The LASA Sections are intended to promote the common interest of the Association members in specific areas of the Latin American Studies. They are a means of increasing communication and interaction among persons of similar interests within the framework of the larger organization. They help to broaden involvement in LASA, and to make the Association more participatory and responsive to constituencies.
In 2020 there are 41 Sections. LASA members may join as many Sections as they choose. The only requirements are to have the LASA membership current and pay an additional fee for each Section membership. The following descriptions reflecting the mission and activities of each Section are provided by the Section chairs.
The names of the current Section chairs, their emails and the link to visit the web page of each Section, as well as their social networks are also provided. Please feel free to contact the Sections chairs if you have specific questions related to a Section. If you wish to join one of the Sections, you can do so here:
add sections to your membership
The purpose of the Amazonia Section is to enhance the visibility of the cultural, political, social, economic, and environmental processes that engage and affect Amazonian peoples, plants animals, and ecosystems throughout the basin. The section will foster interdisciplinary dialogue across the humanities and the social and natural sciences, and promote research, teaching, and outreach. It will support collaboration among LASA members, indigenous and local community leaders, activists, artists, and knowledge producers in the Amazon. It will seek to inform civil society and public policy with current, robust, and collaborative research in order to learn from the region´s experiences and to face pressing challenges.
Asia and the Americas
The primary mission of this Section is to promote academic research, curricular development, and public understanding of relationships between Latin America and countries of the Asia-Pacific region (including Japan, Korea, China, and Southeast Asia). A related goal is to stimulate collaborative research and joint activities in all academic disciplines between scholarly communities in the Americas and the Pacific Rim.
The Bolivia Section, in close collaboration with other associations and centers dedicated to Bolivian studies, aims to deepen and expand knowledge and communication among professionals, students, leaders, and communicators in different disciplines and public venues with regard to political, economic, social and cultural processes pertinent to Bolivia and its peoples, and their relations with other countries and people around the world.
The Section will implement:
- a web site to serve as a virtual library and link to other sources as well as a forum for exchanges among users;
- a periodic bulletin with Section news;
- panels in LASA Congresses;
- sponsorship of conferences and research and dissemination activities important to the Section mission.
This LASA Section focuses on comparative transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies involving Brazil and its relations with other regions of the Americas, including Spanish America, the Caribbean, and also areas of the United States where heavy populations of Brazilians and Hispanics have an impact on the local demography and culture. We believe that this Section will provide a space for bridging gaps in Latin American Studies.
The Center Director Section attempts to fill in a much-needed space within LASA for the exchange of ideas, experiences, best practices, etc. At the same time, this section offers practitioners, foundation representatives, and others the opportunity to debate and brainstorm about new perspectives and insights relevant to Centers. This section may also foster collaborative projects, research, and the exchange of information between individuals and institutions.
Membership to the Center Director Section is complimentary for all those Directors (including Center, Executive, Associate, and Deputy Director) whose institution is a current member of LASA and is listed as its representative in the LASA system.
For Other Members:
- The person is or has been a Center, Executive, Associate or Deputy Director in the past five years;
- The person is an individual member of LASA
- The fee of $50 per year (US and Foreign) is paid at the time of individual membership renewal or section renewal.
The Section seeks to promote scholarly interchange among scholars of the region through conferences and via an Internet home page; offer at least one session at each LASA Congress; offer an award for outstanding scholarly work published in the period between congresses; raise travel funds for Central Americans to attend LASA Congresses; and continue study trips to the region.
The LASA Colombia Section aims to increase communication and interaction among those who study Colombian topics; to facilitate the organization of panels on Colombia at LASA Congresses; to promote the representation of Colombian interests within LASA; and to allow the organization of specific Colombia-related task forces, e.g. human rights.
The activities of this Section are oriented by three broad goals: strengthening scholarly relations between the U.S. and Cuba; providing a structure for the association of scholars whose research focuses on Cuba and U.S.-Cuban relations; and facilitating the integration of Cuban scholars and scholarship on Cuba in LASA Congress programming.
Culture, Power and Politics
The Culture, Power and Politics Section promotes the study of cultural politics and – in a broad way – in/of relations of power as well as the politics and power of/in culture. It is a space for the exchange and debate among different positions, as well as for the development of collaborative relations among its members.
Defense, Public Security and Democracy
This Section was created at LASA2000 in Miami. Its goals are to coordinate and facilitate contact among members of LASA who are interested in all aspects of defense policy, civil-military relations and security issues in general. To reach our goal of creating this intellectual community we are creating an interactive web site to promote discussion, stimulate specialized meeting within and parallel to LASA, and secure funds to promote greater integration among US and Latin American scholars.
