I am an associate professor, historian, and librarian of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and President of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials
(SALALM). I also hold faculty appointments in the departments of History, and Spanish and Portuguese, and I am an affiliated faculty at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies, and the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois. My research revolves around issues of identity/cultural politics, nationalism, international relations, religion, hegemony, and U.S.-Latin American relations, sports, genealogy, and family history. My book, The Sovereign Colony, studies the role that the Olympic movement played in Puerto Rican construction of national identity, in the development of an autonomist political culture, and in Puerto Rican agency in international politics. My work appears in journals such as The Latin Americanist, Journal of Sport History, The Americas, Caribbean Studies, and The International Journal of the History of Sport, among others. I have had the pleasure of being interviewed by major media outlets such as Code Switch/NPR, Sports Engine/NBC Sports, and Backstory, among others. My next book project studies the intersections of religion, imperialism, and sport through the YMCA in Puerto Rico and Cuba (1898-1950s).
As a librarian, I direct the Latin American and Caribbean Studies collection at the University of Illinois. With close to one million volumes and numerous specialized databases, the collection is considered among the best in the nation. I oversee all aspects related to Latin America and the Caribbean at the University Library including collection development, reference, instruction, serial management, and offer specialized research consultations. My main interests at the library include in depth research consultations, collection development, and liaison work with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies. I am currently working on developing a special collection on Latin American sport and direct the Digital Library of Latin American and Caribbean Sports (DLLACS)
. I’m also the creator of the The Conde de Montemar Letters 1761-1799
website, a digital project to provide free access to a set of some 300 unique letters belonging to the family of the Conde de Montemar between Lima and Madrid.