Brodwyn Fischer, Director and Professor in 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

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 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 20 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.

Diana Schwartz Francisco, Assistant Instructional Professor

Diana Schwartz Francisco oversees the BA and MA degree programs and serves as program adviser for the LACS degree programs; teaches the required BA Colloquium and MA Proseminar, as well as courses of her own design;  and develops experiential learning opportunities for students. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Chicago (2016). Her work integrates economic development, indigenous politics, and environmental issues.

Lindsay Ortega, Student Affairs Coordinator/Office Manager

Lindsay Ortega is responsible for administering 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. Lindsay holds an MA in Political Science/International Affairs and graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of South Florida. She has managed programs at AmeriCorps, coordinated the Global Citizens Project and international internship programming at the University of South Florida, and worked as a GIS analyst.