UHV faculty member receives fellowship to study in Boston

Armando Chávez-Rivera, a University of Houston-Victoria associate professor of Spanish, recently received an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship to conduct research at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston.

As part of the fellowship, Chávez-Rivera will travel to Boston for four weeks in order to study a manuscript and other documents from the 1800s involving trade with Cuba. The language used in the manuscript will help advance his research into the use of the Spanish language in Cuba and the Caribbean.

Armando Chávez-Rivera

“A fellowship with the Massachusetts Historical Society is a prestigious honor, and I am excited to have the opportunity to travel to Boston for my research,” Chávez-Rivera said. “The society has a collection of documents stretching back more than 300 years. Receiving this fellowship is a confirmation that my previous research has been successful.”

Boston was and is a major trading hub for New England, and many of the people who operated out of the city traded with Cuba and other Caribbean nations, Chávez-Rivera said. In its collection, the Massachusetts Historical Society has a wide variety of documents in Spanish from those trading voyages, including letters, journals and other manuscripts. Some even include pictures as well as correspondence with Caribbean artists and famous personalities from the time period. In addition to learning about the history of the Spanish language, the documents also have many references to historical issues, such as the push to abolish slavery in the region that was supported by traders in New England.

However, because there are no digital copies of the collection, researchers must study the manuscripts and other items in person. The fellowship will assist Chávez-Rivera by giving him space and appropriate conditions to work with the manuscript and other documents.

Kyoko Amano

“Dr. Chávez-Rivera’s research into the history of the Spanish language and the documents from the 1800s is a welcome look into how the abolition movement and Transcendental documents affected the Caribbean and were influenced by them,” said Kyoko Amano, dean of the UHV College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences. “We are proud to see his work continue to receive praise and support from other academic institutions across the nation.”

In addition to helping Chávez-Rivera access research materials, the fellowship also will provide him with a stipend to cover his living expenses while in Boston.

“Many researchers struggle with the problem of having to find ways to afford finding temporary housing while conducting research in an expensive city,” Chávez-Rivera said. “I’ve personally had to save up some of my personal money to travel to London and other locations to gain access to manuscripts. This fellowship and others like it make research more attainable.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.