Joanna Page is joining CRASSH as its new Director, taking over from Steven Connor at the beginning of October 2022. She is Professor of Latin American Studies at the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, and Director of Studies in MML at Robinson College.
Q: Professor Page, congratulations on your appointment as the new Director of CRASSH, we look forward to welcoming you in October 2022. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have a wide range of academic and cultural interests, some of which are linked to the different countries I have lived and worked in. I spent several years in Asia before coming back to the UK to go to university, but I have ended up specialising in Latin American studies. I have a keen interest in the relationship between science and art/culture, and in the intersections between environmental and decolonial thought, both in Latin America and beyond. I have just started a new research project on the Paraná Delta, which is located just north of Buenos Aires in Argentina. It’s part of an extremely important wetlands area with a fascinating political and cultural history.
Q: What or who inspired you to go into academia?
There was no particular plan at the beginning – I applied for an MPhil in Cambridge because I couldn’t find a job! But when I got here I thoroughly enjoyed being able to explore ideas independently and at a much deeper level than before. My supervisor Geoffrey Kantaris encouraged me to apply for a PhD, and I found his research and teaching very inspiring. I really saw for the first time how one could bring theory into a critical dialogue with very different cultural and political contexts.
Q: What drew you to CRASSH and what do you particularly look forward to in your new role?
CRASSH is immensely attractive to me as a hub for innovative and interdisciplinary research – I am looking forward to learning a lot over the next few years. Having spent most of my career based in the Centre of Latin American Studies at Cambridge, I know what a wonderful experience it is to be part of a vibrant, interdisciplinary research community that brings together a global network. I am also excited to be working with a team with such a fantastic reputation for supporting research, and to doing whatever I can to facilitate lots of interesting conversations and collaborations.
Q: Please describe CRASSH in 3 words.
Innovative, diverse, dynamic!
Q: Can you tell us something about you that we might find surprising?
I’m not sure if this counts as surprising, but I did start learning the double bass a few months ago, which is providing a nice set of challenges. And I’m about to start training as a (very part-time!) Ocean Conservationist with ORCA (a marine conservation charity).