The University of New Mexico Latin American and Iberian Institute presents Joe C. Leestma, master's candidate in Latin American Studies, who will offer his thesis defense in Brazilian Studies, "A Tropical Flour: Manioc in the Afro-Brazilian World, 1500-1800," on Thursday, April 2 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the LAII conference room. The event is free and open to the public.  

Leestma's thesis follows the diffusion of manioc, an edible root native to the Americas, through the early Atlantic world. In addition to following the physical movement of the root, his thesis also examines how cultural connotations which surrounded manioc and manioc-derived foods and cuisines were contested and transformed as manioc was transported from the Americas to Africa and back again to the Americas. 

Leestma will deliver a presentation of his thesis, followed by a defense with his committee; Chris Duvall, geography; Judy Bieber, history; and Suzanne Oakdale. The remaining time will be open to public questions.