Dr. Ana Yolanda Ramos-Zayas Plans to Expand Footprint of Baruch’s Latin American Studies Program

NEW YORK, NY, October 5, 2011 – Baruch College is pleased to announce Dr. Ana Yolanda Ramos-Zayas as the new Valentín Lizana y Parragué Chair of Latin American Studies within the Black and Hispanic Studies Department (BHS).

An anthropologist by training, Ramos-Zayas studies issues focusing on citizenship, race, youth and urban ethnography and the anthropology of affect and emotion.
“What most attracted me to the position was the possibility of using generous funds to create programmatic opportunities for students, particularly those that could include conducting research and learning about New York City Latino neighborhoods and populations,” said Ramos-Zayas. “I see my role as one of connecting the Black and Hispanic Studies Department to other entities at Baruch, CUNY and New York City and even to global institutions.”

Ramos-Zayas is working on the following initiatives at Baruch College and throughout the New York City area:
• Developing the Valentín Lizana y Parragué Certificate in Black, Latino, and Latin American Studies, which will allow students with a minor in BHS, to earn a certificate by taking one extra signature class/workshop in Interdisciplinary Research Methods
• Involving Baruch in collaborations with faculty and students from nearby colleges through the “Economies of Affect” Working Group. Scholarly publications and conferences are likely to emerge from this effort
• Coordinating informal workshops with undergraduate students who are interested in writing books
Prior to Baruch College, Zayas was an associate professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She has a doctorate degree in anthropology from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics and Latin American Studies from Yale University.
She’s also written three books including Street Therapists: Race, Affect and Neoliberal Personhood in Latino Newark which will be released in January 2012 and National Performances: Class, Race and Space in Puerto Rican Chicago and Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and the Politics of Race and Citizenship.

This new chair was funded by Hedwig Feit, an adjunct professor within the Department of Black and Hispanic Studies and longtime friend of Baruch.

“The idea came to me several years ago,” Feit says. “I recognized there was a profound lack of knowledge about Latinos and I knew someone who would have been very disappointed if I did nothing to amend this fact- my grandfather Valentín Lizana y Parragué whom the Chair is named after. The goal is to educate others about the richness and the many accomplishments and achievements of the Latin-American Culture. I dedicate this new program to the students at Baruch.”

With her late husband, Charles Feit (’48, LHD [Hon.] ’87), she endowed the Feit Interdisciplinary Seminars in the Humanities, and more recently, the Paul André Feit Memorial Fund and the Myrna Chase Seminars for Freshmen. Feit currently serves as chair of the Dean’s Council of the Weismann School of Arts and Sciences.

About the Valentín Lizana y Parragué Chair and Office:
Named after the grandfather of Baruch Adjunct Professor Hedwig Feit, this new program within the Black and Hispanic Studies Department was created to encourage the passion of learning about Latino Studies. A progressive and liberal thinker, Valentín Lizana y Parragué sought to improve the life of the poor through social programs, education, and land reform. His strong sense of patriotism and humanitarianism meant that he always put the needs of others above his own.

About Baruch College:
Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to

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