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

01 to 05

Colonial Latin America Interdepartmental Lecture Series

Join us, Thursday March 1, 2018 at 4:00pm in Herter Hall Rm. 301 for our first of two, Colonial Latin America Interdepartmental Lecture Series with:

Kenneth Mills. Professor of History, University of Michigan

"Compound Discomfort, Episodic Puzzlement: Diego de Ocaña (ca. 1570-1608) in an Early Modern Spanish World"

In Amherst, Kenneth Mills will draw from a book he is writing about the transatlantic journey of a Castillian Hieronymite alms-gatherer and image-maker named Diego de Ocaña (ca. 1570-1608). Professor Mills will focus upon Ocaña's fragmentarily reported and partly invented epsiodes, with particular attention to the portrayal of culturally composite people, places and phenomena.


Also join us a month later, Thursday April 5, 2018 at 4:00pm in Herter Hall Rm. 301 for the second presentor in our Colonial Latin America Interdepartmental Lecture Series with:

Lisa Voigt. Professor of Spanish, Ohio State University 

"From Spectatorship to Sponsorship: Female Participation in the Festivals of Colonial Potosi"

This paper focuses on how women of both indigenous and European descent observed and participated in public festivities in the colonial silver mining boomtown of Potosí, in the Spanish viceroyalty of Peru. Through an analysis of visual and textual sources representing women, it highlights their agency as well as the limits placed on it, and seeks to contibute to a more nuanced view of the political instrumentality of festivals.

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