Prof. Aldo Lauria Santiago

The Center offers its own interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor. We offer great flexibility in choosing courses about Latin America, the Caribbean and Diasporas in the humanities and social sciences. As a unit within the School or Arts and Sciences the courses for our major and minor intersect with many other majors and minors within SAS including Spanish/Portuguese, Anthropology, Sociology, Latino & Caribbean Studies, History, Political Science and Geography.  Students from other schools including SEBS and SCI should contact me to explore how their coursework may count as elective credits in the Latin American Studies major and minor.

As Director, I provide individualized advising on course selection, fulfilling the language requirement, study abroad, and graduate school and career opportunities. As you can see from our course list, students have many options every semester and can carve out more focused regional or country-specific specialties. Our graduates have pursued many different trajectories informed by their coursework and training including public service, graduate school, public health, business and work with NGO's. We are committed to helping our students be successful in their goals.

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Aldo Lauria Santiago, CLAS Director

2023-2024 Welcome Message

Apreciados colegas, estudiantes, profesores y amiga/os,

Welcome to the new academic year!  We have lots of important announcements to make!

IMG 0979CLAS has a new assigned administrator, Nancy Rosario. Nancy had been helping us on an ad-hoc basis during the summer but more recently we hired her to serve multiple SAS Centers, including ours.  She will now team with Martine Adams in managing the workload for all SAS Area Studies Centers.  Welcome Nancy and thank you! 

Our new program assistant this year is Hely Dodia and our assistants Alexander Gomez and Cheyenne Menezes, all Rutgers undergrads.  Javier Gonzalez Cortes will continue as our media manager. We also have two work study students, Ailin and Crhisly.  If you need help with any projects, let us know.

Our post-doctoral fellow, Briana Nichols, will enter her second year.  We held a productive book manuscript review workshops last semester with , and she will be working on revisions this year.  She will be teaching our intro 101 course this fall and a more advanced course on Mexican and Central American youth in the Spring.  Also, I am glad to announce that SAS reapproved our Post-Doctoral position so we will be announcing soon the selection process for the 2024-2026 postdoctoral associate with a likely deadline in January. We are also working to promote applications by Latin Americanists to the extraordinary Presidential Post Doctoral Fellows program.

Geisa Rocha will continue to teach our 101 course both semesters and Gabriel Aleman will teach a spring term fully asynchronous section. Andres Gonzalez and Sandra Medina have continued covering our winter and summer session offerings. We are grateful for the work of these instructors and glad that the recent union negotiations improved their compensation.

This year visiting scholar and history graduate student Jennifer Carcamo (UCLA) will continue visiting. Elena Sabogal (Ph.D. Sociology) will also join us as independent scholar.  Her work focuses on Peruvian immigration.

This summer we worked with the wonderful SAS Joomla Team to transition our website to the new SAS template, which is more elegant. Thanks to Laura and Eddie. We are still tweaking minor fixes, but the site looks a lot better, and we also made additional improvements to the “projects” pages (working groups, conferences, collaborations, Puerto Rico Archival Collaboration) and other sections.  Let me know if you have any suggestions. (

Our Executive Committee is available also for any questions or suggestions. The EC is composed of Professors Andrea Marson, Kenneth Sebastian Leon, Laura Cuesta, Isais Rojas Perez, and Ulla Berg.  If you are interested in being appointed to a vacant position until next year’s elections, please let me know.

Our Working Groups will continue functioning this year. I will soon be identifying coordinators for these groups. We also have just organized a working group on Mexico and Central America with significant participation of NJ-based students and scholars. Working groups will continue to receive modest funding and will be encouraged to seek out cosponsorships and contributions.  Our revenue from winter/summer session was down slightly again and SAS has not provided any additional funding, so this year’s budget will be tight.

We have a number of events planned for this year, including the symposium on Im/Mobility in Migratory Contexts, organized by Post Doctoral Associate Briana Nichols and postponed because of our labor action last semester.  Jorge Marcone will be presenting on his work on Amazonian Peruvian literature and culture. 

CLAS is co-sponsoring a major conference on Narratives, Aesthetics, and Afrodiasporic Spirituality in the Contemporary Caribbean, organized by ACLS Emerging Voices Post-Doctoral Fellow (Department of English), Alberto Sosa Cabanas.  We are also supporting a major conference on Black Geographies that will meet in New Brunswick and New York City.

If you are interested in receiving updates on the Puerto Rico Archival Collaboration, please join the email list for the project. I just posted a mayor update for the collaboration. (CLAS is involved in highlighting the visibility of this work but as my “boutique” project it is funded by my own research account and external sources.)

This year the CLAS will have various collaborative efforts with the Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies, including co-sponsored speakers.  I look forward to developing that synergy.  Our Caribbean Studies Working Group will collaborate with the RAICCS and we will be cosponsoring various talks.

CLAS will also be announcing a series of talks that links Latin American immigration scholars with specialists in US Latino Communities—the  “North-South Collaboration on Latin American Migration and Latino Studies.  Briana Nichols and Javier Gonzalez Cortez are coordinating this work funded by Rutgers Global and co-sponsored by the Latino Studies Research Initiative.  This initiative is funded by a grant from Rutgers Global.

This year look for these presentations:

  • Historian Lara Putnam, historian. Author of Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age. University of North Carolina Press, 2013.  In-person presentation in January.
  • A talk with Terri Gordon-Zolov and Eric Zolov, authors of The Walls of Santiago: Social Revolution and Political Aesthetics in Contemporary Chile.
  • Panel of speakers on immigrant mobilities in Mexico/Central America (postponed from last May)
  • Panel of speakers on the history of indigenous communities
  • Support for a major Lydia Cabrera/Caribbean conference.
  • Talk by Anthropologist Fernando Montero Castrillo of Columbia University
  • Talk by historian Anne Eller, Yale University
  • Support for mini conference on immigration detention
  • Support for a major conference on black geographies in the Americas.
  • Talk by Jorge Marcone on Amazonia in Peruvian literature.
  • One or two more talks by Rutgers Professors
  • A mid semester lunch hour
  • The familiar grad student/faculty research conference in the spring
  • Talks by our two Visiting Scholars

We will continue sending the weekly calendar of events and keep individual emails only for major events or announcements.  

If you know of new graduate students that would be interested in affiliating with the CLAS, please send me their names.  We have a dedicated email list for graduate students, and they have played a critical role in the Working Groups and research work associated with the CLAS.  In December we will open the small grants competition for graduate students.

We hope you will continue to check out our events and news updates.  If you have any new publications, collaborations, promotions, new courses, or other news, please send it so we can share.  We have an active Facebook page and YouTube channel where we can post as well.

Please write me with any questions or suggestions for events or collaborations.

Aldo Lauria Santiago



September 2022 Welcome Message 

June 2022 Annual Report

September 2021 Welcome Message

Learn more about Professor Lauria Santiago