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, crossborder space for critical reflection, exchange, and intellectual production. We aim to engage in genuinely inter-disciplinary work, fostering the creative convergence of discipline-based knowledges. 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.

The 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.

Upcoming Events


Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: Unnatural Disaster and Transnational Community Responses

The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies and the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are proud to present the conference “Puerto Rico After Maria: Unnatural Disasters and Community Responses” Friday, March 30th at the UMass Amherst Marriott Center. The general public and the media are invited to all panels and presentations.

There will be two keynote presenters. The first keynote presenter for the conference is Dr. Arturo Massol, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and the Executive Director of Casa Pueblo. The second keynote presenter is Dr. Jorge Duany, the Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University.

During the conference, attendees will hear from scholars and community organizers to talk about the dire predicament of Puerto Rico and its 3.5 million U.S. citizens. Among others, guest panelists include: César Pérez Lisazuain, a visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies at UMass; Marina Moscoso, a Urbanist and Activist; Mariolga Reyes Cruz, Contingent Faculty and Activist.

The conference will begin at 1:00 p.m. 



Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: Unnatural Disaster and Transnational Community Responses

March 30th, 2018

Marriott Center

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Organized by the

Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies


1:00pm-1:10pm Welcome & Opening Remarks:

John McCarthy, Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


1:10pm-2:00pm Opening Keynote:

“The Daily Life Insurgency: A Story of Survival, Resistance and Community Independence”

Arturo Massol, Casa Pueblo

Moderator: Roberto Alejandro


2:00pm-3:30pm Panel: Unnatural Disaster and Transnational Puerto Rican Responses

Chair: Aurora Santiago-Ortiz, University of Massachusetts Amherst 

“Aquí Vive Gente”: on people’s struggle for place”

Marina Moscoso, Casa Taft, University of Puerto Rico


“Entering The Contact Zone?: Between The Neoliberal Subject Of Resilience And The Possibility Of Emancipatory Politics In Puerto Rico’s Post-Maria”

Cesar Pérez-Lizasuain, Legal Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst


“The Holyrican Experience”

Nelson Román, City Council Member, Holyoke; Executive Director, Nueva Esperanza


3:30pm-3:45pm Coffee Break


3:45pm-5:00pm  Workshop: University Responses to the Hurricane

Chair: Luis Marentes, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Guillermo Irizarry, University of Connecticut

Anne LambrightTrinity College

Mariolga Reyes Cruz, PARes, University of Puerto Rico


5:00pm-6:00pm Closing Keynote

"The Puerto Rican Exodus before and after Hurricane María"

Jorge Duany, Florida International University

Moderator: Agustin Lao-Montes, University of Massachusetts Amherst


6:00pm-7:00pm Reception



Populism and Democracy in Latin America and The United states (A Roundtable)

Join us for a roundtable discussion on populism and democracy in Latin America and the United States on Monday, April 9th from 4-6pm in Thompson Hall Rm. 420. A number of guest speakers both from within the University and without will join together to hold an open discussion on the topic. This event is free and open to the public.

"The People and Populism"

Roberto Alejandro, Associate Professor, Political Science, UMass


"Populist-Constitutionaism in Latin America: the Cases of Venezuela, Boliva, and Ecuador"

Angelica Bernal, Associate Professor, Political Science, UMass


"All Populisms are Not Created Equal"

Robert Samet, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Union College


"Claiming the People's voice. Popular sovereignity and populism in Bolivia"

Luz Maria Sanchez, PhD Student, Political Science, UMass Amherst

Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

312 Machmer Hall

240 Hicks Way

University of Massachusetts

Amherst, MA 01003-9277

tel (413) 545-4648
fax (413) 545-1244