Economics and Politics
The LASA organized Economics and Politics Section (formerly Business and Politics) exists to facilitate scholarly exchanges around questions of the intersection of politics and markets, capitalist enterprise and democracy, macro and microeconomics, business organization and economic growth, and the national and international regulatory environments for production and distribution. We welcome those employing both quantitative and qualitative research strategies.
The LASA Ecuadorian Studies Section aims to facilitate a broad interdisciplinary discussion among national and foreign scholars, social movements, NGOS, and research institutes with an interest in Ecuador through the organization of panels at LASA Congresses, the establishment of electronic fora for communication, the active engagement of current social and political issues, coordination with other LASA sections, and the promotion of Ecuadorian interests within LASA.
Educación y Políticas Educativas en América Latina
Bearing in mind, first, the situation of social exclusion prevailing in Latin America, where one out of five children leaves primary school before reaching fifth grade; and second, that the quality and coverage of education are linked not only to the formation of human resources for development but also to social equity and ethics, a new section has been created whose objective is to facilitate the discussion of research agendas and educational policies from different theoretical perspectives and methodological proposals.
The Environment Section brings together scholars and practitioners to exchange ideas, information, and to promote fuller understanding of the dynamics of the environment and its interaction with human society. It seeks to promote an awareness of environmental issues among the LASA membership and to introduce those concerns into the policy-making processes in the Hemisphere.
Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous Peoples
The Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous Peoples Section promotes research, teaching and collaboration with respect to ethnicity, race, and the concerns of subaltern ethnic groups, particularly indigenous peoples, while offering a broader inter-disciplinary terrain for exploring social, economic, political, and cultural issues. The section promotes greater participation in LASA of indigenous and Afro-descendent scholars.
Europe and Latin America
The Europe and Latin America Section promotes scholarly relations between Latin Americanists from Europe and the Americas. Including all disciplines from the social sciences and humanities, it is particularly interested in the relations between Europe and Latin America as well as comparative studies involving cases from both these world regions.
The Latin American Studies Association Expert Witness Section offers a professional organizing mechanism for people who serve as experts in a range of legal proceedings, including asylum and war crimes cases. The Section promotes the development of a community of scholars positioned to provide expert witness assistance across a variety of legal settings, with the intention to support both new and experienced experts. The Section may include: serving as a resource hub to share experiences and resources; providing guidance and mentorship to experts; developing a set of ethical guidelines for expert witnesses; and supporting each other in the psychological-emotional challenges associated with expert witnessing.
The Film Studies Section promotes dialogue and theoretical deliberation on issues related to Latin American video and film production; assists researchers, students, filmmakers, producers, directors, and others interested in the exchange of ideas, and academic and creative work; promotes Latin American films in all possible forums: Latin America, United States, and abroad; and facilitates fluid and close relationships between all film creators (directors, writers, artists), researchers, and the classroom.
Food, Agriculture, and Rural Studies
The general goals of the Food, Agriculture and Rural Studies Section are to facilitate interdisciplinary and international communication and cooperation among scholars and practitioners whose work relates to policies, politics, practices and cultural aspects of food, agrarian issues (i.e.: land grabbing, reform, and tenure; labor; markets) and any dimension of rural studies, past or present, theoretical or applied. Issues addressed include, but are not be limited to, social structure, politics, economics, geography, the environment, culture, religion, the arts, and development. In addition to sponsoring panels, sessions, or round tables at LASA congresses, the Section pursues other methods of facilitating communications such as an electronic newsletter, an e-mail list, a Section’s website and a Facebook page.
The Section makes a concerted effort to foster collaboration between experts from Latin America and other regions of the world and since 2014 has instituted the Kerry Preibisch Travel Grant to foster the participation of young scholars at LASA and to improve and give continuity to rural and agrarian studies.
Gender and Feminist Studies
This Section is dedicated to promoting networking and dialogue on issues related to women and gender in Latin America and the Caribbean, incorporating different aspects of feminist studies in the social sciences and the humanities. The Section assists researchers, students, practitioners and others interested in the exchange of ideas and academic work.
Haiti / Dominican Republic
The goals of this newly-expanded section include the sponsorship of research at LASA Congresses; the promotion of networking on comparative analyses of themes or problems common to the two countries; and the promotion of discussions around sensitive issues, including refugees and immigration, economic integration, trafficking and smuggling, and racism. Section leaders hope to promote projects of mutual benefit to scholars from or concerned with Haiti and the Dominican Republic and thus to (indirectly) benefit both countries.
