Candidates for postdoctoral fellowship present lectures

Zachary Keener

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.