International Studies & Programs

Home > Faculty > Overview


2010chiapas_lg.jpgCLACS Core Faculty

CLACS Core Faculty consist of tenure-stream and non-tenure-stream faculty and staff actively engaged in teaching, research, service, or librarianship on Latin America and the Caribbean.


The nearly 200 faculty affiliated with CLACS represent 65 departments and programs across 20 colleges.

CLACS for MSU Faculty Flyer (PDF). 


Any qualified faculty member may be admitted to membership of the Core Faculty of the CLACS upon his/her request or nomination by another Core Faculty member, and by approval of the Advisory Council.

The Core Faculty support the activities of the CLACS and assist the Center in developing and implementing programs and activities. Core Faculty have voting privileges.

How to Apply

Approximately, 200 faculty are affiliated with CLACS and represent 65 departments and programs across 20 colleges. To become a CLACS core Faculty member, MSU faculty may be nominated by colleagues or they may self-nominate by contacting the director, Laurie Medina at medina(at)


Strategic partnership funding. CLACS administers MSU Strategic Partnership funds to promote interdisciplinary and collaborative projects with colleagues at MSU and in Latin America and the Caribbean.

CLACS Welcomes the Fall 2019 New Core Faculty


Alejandra Marquez, Romance and Classical Studies, CAL



Alejandra Marquez focuses on gender and sexuality in Latin American literature and culture. Her current project focuses on the ways in which lesbianism and same-sex desire in contemporary Mexico serve to contest or reinforce normative concepts regarding race, class, gender expression, and motherhood/marriage. She is interested in the ways in which queer studies and cuir studies (or the analysis of queerness from a Latin American perspective) intersect in order to build a greater understanding of non-normative subjectivities. She is currently working on an article/conference presentation on Fernanda Melchor's Temporada de Huracanes (2017), which centers on transfemicide as a result of a crisis of masculinity. While her current book project focuses on Mexico, she is also interested in how women writers in Latin America more broadly -- including Mariana Enríquez, Samanta Scweblin, Mónica Ojeda, and Liliana Colanzi, among others -- portray issues of violence, motherhood, and sexuality. Dr. Marquez teaches courses on Latin America and its literature.

 Scott Stark, Forestry, CANR


scott_stark.jpgScott Stark's research combines data from traditional forest plots, canopy sensor networks, ecophysiological information, and remote sensing—primarily LiDAR—to study the combined effects of demographic structure, phylloenvironments, and phenotypic diversity on forest dynamics and functions, including biosphere–atmosphere interactions and ecoclimate teleconnections under climate change. Most of his field research focuses on the Amazon forest.


Rowenn Kalman, Anthropology, SSC

Rowenn.jpgRowenn Kalman is a sociocultural anthropologist who works in the Andes on environmental governance, social movements, gender, and indigeneity. Her research has examined the changing structure of environmental governance in Peru, as neoliberal reforms and state decentralization resulted in environmental NGOs taking the lead in training community-based organizations to manage and protect natural resources. She has focused especially on the stewardship of water resources, exploring how authoritative knowledge about water quality or contamination is produced and contested. Her research also speaks to region-wide issues such as indigenous identities in social movements, reprimarization and subsequent struggles over resources, and expanding decentralization and citizen participation strategies that have opened opportunities for NGOs and communities. She is also beginning work on a collaborative project with colleagues in MSU forestry, based on assessing and improving gender training in community-based forestry and carbon offset projects.

Chris Estrada, Romance and Classical Studies, CAL


CLACS estrada.jpgChris Estrada's recent research in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, has focused on the creators of a form of musical and poetic expressive culture called maracatu de baque solto, also called "rural maracatu." Traditionally linked to workers on sugar-cane plantations, and with roots in the late nineteenth century, the genre was virtually ignored by both scholars and the broader Brazilian public until the 1990s. Since then it has been championed by high profile musicians and artists, incentivized by cultural policy initiatives, and heralded as a symbol of regional identity from a variety of political and ideological position. This celebration of rural maracatu – which gained "immaterial patrimony" protections under the UNESCO charter in 2014 – has occurred in tandem with a shifting sociopolitical landscape wherein the voices of its actual practitioners are often muted, if not quite silenced. These practitioners have found ingenious ways to negotiate complex dealings with both state and non-state actors, navigating situations that have jeopardized their core practices and risked turning their activities into folkloric product for the consumption of tourists. This work on maracatu builds on his interests in Latin American social movements and their intersections with the artistic production of marginalized communities. He is currently broadening the scope of his research by looking at similar appropriations and re-appropriations of expressive practices in Colombia, Peru, Trinidad, and Haiti.