Christopher W. Minster, PhD, is a literature professor and writer living in Quito, Ecuador.
Christopher served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Guatemala, where he worked in rural youth development in Huehuetenango. He has co-authored and edited three travel books, including guides to Peru and Ecuador as well as a collection of travel stories from different writers around the world. He is currently teaching literature at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
He received his bachelor's degree from Penn State in Spanish in 1991, following that up with a master's in Spanish from the University of Montana in 1997. He received his PhD in Spanish from Ohio State in 2005. He is a specialist in Latin American Literature and History, having written his dissertation about the colonial era in the Americas.
I grew to appreciate the history of Latin America originally through its literature. I've always been a fan of the great Latin American writers—Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, just to name a few—and I eventually learned that you cannot separate literature from its social and historical context. I've found that the best characters aren't in the novels and short stories, but in the history books. What fictional character could compare with Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexican general who, upon losing his leg in battle, had it buried with full military honors? Or for that matter, who could create a character like Evita Peron, a tragic figure whose love for the Argentine people was legendary?