University of Washington

Thematic Initiatives


Associated faculty and students involved in the study of Borderlands at UW complicate the notion of Borderlands to include cognitive, biophysical, and geographic spaces. Gender, ethnicity, social movements, the environment, and violence are just a few of the ways in which we study the internal and external borders across the Latin American and Caribbean Diaspora.

Mellon Sawyer Seminar: 2012-2013 and 2014

During the 2012-13 academic year and during 2014, UW will be holding a Mellon Sawyer Seminar titled “B/ordering Violence: Boundaries, Indigeneity and Gender in the Americas.” The seminar, organized by LACS, WISER, and the Simpson Center, sees borderlands not as fixed but as constantly (re)produced between and within national states. Accordingly, the seminar will convoke a set of distinguished, internationally-recognized scholars whose work considers the complexities of external national borders in the Americas as well as the multiple internal borders that characterize the politics of belonging for diasporic and Indigenous communities in South, Central and North America. The seminar will also explore the dynamics of migration and the social and political implications of migration across the Americas. The following three research agendas will guide our exploration of borderlands: (1) the discourses and practices of border-making; (2) Indigenous perspectives on political boundaries; and (3) gender and violence in the borderlands.

For more information about the Mellon Sawyer Seminar, visit the website at:

Borderlands Listserv

If you would like more information about periodic Borderlands-related events, speakers, and work-shops, please click here to subscribe to our Borderlands list.

Borderlands Summer Institute 2012

This year's institute will explore the power of borderlands.  Beyond the geopolitical, borderlands are real and imagined spaces that can be experienced in social, political and spiritual ways.  Borders are shaped by globalization, legacies of colonial dominance and expansion, and the shifting valences of decolonial projects within and beyond the Americas.  Even though borderlands are frequently located at the peripheries of empires and nations, students will explore a number of domains related to borderland concerns:  the borders of nation-states; borders of race, gender, sexuality, species, and multiple forms of social difference; the borders of citizenship and law; borders of popular culture; and the longstanding subjugated borderlands of Indigenous peoples throughout the globe.  Through the development of individual research projects, students will gain experience in cross-disciplinary and collaborative research methods and practice.

UW (Bothell, Seattle, & Tacoma) undergraduates with curiosity about borders of race, place, community and political formations, and cultural practices from any arts, humanities, or social science majors are encouraged to apply.  

For application and more information see


Kimberly Barrett | Matt Barreto | Charles Bergquist | Frances Contreras | Luis Ricardo Fraga | Erasmo Gamboa | Maria Elena Garcia | Carlos Gil | Juan Guerra | Michelle Habell-Pallan | Monica Kaup | José Antonio Lucero | Elizabeth Salas | Julie Shayne | Illeana Rodriguez Silva | Cynthia Steele | Vinay Swamy | Carolyn Pinedo Turnovsky | Julie Schrader Villegas |


Art, Literature, and Music of Latin America

UW has a robust group of faculty and students who work on a variety of projects related to Latin America's art and literature. From teaching courses on the history of Latin American film to researching performance in the Caribbean, our program offers a wealth of resources for students and community partners interested in the art and literature of the region as well as their connection to broader political and social issues.

Seattle Latino Film Festival

Faculty from the University of Washington, Seattle have played an integral part in the creation and success of the Seattle Latino Film Festival (SLFF), which celebrated its third season in October of 2011. Click here for the festival's webpage.

Affiliated Artists

The following artists are associated with faculty and students at the University of Washington and have collaborated on joint endeavors through our study abroad programs or research initiatives. If you would like more information about how you can become an affiliated artist, please send us an at

Mauricio Delgado, Visual Artist, Lima, Peru

Jorge Millones

Jorge Miyagui Oshiro, Visual Artist, Lima, Peru

La Brigada Muralista, Art Collective


Women Who Rock Research Project (WWRP)

Women Who Rock Research Project (WWRRP) supports, develops, and circulates cultural production, conversations and scholarship by cultural producers and faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates across disciplines, both within and outside the University, who examine the politics of gender, race, class, and sexuality generated by popular music. The goal of the project is to generate dialogue and provide a focal point from which to build and strengthen relationships between local musicians and their communities, and educational institutions. The Women Who Rock Project has been developing the Women Who Rock Digital Oral History Project. For more information contact the WWRP website.

