PILAS is the postgraduate affiliate of the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS). We are an organisation run by and for postgraduate students. Our committee is a vibrant cohort of postgraduates emanating from a variety of academic disciplines. PILAS is dedicated to fostering interaction among postgraduates working in the field of Latin American Studies at institutions of higher education throughout the United Kingdom, as well as those in Europe and the Americas.

PILAS aims to enhance interdisciplinarity in Latin American Studies through collaborative workshops and panels to encourage the next generation of academics in the social sciences and humanities. As a supportive community for postgraduate students engaged in the study of Latin America and the Caribbean, PILAS seeks to facilitate communication among postgraduates and to provide a forum for students to exchange experiences, seek advice, and share their research.

To join PILAS, you will need to join SLAS first. For more information about SLAS membership, please go to https://www.slas.org.uk/. 

2019-20 PILAS Committee

Armandina Maldonado Deller

BA in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin followed by teaching abroad in East Asia, Scandinavia and Europe then MSc in Human Geography Research from the University of Loughborough. She is currently a PhD studentship recipient from the Leverhulme Trust undertaking a cross-disciplinary research topic of a specific Cuban religious practice, espiritismo de cordón based in the province of Granma, its indigenous cultural links and regional identity.

Oliver Dodd

Oliver completed his undergraduate degree at Aberystwyth University, his MA at Nottingham University, and is undertaking an ESRC funded PhD on the underlying dynamics of Colombia’s 2016 Peace Agreement. As part of his research, Oliver has conducted 5 months of ethnographic research with Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN).

Mariana Reyes Carranza

Mariana is a PhD candidate in the School of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London. She holds a BS degree in Biology from the University of Guadalajara and an MSc in Environment, culture and society from the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include environmental education, art and ecology, and the human dimensions of climate change. Her current research involves exploring the performances and projections of the Anthropocene in art and science museums.

Metin Senel

Metin completed an Undergraduate degree at Communication Faculty, Marmara University (Istanbul, Turkey) in 2015 followed by a Masters degree in Film Studies Queens University of Belfast 2017. He is currently working on his PhD. at the University of Liverpool with a research title of `Collective Memory, Trauma and Cinematic Presentation: Military Dictatorships in Latin American Cinema´. His research is based on the traumatic experiences of nations and the importance of the audio-visual contents for the creation of collective memory, focusing on Argentina and Chile. This inquiry will involve searching through the socio-political climate, media coverage and funding, governmental support, national and transnational visibility of the films that represent trauma in Argentinean and Chilean cinema.

Liam Pitchard

Liam previously undertook his studies at the University of Aberdeen, obtaining his MA in History and International Relations, and a Masters in Latin American Studies. Liam’s principal area of interest is Cuban foreign policy towards Africa, the subject of both his undergraduate and Master’s dissertations. He aims to continue to research in this area in his future doctoral project. 

Stephanie Ashton

Stephanie completed her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. She is currently pursuing a PhD at University College London (UCL). Her doctoral research examines the process of nation building in Colombia between 1889 and 1930 through a local lens. Her project promises to: capture divergences and similarities between local and dominant iterations of nationalism; expound the interplay of the local and the national; probe how global forces shape these interactions; and unravel whether the local realm constitutes an underplayed aspect of nationalism. Before undertaking her postgraduate research, Stephanie worked as a diplomat for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia in Washington, DC. 

Aleksandra Kaye

Aleksandra is a first-year PhD student at UCL with an MA in Transnational Studies from UCL and a BA (Hons) in History and Sociology from the University of Warwick. She is also a qualified teacher of English as a Foreign Language. In her transnational research she will trace Polish émigrés to Latin America and their involvement in production and circulation of scientific knowledge. Her work will question conventional assumptions about how knowledge travels and aims to highlight and challenge the centre-periphery model, which views people from ‘peripheral nations’ as dependent on the ‘centres’ for progress and knowledge. This will be done through the application of Social Network Analysis to historical research.

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