Scholars and students at the University of Toronto have studied Latin America for many years. The strength of the collection of Latin American materials in the University of Toronto Libraries has long provided the vital base for study of the region. Efforts to create a University community of Latin Americanists began in the 1960s: hirings in the Faculty of Arts and Science, distinguished visiting professors from Latin America, and a seminar devoted to the study of Brazil were among the significant accomplishments of this time.

An external donation in the early 1990s saw the foundation of the Ibero-American Studies Programme (IAS). IAS pioneered a team-taught introductory course and sponsored occasional upper-level seminars, renewing student interest. In the first years of the present century, efforts to revitalize a broader enterprise picked up steam and enthusiasm grew for reconfiguration into a truly multi-disciplinary unit.

Latin American Studies was born in July 2005 as a programme within the Faculty of Arts and Science. It works to serve a wide range of scholars and students of the region, and to realize the University of Toronto’s potential for international leadership and integrated area knowledge.

LAS seeks to create multiple opportunities for learning and community, to engage our excellent faculty representing a variety of disciplines, to attract adventurous students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and to serve as a bridge between our University and the larger community in multicultural Toronto and environs. It is our goal to encourage a study of Latin America that is multidisciplinary and open to what many others are doing, both within the University and beyond it.