Postgraduate students

The New Zealand Centre for Latin American Studies provides a dynamic, supportive research environment for postgraduate students.


Postgraduate supervision

Latin American Studies staff regularly team-teach in courses across the University and supervise postgraduate students writing theses in areas as diverse as Art History, Music, Economics and Development Studies, as well as in Spanish, Politics and History. There are plans to introduce a postgraduate degree in Latin American Studies in 2014.


Current and past supervised projects

PhD Theses completed

  • Genaro Oliveira, “Word Imagery and Painted Rhetoric: Historians, Artists and the Invention of the History of Brazil” (in conjunction with Art History, 2012).
  • Jane Christie, “Negotiating Gendered Discourses: Michelle Bachelet and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner” (University of Auckland Doctoral Scholar, 2012).
  • Carla Grosman, “The Allegory of the Standstill Traveller: Crisis and Recuperation of Utopia in the Latin American Cinema of the Neoliberal Era” (University of Auckland Doctoral Scholar, 2012).
  • Paul Bowker, “Post-Colonial Intersections between Spain and Latin America: Interpretations of Hispanidad in the Twentieth Century.” (2010). (Bright Future Scholar).
  • Sarah McDonald, “From the People to the Popular: Fifty Years of Brazilian Film.” (2004).
  • Francisca da Gama, “Locating the Mestizo Intellectual: Race and Class in Mariátegui, Arguedas and Gutiérrez.” (2001).

MLit Thesis completed

  • Lorena Garrido, “Democracy in the State and the Home: Chilean Feminine Poetry in Times of Political Crisis”. (2005) (First Class Honours)
  • Joyce Luke, “Centre and Periphery in Latin American Cultural Debates during the Post Authoritarian Era”. (2002) (First Class Honours)

MA Thesis completed

  • Sorrel O’Leary, “Discourse, Power and Authenticity: The Latin American Cantautor and the Struggle for Truth.” (2011).
  • Sarah Stewart, “Transcending the Emprisonment Space in the Writing of Roseleen Walsh and Reinaldo Arenas.” (in conjunction with Comparative Literature, 2009).
  • Emma Stone, “National and Subnational Movements in Latin America: Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.” (2008). (First Class Honours).
  • Mona-Lynn Courteau, “Music and Dance Performance, Longing, and the Construction of Brazil in Auckland, New Zealand” (in conjunction with Anthropology, 2007). (First Class Honours)
  • Carla Grosman, “The Spectre of Absence: Argentine Cinema as Re-narration of Collective Memory.” (2006) (First Class Honours)
  • Kara Morrison, “Violent Mexicans: Cinematic Violence and Authenticity in Recent Films about Mexico.” (2006).
  • Jane Christie, Translation of Evo Morales’s Inaugural Address. Master of Professional Studies. (in conjunction with Translation Studies, 2006).
  • Kirsty Charles, “Latin American Rock and the Renewal of Collective Utopia.” (2005) (First Class Honours)
  • Elly Sharp, “Forbidden Passions: Nation, Religion, and Sexuality in 19th Century Argentina.” (2002). (First Class Honours).
  • Sarah McDonald, “Coercion, Crisis, and Cultural Difference: Women’s Writing in Authoritarian Argentina and Brazil.” (2001). (First Class Honours).
  • Elly Wayne, “The Man in the Middle: Modernism, Borges and Postmodernism” (1993). (First Class Honours).

MA Dissertations and Postgraduate Essays completed

  • Sarah Giffney: “Theories of Relativity; Shifting Certainties and Human Connections in Maurice Gee’s Plumb and Marcelo Birmajer’s Los tres mosqueteros.” (Dissertation with Comparative Literature, 2006).
  • Jonathan Wright: “Leaving the Labyrinth: An Analysis of Maya Symbolic Continuity and Rupture Employed by the EZLN in El Sexto Sol.” (Postgraduate Essay 2002).
  • Carmel Murphy, “Cooking and Writing: The Body and the Text in Como agua para chocolate” (2000).


Past student projects

Sarah J. McDonald (PhD, Spanish)
From the People to the Popular: Fifty Years of Brazilian Film

This study analyses the construction of images of popular culture in Braziliam film from the 1940s, the era of the chanchada genre, through the Cinema Novo movement of the 1960s, the 'recarnivalisation' of cinema in the late 1970s, to the present day Retomada. Using the categories of popular rites, popular myth, exemplified in the images of carnival and female sensuality, and their overt links to the popular classes, I argue that many of the icons of national identity have been adopted from external visions of Brazil, Latin America, and indeed, of the tropics in general. However, despite the impact of constructions of Brazil in the foreign imaginary, filmmakers have, at different times, actively attempted to reclaim these symbols of the nation, and reformulate them in a specific regional context.

Rodrigo Alvarez Valdez (PhD candidate, Political Studies)
Micro-foundations of Manufacturing Export Policy in Chile and New Zealand

The aim of the thesis is to analyse the micro-foundations of manufacturing export policy in Chile and New Zealand. These countries were selected for comparison given that both nations shared similar economic processes during the 20th century and both have a similar economic and political outlook toward the 21st century. The research focuses on micro-foundational public policies, following an eclectic methodology combining qualitative and statistical analysis. This study evaluates the effect of ‘factor conditions’ on the increase and diversification of manufactured goods as well as international competitiveness in Chile and New Zealand. Special attention is given to the transition from comparative advantage to competitive advantage as a part of a process of structural adjustment. Consideration is also given to previous economic models and political regimes and the reasons why those models and regimes changed.

Kirsty Charles (MA in Spanish)
Latin American Rock and the Renewal of Collective Utopia

In response to the growing relevance of mass-mediated culture to studies of a sociao-political nature, this thesis discusses the development of Latin American rock music in the 1980s and 1990s in Mexico, Chile and Argentina, as a movement that presents an ideological and politicised response to the trends of the current world order. The analysis is founded on the theories of Nestor Garcia Canclini, who argues that the effects of cultural and economic globalisation in the realm of popular culture have led to a state of cultural hybridity. This concept is used to decribe not only Latin America's position in relation to modernity and postmodernity, but is also employed in order to further understand the re-articulation of local culture that occurs in a globalised context.