The UNC-Duke Consortium for Latin American and Caribbean Studies receives $2.3 million Title VI Award

A recent award from the U.S. Department of Education designates the Consortium for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University as a nationally recognized foreign language and area studies center.  The UNC-Duke Consortium is among a select group of academic institutions awarded Title VI funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2018-22 grant cycle. Read More »

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Yucatec Maya Summer Institute 2018

Each year, the Yucatec Maya Summer Institute enables students from across the United States to learn Mexico’s second most widely spoken indigenous language from native speakers and local professors. This year’s program got started last week with four beginning students meeting in Chapel Hill and two advanced students in Mérida Yucatán. Throughout the next six weeks, they will work toward proficiency in spoken Yucatec Maya through daily classes, home visits, guest speakers, and excursions.

Level 2 students Molly Hilton and Felipe Acosta Muñoz explore Kabah on a Saturday excursion along the Ruta Puuc, through the grottoes of Loltun, and into the local town of Dzan.

Members of the nonprofit organization InHerit join us for a welcome dinner in Mérida.

Students and instructors begin class on Friday with a shared breakfast of boox janal (relleno negro).

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Congratulations to the 2018 LTAM graduating class!

Pictured: Cristina Barbee Nieto, Mariana Castro Arroyo and Mary Alyssa Chapin

We wish you the very best on your next chapter!

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We wish our outstanding work-study students a great Summer Break!

2018 Work Study Students

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Gabriela Alemán appointed Yudelman Intern at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

LTAM major Gabriela Alemán (class of 2019) has been appointed as a Yudelman Intern at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).  The internship appointment spans early June through mid-August 2018 and will provide valuable hands-on experience and professional development opportunities within an non-government organization and its role in influencing U.S. foreign policy.  The internship will focus on issues related to human rights, democracy, and social justice in Latin America.


From all of us at ISA: Congratulations Gaby!

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Cecilia Martinez-Gallardo Appointed William Wilson Brown Jr. Distinguished Term Professor in Latin American Studies

Born and raised in Mexico City, it’s no surprise that Mexico and its neighboring countries are a primary focus for associate professor of political science Cecilia Martinez-Gallardo. “My family all still lives in Mexico City, so I’m very connected to what’s going on there and the politics of both the city itself and the country.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City, Martinez-Gallardo moved to New York City to pursue her doctorate at Columbia University. “I’ve always been very interested in political institutions and the idea that how you organize them can change political outcomes drastically,” she says. “I started studying governments — how elite politicians make decisions, how they impact political outcomes, who was named to cabinets, how they organize themselves for work — all of that fascinates me.”

Following her time at Columbia, Martinez-Gallardo returned to Mexico City as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). In 2007, after three years in her home country, Martinez-Gallardo returned to the United States when a position arose in the political science department at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she now serves as associate professor in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Currently, Martinez-Gallardo teaches an introductory course on Latin American politics and a course on the politics of Mexico, which surveys the country’s politics in the 20th century and contemporary issues, such as the upcoming elections in Mexico City. “Given the current administration, I have seen a lot more concern and discussion from students around topics like immigration, security and the role of the U.S. as it relates to Latin America,” she says. “They’re very keen to talk about that relationship between the U.S. and Latin America.”

In addition to teaching, Martinez-Gallardo has a number of research projects in the works, including an expansive project studying presidential cabinet systems in which she has recruited experts to gather data about cabinets across different Latin American countries. “We’re tapping into the expertise of local scholars to really help us describe the cabinets and gather data, profile cabinet ministers and study party affiliations,” Martinez-Gallardo says. “The data set will be published on a website, where hopefully it will serve as a public resource for students and scholars studying this subject.”

Martinez-Gallardo was recently appointed as the first William Wilson Brown Jr. Distinguished Term Professor in Latin American Studies, an award which she says will help support her research. “I’ve been very involved in the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the work they do, so it’s a great honor for me to be the inaugural recipient of this award,” Martinez-Gallardo says. “This will allow me to secure the resources to further these [current research] projects, and get the output needed to make the projects a success. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

The professorship, awarded by the Curriculum in Latin American Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas, serves to recognize a member of the UNC College of Arts and Sciences faculty at the rank of associate professor who has demonstrated sustained progress toward promotion to the rank of full professor. The appointment is in recognition of a record of professional excellence as a result of scholarly accomplishments, demonstrated by publications in journals or presses of distinctions and presentation of scholarly papers in important professional venues.

