Latin American Studies

About the Center

The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) was established in 2017 under the leadership Adela Pineda, Professor of Spanish. Its origins go back to when Scott Palmer, Professor of International Relations, developed the Latin American Studies Program. The Center’s mission is to bring together Boston University faculty with research interests in Latin America and to provide undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to develop an in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the region of Latin America. The Center highlights the global and transnational significance of Latin America. Consequently, it has aimed at bridging the academic divide not only between Spanish American and Brazilian Studies, but also between Latin American and Latinx Studies through teaching, research, and outreach.

The Center for Latin American Studies draws on the strengths of the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Public Health, the School of Theology, and the College of Fine Arts. In light of Latin America’s growing importance to the United States (where Latinx are the country’s largest minority), the Center is committed to educating the Boston University community through a variety of regionally and thematically focused academic courses and degree programs, research and study-abroad opportunities, as well as a diverse program of educational and cultural activities.

The Program

The Latin American Studies program at Boston University provides students with a versatile and powerful vehicle to develop an in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the Latin American region. The program offers students a wide variety of regionally-focused courses in Latin America, which are taught by a range of academic departments. The interdisciplinary nature of the program provides the necessary breadth and depth for students to understand the complexities and remarkable diversity of Latin America, defined as the 20 independent countries in the Western Hemisphere south of the United States with Spanish, French, or Portuguese as their official languages.

Boston University is fortunate to have a first-rate Latin American Studies faculty covering each of the disciplines necessary for a full range of course offerings, including archaeology, literature, art history, economics, history, international relations, political science, and sociology. The range and quality of Boston University’s Interdisciplinary Latin American Program is unique to the Boston area and is to be found only in a few other institutions in the United States

Programmatic Activities

Each year the Center offers a rich program of talks, lectures, round-table discussions, conferences, and other educational and cultural events, including film-screenings, concerts, and field trips. We frequently collaborate with other centers and departments, student groups, and with local diplomatic and cultural representatives. Our programming is largely faculty directed and tied to current course offerings. In addition, we host regular lunches for CLAS faculty to discuss the curriculum, programming, and other matters as well as to present their research. We also offer modest grants – renamed in 2018 in honor of Prof. Scott Palmer – to graduate and undergraduate students to conduct research in Latin America.