The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) serves students, faculty and scholars from across the University of Illinois campus, along with communities from across Illinois and the Midwest, by promoting innovative research, specialist teaching, and public awareness of the Latin American region: its histories, challenges, and complex connections to the United States and other parts of the world. CLACS offers academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, language training in Quechua, and Latin America-focused programming and public engagement and outreach activities all housed in CLACS. Additionally, CLACS is engaged in programming, assessment, and training in support of Latin America-focused activity in other units, including study abroad programs from across the campus as well as language training in Portuguese and Spanish. As a unit of the Illinois Global Institute, CLACS contributes to a vibrant community of area studies and global thematic centers at the university. We maintain an especially collaborative and complementary relationship with the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies based in our overlapping foci on Brazilian and Latin American Studies as well as the Lemann Center’s origins as a unit of CLACS. CLACS also maintains linkages with partner institutions around the Midwest, nationally, and internationally, particularly in Latin America.
Latin America has been a focus of research at the University of Illinois since as early as 1904, with a Latin American Studies major established in 1949, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies created in 1963. The University of Illinois Library, the nation’s largest public academic research library, holds the nation’s third largest collection of materials on Latin American and the Caribbean. Today, CLACS boasts more than 130 affiliate faculty from eleven colleges across our campus, and we are home to the longest standing Quechua language program in the U.S.