Latin American and Caribbean Studies Initiative

Latin American and Caribbean Studies Initiative

Democracy, security, human rights, trade, climate change, migration …. If you follow current events in Latin America, you know this vibrant region is constantly making significant gains in complex issues. Advances are being made in women’s and indigenous political representation, reduction of poverty, imaginative urban designs, economic development, and creative initiatives to address climate change and ecological challenges.  Yet, poverty,  inequality and violence persist and democracies are under siege, making the region a complex landscape of opportunities and challenges.  

The Latin American and Caribbean Studies Initiative (LACS) is an academic and research hub that hosts the Latin American curricular, scholarly, and policy expertise at the Elliott School of International Affairs. The LACS Initiative provides an institutional umbrella for the study of Latin America from an interdisciplinary perspective, approaching it as a subject of study and as an interlocutor to engage in a fruitful dialogue about the challenges facing the region, the hemisphere, and the world. 

To promote, coordinate, and enrich collaboration among departments, faculty, and students, the LACS Initiative:

  1. Convenes seminars, events, workshops, colloquia, symposia. 
  2. Supports research grants. 
  3. Publishes student policy briefs and paper series. 
  4. Invites Visiting/Research Scholars to campus, enriching scholarly dialogue. 
  5. Works with student organizations, such as LATAM and OLAS
  6. Offers a student course guide and academic advice to students interested in the region. 
  7. Publishes a monthly newsletter. Sign up (e2ma.net).
  8. Serves as a hub and point of coordination open to Elliott School alumni across programs, including Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program (LAHSP), the undergraduate concentration, graduates from other programs, and the wider Washington community.
Faculty Affiliates

Director

Diego Abente-Brun (Ph.D., The University of New Mexico)
Director, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Initiative 
Concentrations: International relations of Latin America, governance, comparative democratization.
[email protected] 

 

Affiliated Faculty

Patricia Acerbi (Ph.D., University of Maryland College Park)
Professorial Lecturer 
Concentrations: Brazil, History, Slavery and Freedom
[email protected] 

 

Paula Alonso (Ph.D., Oxford University)
Associate Professor of History and International Affairs
Concentrations: Latin America, Argentina, Political History, Cultural History
[email protected] 

 

Christopher Britt (Ph.D., Princeton University)
Professor of Spanish, Director of Spanish Literature 
Concentrations: Post-imperial Spain, Post-colonial Latin America
[email protected]

 

Otaviano Canuto (Ph.D., University of Campinas)
Professorial Lecturer
Concentrations: International Economics, Development Economics
[email protected] 

 

Yvonne Captain (Ph.D., Stanford University)
Associate Professor of Latin American Film and Literature and International Affairs
Concentrations: Africa and Diaspora, Film Industries in Latin American and Africa, South-south Relations
[email protected] 

 
Alicia Cooperman (Ph.D., Columbia University)
Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Concentrations: Local Politics, Environmental Politics, Social Movements, Quantitative Methods, Brazil
[email protected]
 
 

Robert Cottrol (Ph.D., Yale University; J.D. Georgetown University)
Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law, Professor of History and Sociology
Concentrations: Legal Institutions, Race Relations in the U.S. and Latin America
[email protected] 

 

Manuel Cuellar (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley)
Associate Professor of Latin American and Latinx Studies; Director of the Micro-Minor in Immigration and Migration Studies
Concentrations: Mexican Literary and Cultural Studies; Performance, Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in the Américas
[email protected] 

 

Alex Dent (Ph.D., University of Chicago)
Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs
Concentrations: Brazil, Latin America and North America; Public Culture, Language and the Media; Ethnography of performance
[email protected] 

 

Omar Garcia-Ponce (Ph.D., New York University)
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Concentrations: Political Economy of Development, Political Violence; Organized Crime, Latin American Politics 
[email protected] 

 

Amb. Lino Gutierrez (M.A., University of Alabama)
Professorial Lecturer
Concentrations: Cuba, Central America, Diplomacy 
[email protected] 

