Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies Announced

Tulia Falleti

The School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania announces the establishment of the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies (CLALS). The center will stimulate and support research and teaching on the Latin American region and the Latinx populations of the U.S. and provide an integrated academic base for scholars, students, and programs across Penn that focus on these topics.

The center will bring together 60 faculty, representing 12 departments and two programs in the School of Arts & Sciences in addition to six other schools across Penn. This figure includes 18 scholars of Latin American and Latinx studies that Arts and Sciences has recruited since 2015.

CLALS will build on the foundation of Penn’s 33-year-old Latin American and Latinx Studies Program (LALS), which is home to an undergraduate major and minor, a graduate certificate, and limited research activities. The center will absorb the existing program and also promote a robust research mission, featuring thematic research clusters, an expanded speaker series, support for junior faculty research, and expanded dissemination of research findings, as well as visiting professor and post-doctoral fellow positions. New support for graduate students will include research awards and a graduate student colloquium, while existing undergraduate research opportunities will be expanded.

The center will also be a vehicle for expanding academic-community collaborations, building on existing LALS program partnerships with Latinx communities and organizations in Greater Philadelphia as well as with institutions and communities in Latin America.

CLALS will be led by Director Tulia Falleti, Class of 1965 Endowed Term Professor of Political Science. Emilio Parrado, Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology and formerly the longtime head of the Latin American and Latinx Studies Program, will also hold the title of Founding Director and oversee programming on Latinx populations.

“We take great pride in Penn’s deep tradition of excellence in Latin American and Latinx studies,” says Steven J. Fluharty. Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. “CLALS will provide a focal point for showcasing Penn’s considerable faculty and programmatic strength in this area and serve as an institutional base for pursuing innovative new research and teaching agendas. Given the importance of Latin America globally and of Latinx in the U.S., the center will also have a key role to play in advancing the School priorities around global inquiries and diversity and inclusion.”

“I am honored and humbled to lead the new Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies at Penn,” says Falleti. “It constitutes the realization of a dream we have been working towards with colleagues, students, and staff for many years. Our interdisciplinary center will strive to support and provide the human and intellectual talent capable of addressing the most pressing challenges and opportunities faced by Latin America and Latinx populations during the 21st century. Indeed, the creation of our center amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic heightens its relevance and promise. It also fills me with gratitude and with hope for more equal, sustainable, and just futures."

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