Welcome Natalia Brizuela, new Chair of CLAS

Rosemary Joyce.Dear CLAS Community,

I am writing on the last day of my term of service as Interim Chair of the Center for Latin American Studies. It has been a privilege to work with the staff of the Center, and to support the search that has now yielded a new incoming Chair, Professor Natalia Brizuela.

The news of Professor Brizuela's appointment was announced to the campus by the Vice Chancellor for Research Randy Katz and Associate Vice Chancellor Linda Rugg. You can read that announcement here.

Natalia Brizuela is a Professor in Spanish and Portuguese and Film and Media, and her appointment signifies the breadth of the commitment that the Center has to encouraging scholarship across divisions. Her own research is hemispheric in scope, and includes important work that explores nationalism and race in the formation of the Brazilian state, through an examination of 19th Century photography. In other work she expands the scope of her interrogation of photography to the entire region, including through museum exhibition and collaborative publication, notably, The Matter of Photography in the Americas with Jodi Roberts (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2018). 

Professor Brizuela has a history of engaging scholars in innovative interdisciplinary programs. She has served as Interim Director of the UC Berkeley Arts Research Center, and is Project Director and Co-PI for the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.

She brings her knowledge, experience, and vision to CLAS at an important moment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CLAS successfully used virtual media to continue and even broaden the reach of our programs. The incoming Chair will be in a position to plan programs that draw on both virtual and in-person participation. In the immediate future, CLAS will seek to renew Federal grants that have supported programming over the past few years, and Professor Brizuela will lead the development of the new vision that CLAS will present for those efforts.

While my own term of service as Chair was limited, as a former member of the Center's Advisory Committee I have a strong sense of the historic achievements and future potential that exists in the expansive community on the campus with interests in understanding the region. I hope all of you will join me in welcoming our new CLAS Chair and support her as she leads us in the next stage of this journey.


Rosemary A. Joyce
Professor of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley