The mission of the Rutgers University Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) is to promote pedagogy, research, and service in and about the broader region known as Las Américas. Through courses, programs of study, and extracurricular events, we help students and faculty better understand the diverse cultures and histories of the complex region, and the many ways in which the United States and Latin America are deeply conjoined. In fields spanning the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, Rutgers faculty and student research generates new insights into Latin American culture and society, politics and economics, and environment and ecology.
We believe that all engagement between US-based peoples and institutions and Latin America, be it pedagogical or scholarly, should be characterized by openness and reciprocity. Therefore, another aspect of our mission is to offer service opportunities for our students, to create positive encounters between researchers and students across the hemisphere, and to ensure that all of our engagements promote good relations between people in the diverse regions that make up Las Américas.
CLAS is a clearinghouse and center of coordination at Rutgers University for research, pedagogy, and extra-curricular events pertaining to Latin America and its worldwide diasporas. The mission of the Center is to foster learning and research across disciplines and geographic boundaries and to share the richness of the student and faculty scholarship on Latin America with our Rutgers colleagues, the wider scholarly community, and the local communities of New Jersey.
Each year, in coordination with our many Center affiliates, we sponsor talks and events dedicated to Latin American themes. The Center also offers a major and minor in Latin American Studies for undergraduate students and a certificate for graduate students. We are especially active in international service-learning. Latin American Studies students have participated in service-learning programs, learning about topics ranging from Anthropology and Human Rights, to Education, Health, and Sustainability, in places such as Córdoba, Argentina, Cochabamba, Bolivia, Oaxaca, Mexico, Cuzco, Peru, the Costa Rican rainforest, and the Guatemalan highlands.