Event Coverage

Did you miss one of the Center for Latin American Studies' many events, outings and lectures? Scroll down to see what our department was up to in 2015 and 2016!  

2016 Events 


11/3/2016 - In Case you Missed It: 12th Annual Tinker Symposium

CLAS’s 2016 Annual Tinker Symposium gave the UA community a chance to see the summer field research projects that graduate students had been pursuing with their funds from the Tinker Field Research Grant.

    From CLAS,  LAS/Public Health student Claudia Diaz-Combs presented her project “Fluye el Petroleo, Sangra la Selva” (As Petroleum Flows The Jungle Bleeds): Ecuador vs. Chevron, which looked at the relationship between oil development and local communities (Indigenous people and campesinos) in the Oriente region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. LAS student Emily McIntosh presented her project Cuando una mujer avanza: Impact of Female Participation in 2006 Oaxacan Civil Uprising, which looked at the impact of the 2006 Oaxacan uprising in the lives of women who participated.  Jacobo Ramirez, from Public Administration and LAS, presented his research on the criminalization of campesinos in rural Paraguay titled Subversive Subsistence: Paraguay’s threat of rural insecurity and the criminalization of small-scale farming communities. Finally,  Andrea Yolanda Jimenez, of LAS, presented her project The Peasant Reserve Zona of El Pato-Balsillas, Caqueta, Colombia as a Pease Territory in the Post Agreement, which looked at  the historical and political situation of communities in the Peasant Reserve Zone (ZRC) of El Pato – Balsillas, San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá, Colombia. Students from multiple other departments presented projects as well.

    The event concluded with a fantastic keynote speech from journalist John Gibler, who lives and works in Mexico and has written several books the drug war and violence in the country. Congratulations to all the students who participated, and thank you for sharing your research and offering new perspectives on Latin America.  


4/16/2016 - In Case You Missed It: Dia de La Tierra 2016 en Nogales

*To view more photos of the event, please go to our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/University-of-Arizona-Center-for-Latin-American-Studies-291222507574219/

A handful of Latin American Studies students were invited to tag along with the UA School of Anthropology to visit an Earth Day celebration put on by local high schools in Nogales, Mexico last Friday. It was a great day full of fun, earth-friendly activities. The high school and secundaria students set up some amazing booths, which included examples of recycled artwork, solar heating, and electrical currents. They were all happy to answer our questions about their projects. The School of Anthropology had prepared activities about different types of pollutants in Nogales, while the Department of Latin American Studies took portraits in front of a beautiful painted backdrop of the earth.  


The highlight of the celebration was the fashion show. Students from different schools made beautiful dresses out of recycled materials and strutted their stuff on the runway. Only three out of twenty-five entries were awarded prizes, and it was a very tight race!


LAS is very grateful for the host school CONALEP for inviting us to the celebration and for the School of Anthropology for organizing the trip! We hope to return next year (and maybe submit our own entry in the Recycled Fashion show!)

5/9/2016 - In Case You Missed It: End of Year Fiesta at Rancho Pequena

Center for Latin American Studies Director Marcela Vasquez-Leon held an end of year party for graduating LAS seniors and master’s students at her small ranch in Tucson last Friday night. The graduating students and their families gathered to meet professors and talk about their summer plans (most of which included travel to Latin America) and eat delicious food with a Colombian and Mexican flair.  


Grill Master Deeds


An impressive banquet


Plenty of critters to play with


A good time was had by all


Adios graduating seniors! We'll miss you, but we can't wait to see what awesome things you accomplish in the future! 



To view more photos, please visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/University-of-Arizona-Center-for-Latin-American-Studies-291222507574219/

3/21/2016 - In Case You Missed It: LAS at the Tucson Festival of Books

LAS assistant director Colin Deeds was on hand to answer questions about the department


The Department for Latin American Studies had a table in the SBS tent at the Tucson Festival of Books last weekend. There were more than 130,000 attendees at the festival, and many book-lovers stopped by to visit our table.  People checked out some LAS faculty publications and picked up a department-approved summer reading list of Latin American literature. It was a great to chat with festival patrons about their favorite Latin American books and to answer questions the Latin American Studies programs.    



Making tissue-paper flowers


Besides booklists and department brochures, LAS offered a variety of hands-on activities. The festival was soon full of kids holding colorful tissue-paper flowers and paper Mayan masks that they had made at the LAS table. For socially-conscious adults, there was a card-making activity for people in immigration detention. Many people stopped by to create beautiful and thoughtful cards with famous inspirational quotes in Spanish.



Making cards for people in immigration detention
Despite strong winds occasionally blowing flowers and brochures off the table, it was a fun day. Click here to read more about the annual Tucson Festival of Books.

3/5/2016 - In Case You Missed It: Reception for Marcela Vasquez-Leon


Toasting the new Director

On March 2nd, Latin American Studies graduate students, faculty, staff, as well as faculty from affiliated departments, gathered for an evening of cocktails and snacks to formally celebrate Dr. Marcela Vasquez-Leon’s new position as the director of Latin American Studies. Dr. Vasquez-Leon gave a speech about her future goals for the program, which included an emphasis on environmental issues in Latin America and an expansion of the Brazil and Mexico programs. She thanked the students and faculty for their support and said that she looked forward to more help and ideas from her great department in the future . Everyone had fun congratulating the new directora and talking to each other about research plans, current Latin American news, and the great new direction our department is taking. Welcome Dr. Vasquez-Leon!

