Gustavo Fares, associate professor and chair of the Lawrence University Spanish department, will return to his native homeland of Argentina this summer courtesy of a $10,000 Fulbright Scholar Program grant. Fares is the second Lawrence faculty member this spring to be awarded a Fulbright Fellowship.
Beginning in mid-July, Fares will spend 10 weeks teaching the graduate level course “Hispanic Identities in the United States” at the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina.
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Fares spent the first 27 years of his life in Argentina, before coming to the United States in 1985 to pursue graduate studies.
“As soon as I entered the United States, I was classified as a ‘minority’ and as a ‘Hispanic,'” said Fares. “I have always been interested in those labels. They did not characterize me in my native Argentina but were applied to me here precisely because of my origin.”
In his course, Fares will examine the identities of Hispanic communities in the United States and the understanding of those identities outside of the U.S. borders, focusing on their history, the ways in which they are depicted in films, literature and the visual arts as well as the role those representations play in the political arena.
“The changes brought about by globalization have had profound effects on the identity of nations and peoples throughout the world,” said Fares. “As a result, what it means to be Hispanic in the United States has come into question as this sector of society struggles to become part of the mainstream while still retaining the traits and characteristics that define them.
“I expect that Lawrence students in particular will benefit from my experience teaching abroad given the updated perspective from Argentina I will be able to provide,” Fares added. “In my role as a student advisor, I will be able to better explain to those who are interested in studying in Argentina that country’s educational system and the best ways to benefit from it. During my stay, I expect to establish relationships with the host institution that will develop into long-term projects for exchanging information, students and faculty in the years to come.”
A scholar of Argentinean literature and Latin American art, Fares joined the Lawrence faculty in 2000 after teaching for 11 years at Lynchburg College in Virginia. He earned a law degree at the University of Buenos Aires and spent two years in private practice before pursuing a graduate degree in painting, drawing and art history at the Ernesto de la Cárcova Superior School of Fine Arts in Argentina.
After coming to the United States, Fares earned a master’s degree in foreign language and literature and a master of fine arts in painting and printmaking from West Virginia University. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American literature and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Established in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program provides grants for teaching and research positions in more than 150 countries worldwide and is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES). Fares was selected from research proposals submitted in disciplines ranging from the sciences to the fine arts.