Fulbright Scholar Bolsters Feminist, Latin American Studies at CNR


Maria Rosa Doria Ribeiro brings a wealth of knowledge and research to her yearlong appointment at The College of New Rochelle, but she plans on leaving with some as well.

The Visiting Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, in between teaching classes and helping develop a new curriculum, will research how immigrants from throughout Latin America live in New Rochelle and surrounding communities.

Ribeiro, a professor at the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, learned of the Fulbright post from Dr. Ivani Vassoler, a professor at SUNY Fredonia who is a member of the executive council of the Brazil section of the Latin American Studies Association. Ribeiro decided CNR would be a good fit because of its tradition as a school for women and her chosen field of gender studies.

"I thought, this place could be a good place for me," she said. "I'm very glad to be here."

This spring, Ribeiro has been teaching a class called Global and Transnational Feminisms. It covers the history of the feminist movement, why it is still important today, and "how feminism can get stronger for best results." In the fall, she will teach a new course called Introduction to Latin American Studies, and a seminar on Latin American immigration.

Her students so far have been engaged and interested. "I feel that what I say makes sense for them, and I'm very happy about that," Ribeiro said. "It's the best you could ask for, if you find a group of students that want to learn what you teach."

Ribeiro holds a Ph.D. in History from the Univeristy of Sao Paulo, and her dissertation tackled the emergence of feminism in Brazil in the context of the fight against a dictatorship. She also has a Master's in Education from the University of Campinas.

In addition to teaching, Ribeiro is helping develop a certificate program in Latin American / Caribbean Studies. Some necessary courses already exist, she says, but others need to be created. She says working with her colleagues at The College of New Rochelle has been rewarding.

"The contact with my peers is very good," she said. "We can exchange knowledge and experience, and we can work together ... for me it's a very rich process."

Outside of the classroom, Ribeiro hopes to visit other parts of the country, particularly California and the West, and attend academic events. It is her third visit to the U.S., and her longest so far.

Ribeiro is looking forward to learning about the lives of Latin American people in this part of the United States. "I want to know, how is the integration of these people with the local community," she said. "I hope to meet and talk to immigrants, see how they live together."