Global Brandeis Profile: Marysa Navarro Aranguren
B.A. Instituto José Batlle y Ordóñez, Montevideo, Uruguay
M.A. Columbia University
Ph.D Columbia University
Area of Expertise
Argentine history; Peronism; Brazilian history; Latin American history; Latin American feminism; feminist history
- “La red lationamericana de católicas por el derecho a decidir” in De lo personal a lo politico: 30 años de agencia feminista en America Latina, with M C Mejia, (2006).
- Evita, four editions, (4th- 2005).
- Evita, Mitos y representaciones, (2002).
- “Against Marianisno,” in Gender’s Place: Feminist Anthropologies of Latin America, with R Montoya, L Frazier and J Hurtig (eds.), (2002).
- La construcción de un nuevo saber. Cambios sociales, economicos y culturales, with C R Stimpson, (2000).
A book with A L Jaiven on women’s suffrage in Latin America; the Inter-American Commission on Women; a book on her family during the Spanish Civil War and their exile
“I guess at that time there was a state of consciousness that something extraordinary was happening, that these were special times, because people were doing strange things not common in the United States at the time. Those were the sixties and they were very exciting and very painful at the same time.”
It was the Vietnam War at Dartmouth College. She was the first woman to get tenure in an Ivy League institution that had been all male until 1972. The Civil Rights movement and student agitation intermingled and tensed the Dartmouth campus. Her students were in jail for protesting. She went with her daughter everyday from jail to jail, distributing course-books to her students so that they could keep up and not fail.
They did not fail.
Today, decades later, she sees them grown up, successful. A former student, Jose W. Fernandez, is now the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economics, Energy and Business Affairs – she says that being present at his swearing in ceremony at the White House was a “very enduring moment for her.”
Such is the reality of Dr. Marysa Navarro Aranguren, who recently retired from Dartmouth after teaching there for 41 years. This year Navarro-Aranguren is Brandeis’ Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor in the department of History and program of Latin American and Latino Studies; the honor is a rotating faculty position in Non-Western Studies. Currently she is teaching a seminar in Argentinian History titled ‘Argentina: From Peron to the Dirty War.’
The Office of Global Affairs sat down to have a chat with Professor Navarro-Aranguren about her life, experiences and career. She was affable, warm and friendly with a sense of humor. When asked about why she got into the field of history she laughs and then says, “I have always liked history; my father was a professor, so my aim was to be a university professor…. so I had to have a PhD and all those things, but I always liked the field of history more than literature or any other subject in high school.” She then smiles and says, “I am very boring that way.”
Navarro-Aranguren feels welcome at Brandeis and claims “that everyone in the department has been very friendly… I really like my students. I go to class happy and I come out happy. I have a wonderful group here.”
High praise from a reputed academic who throughout her career has written a book on right wing thought in Argentina in the 50s and written a historical biography of Eva Peron. The work that she claims to be most proud of is her work with Catherine Stimpson in which she helped in the compilation and translation (in Spanish) of four volumes of scholarship of women’s studies in United States. She makes it clear that “I did not do the translation, I read the translation and edited it because for a long time only women in the region who knew English had access to the scholarship.”
On that note she also marvels on how the scholarship of the region has changed since she was a graduate student at Columbia University. She says that she had to read everything for her Ph.D. that had been produced on “Anthropology, pre-Columbian Civilizations, and Spain and Portugal… and so on.” For her, today is a very different world where “extraordinary amounts of scholarship have been produced not only in political history but art history, women’s history, books on indigenous populations… both in the United States and Latin America.”
She sees this as a trend of universities in U.S. and the world – a trend of “greater understanding and interrelations about regions and areas, and a greater willingness to look at foreign relations and exterior relations as part of what happens inside the country itself… the differentiation between globalization and local internal process is weakening… it is not as stark as it used to be.”
Even while retired, Navarro-Aranguren will continue to work on new projects. She says, “After Brandeis I am writing two books… I am writing a book on Inter-American Commission of Women and Suffrage in Latin America and the Pan American Union…so it is history, women’s history and foreign relations of Latin America… so it is a whole mess of things. And then I am writing another book on the history of my family.”
– reporting by Aziz Sohail ’13, OGA communications assistant