Latin American Historians Win NEH Fellowships

By Elizabeth Romero Student Intern CHASS College Computing
January 19, 2010

James Brennan and Robert Patch are both historians in CHASS’s History Department; in fact, both are Latin American historians, and now both have received NEH Fellowships for 2010-11.

Professor Brennan works on modern Latin America with a special expertise in Argentina. His project, entitled Days of Destruction: Political Violence and Its Legacies in Argentina's 'Dirty War' studies political violence, state terrorism, and dictatorship in the industrial city of Córdoba.  Brennan says his focus “is not strictly on social trauma and the victims of violence but also its perpetrators. I am also back-streaming to the beginning of the decade to analyze the violence of the left and how it contributed to generate the particular form of counter-revolutionary violence practiced by the dictatorship.”

Professor Patch’s expertise is on Mexico and Central America. His NEH project, The Making of a Colonial Ruling Class: The Hispanic Elite in Merida, Yucatan, focuses on the identification of the “colonial elite in the first few decades of the eighteenth century, when two epidemics (yellow fever in 1711 and measles in 1726) killed some of the members of the ruling class,” Patch says his fellowship will allow him to study marriage, baptismal and other records to identify the new people who moved up to take the places of the dead  in the elite and to find out who they were and what social and political groups they belonged to.

Both historians express their gratitude to MaryAnn Doherty, Principal Analyst for CHASS, who allowed them to concentrate on their proposals while leaving the intricacies of what Brennan and Patch call “the NEH's enormously complicated on-line application process” to her.

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