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About the Center

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Connecticut advances teaching and learning about Latin America and the Caribbean through formal programs of study, scholarly research and extracurricular activities. The oldest area studies program at the University of Connecticut, Latin American Studies was initiated in the late 1940s through the efforts of two noted Latin Americanists, Nathan Whetten (Rural Sociology) and Robert G. Mead, Jr. (Spanish). Professor Hugh Hamill (History) founded the Center for Latin American Studies in 1974, and fostered the development of the B.A. and M.A. degree programs at UConn. Under his leadership, the Center initiated a pattern of resource sharing and collaboration with Latin American Studies programs at other institutions in southern New England that continues to this day. In 1984, the Center added Caribbean to its formal name, the better to reflect the actual scope of its academic programs and faculty expertise.

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies draws its faculty from departments throughout the university, ranging from agricultural economics to tropical zoology, with particular strength in the traditional liberal arts disciplines, migrant and development studies, ecology and human rights. In addition to earning renown for their scholarly credentials, Connecticut faculty have played a major role in the promotion of Latin American and Caribbean Studies regionally and throughout the United States. The University of Connecticut was a founding institutional sponsor of the Latin American Studies Association , the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP), and the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). It also contributed five of the first nine presidents of the New England Council of Latin American Studies (NECLAS) and is a member of the Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities (LASPAU).

As part of an on-going institutional rotation among its members, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UConn is currently coordinating the Connecticut Latin Americanist Partnership (ConnLAP). As a consortium of Connecticut-based academic centers and programs devoted to Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, ConnLAP's mission is to foster inter-institutional collaboration among its faculty and students and provide a central site for the announcement of related events and initiatives among our members.