Sara Niedzwiecki

Sara Niedzwiecki

Political Science; University of California, Santa Cruz, United States


I am honored to have been nominated to serve on LASA’s executive council. LASA has been an integral part of my professional development since my first year in graduate school. It is a space where academics from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines meet to engage in meaningful debates about current struggles. In a context of pandemics, economic and political crises that particularly affect women and poor, Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ individuals and communities, LASA’s inter- and trans-disciplinary dialogues on the main challenges faced in the region are more crucial than ever.

Given the opportunity, as a member of LASA’s executive council I would seek to continue the association’s seminal role in building bridges between diverse scholars at different stages in their careers. In my opinion, one of the most valuable aspects of LASA is that presentations can be in Spanish, Portuguese, or English, and that it frequently takes place in Latin America. This allows for the inclusion of debates taking place almost exclusively in Latin America. In addition, the hybrid format of the Congress has the potential (with all of the problems that must be considered) to further allow for the inclusion of previously underrepresented scholars and ideas. If we find ways to overcome inequality in access to technology, the lower cost of fees and travel has the potential to encourage the participation of scholars that would not be able to participate otherwise. Further visibilizing academic debates from Latin America and including underrepresented scholars would be one of my priorities as a member of the executive council.

The expansion in the number of participants in LASA’s Congresses has come at the cost of more limited substantive discussion in panels. I would like to bring to the executive council more discussions on how to encourage a more substantive engagement in panels. My experience with the organization of a smaller yearly conference (the Southwest Workshop on Mixed-Methods Research) may be helpful for this discussion.