Health, Science and Technology
The Health, Science and Technology Section promotes the humanistic and social scientific study of disease, health, healing practices, and medical and scientific knowledge production, examining these topics in relation to broader social, political, and cultural contexts in Latin America. We are an interdisciplinary organization including historians, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and specialists in languages, literature, science studies, public health, and the natural sciences.
Research in this group encompasses, but is by no means limited to: health disparities caused by regional, national, and international policies, ideologies, and practices; medical imperialism, transnational medical knowledge, and the rise of “global health”; knowledge networks in Latin America and technologies of health (including bio-prospecting and pharmaceuticals research); the popular politics of treatment practices (including shamanism, curanderismo, folk healing, and bio-medicine); disease, health, medicine, and medical and scientific beliefs in contemporary and historical perspective; the interactions of science and medicine, gender, race, and class, in the creation of Latin American nation states; health and the environment; health and migration; health as a human right; and social and political movements aimed at transforming public health. It is the hope of the section that such approaches to the study of health, science, and technology might enhance our understanding of health problems and lead to gains in access to treatment, more democratic health policies, and real improvements in health conditions in Latin America.
Specific activities to promote scholarly interaction and the diffusion of views include organized sessions at LASA congresses and an electronic bulletin board. Other activities and functions may be developed consistent with the latest revision of LASA's Manual on Sections.
Historia Reciente y Memoria
The central goals of the Historia Reciente y Memoria Section are to promote interdisciplinary and international dialogue and collaboration among scholars interested in analyzing the recent past of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and the use and/or the abuse of memory of that past in the present. The Section sponsors panels and roundtables at LASA congresses, and uses the internet (including an electronic newsletter and list-serve) to facilitate a fluid and continuous communication among Section members around themes of mutual interest.
The LASA International Migrations Section will promote networking and dialogue related to academic work and debates on immigration from, to and within Latin America and the Caribbean among researchers, professors, students, and activists. It will organize a pre-conference, and will organize awards for scholarly work among its members.
The Labor Studies Section provides an interdisciplinary forum for members interested in labor issues throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and the North American NAFTA countries. The Section maintains an active electronic discussion list, sponsors "special topics" panels at LASA, promotes the Latin American Labor News, and fosters communication among members on research projects, conferences, publications, and labor events throughout the Americas.
This Section is open to LASA members interested in promoting research, teaching, advocacy, and collaborative endeavors about U.S. Latino communities and their transnational connections with the Latin American and Caribbean countries of origin. It also fosters a continuing dialogue regarding the relationships between Latino and Latin American Studies.
Libraries, Archives and Research
The Libraries, Archives and Research Section gathers LASA members who are dedicated to promoting access to academic research focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. This group encourages interdisciplinary dialogue around digital methodologies, preservation, specific collection / acquisitions, archival theory and research, and open access publishing.
Mass Media and Popular Culture
This Section brings together researchers interested in the cross cultural, interdisciplinary study of both emerging social practices and cultural objects produced for popular consumption, including posters, videos, comics, science fiction, ciberculture, music, etc. Researchers will have the opportunity to debate and theorize about new perspectives and insights into the social sphere from the perspective of the materiality of culture through collaborative projects and research.
The fundamental goal of this section is to facilitate communication and interaction among members of LASA (academic researchers, students, non-academics) who study any aspect of Mexico, including the Mexican diaspora and Mexico’s relations within and beyond the Americas. The section seeks to promote activities (including the organization of panels, roundtables, and other events at LASA congresses as well as awarding prizes to books, essays and notable papers) that focus on these and other similar topics. The section covers academic research, artistic production and the debate on public policies in all disciplines and in different historical periods.
The Nineteenth-Century Section emerged in 2015. Our purpose is to bring together a group of interdisciplinary academics to promote new methods in the understanding of people, politics, passions, powers and cultural production during the 19th century. We also seek to share in the discovery and discussion of new sources for a better understanding of this important era in the history of Latin America.
This section promotes collaborative, transformative research and exchange between academics and civil society knowledge producers to further social justice.
