Latin American and Caribbean Studies departmental information

The Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program (LACS) was founded at the University of Michigan as an undergraduate concentration program in 1984. Over the years LACS has grown into a major interdisciplinary program, linking many faculty members from more than a dozen departments, and professionals with research interests in Latin America. LACS has achieved national recognition for its growth as an academic program and a center of excellence in area research. In 2006, LACS became one of twenty-four U.S. Department of Education-supported National Resource Centers for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

LACS maintains strong ties with several other research and teaching programs on campus, including

  • the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS),
  • the Program in American Culture, and
  • Latino/Latina Studies.

Several of the LACS program faculty are affiliated with these units and we frequently co-sponsor activities. Overlapping all four groups are research clusters of faculty and graduate students interested in such areas as:

  • Latino/a history, "minority" identity, and the experience of migration
  • The African Diaspora in the Americas
  • Indigenous America
  • Questions of colonialism and post-coloniality

LACS organizes and co-sponsors over 50 public lectures, workshops, and conferences each year, and has become a midwestern and Michigan resource for scholars and the public at large. LACS actively sponsors and co-sponsors events involving visiting scholars and speakers, and conferences and workshops in which participants from Latin America interact with University faculty, students, and members of the community.

The major goals of the Program are:

  • To offer broad-ranging undergraduate (concentration and academic minor) and graduate (certificate) academic programs in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan.
  • To promote and support initial field research of graduate students specializing in Latin American studies, with the help of resources such as Foreign Language and Area Studies awards.
  • To promote interchange among faculty and graduate students through field research, special courses, events, and conferences.
  • To maintain our active partnerships with scholars from Latin America.
  • To develop collaborative relationships and closer links between the disciplinary departments of the College of Literature, Science and Arts and the professional schools of the University of Michigan by supporting promising students with research interests in Latin America.
  • To serve as a resource on Latin America for area educators and the wider community.

Study Abroad. LACS majors and minors are encouraged to participate in one of the study-abroad programs in Latin America that are arranged through the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS). Since 1992, LACS has collaborated directly with the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) on matters relating to the joint Michigan/Wisconsin program in Santiago, Chile, and since 1999 LACS has been active in advancing two new programs in Bahia and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

LACS currently holds a reciprocal study-abroad program with the Centro Tinku, a major regional studies center in Peru primarily at the graduate and faculty level. In addition to benefiting undergraduates, these programs may in the future provide an additional point of organization for links between Michigan faculty and graduate students, and universities and research institutes in Latin America.

Quechua Language Study at Michigan. Quechua, the language of the Inkas, is spoken today by millions of people in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. It has a written literature that goes back to the sixteenth century.

Quechua is offered as a regular course during the academic year at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and as an intensive summer course in Cusco, Peru.

Three levels are taught in year-long courses

  • Beginning Quechua (LACS 471/472)
  • Intermediate Quechua (LACS 473/474)
  • Advanced Quechua (LACS 475/476).

LACS 474 meets the language requirement

Summer Quechua Language Study in Cusco. The program is open to all college and university undergraduate and graduate students who wish to learn Southern Quechua. This unique program offers high quality intensive language instruction through the experienced faculty Centro Tinku and the unusual experience of living and learning in the ancient Inka capital of Cuzco. Classes will meet intensively for seven weeks. A series of lectures on Quechua culture and history and an extensive program of excursions and cultural events will supplement the courses. The Quechua courses are taught using the immersion method, so previous knowledge of Spanish is not required (though of course some familiarity with Spanish is useful for getting around Peru). Consult the Center's website for further information:

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for undergraduate students.  
A FLAS Fellowship provides tuition support and a stipend to students studying designated foreign languages in combination with area studies or international aspects of professional studies. Awards are available for both summer 2012 and the 2012-13 academic year. The program's priority is to encourage the study of less commonly taught languages, specifically Quechua and Portuguese. FLAS Fellowships are administered by the University of Michigan Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) and are awarded competitively through annual fellowship competitions. The U.S. Department of Education funds these awards under the provisions of Title VI of the Higher Education Act.
More information and applications are available at and then click on LACS Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships and then more about undergraduate student fellowships.
Questions can be sent to  

Courses in Other Departments

The office of the Program makes available, during pre-registration, a list of many other upper-level courses related to Latin America and the Caribbean offered by several departments and professional schools of the University.

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