Gustavo Fares

Tag: Gustavo Fares

Senior Thomas Matusiak Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to Colombia

A senior honors project will have added significance for Thomas Matusiak beyond his graduation in June after being awarded a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarship to Colombia.

Matusiak will spend the 2013-14 academic year as an English teacher and unofficial goodwill ambassador at a still-to-be-determined university in Colombia courtesy of the United States’ Fulbright Program.

Thomas Matusiak ’13

The flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government, the Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

When applying for the Fulbright, Colombia was Matusiak’s destination of first choice, in part because of research he has been conducting on a genre of Colombian cinema.

“I’ve been working on an honors project entitled ‘No Future: Youth and Disenchantment in Colombian Cinema’ so that was a natural choice,” said Matusiak, a linguistics and Spanish major from Mequon.

His research focuses on a series of films representative of what he calls “cinema of disenchantment.”  Although they’re not true documentaries, the films are shot on location, using non-professional actors and often offer gritty, brutal depictions of city life and urban violence.

“These are non-commercial films that are trying to make a statement about society,” Matusiak explained. “These types of movies began to emerge in Latin American cinema in the 1990s, starting in Colombia.

“As my research progressed, I was looking for an opportunity to go to Colombia and have time to think and write about these movies in context,” added Matusiak, who has previously studied abroad in Spain and Poland, but will be making his first trip to Colombia. “The Fulbright scholarship will be a great opportunity to do just that.”

It also will allow him to pursue one of his passions.

“I’m interested in teaching, especially teaching language, so this award is almost perfect since I’ll be able to do both,” said Matusiak, who has been a tutor in Lawrence’s Center for Teaching and Learning for the past three years, including the past two as head tutor. “I believe in teaching language through culture and using film is a perfect way to give students a visual idea of what culture is like.”

Matusiak, who already had been accepted into Princeton University’s Spanish doctoral program before he received word of his Fulbright award, will now put his graduate studies on hold for year.

“I’m excited and looking forward to spending time in Colombia,” he said.

Professor of Spanish Gustavo Fares described Matusiak as “one of the brightest and most dedicated Spanish majors” Lawrence has had.

“Being awarded the prestigious Fulbright grant is an honor that not only will help him with his research in Latin America, but it is only the beginning of a brilliant academic career,” said Fares.

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

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Gustavo Fares Awarded Fulbright Grant to Teach Graduate Course in Argentina

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.