This section welcomes members with commitments to: 1) research practice and dissemination that is collaborative between academy- and civil society-based knowledge producers; 2) knowledge production that is both theoretically generative and substantively oriented to advance action on pressing social problems of our times; 3) knowledge that is social justice oriented, in explicit alignment with those who suffer directly from the enduring inequities of our societies, and in alignment with protagonists of efforts to transform those conditions, and; 4) recognition of multiple knowledge systems, with an interest in putting them in conversation. These overarching themes make for an inclusive field, with ample room for debate and innovation, and for a wide range of topical emphases.
This section has its origins in knowledge production by, with, and for indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, and aims to extend these debates to other areas of historically excluded knowledge production. The dual objectives of the Section are to defend and advance this field of “Otros Saberes” scholarship within LASA, and in so doing, to permanently transform the LASA Conference program by including civil society-based knowledge producers whose presence will enrich and challenge Conference proceedings.
The mission of the Peru Section is to increase awareness and understanding of political, economic and social realities of Peru, both past and present. This mission is undertaken through an interchange of data, ideas and opinions via: 1) occasional e-mail "discussions" of specific topics; 2) the periodic publication of a section newsletter containing announcements of upcoming conferences, brief articles by section members, book and film reviews, information on grants, etc.; 3) Section sessions at LASA Congresses; 4) the issuance of policy statements to the U.S. and Peruvian press; and 5) the sponsoring of conferences and research activities of particular interest to section members.
The Political Institutions Section is dedicated to the study of the origins and effects of political parties, electoral systems, presidents, judiciaries, legislatures, the military and bureaucracies. We seek to understand how political actors – voters, elected officials, and bureaucrats – shape and are subsequently constrained by these democratic institutions. The Section seeks to develop links so that those working on similar issues can critique each other's work and collaborate on common projects. These links will also help us locate information sources and build databases.
This LASA Section aspires to foster scholarly dialogue and collaboration related to Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican studies, broadly defined. It will do so by strengthening cross- and transdisciplinary exchange and cooperation on themes associated to Puerto Rico and its diaspora; it will provide a structure to foster and promote research, teaching, and advocacy within the broader LASA organization; and it will promote research and artistic activities that highlight related topics.
Our mission is to increase awareness and understanding of Puerto Rico’s historical, social, and economic realities through sustained conversations, scholarship, and advocacy. To that end, and to maintain Puerto Rican studies’ longstanding participation within the broader LASA organization, this Section will sponsor various panels, workshops, and others events at each LASA congress.
The section exists to promote knowledge on lesbian and gay issues in the various disciplines comprising LASA, to sponsor meetings during LASA congresses, to connect LASA membership with scholars and activists in Latin America working on lesbian and gay issues, and to bring together those interested in ending discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people in Latin America.
Southern Cone Studies
The Southern Cone Study Section aims to increase communication and interdisciplinary work among scholars and researchers from different disciplines and professional backgrounds of the countries in the region (Argentina, Chile and Uruguay). The section will assist researchers, students and practitioners in creating common scholarly interests and goals related to the study of the Southern Cone, and will provide a forum for collaborative research and joint activities.
Student Section of LASA (SSLASA)
Recognizing that students are an essential part of LASA and have specific needs and interests, the Student Section of LASA (SSLASA) provides a space for students to exchange experiences with one another and to contribute to the organization as a whole. At the same time, the SSLASA facilitates student’s integration into the scholarly community through activities that are aimed at professional and intellectual development. These activities include, but are not limited to, opening additional space for students’ presentations, mentoring, advising about the job market, information sharing, standards and suggestions on publications, academic contacts, timely communication on scholarship and employment offers, etc. The group is open to graduate students as well as undergraduate students.
Subnational Politics and Society
This Section brings together scholars from disciplines examining the causes and patterns of decentralization, the consequences of devolution for citizen participation and delivery of social services, and the effects of these changes on macroeconomic management and political institutions at all levels of government. Organizers strongly encourage participation by scholars engaged in cross-regional research on these topics.
The Venezuelan Studies Section has two objectives: 1) to foster interdisciplinary communications and collaboration among scholars, students, and non-academics whose work considers Venezuelan culture, politics, economy, ecology, social issues and other aspects of Venezuela; and 2) to facilitate the dissemination of information among members and non-members through public events and the media.
Visual Culture Studies
The Visual Culture Studies Section seeks to foster interdisciplinary exchange by creating a platform for visual culture studies that can connect scholars from diverse fields. Recognizing the centrality of visual culture, ways of seeing and mapping, and the social-spatial relationships of visuality, this section aims to attract members that ask questions raised by the creation, circulation, recycling, consumption, and reception of visual practices, literacies, and objects.