Latin American studies

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Latin American studies (LAS) is an academic discipline dealing with the study of Latin America and Latin Americans.

Definition[edit]

Latin American studies critically examines the history, culture, politics, and experiences of Latin Americans in Latin America and often also elsewhere (such as Latinos/Hispanics in the United States).

Latin American studies is interdisciplinary from numerous disciplines such as sociology, history, literature, political science, geography, gender studies, and economics; Latin Americanists consider a variety of perspectives and employ diverse analytical tools in their work.

Though Latin America is a fluid (and sometimes contested) concept, with no fixed definition, Latin American studies is usually quite open and often includes or is closely associated with, for instance, Latino studies, Caribbean studies, and transatlantic studies. The Latin American Studies Association, for instance, has sections dealing with Europe and Latin America, Haiti, and Latino studies (among many others).[1]

History[edit]

Latin America has been studied in one way or another ever since Columbus's voyage of 1492, and even before. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, scientist explorers such as Alexander von Humboldt published extensively about the region. Towards the end of the nineteenth century and at the turn of the twentieth, within the region itself writers such as José Martí and José Enrique Rodó encouraged a consciousness of regional identity.

In 1875, the International Congress of Americanists held its first meeting in Nancy, France, and has met regularly ever since, alternating between venues in Europe and in the Western hemisphere. However, unlike the scholarly organizations of the twentieth century, the ICA does not have an on-going organization, nor is there a journal of the ICA. The creation of formal and ongoing scholarly organizations focusing on Latin America is a product of the twentieth century.

In the US, historians with an interest in Latin American history within the American Historical Association created a group focusing on Latin America. In 1918, they founded The Hispanic American Historical Review, which has published quarterly since that time. The Latin Americanists within the AHA created the Conference on Latin American History in 1928, which is now separately incorporated (since 1964), but continues to coordinate its annual meetings with the American Historical Association. In 1936, US Latin Americanists also founded the Handbook of Latin American Studies, with editorial offices in the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress. In a pre-digital era, the compilation of annotated bibliographic references in the humanities and social science organized by subject and country was a vital tool for scholars in the field.[1]

With the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the US government began seriously focusing on Latin America as Cuba and the hemisphere was seen to be an integral element of Cold War politics. The Latin American historian who wrote the early history of the founding of the Latin American Studies Association wryly suggested in 1966 that at some future date Latin Americanists should erect a statue to Fidel Castro, the "remote godfather" of the field, who instigated a renewed US interest in the region.[2]

In the US, Latin American studies (like other area studies) was boosted by the passing of Title VI of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958, which provided resources for Centers of Area and International Studies.[2] In the UK, the 1965 "Parry Report" provided similar impetus for the establishment of Institutes and Centres of Latin American Studies (see Bulmer-Thomas).

Associations[edit]

Journals[edit]

Programs[edit]

Some notable Latin Americanists[edit]

See also Category:Latin Americanists

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howard F. Cline, "The Latin American Studies Association: A Summary Survey with Appendix," Latin American Research Review, Vol 2 No. 1, (Autumn, 1966) pp. 57-79.
  2. ^ Howard F. Cline, "The Latin American Studies Association: A Summary Survey with Appendix," Latin American Research Review, Vol. 2, No. 1 {Autumn 1966), p. 64.
  3. ^ JPLA - open access homepage

Further reading[edit]

  • Delpar, Helen. Looking South: The Evolution of Latin Americanist Scholarship in the United States, 1850-1975 (2008) online review
  • Victor Bulmer-Thomas, ed. Thirty Years of Latin American Studies in the United Kingdom 1965-1995. London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 1997.

External links[edit]

Library Guides for Latin American Studies[edit]