 

Graciela Kaminsky (Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Professor of Economics and International Affairs
Concentrations: Macroeconomics, International Finance, and Monetary Policy
[email protected] 

 

Stephen B. Kaplan (Ph.D., Yale University)
Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Concentrations: International and Comparative Political Economy, Chinese Foreign Investment and Development Finance; and Latin American Political Economics
[email protected] 

 

Gema Kloppe-Santamaría (Ph.D., New School for Social Research)
Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs
Concentrations: Mexico and Central America; Violence, Crime, and (In)security; Religion, Gender, and Culture
[email protected] 

 

Antonio Lopez (Ph.D., Rutgers University)
Department Chair; Associate Professor of English
Concentrations: U.S. Latinx, African Diaspora, Hemispheric American, Literary and Cultural Theory
[email protected]

 

Rafael Lopez-Monti (Ph.D., George Washington University)
Assistant Professor of Economics and International Affairs; Director, M.A. International Economic Policy (MIEP)
Concentrations: Microfinance, Macroeconomics
[email protected] 

 

Ronald Luna (Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park)
Lecturer
Concentrations: Migration, transnationalism, culture space.
[email protected] 

 

Carla Maenza (Ph.D., Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Professorial Lecturer
Concentrations: Gender Theory, Feminism, Latin American Feminism, Equality Policies  
[email protected]

 

Jason Marczak (M.A., Johns Hopkins University)
Professorial Lecturer, Director, Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council
Concentrations: Central America, Immigration Policy
[email protected]

 

Elvira-Maria Restrepo (Ph.D., Oxford University)
Interim Director (2019), Latin American and Hemispheric Studies Program
Associate Professor of International Studies University Honors Program & Elliott School of International Affairs
Concentrations: Peacebuilding, Cybercrime and online behavior and deliberation, Colombia
[email protected] 

 

Noel Maurer (Ph.D., Stanford University)
Associate Professor of International Affairs and International Business
Concentrations: Private property rights, Mexico.
[email protected] 

 

Michael McCarthy (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University)
Professorial Lecturer
Concentrations: U.S. Foreign Policy, Latin America, Democratization, Populism, Illiberalism
[email protected] 

 

Cynthia McClintock (Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Concentration: Latin American politics, Electoral Processes, Peru
[email protected] 

 

Hilen Meirovich (Ph.D., Georgetown University)
Professorial Lecturer
Concentrations: Climate Change, Climate Policy, Latin America
[email protected]

 

Diana Pardo Pedraza (Ph.D., University of California, Davis)
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs
Concentrations: Anthropology of Violence & Peace, Feminist theory, Colombia and Latin American Studies 
[email protected]

 

Marie Price (Ph.D., Syracuse University)
Professor of Geography and International Affairs
Concentrations: Political and Cultural Geography, Latin America, Immigration
[email protected] 

 

Logan Puck (Ph.D., University of California)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
Concentrations: Mexico; Policing, Politics and Society
[email protected] 

 

Jorge Rivera (Ph.D. Duke University)
Professor of Strategic Management, Public Policy, and International Affairs
Concentrations: Environmental Policy, Environmental Management, Business and Public Policy
[email protected] 

 

Michael Shifter (MA, Harvard University)
Professorial Lecturer 
Concentrations: U.S.-Latin America Relations, Governance and Democracy 
[email protected] 

 

Elizabeth Vaquera (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania)
Executive Director of Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute, Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy & Public Administration
Concentrations: Immigration, Latino/a Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Children and Youth
[email protected] 

 

Leniqueca Welcome (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) 
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs
Concentration: Postcolonial Statecraft, Racialization, Gender, Caribbean Studies
[email protected] 

 

Erica Wortham (Ph.D., New York University)
Professorial Lecturer of Anthropology
Concentrations: Anthropology of Latin America, Media Studies; Art, Design and Innovation
[email protected] 

 

Contact Us

If you have questions about the LACS Initiative at the Elliott School of International Affairs, reach out to us using the email below.