The first of two candidates vying for the prestigious Carlos E. Castaneda Postdoctoral Fellowship presented his research, which focuses on militarization along the Mexican-American border from 1848 to present, to a faculty committee Wednesday.
C.J. Alvarez, a doctoral candidate from the University of Chicago, said his research interests are inspired in large part by his personal background.
“I grew up [near the border]. I witnessed the changes that happened there …. I am a historian, and I was trying to understand where it fit with my thesis,” Alvarez said.
The fellowship is offered through the Center for Mexican American Studies and grants the winner a one-year residency at UT, along with several perks, including a $48,000 stipend. The selected fellow has to teach one undergraduate class and conduct a public lecture.
“This interview process is more than judging how to teach a class, but to see intellectual promise, professionalism and contribution to the unit and UT-Austin more broadly,” said Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, American Studies associate professor and the center’s associate director.
Castaneda — the namesake of the fellowship and the University’s Perry-Castaneda Library — was one of the first Mexican-American studies scholars and activists, and graduated and taught at UT.
The second finalist for the fellowship is Priscilla Leiva, a doctoral student at the University of Southern California who will give a presentation Wednesday at the Student Activity Center on the presence of professional sports stadiums in America, and how they affect their surrounding communities.