The Program in Latin American Studies

Monday, Apr 16, 2012

Fostering research on Latin America

From poetry to politics and everything in between, the Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS) brings together scholars, artists, students and experts to explore the many facets of Latin America.   

Since its inception in 1967, PLAS has focused on the culture, history, socioeconomic conditions, politics, and society of the region. With a vibrant cadre of associated faculty and visiting scholars, PLAS offers an intellectual and creative hub for research, teaching and cultural exchange.

 Brian Wilson)PLAS-affiliated faculty members come from a variety of disciplines on campus, including history, anthropology, architecture, art history, engineering, literature, music, languages, politics and ecology. Opportunities for undergraduate students include a certificate in Latin American Studies and the opportunity to conduct senior thesis research with PLAS-affiliated faculty. A new graduate certificate was introduced in 2012. PLAS also offers funding and opportunities for students conducting research in Latin America.

Research projects undertaken by PLAS-affiliated faculty include:

  • Global collaborative research networks on arts and culture, including an on-going exchange with Nobel-prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.
  • An exploration of the ethical implications of social abandonment in Brazil's big cities, as viewed through the eyes of one disabled and homeless individual. (Anthropology)
  • A look at the successes and failures of the great project of Global Capitalism in the wake of the financial crisis and projections on the future of capitalism. (Sociology)
  • The impact of Freud and psychoanalytic thinking in Mexico as well as Freud's fascination with Mexican culture. (Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures)
  • A look at how first- and second-generation Latin American immigrants broker the boundaries imposed upon them by anti-immigrant policies and attitudes. (Sociology)
  • An analysis of social relationships between African Americans and Latinos in urban areas of the U.S. (Sociology)

 Damaris Zayas, PLAS)In addition to these projects, many others are routinely undertaken by permanent and visiting faculty. These include studies of the new world and birth of a global conscience, race relations in Latin America, and many others.

"The Program in Latin American studies gives Princeton students a unique opportunity to take classes with the leading scholars in the region," said Rubén Gallo, director of PLAS and professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures. "Our courses are taught by award-winning Princeton faculty and also by a distinguished roster of visitors that includes Mario Vargas Llosa, New York Times journalist Julia Preston, former ambassador of Peru to the United Nations, the U.S., and the United Kingdom Ricardo Luna ('62), and cultural historian Serge Gruzinski. We not only send students to Latin America (through research grants for grads and undergrads) but we also bring the best of Latin America to Princeton."