The Center's most robust visiting scholar program is its Tinker Visiting Professorship, which has brought more than 100 distinguished scholars to teach and conduct research at the University of Chicago since 1981. Each academic year the Center for Latin American Studies brings 3–4 Tinker Visiting Professors to campus to teach courses in a variety of disciplines and topics. To support their courses, CLAS appoints advanced doctoral graduate student teaching assistants through an internal competition.

This position requires 11 hours of work per week per the UChicago student employment guidelines.


CLAS encourages students who meet the following criteria to apply:

  • Students who have defended their dissertation proposal or who intend to defend it prior to the courses's start 
  • Students whose disciplinary training or academic interests align with the Tinker Visiting Professor(s) and/or their course(s)


Teaching Assistants complete all reading assignments, attend class lectures, hold office hours for students where needed, and provide course support through assisting with course design, arranging for library course reserves and text copies, assisting with and managing the Canvas site, assisting with grading, and other relevant course duties as assigned and approved by CLAS.

2020–21 Tinker Visiting Professor Courses


LACS 27720/37720 (PORT 27720, SPAN 27720, MUSI 27720)
Races, Castes, and Their Relationships in Latin American Colonial Music
Leonardo Waisman

The course will undertake a critical survey of repertoires, institutions, and social practices related to musical practices in Spain and Portugal's American territories between 1558 and ca. 1800. The missions of the Jesuits and other orders, the constitution of the musical chapels of the cathedrals, the "villancico de negros," and the emergence of local popular music will be some of the topics examined, with a critical assessment of recent views of the role of Colonial music in current musical life.


LACS 27724/37724
Material Constructions of State and Nation: Latin America, 1800–1850
Natalia Majluf

Covering the wars of Independence and the transition to Republican statehood, this course will address the continuities and ruptures affecting the visual traditions and material cultures of the Colonial period in this crucial period in Latin American history. Intended as a broad survey of the region, the course attempts to think through a political history of objects and images as a way to understand the process of nation-state formation.

LACS 27726/37726 (ANTH 23028)
Body Modifications, Sociocultural Meanings, and Beauty in Ancient Mesoamerica
Vera Tiesler

The course will introduce past and current anthropological discussions of embodiment and beauty and then explore culturally born body concepts from the perspective of native Mesoamerican thought and ritual practice. A methodological unit will embrace reconstructions of ancient body modifications at the intersection between (bio) archaeology, ethnohistory, semiotics, and imagery. We will also review and discuss basic visual, behavioral, and social aspects of native Mesoamerican body works, focusing on head shaping, dental modification, and skin ornaments. A number of case studies target such forms of physical embodiment among the Olmecs, Maya, and the Aztecs. Finally, we will cover the evolving roles of body modifications past the European contact in Mexico, providing food-for-thought in discussing Novohispanic domination strategies, native resilience, and transformation.

Questions? Please contact CLAS student affairs coordinator, Lindsay Ortega.