CLALS | Message from the Director

Questions?

  • Latin American/Latino Studies
    202-885-6178
    Fax: 202-885-6430
    clals@american.edu
    4545 42nd Street, Room 308

    Stinchcomb, Dennis A
    Program Manager

Mailing Address

The past academic year has been a watershed for the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies at AU. As we mark four years of operation, numerous scholarly initiatives are coming to fruition. We are especially proud of the growing portfolio of publications resulting from Center-sponsored work. Our Hemisphere in Flux project on regional dynamics in the Americas generated two significant special journal issues, published in Brazil and Argentina; the Religion and Violence initiative is resulting in an ambitious collaborative volume, to be published by prestigious presses in 2015 in both the U.S. and in Mexico; and our collaboration with CIEPLAN on challenges confronting Latin American economies has produced a manuscript that will be published in Chile during the fall. Meanwhile, the Center's Ford Foundation-funded work on Central American elites is resulting in five volumes that will be published in Costa Rica and Guatemala by the end of 2014, with plans in the works for an English language volume or two to be published by an academic press in the U.S., and our collaborative research with FLACSO-Costa Rica and FLACSO-El Salvador is yielding important findings on the linkages between social exclusion and urban violence. A study of Brazil's role in the international system has been accepted for publication by Palgrave-MacMillan, which also published our 2012 study of new institutions for participatory democracy in Latin America, a second edition of which will be released later this year. CLALS has since its inception been committed to generating research that will be circulated through top quality presses throughout the Americas, and we making good on that aspiration.

The Center has also launched a Working Paper Series that is available on the web and, in most instances, in hard copy form. We are gratified to see that those products, like our work circulated on the web through the AULA Blog, InSight Crime and Latin Pulse, are attracting a substantial and growing readership. We continue as well to share the results of our state-of-the-art research with stakeholders beyond academe. Studies of Latin voting behavior, police corruption in Central America, productivity and inclusion in Latin American economies, and the integration of Cuba into the OAS and the broader inter-American system have been the focus of well-attended public events on the AU campus, think tanks in Washington, UN headquarters in New York City and numerous capital cities in Latin America.

As a number of projects launched since the Center's inauguration in 2010 wind down, we have launched several new initiatives. Research on the structure of Latino gangs is well underway, and a new Luce Foundation-funded project, on Religion and Democratic Contestation in Latin America, held its first workshop last February. A dozen studies have been commissioned for that initiative, and preliminary versions of papers will be debated at a workshop at AU in November, around which we will also convene a series of public events. Activities focused on the impact of cultural industries on Latin American economies and on U.S. communities with substantial Latino populations are thriving, most recently through a workshop that CLALS organized for economic development agencies in Broward County, Florida. Meanwhile, studies of Latino entrepreneurs in the Washington DC metropolitan area and on the health of U.S. children of deportees are proceeding apace, and we are exploring possibilities for developing new investigations of the impacts of the Great Recession on Latino household savings and retirement prospects; the empowerment of LGBT communities in Colombia; conflict over extractive industries in Andean countries, and comparative analyses of efforts to enhance access to safe water supplies in vulnerable urban communities in Brazil and Washington DC. There is no shortage of pressing topics around which new knowledge is needed, and we aim to provide it through work and through strategic partnerships - both new and ongoing - with other organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

Photo of Eric Hershberg

Photo by Jeff Watts

Eric Hershberg, Director