2012 information and registration available through the website now!


American Sabor:  Latinos in U.S. Popular Music

Latino musicians have had a profound influence on traditional genres of music in the United States, including jazz, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, and hip-hop. At the same time, their experiences living in the United States triggered the creation of new musical traditions, such as mambo and salsa. “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian, presents the musical contributions of U.S. Latinos from the 1940s to the present, exploring the social history and individual creativity that produced stars like Tito Puente, Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana and Selena.

The exhibition was created by Experience Music Project (EMP) and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). “American Sabor,” its national tour, and related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. The exhibition will travel to 13 cities through 2015.  LACS faculty associates have served as guest curators for the exhibit.  For more information and for the exhibits travel schedule, go to the exhibition's website.



| Ganeshdath D. Basdeo | Charles Bergquist | Deborah Caplow | Shannon Dudley | Cynthia Duncan | Lauro Flores | Maria Elena Garcia | Anthony Geist | Maria Gilman | Angelina Snodgrass Godoy | Michelle Habell-Pallan | Susan Harewood | Monica Kaup | Jose Antonio Lucero | Edgar O'Hara | Cynthia Steele | Vinay Swamy | Jonathan Warren| Richard Watts|


Health and Human Rights in Latin America

Among the prescient issues confronting Latin American in the 20th and 21st century are issues related to public health and human rights. LACS affiliated faculty and programs are at the forefront of these fields, researching and engaging with on-the-ground projects that practically address concerns about public health and human rights violations in the region. Faculty at UW are also engaged in significant research on two related sub-themes, the Environment and Development. LACS partners with the following two programs, led by LACS associated faculty, to engage the UW and at-large community in this important work.

PERLA (Program for Education and Research in Latin America)

The Program for Education and Research in Latin America at the UW Department of Global Health promotes interdisciplinary training exchange and research projects in infectious and chronic diseases and maternal and reproductive health in Peru and Mexico, with plans to expand to other countries in the region. Please visit the program website here.


UW Center for Human Rights

The University of Washington Center for Human Rights at the Jackson School of International Studies was established by an initiative of the WA legislature in 2009. The Center spans departments, schools, and UW's three campuses to bring together faculty and students from a variety of disciplines whose work focuses on human rights issues. Currently the Center's director is an associated faculty member of the LACS program and several of the ongoing projects are in Latin America. For more information about UW CHR please visit their website.


| Philip Brock | Ana Mari Cauce | Patrick Christie | Erasmo Gamboa | Robert Gara | Angelina Snodgrass Godoy | Ricardo Gomez | Margaret Griesse | Eugene Hunn | Lucy Jarosz | G.J. (Jim) Kenagy | Victoria Lawson | Victor Menaldo | Amos Nascimento | Devon Pena | Julie Shayne | Carolyn Pinedo Turnovsky | Adam Warren | Jonathan Warren | Richard Watts |


Indigeneity, Race, and Ethnicity

Colonial legacies loom large in the Americas.  These are perhaps most evident in the ongoing challenges faced by Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.  Issues of indigeneity, race, and ethnicity are necessary considerations in any conceptualization of political, cultural, economic, or social structures within Latin America and the Caribbean. Recognizing the importance of exploring these and related questions, scholars at UW focus teaching and research on this important theme.  Many of our affiliated faculty members participate in the Simpson Center-supported Indigenous Encounters Research Cluster and collaborate closely with others or teach in the American Indian Studies Department, the American Ethnic Studies Department, and the University of Washington 's Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality.



| Kimberly Barrett | Pierre Van Den Berghe | Stephanie Camp | Maria Elena Garcia | Susan Harewood | José Antonio Lucero | Amos Nascimento | Elizabeth Salas | Illeana Rodriguez Silva | Cynthia Steele | Carolyn Pinedo Turnovsky | Julie Schrader Villegas | Adam Warren | Jonathan Warren |

Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Box 353650, 419 Thomson Hall
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 616-0998
Advising: (206) 543-6001

Dr. Josť Antonio Lucero

Dr. Linda Iltis
Academic Advisor
(206) 543-6001

Joni Marts
Academic Advisor
(206) 543-6001

Deb Raftus
LACS Librarian

Monica Rojas-Stewart
Assistant Director
(206) 616-0998