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Research Areas


The Andes
Atlantic World
Mexico & Central America



The material world comes into focus when archaeologists emphasize the things large and small that are typically overlooked and left out of the documentary record. Faculty use archaeological methods to understand domestic life, slavery, gender, sex, death, and human-animal relationships in both the pre-Columbian and colonial periods of Latin America's history.

African Diaspora

Diasporic studies emphasize human connections that cross nation-state boundaries and ocean worlds. Faculty interested in the African diaspora in Latin America focus on the history, economics, and cultures of slavery and emancipation, the shaping of freed society, the emergence of race in the Americas, Afro-Latino artistic production and representations, and the way in which all of these have shaped modern urban culture in Latin American cities.

Art & Architecture

To study Latin American arts and architecture is to understand and appreciate expressions or applications of human creative skill and imagination in historical and cultural context. Faculty focus on many aspects of the arts, including film, fashion, cultural performance, photography, literature, the place of indigenismo within cultural production as well as the impact of Spanish culture upon the urban built world.


The Iberian overseas empires provide the earliest example of transatlantic connections between two "old" worlds. Both Europe and the Americas, through cultural, economic, political, and religious interconnections, forged a new and modern global world. Scholars interested in Latin American colonialism study the transmission of disease, the development of New World slavery, and the transatlantic diffusion, indigenous adaptation, and creole fusion of cultural forms such as art, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, science, and religion.  


Ethnography requires detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice, and ethnography is itself also a form of literary production. Faculty use ethnographic method to understand a wide variety of cultural phenomena in Latin America, including art and performance, migration, religious life, and the production and consumption of print culture. 

Gender & Sexuality

Gender and sex shape the ways humans know themselves and the world around them. Faculty scholarship that seeks to understand how gender and desire shape Latin American cultural life have research foci that range from pre-columbian indigenous communities to global sexual cultures.


Historians tell stories of change over time, largely relying upon archival research.  Faculty in this field treat transformations in slave culture, the development of race in the Americas, the impact of the Jewish diaspora in Latin America, the political regimes that emerged in the development of the nation-state, and the role of science and religion in the emergence of modern selves and nations.


Using a variety of methodological approaches, faculty seek to understand the experiences of people on the move. Scholars research the connections between sexuality and immigration, the development of transnational cultures (African, Caribbean, Jewish, Latino), as well as the way migration not only shapes urban culture, but also how migration reshapes self-understanding.


Attentive to the art of the written word, scholars of Latin American and Caribbean literature study fiction and non-fiction from Golden Age Spain to contemporary Brazil and the Andes and focus on literature written in both Spanish and native American languages.


Attuned to vocal and instrumental sound, scholars in this field study the production of music in Latin America as a form of artistic as well as devotional expression, both of which have been key to understanding the history of human interconnections within Latin America and across the Atlantic.


Latin American politics is a thriving field in which to study over 500 years of debate among and conflict between peoples with diverse interests as they have struggled to achieve power and to govern both cities and countries. Faculty in this area focus on party politics, the development of the nation-state and democracy in Latin America, and how race affects urban politics.

Public Health

Public Health pertains to the prevention of disease and promotion of health among a body politic.  Scholars in this field study the way that organized efforts geared toward health and well-being have shaped Latin American societies from the colonial era battles against epidemic disease to contemporary HIV/AIDS prevention.


Scholars in this field study the historical origins of racial classification as well as its social, cultural, economic impact in Latin America and the Caribbean. Specializations range from New World slavery and the emergence of the African diaspora, to contemporary Caribbean literature, and to cultural performance among Latina/o migrants.


To study religion is to analyze how humans make meaning, both individual and collective, in relation to transcendent beings. Scholars in this field study the history, texts, and lived devotional practices that have shaped both institutions and the practice of everyday life in Latin America, ranging from colonial era Catholic devotional life and the intersections between science and religion, to the social and economic impact of contemporary Brazilian Candomblé.  


Transregional and global studies pay attention to the links, connections, and movements of ideas, persons, practices and material culture across national or proto-national borders.  Scholars in this field have found the transregional approach a useful model for studying the way that the Latin America and the Caribbean regions have served as unique nodal points for the movement of people, knowledge, and practices that have connected the world across the centuries.

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