Monica Asencio - Level of Access to Autism Spectrum Disorder Resources and Types of Interventions in Peru
This pilot study examined the level of access to autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-related resources and services and the types of ASD intervention in Lima, Peru. A total of 24 ASD specialists participated in this pilot study and completed a survey that contained 20 questions, which were designed to collect information on the level of access to ASD resources and types of ASD interventions they currently offer to their clients with ASD. Also, this survey gathered information on the benefits of their services, cost of interventions and barriers they encounter.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects social and communication skills and usually begins from infancy to the first three years of life (Lord Cook, Leventhal, & Amaral, 2000; Phetrasuwan, Miles, & Mesibov, 2009). The number of children diagnosed with ASD or related disorders has grown dramatically in the last decade. It is estimated that today in the United States about one in every 68 children are diagnosed with ASD (Christensen et al., 2016).
Valerio Di Fonzo - The Role of Catholic Church in Peru: Searching for Religious Discourses in the Era of Neoliberal Reforms
The Catholic Church has played a central role among the social and political institutions in Latin America since colonization in the 15th century. Despite the fact that the religious presence among Latin American countries has endured for more than five hundred years, the nature and manifestation of the Catholic Church in the political and social life has changed dramatically throughout this time. From the time of the conquest of Inka Empire, when missionaries were complicit with Spanish soldiers in the colonization and christianization of the Americas, to the twentieth-century struggles for liberation of the poor from the injustices, in which the Church was directly involved, the Catholic presence has undertaken a continual process of redefinition of its role in society (Brooks 1999). During the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and particularly during the Conference of Latin American Bishops in Medellin (1968) and Puebla (1979), the Catholic Church established its preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, marking the beginning of liberation theology. In the last decade, Peru and Latin America as a whole have been experiencing new ethnic oppressions, gender discriminations, and ecological and human rights threats that warrant research and study. All of these factors are important to address in society and in research, however, due to the vast scope of topics that need to be addressed, I focus on ecology discourses.
Zsofia Johanna Szoke - Preliminary Fieldwork Experiences: The Anthropology of Precious Metal Extraction At One Corner of the Lithium Triangle
The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the planet’s largest salt flat, a cold and terrestrial lunar landscape. Inhospitable and reminiscent of an ancient long forgotten lake, the salt here holds the world’s principal supply of lithium, the metal that promises to transform the storage of electricity for transportation and other uses. For Bolivia, this is a great deal of attention from private foreign investors who are competing to exploit this strategic resource.
The first indigenous president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, asserts that he is committed to ensuring that the Bolivian people fully earn the benefits of the country’s lithium, and has nationalized ownership of that metal as well as other natural resources. Changes in Bolivia’s political economy under the Morales regime create new theoretical as well as empirical challenges for workers, investors, social movements and for scholars who work to navigate and to understand the unfolding developments. Thus, the Bolivian lithium industry is an ideal lens to explore an emerging energo-politics intertwined with indigeneity, knowledge production and territoriality in relation to a plurinational state and the struggles over Bolivia’s natural resources in a globalized economy.
Thanks to the LAII Student Field Research grant, I spent May of 2016 in Costa Rica conducting preliminary field research on the relationship between Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and rural economic development in the Pacific region.
A large part of my studies focuses on investigating the fast growth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the lack of legislative control over the exploitation of natural resources to environmental and social consequences in communities. I carried out research in the Pacific region and the Valle Central of Costa Rica from May until mid-June of 2016 to analyze the relationship between foreign-led economic and environmental exploitation, and their sociocultural effects on the Costa Rican Pacific. My central research questions were: How have local and statewide regulations regarding FDI and foreign-led physical infrastructural development changed from the 1990s to today? How have they affected employment and salary rates, quality and types of employment, literacy rates, and household access to public services in the Pacific region? The first question consisted of identifying changes in FDI national policies, and the second question focused on how these changes have affected this locality. Most of my findings have been shared through conference presentations, class projects, and independent studies on this topic.
I used this grant to expand my preliminary research, and to overcome the previous lack of access to primary sources and up-to-date studies on the effects of the latest accelerating physical infrastructural development projects and environmental exploitation. The most recent substantial and reliable studies I have found were published in 2012. Significant economic and social changes happened in Costa Rica after CAFTA was put in place in 2009. However, the majority of internationally published research often does not have appropriate evidence to show the economic and social changes that CAFTA has brought to the nation.