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.


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]


Latin America has been studied in one way or another ever since Columbus's "discovery" 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. But "Latin Americanism" as a concept and an academic discipline emerges only later in the twentieth-century, and mostly in Europe and North America.

In the USA, 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).




Some notable Latin Americanists[edit]

See also Category:Latin Americanists

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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]