UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

Graduate Student Spotlight: Rosa Rodriguez

Rosa Rodriguez is a first year MA student in the LAIS Program. She completed her Undergraduate studies at CSU Long Beach and double majored in Sociology and Chicano Latino studies. 

What motivated you to study Latin America?

   I first began studying Latin America during my undergraduate studies, when I took Chicano Latino courses in an attempt to better understand the Latinx identity and experience within the context of the United States. While I felt content with the majority of the courses, I felt a disconnect as a Peruvian-American studying Chicano/Mexican-American heavy courses. I began to question whether research had been done on smaller Latinx groups, and began to look further into how I could highlight South Americans. This is what motivates me to study Latin America, the simple notion of wanting recognition and validation within the scope of Latin America. 

 Why do you believe it’s important to study Latin America? 

   It is absolutely critical to study Latin America because its inception, history and even contemporary issues can be applied to various aspects of study. Latin America is a region ravaged by colonialism and serves as a reminder of the impacts of imperialism on human beings and the environment. Modern imperialist tactics are continually implemented and by understanding and researching this area we can understand not only causes and trends, but use this information to help better the conditions of others. 

What are you currently researching/or planning to research, and why is it important to you? 

  I am currently planning to research the perception of race within Peru, notably through media representation. There is a common misconception that Latin America is color-blind and does not hyper focus on race, which is not true. Because of colonialism, Latin Americans follow a racial hierarchy that is coded and deeply embedded throughout the entire region. I want to understand how race functions and is perceived in Peru in modern contexts, using the example of El Negro Mama as my focal point. This is important to me because I want to emphasize the differing manners that race functions in other colonized areas beyond the United States, and address the deeply rooted issues of anti-blackness and racism within Peru. 

Any interests beyond academia that you would like others to know about?

   I love being around nature and often will go to National Parks with family, the scenery and peace ground me and remind me to live in the moment. I enjoy spending time with my loved ones, learning how to cook Peruvian dishes, and writing poetry whenever inspiration strikes.

Related Link: 

View Rosa’s LAIS profile here