Holly Gibbens, a member of the Spring Hill College Class of 2017, has been accepted into the highly competitive PhD program in Latin American history at the University of California San Diego, with a full-funding package, where she plans to study the history of Catholic activists in Chile during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
Gibbens says she first became interested in Latin America during her sophomore year when she studied abroad in Madrid, taking a class on the "Golden Age of the Iberian Peninsula." The class focused largely on colonization in the Americas, but, she says, the studies lacked indigenous perspective. “I came back to Spring Hill the following semester with a desire to know more about what colonization looked like through the eyes of the colonized and, as luck would have it, that semester SHC had hired Dr. [Alan Shane] Dillingham,” said Gibbens.
Dillingham’s classes on Latin American history, in addition to classes offered in other departments on liberation theology and postcolonial and Latin American literature allowed Gibbens to study history in a more interdisciplinary and holistic way, she said. “My classes at Spring Hill helped me better understand not only how to intervene in historiographical debates, but how historians’ attempts to do so reveal the ways in which historical changes affect different people unequally.”
Gibbens returned to Madrid shortly after graduation and has been teaching English at a primary school and trying to perfect her Spanish before beginning graduate school when she returns to the U.S. in the fall.