The program in Latin American history provides students with a deep knowledge of the region, focusing on particular countries, local case studies and transregional and transnational developments.
The diversity of our faculty allows for varied student interests and approaches. The program is strong on the political culture of both colonial and modern Latin America.
The graduate program in Latin American history has emerged as one of the top programs in the United States, led by nationally-ranked faculty who have attracted highly qualified students from throughout the Americas. Our faculty is large and diverse in scope and area of interests, covering the most important aspects of the history of Latin America, from the conquest and establishment of the Iberian empires to the most contemporary issues, from the Southern Cone to the Caribbean. The program also benefits from close connections with faculty and students from other fields such as Global Interaction and Exchange; Medieval and Early Modern World; Women, Gender and Sexuality; and the history of the United States.
The graduate program is structured around a comprehensive sequence of historiographical, methodological, and research and writing seminars that prepare students to choose a research focus from a range of geographic regions, nation-states and periods. The program encourages transnational, comparative, and interdisciplinary approaches. Students must take the three general seminars on the history of colonial, nineteenth-century, and twentieth-century Latin America. Additionally, they may choose seminars in Atlantic history, African-American history, African history, the Haitian Revolution, Race in the Americas, or Research Methods and Sources in Latin American History as well as courses on Latin America in the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, Anthropology, Women’s Studies, Sociology, Government, Theater and Performance Studies, Art History and Music. Students may also take advantage of courses offered in other academic institutions in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Current and past students have focused on labor, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, science and the environment, empire, the arts and culture industries, slavery and emancipation, and nation-state formation. Students have written dissertations on themes as diverse as masculinity in post-revolutionary Mexico, gender in Pinochet’s Chile, agricultural modernization of Mexico, consumer culture in twentieth-century Brazil, the African diaspora in Panama, the political culture of the Mapuches in nineteenth-century Chile and Argentina; the political culture of the Spanish Empire; and Protestant missionaries in the colonial Caribbean. Students have won major external fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright, the Spencer Foundation, and Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies in support of innovative doctoral research. The program's most recent doctoral recipients are employed in tenure-track jobs or related work of their choice.
A wide range of departmental, campus and regional resources enrich student life and learning. The vibrant Latin American Studies Center brings together faculty and students across campus working on topics related to Latin American and the Caribbean for conferences and lectures. The University Libraries have invested in the Latin American history collection over the past decade, targeting collection development in themes of greatest interest to graduate students in the Department of History.
The Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies, housed within the Department of History, engages professors and students in dialogue with leading international scholars in seminars and conferences organized annually around a theme. In recent years, the Miller Center's annual themes have included globalization, religion, visuality and history, empire, and the body and body politic. The Miller Center provides funding for conferences and workshops organized by the graduate students themselves, both within the history department and across departments and campuses.
In addition, students have many opportunities to interact with the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, and the Consortium on Race, Gender & Ethnicity, all of which sponsor outside speakers and conferences and offer interdisciplinary dialogue and resources for graduate students.
The Baltimore-Washington region houses invaluable archival resources for student research in the history and cultures of the Americas. In addition to the College Park facility of the National Archives and Records Administration, located minutes away from campus, Latin Americanists have ready access to the vast multidisciplinary holdings of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution; the museum and library of the Organization of American States; specialized holdings of the National Agricultural Library in Greenbelt, the National Medical Library in Bethesda, as well as other regional institutions including the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, which specializes, among other things, on pre-Columbian art and culture, and the Interamerican Development Bank. The archives of AFL-CIO leader George Meany, recently acquired by the University of Maryland, include voluminous documentation of US-Latin America labor relations.