Marixa Lasso: Another historian blocked from the US

Historians in the News

[Marixa Lasso is an assistant professor of Latin American history at Case Western Reserve University.]

... Lasso’s course for the fall — on Latin American history — has been called off. She’s the only Latin Americanist in her department and she’s stuck in Panama. Lasso is a Panamanian citizen, but she has had no trouble winning visas in the past or academic recognition in the United States. She won a Fulbright to study in the United States, earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. at American universities and just saw her first book, Myths of Harmony: Race and Republicanism During the Age of Revolution, Columbia, 1795-1831, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

“Professor Lasso is a rising star in her field and we are lucky to have her on our faculty,” said Jonathan Sadowsky, the history chair at Case Western. “This is a former Fulbright scholar who was here on a program designed to foster U.S. interaction with other cultures, who brings a real perspective to our department, who is being kept out. This is terrible.”

The American Historical Association is among the groups that have recently weighed in on Lasso’s behalf, with Barbara Weinstein, the president of the group, writing to the State Department, vouching for Lasso’s work as an “outstanding scholar” and noting that all who know Lasso find it “astonishing” that her visa would now be held up. The Latin American Studies Association is also lobbying on her behalf.

In a phone call from Panama, Lasso said she too was astonished by what has happened. She travels to Panama regularly, to visit family members or to do research, and she went there after classes ended in the spring, planning to do research for the summer. In July, she went to the U.S. embassy for her visa renewal, which has always been routine in the past, and she was turned away — not only was she unable to get her visa, but she couldn’t get any explanation of why she was being placed in limbo. “They told me that some things changed, but they won’t tell me what,” she said....
Read entire article at Inside Higher Ed

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