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Administration | Lecturer | Associate Instructor | Graduate Assistants | Librarian


Anke Birkenmaier, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
(812) 855-9097

Anke Birkenmaier received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2004. She is a specialist in Latin American and Caribbean literature and culture. Her work has focused on the intersections between literature and modern mass media, on avant-garde movements in Latin America, and on critical race and cultural studies in the Americas. The author of Alejo Carpentier y la cultura del surrealismo en América Latina (2006) (Premio Iberoamericano, LASA) and co-editor of Cuba: un siglo de literatura (2004) and Havana Beyond the Ruins. Cultural Mappings after 1989 (Duke UP, 2011), Birkenmaier has a long standing interest in building relations between Cuba, its diaspora, and the United States. At Indiana University, Birkenmaier has served as associate director of the Latino Studies Program, where she co-organized, together with the IU Cinema, a bi-annual Latino Film Festival and Conference (2012 and 2014). She also has co-directed a study-abroad program in the Dominican Republic (2013 and 2015) and is looking forward to promoting more student and faculty exchanges with Latin America at CLACS.

Alfio Saitta, Ph.D.
Associate Director
(812) 855-9097

Dr. Saitta is a historian specializing in modern Argentina and Latin America. His dissertation, From the Barrio to the Nation: Social, Neighborhood, and Sports Clubs in Rosario, 1920-1975 investigates the development of sporting practices and the history of sporting institutions in Argentina with a special focus on the links between sport and masculinity. His work analyzes the ways in which social, neighborhood, and sports clubs represent important structuring threads within the complex and thickly woven fabric of Argentine popular culture and are themselves structured in ways that reflect a larger cultural whole. Dr. Saitta received his B.A. (1999) in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, his M.A. (2004) in History from California State University, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. (2014) in History from Indiana University.

Katie Novak
Academic Secretary
(812) 855-1836

Jennifer Ashcraft
Undergraduate Advisor
(812) 855-4538


Quetzil Castañeda, Ph.D.
CLACS Lecturer

(Ph.D. 1991, Anthropology, University at Albany, SUNY). Quetzil's Research interests and publications range across the fields of tourism, heritage, history of anthropology, Maya language, and Mesoamerica to ethnographic film, experimental fieldwork methods, and participatory action research. In 2003, Castañeda founded the independent, non-degree Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology (OSEA) (, a research and teaching institute with community action initiatives. Castañeda became a Lecturer in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Indiana University where he teaches inter-disciplinary courses on film analysis, discourse, representation, tourism, Maya language and culture, ethnography, and international service learning. His recent publications focus on ethics, indigenous rights and neoliberal tourism, activist anthropology, and heritage. As participant in the international project on Boas’ contribution to anthropology, Castañeda is the volume editor of the Boas correspondence with Mexican colleagues related to the International School of American Archaeology and Ethnology. View his Faculty Profile

Associate Instructor

David Tezil
Haitian Creole Instructor

David Tezil currently teaches Haitian Creole courses at Indiana University. Born in Port-au-Prince Haiti, David spent five years working with the Haitian communities in South Florida. David was also an interpreter and language facilitator for the Department of Multicultural Education of Palm Beach School District in Florida, and has contributed to the implementation of bilingual and multicultural learning materials for Haitian speaking students and adult literacy programs. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in linguistics at Indiana University.

Graduate Assistants

Sonia Calpanchay - I am a first year Masters’ student at CLACS. I received my B.A. in History with an emphasis on teaching from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. After finishing my B.A, I worked as a Spanish teacher at an independent preparatory school in Tennessee. While teaching, I faced the task of providing my students with as many tools as possible to understand Latin America and its rich and varied cultures from different points of view. This experience has deepened my desire to better understand the process of identity construction, especially among indigenous peoples, a topic I hope to explore further at IU.

Jordan Reifsteck - I obtained my bachelor’s degree from Rockford University in 2014 with majors in History and Spanish with a research focus on U.S. foreign policy in Chile during the 20th century. I chose the dual-masters programs in Latin American Studies and Information Science at Indiana University as it would allow me to take an interdisciplinary approach to my research while also building skills in a new and quickly growing field.

Sierra Funk - Hola! I'm a first year M.A student here at IU, looking forward to getting my degree from CLACS! I graduated with honors from Old Dominion University with a B.A. in History, and spent much of my time abroad in South America. There, I picked up a passion for Latin American culture that's followed me here to the University. My studies have focused mostly on the Pacific Coast of the Southern cone, and I'm interested in studying the cultures of revolutions and counterrevolutions that have shaped the political landscapes and alliances of these nations.

Raúl Gross - Raúl, an Indiana native, is in his first year of the MA program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. As an undergraduate Raúl spent semesters abroad in Australia and Spain, and upon graduating from the University of Evansville with a BA in Theological Studies, he spent two years volunteering at a small Catholic orphanage in rural Honduras. Since 2007 he has spent six summers in Latin America, leading service programs for high school students in Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, and most recently in Nicaragua. He is interested in the development of academic and service programs within Latin America, and the impact that such programs have on both guest and host communities. He hopes to make a career of promoting academic and service programs in Latin America that promote economic development, global partnerships, conservation, and intellectual inquiry. A teacher at heart, Raúl has worked as a ski and tennis instructor in Colorado, taught environmental education in the Pacific Northwest, and hopes to get his Divemaster SCUBA certification.


Luis A González, Ph.D.
Librarian for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Herman B. Wells Library (E660)
Library Resources