About Us

The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) of the University of Massachusetts Amherst promotes research, training, and public engagement on the histories, cultures, and politics of Latin American and Caribbean peoples across the Americas and throughout the world. Bridging the divide that historically has separated Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies as institutionalized knowledge formations with distinctive intellectual genealogies, political trajectories, and bureaucratic moorings at U.S. universities is central to our mission. The Center seeks to be a hemispheric, cross-border space for critical reflection, exchange, and intellectual production. We aim to engage in genuinely inter-disciplinary work, fostering the creative convergence of discipline-based knowledge’s. CLACLS is committed to sustaining links with Latin American and Caribbean communities in the U.S. and across the Americas, as well as to bringing the alternative knowledge produced in those communities to bear on our teaching and research

Core activities of the Center are:

  • To promote excellence in research and teaching in the fields of Latin American, Caribbean and Latina/o Studies.
  • To foster collaborative research and teaching among faculty and students involved in Latin American, Caribbean and Latina/o Studies in the Five Colleges, as well as with scholars and research institutions throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America and other world regions.
  • To sponsor Research Working Groups (RWGs) on issues central to Latin American, Caribbean and Latina/o Studies. RWGs currently convened by CLACLS core faculty include Social Movements and 21st Century Cultural and Political Transformations, Black Cultures and Racial Politics in the Americas, and Transnational Latinidades and Cultural Production.
  • To establish and maintain academic consortia with research institutions in the U.S., Latin America, the Caribbean and other world regions, thereby facilitating transnational collaborative research and faculty and student exchanges centered in the above research themes and other areas of interest to CLACLS affiliates.
  • To advance scholarly and public debate on Latin American, Caribbean and Latina/o Studies by sponsoring research colloquia, occasional lectures, workshops, conferences, film series, and other cultural and scholarly events and activities.
  • To engage in fundraising, particularly to support of faculty and graduate student research and to consolidate linkages with U.S. research institutions and advocacy groups specializing in Latina/o Studies and with scholars, universities, independent research centers, non-governmental organizations and social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through many of its departments and professional schools, the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers on a rotating basis more than 40 courses on Latin America and Latinas/os in the US. It also offers field and independent study courses and numerous courses on Spanish and Portuguese language, linguistics, and literature. Through the Five College Consortium, UMass students have further access to over 50 course offerings per year on Latin America, Iberia and Latinas/os in the US.

The Pauline Collins Latin American Collection in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library is among the 20 largest collection of its kind in the country and one of the Center’s major strengths. It includes approximately 210,000 volumes, 75 percent of which are in Spanish or Portuguese.

A brochure describing the activities of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies in greater detail is available at the Center office located in Machmer Hall Room 310.