3/4/2016 - In Case You Missed It: Violence in Latin America Discussion


Robert Alvarez presents his research on the violence during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil


The first in a series of graduate-student led roundtable discussions on human rights issues in Latin America went off with a bang on Friday morning. The theme of the discussion was Violence in Latin America, and the speakers included graduate students from Latin American Studies, Anthropology, and Geography, all of whom had recently returned from fieldwork in Latin America. The event was co-sponsored by the UA Center for Documentary, as an accompaniment to a workshop held the same afternoon on promoting human rights through film-making. The workshop was taught by Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis, the acclaimed filmmakers behind Disruption, who also listened in on the discussion.  

Nicolas Espinoza discusses his fieldwork in Colombia


The discussion was held in a conference room in the Marshall building, which was soon overflowing with attendees from Anthropology, Center for Documentary, LAS, Geography, and other departments. People perched on the floor and in the aisles to listen as the six graduate students gave short presentations of their fieldwork. Jacobo Xavier Ramirez of LAS started off by talking about the criminalization of Paraguayan campesinos who resist globalized agribusiness. Next, Geoff Boyce, a PHD candidate in the Geography department, discussed his research on migration and the Programa Frontera Sur. The following two presenters, Christopher Yutzy (Anthropology)  and Robert Alvarez (LAS), both presented research on Brazil. Christopher talked about the problem of clientelism in Brazil’s urban slums, while Robert Alvarez discussed the economic and tertiary violence that occurred during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Anna Steeves-Reece of LAS and Public Health followed with a discussion about mental health services and postpartum depression in Nicaragua. The last presenter, Nicolas Espinosa of Anthropology, talked about his research on guerilla movements and violence following the end of Colombia’s civil war.  Although they were kept on a tight schedule, each presenter was able to answer a couple questions from the audience following their presentations.

All the presenters came together at the end for questions


After the presentation, all six of the students gathered for an informal discussion of their experiences abroad and opinions on violence in Latin America. LAS faculty members Marcela Vasquez-Leon and Elizabeth Oglesby asked them about their experiences witnessing violence and human rights abuses and about advice they had for students hoping to conduct fieldwork in Latin America.

The entire presentation was well-received and sparked a lot of great questions. LAS is hoping to sponsor more student-led events like this in the future, so if you have any suggestions for a theme, contact the LAS director Marcela Vasquez-Leon at mvasquez@email.arizona.edu or assistant director Colin Deeds at colind@email.arizona.edu.

A packed house

If you want to ask any of the Violence in Latin America presenters about their research, their email addresses can be found below:


Xavi Ramirez - jxr@email.arizona.edu




2/5/2016 - In Case You Missed it: Themes in US/Mexico Relations Presentations


The presenters from UA and UNAM 


Last Thursday, scholars from both the University of Arizona and the Universidad Nacional  Autonoma de Mexico met to discuss strategies for how to teach US/Mexico relations in an evolving political, social, and environmental landscape. The Center for Latin American Studies has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with UNAM, and the forum was a way to discuss many complex issues affecting both countries in an academic setting,  including migration, Latinos and the 2016 elections, stereotypes, development, and natural resources. The presentations generated many lively questions, as speakers and attendees discussed the issues at length and the best ways to present them in the classroom. The ultimate goal of the presentation was to utilize papers from the presentations in a joint publication.





1/27/2016 - In Case You Missed It: SUSI Cultural Exchange

Latin American Studies students and faculty gathered for an evening of food and performance on Friday, January 22nd. Twenty mostly indigenous undergraduate student leaders from Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador and Panama shared their culture on their educational study tour of the United States. They were sponsored by the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders, an academic program that encourages international relations and student leadership.


Students from Bolivia demonstrate a traditional dance.

The students, giggling and snapping selfies of their traditional costumes, gave a variety of performances. Highlights included a piano piece by a Panamanian composer, a funny skit about young lovers from the Ecuadorian group, and many dances that got UofA audience members up and moving.


LAS graduate student Andrea Jiminez dances with the Bolivian students

After the performances, students an faculty had a change to mingle with the SUSI group to ask questions, practice their spanish, and try some traditional foods. More information about SUSI can be found here.



1/23/2016 - In Case You Missed It: Lectures on Identity in the Middle East and Latin America

Over the weekend, LAS and the Middle Eastern Studies Department hosted a series of talks on identity in the Middle East and Latin America. Theresa Alfaro-Velcamp opened on Friday with the keynote address, "So Far from Allah, So Close to Mexico: Arab Immigrants in Mexico." She provided some highlights from her book of the same title, and told the story of traveling through Mexico and Lebanon to track down her great-grandfather's roots.


Other highlights included lectures on indigenous identites in Latin America, a film about Palenstinean-Israeli cultural sharing, and a panel on religious identities. The series wrapped up on Saturday evening, when participants were seronaded by Andres Pantoja, a Chilean classical guitarist who played a variety of pieces from Latin American composers.

For the finale, participants got on stage for a crash course in Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art. Instructor Aquil Hameed of Grupo Axe Capoeira got blood pumping as he encouraged everyone in the audience to get up and move.



LAS assistant director Colin Deeds joins participants on stage to learn some Capoeira moves