thesis requirements for his major in English and certificate in creative writing. He also wrote a play, “Spring on Fire: A Guatemalan Story,” for his certificates in theater and Latin American studies.

Princeton students must write a senior thesis or conduct an independent research project for their majors and certificates, and the creation of the thesis is considered a defining achievement in students’ academic lives. Read more

Spring on Fire: A Guatemalan Story

Spring on Fire: A Guatemalan Story, a new play by senior Edwin Rosales, in a workshop presentation at Lewis Center for the Arts

Spring on Fire: A Guatemalan Story, a new play by senior Edwin Rosales, in a workshop presentation at Lewis Center for the Arts
New play inspired by a violent moment during the Guatemalan Civil War

What:  A workshop presentation of a new play that follows a Maya family living in the highlands of Guatemala, the soldiers who occupy their village, and the spirits that guide and haunt them all during the most violent moment from the Guatemalan civil war.
Who:  Written by Princeton senior Edwin Rosales and directed by faculty member Suzanne Agins with a cast of Princeton undergraduates, presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater
When:  April 28, 29, May 3, 4, and 5 at 8 p.m.  Audience talkbacks follows April 29 and May 3  performances.
Where:  Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau St., Princeton
Tickets:  Free and open to the public; tickets can be reserved in advance through University Ticketing by visiting or calling the Frist Campus Center Box Office at 609-258-9220 or online at tickets.princeton.edu
Event Link:  http://arts.princeton.edu/events/spring-fire-guatemalan-story/2017-04-28/

In Memoriam – Ana Maria Bejarano (1962 – 2017)

Early on March 28, 2017, the UTM and entire University of Toronto community lost our dear colleague and friend, Professor Ana Maria Bejarano, to cancer. A deeply devoted teacher in the Department of Political Science, Ana Maria touched thousands of students through her courses on comparative politics and Latin America and even broader audiences through her research scholarship on democratization and constitutionalism in the Andes region. Hailing originally from Bogotá, Colombia, she remained deeply committed to collaborating with her research colleagues in the Andean region.

After obtaining her BA in Political Science at the University of Los Andes, Ana Maria completed her MA, MPhil and PhD, at Columbia University. She then returned to her alma mater, teaching in Bogotá for a decade before taking visiting fellowships at the University of Notre Dame (2000-1) and Princeton University (2001-3). She joined the Political Science faculty at UTM in 2003, authoring publications such as Precarious Democracies: Understanding Regime Stability and Change in Colombia and Venezuela (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011). She also co-edited (with S. Mainwaring and E. Pizarro), The Crisis of Democratic Representation in the Andes (Stanford University Press, 2006). She was an active participant in projects designed to analyze and monitor the quality of democracy in the Andes.  Read More

Creativity in Cuban Thin Shell Structures

Cubans have an international reputation for their spirited high-quality art, which is manifested in mediums such as paintings, sculptures, cinema, music, as well as the design of structures. This exhibition focuses on selected “thin shell” structures designed and built in the mid-20th century in Havana. Thin shell structures are long-span roof coverings, which in this case are built out of reinforced concrete and/or terracotta tiles. As a whole, these structures illustrate the creative artistic talent of Cuban architects and engineers.

Historical examples throughout the world illustrate that constraints enable creativity – some of the most creative structural designs are born of tight economic and/or physical constraints. It is therefore not surprising to see elegantly creative Cuban designs that were conceived of and built with limited resources. “Creativity in Cuban Thin Shell Structures” tells the story of select engineers and architects who shaped Havana’s architecture of thin shell structures and in some cases defined an authentic style that is creatively Cuban. Read more

Faculty Book: Bruno Carvalho

What remains for Rio after the Olympics?

When cities host huge global events, they become the site of big dreams — and big disagreements. Last year’s summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro drew much criticism for large-scale development that displaced residents and exacerbated socioeconomic divides. It also spurred intense debate about what kind of city Rio should be. Those themes are explored in Occupy All Streets: Olympic Urbanism and Contested Futures (Terreform), co-edited by Rio native Bruno Carvalho, a professor in the Spanish and Portuguese department and co-director of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities. Carvalho spoke to PAW about last year’s Olympics and Rio’s past, present, and future.

In the book, you describe moments in history when different conceptions of Rio took hold. What were they?

We can think in terms of epithets: In the 1930s a Carnival song popularized Rio as the “Marvelous City,” and it became the city anthem in the 1960s. But the epithet had come about in the context of early 20th-century urban reforms that tried to reinvent Brazil in a more modern, elitist, Paris-inspired mold, and it excluded the majority of the city that didn’t conform to this image.

Another epithet, which became very dominant in the 1990s, is this idea of the “Divided City,” characterized by urban violence, political crisis, and a persistent socioeconomic abyss — symbolized by the favelas versus the upscale waterfront residential buildings. A more recent epithet, which City Hall tried to push in the last few years, is Rio as “Olympic City.” Read more

Alumni Day honorees Kuczynski, Schmidt stress solutions for global challenges

The recipients of Princeton’s top alumni awards underscored solutions for the political and technological challenges of today and the future at the University’s annual Alumni Day on Saturday, Feb. 25. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, president of Peru, spoke of a new age in Latin America, while Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet Inc., was positive about the power of technology to solve societal problems.

Their speeches in Richardson Auditorium kicked off campus activities for about 1,000 alumni and guests on a sunny, spring-like day. Alumni Day 2017 included lectures, workshops, family activities and the presentation of alumni and student awards.

Kuczynski, who earned a Master in Public Affairs in 1961 from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, received the James Madison Medal, the University’s top honor for Graduate School alumni. Schmidt, a member of the Class of 1976, received the Woodrow Wilson Award, the University’s highest honor for undergraduate alumni. Read More