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Latin American studies

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Latin American studies

Latin American studies (LAS) is an academic discipline dealing with the study of Latin America and Latin Americans.


Latin American studies critically examines the history, culture, politics, and experiences of Latin Americans in Latin America and often also elsewhere (such as Latinos/Hispanics in the United States).

Latin American studies is interdisciplinary from numerous disciplines such as sociology, history, literature, political science, geography, gender studies, and economics; Latin Americanists consider a variety of perspectives and employ diverse analytical tools in their work.

Though Latin America is a fluid (and sometimes contested) concept, with no fixed definition, Latin American studies is usually quite open and often includes or is closely associated with, for instance, Latino studies, Caribbean studies, and transatlantic studies. The Latin American Studies Association, for instance, has sections dealing with Europe and Latin America, Haiti, and Latino studies (among many others).[1]


Latin America has been studied in one way or another ever since Columbus's voyage of 1492, and even before. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, scientist explorers such as Alexander von Humboldt published extensively about the region. Towards the end of the nineteenth century and at the turn of the twentieth, within the region itself writers such as José Martí and José Enrique Rodó encouraged a consciousness of regional identity.

In 1875, the International Congress of Americanists held its first meeting in Nancy, France, and has met regularly ever since, alternating between venues in Europe and in the Western hemisphere. However, unlike the scholarly organizations of the twentieth century, the ICA does not have an on-going organization, nor is there a journal of the ICA. The creation of formal and ongoing scholarly organizations focusing on Latin America is a product of the twentieth century.

In the US, historians with an interest in Latin American history within the [1]

With the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the US government began seriously focusing on Latin America as Cuba and the hemisphere was seen to be an integral element of Cold War politics. The Latin American historian who wrote the early history of the founding of the Latin American Studies Association wryly suggested in 1966 that at some future date Latin Americanists should erect a statue to Fidel Castro, the "remote godfather" of the field, who instigated a renewed US interest in the region.[2]

In the US, Latin American studies (like other area studies) was boosted by the passing of Title VI of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958, which provided resources for Centers of Area and International Studies.[2] In the UK, the 1965 "Parry Report" provided similar impetus for the establishment of Institutes and Centres of Latin American Studies (see Bulmer-Thomas).




Some notable Latin Americanists

See also Category:Latin Americanists

See also


  1. ^ Howard F. Cline, "The Latin American Studies Association: A Summary Survey with Appendix," Latin American Research Review, Vol 2 No. 1, (Autumn, 1966) pp. 57-79.
  2. ^ Howard F. Cline, "The Latin American Studies Association: A Summary Survey with Appendix," Latin American Research Review, Vol. 2, No. 1 {Autumn 1966), p. 64.
  3. ^ JPLA - open access homepage

Further reading

  • Delpar, Helen. Looking South: The Evolution of Latin Americanist Scholarship in the United States, 1850-1975 (2008) online review
  • Victor Bulmer-Thomas, ed. Thirty Years of Latin American Studies in the United Kingdom 1965-1995. London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 1997.

External links

  • Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico
  • Handbook of Latin American Studies
  • Latin American Studies at the University of Texas's Latin American Network Information Center
  • Latino Studies Resources
  • Mid-Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies
  • The Conference on Latin American History CLAH)

Library Guides for Latin American Studies

  • "Latin American Studies". Research Guides. Los Angeles: University of California. 
  • "Latin American & Caribbean Studies". LibGuides. USA: Duke University. 
  • "Latin American Studies". Library Guides. USA: Johns Hopkins University. 
  • "Latin American and Caribbean Studies". Research Guides. Coral Gables Florida: University of Miami. 
  • "Latin American & Caribbean Studies". Research Guides. USA: University of Michigan. 
  • "Latin American Studies". Research Guides. USA: New York University. 
  • "Latin American Studies". LibGuides. Evanston, Illinois, USA: Northwestern University Library. 
  • "Latin American Studies". Oxford LibGuides. Oxford, UK: University of Oxford, Bodleian Libraries. 
  • "Latin America, Spain and Portugal". Princeton LibGuides. USA: Princeton University Library. 
  • University Libraries. "Latin American Studies". Research Guides. New Jersey, USA:  
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