Virtual Coffee Hours


About CLAS Virtual Coffee Hours

CLAS Virtual Coffee Hours are designed to continue offering ways to network and engage with each other on topics and themes related to Latin America. These virtual discussions will take place on Zoom every Thursday from 1:30 - 2:30 PM. Topics and themes will vary, and we ask you to please suggest new themes and/or lead future discussions based on your own personal or professional interests (music, cooking demonstrations, favorite books, review of journal articles, etc.). 

Visit the CLAS Calendar of Events for future Coffee Hour topics and themes.


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Summary of Previous Coffee Hours


Recently, nineteenth-century Afro-Brazilian writer, Machado de Assis, made the news in Brazil and abroad due to several upcoming and just launched translations of his most famous novel. One of the two English translations sold out on the very first day, which prompted some surprise among Brazilians. Twenty years ago, specialists started to revisit his works within the framework of slavery and racial issues in Brazil, and Machado de Assis has been brought to the spotlight again.

Although defining one’s race in Brazil is not an easy task, scholars have been working towards not only reclaiming his African Heritage, but also unveiling how his literature dealt with race and racial issues. To put it simply, for a long century his works and attitude have been read as if he evaded discussions of race and slavery, which put in motion the process of recreating his physical appearance. In this presentation, Dr. Paulo Dutra briefly discussed several aspects of the whitening process of Machado de Assis and the current status of the scholarship on the topic.

You can find the recording of the webinar here (Access Password: !X?8nsry).


Two Tinker fellows who were scheduled to give their talks on March 27th presented them virtually.

  • Guillermo Bervejillo: "The Geography of China-Latin America Relations: South-South Cooperation and the Geopolitics of Food on the Shores of the Rio de la Plata"
  • Palo Pinillos Chávez: "Migration and cross-dialectal changes: analyzing Matses Amazonian Spanish in the Iquitos urban space"

Linda Blanchard, K-12 educator and alumna of the Summer Seminars Abroad for Spanish Teachers, led a cooking demonstration of different types of salsas.


CLAS presented a collection of Latin American masks, donated by OSU alumnus Mark Gordon and Barton College. Mark joined us to talk about his experiences collecting the masks and research in Latin America.

You can find the recording of the webinar here (Access Password: 4C@$RABe). 


OSU Quechua instructor, Elvia Andia Grágeda, held a Quechua mini-lesson, followed by questions about the class and the language. CLAS staff assisted with info about available courses, mode of instruction, fellowships, and other opportunities.

You can find the recording of the webinar here (Access Password: 9w$044$2). 



Byrd Polar Research Center affiliate and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography, Forrest Schoessow, discussed his research experience mapping and monitoring the effects of glacier retreat on water resources and geohazards in the tropical Andes of Cordillera Blanca, Peru. 

Forrest's Notes:

  • Correction:  I mistakenly said Peru is home to ~90% of Earth's tropical glaciers. I meant to say ~70% are in Peru & ~90% of those are in the Cordillera Blanca. These quantities are in terms of % glacierized area, not volume. 
  • Clarification:  The 1970 earthquake-triggered avalanche/debris flow at Huascaran is considered history's deadliest single mass movement disaster. However, in terms of volume, there have been larger mass movements in terms of volume.



Honors Spanish majors Cara Satullo, Emily Montenegro, and Juhee Park (SPAN 4565H Indigenous Literatures and Cultures) presented their analyses of Andean and Amazonian indigenous cultural representations in the movies PachamamaThe Road to El DoradoThe Emperor's New Groove and Dora and the Lost City of Gold with special participation of Américo Mendoza Mori (UPenn), who was a Quechua Language Consultant for Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

You can watch The Road to El Dorado and Dora and the Lost City of Gold through Amazon Prime Video. Pachamama and The Emperor's New Groove are available on Netflix.

Student written essays are available through CLAS as additional K-12 classroom resources.

You can find the recording of the webinar here (Access Password: 1D?#F+@&).

Please see the following classroom resources that may be of interest to K12 educators:


Online Resources


Student Analyses and Presentations*

  • "Representación indígena en las películas infantiles" by Cara Satullo, undergraduate student at Ohio State 
  • "Análisis sobre la película infantil Pachamama" by Juhee Park, undergraduate student at Ohio State 
  • "Dora la conquistadora: Los elementos andinos y coloniales en Dora and the Lost City of Gold" by Emily Montenegro, undergraduate student at Ohio State

These materials were developed as part of the Spring 2020 Spanish course, "Indigenous Languages, Literatures and Cultures of Latin America" (SPAN 4565H), taught by Dr. Michelle Wibbelsmam.


We invited faculty and students to join us and talk about their LASA presentation, hear about faculty research across campus, and discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with virtual conferencing. 

View the LASA Program:


This discussion was Part Two of the impact that COVID-19 has had on indigenous communities in Latin America. Last week, Elvia Andía Grágeda (OSU Quechua Instructor) shared information about the impact of the pandemic on indigenous communities in Bolivia. This week, Nydia Delhi Mata Sánchez (Rector, Universidad Tecnológica de los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca) lead the discussion. Nydia has taken the lead on programs and projects to increase training and opportunities for young women in STEM careers. She holds an advanced degree from the Instituto Technologico de Oaxaca in Rural Development and collaborates with researchers from the US and Europe on project that focus on women’s rights, food, migration and development.  


CIESAS, Indigenous Mexico, and COVID-19:


During part one of a two part series, the discussion focused on the impact that COVID-19 has had on indigenous communities in Latin America. Elvia Andía Grágeda (OSU Quechua Instructor) led the discussion. Elvia is a linguist specializing in the study and instruction of Bolivian Quechua and Spanish. She holds a master’s degree in linguistic policy of indigenous languages in higher education, and investigates the role of Quechua in such policies, particularly in the Quechua public indigenous university in Bolivia.


CLAS affiliates gathered to discuss the academic adjustments we’ve had to make to online learning and working from home due to the stay-at-home order. ODEE staff were on hand to help find answers about using technology in the virtual classroom. CLAS staff shared how we are modifying programming to accommodate a virtual learning environment, and discussed ways that faculty affiliates can get involved with outreach and programming over the summer. 


The first Virtual Coffee Hour focused on "Latin America and COVID-19", to discuss the impact that the pandemic has had on the region, using the Americas Society Council of the Americas Summary Status a guiding resource for discussion.  Participants shared how the pandemic has impact their personal and professional lives, and discussed solutions and best practices they've identified. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Jeff Cohen, Professor of Anthropology and CLAS faculty affiliate.