The AU Center for Latin American and Latino Studies had a busy fall semester and a productive spring is well underway. As we approached the three-year point since our inauguration in 2010, we reached a milestone with publication of the first Center-sponsored scholarly volume, New Institutions of Participatory Democracy: Voice and Consequence, which was released simultaneously in English by Palgrave MacMillan and in Spanish by FLACSO-Mexico in November 2012. We expect an additional four books to emerge as a result of CLALS projects during 2013.
Our current research portfolio encompasses nearly two dozen projects, and planning is underway for new investigations of several important topics, including the health impacts of mass deportations of Latinos from the U.S.; the role of religious institutions in rights advocacy for U.S. Latinos; and mangrove conservation efforts undertaken by Afro-Ecuadoran communities. During the first two months of 2013 numerous grant proposals, seeking well over $1 million in support for these projects, were submitted to federal and private funding agencies. This builds on the Center’s receipt of roughly $1 million in grants during the previous academic year.
Our efforts to incorporate innovative multimedia and social media into our research and dissemination activities are beginning to bear fruit. High-quality content continues to attract large audiences to InSight Crime, with over 100,000 views per month, and to our weekly podcast and radio show, Latin Pulse, with over 30,000 weekly listeners. The CLALS Facebook page is gaining visibility, with over 2,000 likes, and the AU Latin America blog is building a dedicated audience as it enters its second semester of provoking debate on U.S.-Latin America relations.
It is especially gratifying to report that more than half of our 75 affiliated faculty are playing leadership roles in CLALS-sponsored projects, and many others are involved in one or another of our activities. In addition, the Center’s expansion continues to benefit from the efforts of a growing roster of Research Fellows, whose scholarly, journalistic and public policy expertise contribute to the production and dissemination of high quality and valuable knowledge. As CLALS continues to establish itself as a world-class research center that brings Latino affairs and the study of Latin America to the forefront of the intellectual agenda in the U.S. and beyond, we look forward to continued engagement from the communities of researchers and practitioners who are making this work happen.
We extend our best wishes for a productive spring semester.