“We are thrilled to present this award to Professor Martinez-Gallardo, who has demonstrated an incredible commitment to the field of Latin American studies in the course of her research and teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill,” says Lou Perez, director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas. “As we launch this new term professorship, we look forward to seeing what Cecilia accomplishes and commend her on the continued contributions she has made to scholarly advancement in this field.”

By Jamie Gnazzo ’13

Read the original article from our friends at UNC Global here

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UNC Press, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University Libraries Publish Open-Access Book in New Collaborative Series

The University of North Carolina Press, the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the University Libraries published the first title in their collaborative open-access series, Studies in Latin America. Tropical Tongues: Language Ideologies, Endangerment, and Minority Languages in Belize by Jennifer Carolina Gómez Menjívar and William Noel Salmon is expected to be followed up by another monograph published this year. The new series will increase the availability of scholarly literature focused on the social sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an open-access series, the books will be made available digitally to a wide audience, particularly for use in classroom settings.

Read more from our friends at UNC Global here.

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Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria Panel April 10


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Tropical Tongues: Language Ideologies, Endangerment, and Minority Languages in Belize

The Institute for the Study of the Americas is pleased to announce the inaugural publication of  its “Studies in Latin America” series: Tropical Tongues: Language Ideologies, Endangerment, and Minority Languages in Belize by Jennifer Carolina Gómez Menjívar and William Noel Salmon.  Tropical Tongues examines the precarious state of languages in coastal Belize in the years  following independence in 1981, offering new perspectives on language shifts and loss as a result of large-scale politico-economic restructuring.  More information on Tropical Tongues see:

Studies in Latin America is an initiative in open access publishing from the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (ISA), UNC Press, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. This series will feature short works, approximately 20,000 to 35,000 words in length, published by ISA. A paperback edition of each work will be distributed by UNC Press and open access digital editions will be hosted by the library.

Studies in Latin America promotes new scholarship on Latin America and the Caribbean focusing on the social sciences-principally anthropology, geography, history, political science, and sociology-and featuring diverse methodological approaches and perspectives on vital issues concerning Latin America and the Caribbean, past and present. Studies in Latin America welcomes English-language manuscripts by senior scholars as well as by junior scholars. Submissions undergo a formal peer-review process as part of the publication decision. The Institute for the Study of the Americas and UNC Press anticipate a wide distribution of the scholarship included in Studies in Latin America by taking advantage of the digital publishing environment.

For more information and inquiries about submissions please visit the series page:

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InHerit Awarded National Geographic Society Grant for Yucatec Cenotes Heritage and Conservation Project

InHerit and the Research Labs of Archaeology at UNC are excited to be partnering with the National Geographic Society who has awarded InHerit a grant for the Cultural Heritage, Ecology, and Conservation of Yucatec Cenotes. Cenotes are natural sinkholes formed when the porous limestone bedrock of the Yucatan Peninsula collapses, exposing the vast underground river system beneath and creating unique cavern-like habitats with deep, fresh water pools. Among the most distinctive and beautiful geological and cultural landscape features of the Maya world, these natural wells are of fundamental importance in the cultural and natural history of the region. Cenotes serves as the primary source of cool, fresh water for Maya communities well into the 20th century and as sacred pilgrimage sites for centuries. Today many cenotes are also important recreational sites that contribute to the tourist economy.

Through this initiative, InHerit will collaborate with students and faculty from the Universidad de Oriente in Valladolid, Mexico and secondary school teachers in Yucatec communities in proximity to cenotes. The goal is to develop innovative, sustainable, and interactive educational programs and community activities that explore the geomorphology, oral history, cultural and archaeological heritage of cenotes. Education is key to enhancing the already considerable cultural appreciation of cenotes and in developing strategies for effective conservation of the integrated system of sinkholes that make up Yucatan’s vulnerable, but critical subterranean aquifer. By working together with college students, teachers, and younger students in Yucatán, our objective is to develop a generation of highly knowledgeable cultural stewards who will advocate on behalf of the responsible and sustainable use of cenotes, conservation of their ecosystem, and promotion of continued education and research at the local level. As this program develops, we hope to include Chapel Hill undergraduate and graduate students to emphasize the transglobal importance of environmental sustainability and heritage initiatives.

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