RLA Award to Support Inter-American Consortium Meetings
Sonia Alvarez. Leonard J. Horwitz Professor of Latin American Politics and Studies and director of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, has received a Research Leadership in Action grant of $25,000 from the Vice Provost for Research for her proposal, “Interrogating the Civil Society Agenda.” Alvarez's award will support the annual meetings of an inter-university, inter-American consortium centered on the study of social movements. The first one will be held on the UMass Amherst campus in April 2008.
RLA grants require a 1:1 match from external sources which may come in as gifts, grants or sponsorships. One objective of this program is to help faculty build networks of external connections for future support.
Focused on the Américas in comparative and transnational perspective, the inter-American consortium meetings will showcase UMass Amherst's intellectual leadership in this burgeoning field and advance the work of one of the Center’s largest and most successful research working groups on “Social Movements and Cultural-Political Transformations in the 21st Century.” It is composed of over 30 faculty and graduate students from diverse disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, education, and applied sciences and seeks to unravel questions about how social movement actors are struggling within, outside, and against the confines of "civic participation," as defined by dominant institutions.
The Inter-University Consortium's aim is to interrogate the civil society agenda, critically take stock of the vast comparative literature it generated in the last 15 years, and advance the debate by engaging in collaborative transnational research exchanges and partnerships. By bringing together scholars from Latin America and the U.S.—many of whom have been at the forefront of the debate about civil society and social movements—the expectation is to foster a critical dialogue that questions the prevailing agenda's limits and assumptions.
By incorporating scholars with expertise in other world regions, the hope is to place the debate over civil society in a broader global context, highlighting what is specific and what is not to the Latin American debate. The creation of cross-disciplinary, cross-border and cross-regional synergies Alvarez says will lay the groundwork for future joint projects. The annual meetings will result in collectively edited volumes on cutting-edge topics in the field of social movement studies.
June 27, 2007