The University at Albany/SUNY holds its research, instructional, and service activities related to Latin America, the Caribbean, and the immigrant/migrant populations from these regions under two separate units: Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS) and the Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CELAC).
The LACS Department administers all undergraduate and graduate degrees and courses. Undergraduate majors are offered in Latin American Studies, and in Puerto Rican Studies, and MA and Graduate Certificate degrees in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in addition to the program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish with a specialty track in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies. LACS administers this specialty, in collaboration with the Spanish Program of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLC). This Ph.D. specialty is conceived of as qualitatively different from conventional language and literature programs. Its originality lies in the integration of area and ethnic studies within a disciplinary framework that includes the humanities as well as the social sciences. Broadly defined, Cultural Studies reflects a theoretical emphasis on the critical theories that focus on how issues of diversity, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, and race shape cultural, historical, socioeconomic, political, and educational processes.
LACS' programs also pay attention to the manner in which globalization, (im)migration, and transnationalism are forging new hemispheric visions of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In light of this reality, our research and teaching agenda is also focused on the U.S. Latino experience and its relationship to the countries of origin. This feature of our program reflects faculty interest and expertise and distinguishes the University at Albany LACS programs from those offered by other institutions. See also - LACS Programs Learning Objectives.
Some of the main areas of expertise of LACS faculty include globalization studies, development studies, women's studies, migration studies, cultural studies, Mesoamerican anthropology, Caribbean literature, education, and Puerto Rican and U.S. Latino Studies. Study abroad and field research opportunities are available with institutions in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Trinidad.
The Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS) at the University at Albany is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive program of its kind within the SUNY system. It is the only academic department that currently offers a doctoral concentration, an MA degree, and a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in addition to undergraduate majors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Puerto Rican Studies.
The Center for Latino, Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CELAC) and the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (IMS), autonomous research units overlapping LACS in geographical coverage and faculty, also have made significant contributions with their publications, conferences, and attracting grant resources and promoting international collaborations. IMS is affiliated with the Department of Anthropology.
CELAC coordinates collaborative agreements, research and technical assistance projects, scholarly conferences and seminars, publications, and other special activities dealing with the Latin American and Caribbean regions and the U.S. Latino population.
Most LACS graduates pursue careers in education, international business, government or community service agencies, public policy, law, criminal justice, and social work. Degree candidates are also expected to demonstrate advanced language proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese or French. A limited number of assistantships are available to doctoral program applicants on a competitive basis.