CLAS Staff

Brodwyn Fischer, Director and Professor of History

Professor Brodwyn Fischer leads the Center in coordinating University interests in research and teaching on Latin America. She is a historian of Brazil and Latin America. Her research focuses on the historical dynamics of Brazilian racial inequalities, criminal law, Brazil’s 20th century great migrations, and the relationship between the urban poor and the country’s political left. Her current project, “Understanding Inequality in Post-Abolition Brazil,” looks at some of the paradoxical ways in which struggles for survival and social mobility have historically reinforced rather than disrupted larger inequalities in Brazilian society. Her first book, A Poverty of Rights, examined how weak citizenship rights and residential informality came to define urban poverty, popular social struggles, and the political dynamics of inequality in modern Brazil. Professor Fischer is also a coeditor of Cities from Scratch, a book that explores the many ways in which poverty and informality have shaped the Latin American urban experience.

Natalie Arsenault, Associate Director

CLAS Associate Director Natalie Arsenault manages the operations of the Center and fosters linkages with academic units on campus, community organizations, and professional associations. She is responsible for the Center's program planning and design, policy-making, budget, and supervision of administrative staff. She is also responsible for managing the Center's external grants and fellowships, including a US Department of Education National Resource Center grant and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, the Tinker Visiting Professorship, and the Tinker Field Research Grant. Natalie holds an MA in Latin American Studies (with a focus on Brazilian Studies) from the University of Florida, and has spent more than 15 years working in Latin American Studies. She has served as Outreach Chair of the National Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, and is an active member of the Latin American Studies Association. 

Jamie Gentry, Student Affairs Coordinator | Office Manager

As Student Affairs Coordinator and Office Manager, Jamie Gentry is also responsible for administering and managing the CLAS BA and MA degree programs and courses as well as CLAS's various graduate fellowships. She also provides logistical support for CLAS operations and supports the Associate Director with grant proposal development and reporting requirements. Jamie earned her MA from the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago, where she wrote her MA thesis on women's grassroots organizations along the US-Mexico border. She received her BA in Spanish, Latin American Studies, and Women's Studies from Kansas State University.

Enrique Dávila, BA Preceptor in Latin American Studies

As the preceptor for the BA Colloquium in Latin American Studies, Enrique Dávila guides seniors through the process of researching and writing the thesis. A PhD candidate in history, Enrique focuses his research and teaching on Mexican-American history, the US-Mexico borderlands, and Latin America. His dissertation will examine the transnational reform movements that arose in south Texas and northern Mexico during the first three decades of the twentieth century.

Elizabeth Dia, Student Programs and Administrative Assistant

As Student Programs and Administrative Assistant, Elizabeth provides operational and logistical support to CLAS through her assistance in developing communications and programming related to the BA and MA degree programs, maintenance of the CLAS website and databases, and attendance to student affairs logistics. Elizabeth is a 3rd year student in the College. Her academic interests include human rights in Latin America and the Middle East, modern Middle Eastern history, and gender/sexuality studies.