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Caribbean, Latin American & Latino Studies

Masters of Arts in Humanities in Caribbean and Latin/o American Studies (CLAS)
A Multi-Sited Pre-Professional Program in Advanced Studies and Research

Our Hemispheric Perspective

 

Out of Many… One America

Are you thinking about the Caribbean as a vacation in the sun, palm trees, piña colada, reggae music and salsa, island time and a lazy cruise? Does Latin America seem like a distant place South of the Border, with spicy food, crazy politics, strange cultures and more countries than you can name with a history of turmoil and violence? Then, think again, and dare venture beyond the Spring Break mentality to envision the real possibilities of hemispheric integration and progress in the pursuit of happiness.

The Greater Caribbean is a region anchored around the West Indies and the Bahamas. It includes the coastal societies that surround the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico and, in cultural and intellectual terms, reaches into a larger zone that stretches from the Carolinas to the Guyanas and includes areas of the Pacific coast of Central and South America. This region lies at the very heart of the Western Hemisphere and it is the historical and geographic core of the broader Atlantic World. For half a millennium the Caribbean has been a crossroads where cultures and peoples from around the globe have met and it is undeniably one of the major platforms of the modern experience. In this sense, the Caribbean is also the cradle of the quintessential American Experience.

The idea of Latin/o America brings together the broadest spectrum of cultures and peoples in the Western Hemisphere. It encompasses the civilizational trajectories of Native American, Afro, Asian and Euro descendants over a vast geography stretching from Northern Quebec to Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of the continent. It not only includes Latin America, that is, all the Spanish, Portuguese and French-speaking countries in the continent, but also the Latino peoples who are the largest and fastest growing population in the United States. Indeed, given that it already is the country with the largest population of Spanish speakers in the world, the United States could also be considered to be the largest country in Latin America.

If you are thinking, like we are, of the place that our hemisphere occupies in the globalized world of the 21st Century and of the immense possibilities and challenges that lie ahead for all of us as Americans (understood in a truly continental sense), could there be a more relevant course of study that the one we offer?