Oral History Introduction

Vicente Lopez

Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I first met Professor Cristian García as a student in his class.  Within the first minutes of our initial class meeting, Cristian was funny, and extremely interesting.  I looked forward to the rest of the class.  When I shared my excitement with my roommate, she raved about his teaching and let me know he played rugby.  Since I play rugby and thought him a fascinating person, I wanted to learn more about his background.  The Latino Oral History Project provided me that opportunity and in a few short weeks I was set to interview my former professor.

Cristian’s small, but cozy office in Dartmouth Hall projected a relaxed atmosphere which trickled into our interview.  Surrounded by quirky post-it notes and mustached mugs, our interview took on a coffee-shop feel; it felt less like something staged by Studs Terkel and more like a StoryCorps conversation.  Cristian was interested exploring what motivated him to pursue education and what factors might have influenced his migration to the United States rather than relaying anecdotes about his childhood.  At the same time, I was hesitant to halt the train of thought of a professor that I admired.  While his answers were engaging, our conversation wandered off topic at several points throughout the interview.  I have tried to arrange his story chronologically, but throughout this oral history there remain references to the past in the present, the present in the past, and themes which emerge throughout his narrative.  This captures the blurred continuity between place and time characteristic of personal anecdotes.

Cristian was raised in the Vicente López and studied philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires.  After briefly working in journalism, he became unemployed during the 2001 Argentine Great Depression.  He and his wife decided to immigrate to the United States to pursue masters and PhD degrees in Romance Languages at the University of Michigan.  After working there for six years, they moved to Hanover, New Hampshire to teach in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.  Outside the classroom, Cristian enjoys playing rugby, traveling, and spending time with his wife.  What follows Cristian’s reflection on the path and experiences that led him to Dartmouth College.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Authors note:  All pages, with the exclusion of the Introduction and Appendix, are relayed in first person from Cristian’s perspective.