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Traveling the World

The Soul of Latin America

Andrew Leming with poet Rayen Kuyeh
Andrew Leming with poet Rayen Kuyeh

While traveling abroad over the summer, Andrew Leming had the opportunity to conduct field research in South America for two fascinating projects. He spent the first weeks of his trip in Peru working as a research assistant to Jana Morgan, whose research aims to understand how ethnicity and inequality interact in Latin America in ways that have substantial implications for public perceptions of democratic institutions and their political legitimacy. One of the most striking themes that emerged during the elite interviews, and one that was particularly salient while staying in Cusco, was just how crucial the interplay of geography, cultural identity, and social class remains for understanding the dynamics of politics in contemporary Peru.

From Peru, he traveled south to Chile where his research yielded similar insights. He spent several weeks working alongside Rayen Kuyeh, a poet from the indigenous Mapuche tribe that inhabits southern Chile, on the first English translation of her poetry collection, Moon of Ashes, published in 1995.The collection, which recounts Rayen’s experiences as a political prisoner under the Pinochet dictatorship and explores the spiritual dimensions of the Mapuche’s struggle for representation in modern Chile, offers extraordinarily rich insights into the realities that indigenous peoples confront in the region. Both the translation and research will comprise the basis for Leming’s forthcoming master’s dissertation in the Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin America Studies program at King’s College, London. After completing his studies at King’s, he plans to return to the United States to pursue a PhD in comparative politics with a focus on Latin America.

London Calling

Nathan TimbsNathan Timbs is a junior political science major with a concentration in international affairs. He plans on a career in foreign service or international relations. After his freshman year, Timbs spent a summer in the London study abroad trip with Professor Ian Down.

“Someone told me my freshman year that you only have three more summers to do whatever you want for the rest of your life,” says Timbs, who immediately decided to go on the study abroad trip. “Ever since then, I have tried to use my summers in a way that I will not regret in 10 or 15 years.”

His classes in London blended learning and the actual experience of being in the United Kingdom. Learning about Winston Churchill in the classroom and then being able to go out and visit the Churchill War Rooms had a profound effect. Being able to immerse himself in another culture, even if it not completely foreign, was an experience he highly recommends.

This past summer he received an internship with Senator Corker in his Knoxville office. Interning for a senator was not only valuable in terms of future career prospects and connections but taught him a higher level of professionalism. Dealing with constituents that face tough circumstances broadened his perspective on government.

Made in Japan

Caleb Asbury (right) and a friend in Japan.
Caleb Asbury (right) and a friend in Japan.

Caleb Asbury studied abroad in Nagoya, Japan, during the spring 2017 semester. While studying at Nanzan University, he was able to fulfill requirements for his political science major and his minor in Japanese. He took courses on Japanese art and culture, Japanese language, and Japanese politics. In addition, Asbury traveled around the country. He spent a week in Tokyo and also spent time in Kamakura, the capitol of the Kamakura shogunate; Yokohama, a major Japanese port city just south of Tokyo; and Yokosuka, a major American naval installation in Japan. He also visited Sekigahara, the site of a major battle that is the Japanese version of Gettysburg. The visit and his classes fed his passion for studying Japanese politics and security concerns in the region.

Where in the World is Maria Amalla?

Maria Amalla in Prague.
Maria Amalla in Prague.

Maria Amalla is a senior majoring in political science. Her passion and interest in Latin American relations stemmed from her family escaping the Salvadoran Civil War. She participated in the Foundation Cristosal Global School in El Salvador, where she was able to engage in discussions with a feminist coalition regarding human rights. Her experience gave her the opportunity to learn more about the violence caused by the MS-13 street gang and the Salvadoran Diaspora to the United States.

Amalla spent the last two summers interning for Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. Working with community leaders and immigration activists inspired her to seek more experiences regarding transnationalism and immigration. In spring of 2017, Maria traveled to Prague with the Center for Leadership and Service. She acquired knowledge regarding the Czech Republic’s immigration system and had a chance to hear first-hand testimonials from refugees fleeing (ISIS) conflicts in the Middle East. The experience had a profound impact on her. Currently, she works as a research assistant for global security in the Baker Center and as a bilingual research assistant for the Healthy Eating and Activity Laboratory.


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