TINKER VISITING PROFESSORS
Each year, distinguished scholars and practitioners from Latin America serve as Tinker Visiting Professors at five major universities in the United States. The Foundation endowed these Professorships beginning in 1968 – the first endowed positions focused on Latin American faculty in the U.S. The program has two complementary objectives: to enhance the experience and training of students and scholars in U.S. universities, and to enable leaders from Latin America amplify their work and extend their professional networks. Since the inception of the program, more than 400 Tinker Visiting Professors have participated in the program.
Tinker Visiting Professors have represented a wide range of disciplines and professions and have included notable historians, writers, artists, and scientists. Visiting professors engage deeply in academic life during their time on campus, often laying the groundwork for future collaboration.
Each university administers the Tinker Visiting Professors program independently, following a shared set of program objectives and guidelines.
CURRENT TINKER VISITING PROFESSORS
Being a Tinker Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison radically changed my academic career. It was the first time I had the luxury to solely teach and research (I always had administrative duties along with teaching and research, as is common in the Global South). In this intellectual space, my publishing career really took off. For example, I co-edited the book, Law in the New Developmental State: the Brazilian Experience in Latin American Context. As a direct result of my TVP experience, I became the Dean of the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia), the fifth-ranked law school in Latin America, and was offered a job at the Sciences Po Law School in Paris.
Being a TVP at the University of Chicago was certainly one of the impactful experiences in my career. I had the opportunity to interact with exceptional students in different disciplines, colleagues across the university, and Chicagoans during community presentations at Malcolm X College and KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation. I also developed a close academic relationship with Brodwyn Fischer (History Dept and CLAS), which I consider the most important result of my TVP experience. Together, we organized two seminars bringing together Brazilian and U.S. researchers, edited a volume on slavery, and wrote a chapter in the recently published book, Afro-Latin American Studies.
When I was a Tinker Visiting Professor at the University of Texas in Austin in 2017, I was just starting my mandate as the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants at the United Nations. Being a TVP enabled me to have many fruitful interactions with academics and civil society organizations working on migration issues in Texas.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to visit again the University of Wisconsin-Madison, not as a student as I was 25 years earlier, but as Tinker Visiting Professor. I owe two career achievements to this TVP experience. I was appointed to the scientific committee of the International Human Dimensions Program for Global Environmental Change, and I joined CLACSO’s (Latin American Council for Social Sciences) effort to connect social and environmental issues, such as political ecology, climate change, and public policy. Five years after being a TVP, I organized a project to compare the historical experience of the Far West in the U.S. with the appropriation of the Amazon. Through this, I have been able to partner with other prominent American historians on environmental history.
During the Fall of 2014, I was fortunate to go back to my doctoral Alma Mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a TVP. Besides the rare sensation of having arrived “home” as the shuttle bus from Chicago approached Lake Mendota, the multiple seminars and conversations in Madison were highly stimulating to start writing my book, The Neoliberal Diet: Healthy Profits, Unhealthy People. It was delightful to see my former professors Erik Olin Wright and Jess Gilbert at the research seminar in Sociology of Economic Change and Development. While most people were different from those in my times as a graduate student, the intellectual vibrancy remained unchanged.
As a TVP at Columbia University, I had the opportunity to share my work with colleagues from all over the world, get insightful feedback and consolidate new avenues of collaboration with various institutions. I also had the most rewarding experience teaching to talented students about issues that really matter to our region including “wicked” policy debates that have enriched my perspective on drugs, development and politics in Latin America.