Greetings from LASA’s President, Mara Viveros-Vigoya

June 3, 2019

Valued LASA member, 

Since June 1 st it is my task to serve the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) as its elected president. For those who don’t know me, I am an economist with a master's degree in Latin American studies (IHEAL, Paris) and a PhD in anthropology (EHESS, Paris), the field in which I work. I have been a professor and researcher in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Gender Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, serving as director in 2010-2012 and 2016-2018. My interests span anthropology, sociology, gender studies, and the critical study of race and focus on the intersections of gender, sexuality, masculinity, the middle class, race, and ethnicity in contemporary Latin American societies.

A member of LASA since 1997, I was an officer of the Section on Ethnicity, Race, and Indigenous Peoples (ERIP) and gave up my nomination as a Track Chair to present my candidacy in 2018. As president, I would like to stress how important it is to promote greater participation of indigenous and Afro-descendant academics and intellectuals in LASA activities. As LASA is the largest professional association for individuals and institutions focused on the study of Latin America, it is essential that its members, as well as its management, should reflect the diversity of the societies we study.

The growth and diversification that LASA has experienced in recent years, and the fact that its members are mainly Latin American, raises huge challenges, such as being a source of innovation and transformation without losing the participation and support of more traditional members of the Association. I will personally do my best to consolidate a legacy of over 50 years of work and make an effort to continue updating and transforming the legacy started by past presidents. I will work to make sure that those who have long been subjects of research in Latin America—those of African descent, indigenous people, women, and people with various sexual orientations, among others—have a greater voice in determining and applying our organizational goals.

The title for LASA2020, to be held in Guadalajara from May 13 th  to May 16 th, will be “Améfrica Ladina, vinculando mundos y saberes, tejiendo esperanzas”. With this theme we intend to take a step in the same direction as the name Nuestra América, instead of América Latina—which emphasizes the region's Latin element, that is, its link with Europe—to make visible and recognize fully the participation of indigenous populations and those of African descent in shaping the region.

The next issue of LASA Forum will include a dossier to explain the meaning of Améfrica Ladina. Coined by the Afro-Brazilian intellectual Lélia Gonzalez, the term seeks to point toward a new historical, cultural, and political direction for the continent. We believe that the region is living through a moment marked by conservative, exclusionary, misogynist, homophobic, and racist trends that demand a strong joint intellectual and political effort to explain and challenge them. Lélia Gonzalez's thought is inspiring in this sense, and the LASA2020 Congress in Guadalajara invites us to follow that path, increasingly linking the international intellectual legacy with “ladino-amefricanas” realities, experiences, and lessons; stimulating deep analysis of the structure and dynamics of power and domination, including communications, the media, and counterpublics on social media; and promoting debates across and within disciplines and with social movements. 

Together with my Program Chairs Eleonor Faur (Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina), Regina Martínez Casas (CIESAS, México), Osmundo Pinho (Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia, Brasil), Jo Marie Burt (George Mason University/Washington Office on Latin America), and Mariana Mora (CIESAS, México), our Program Committee has worked on the call for papers and on defining new program tracks to express these orientations.

We invite all our members to weave together hopes—intellectual, social, ecological, political, and cultural—in order to advance on the winding road toward a sustainable future in which Améfrica Ladina has lessons to share in survival and re-existence.

Mara Viveros-Vigoya 
LASA President

About LASA

The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. With over 13,000 members, over 60% of whom reside outside the United States, LASA is the one association that brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors, across the globe. LASA's mission is to foster intellectual discussion, research, and teaching on Latin America, the Caribbean, and its people throughout the Americas, promote the interests of its diverse membership, and encourage civic engagement through network building and public debate.

If you wish to interview a LASA Executive Council member, you can contact the LASA communications office at (412) 648-7929 or send an email to