Crossing Boundaries

The LALS Brochure

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Latin American & Latino Studies (LALS) focuses on the pluridiversity of the Americas and the interconnections across communities in the hemisphere. Our aim is to educate a new generation of discerning readers and producers of knowledge; a generation that challenges injustices and confronts problems impacting Latin America and Latina/o communities.

Our faculty encourages LALS students to think critically and pursue activist research that can make a real difference in the world. We equip our students with the practical and analytic skills they will need to become leaders in the public and private sectors and in academia.


LALS is an emerging interdisciplinary field that explores the interconnections between Latin America and the United States. We consider how people, ideas, cultural expressions, social movements, and economic and natural resources move back and forth across the Americas and beyond.

LALS by the numbers

  • 2,302 students enrolled in LALS classes
  • 215 undergraduate majors
  • 84% of majors are first-generation college students
  • 10 graduate students
  • 10 faculty members
  • 5 major teaching awards
  • 1st Ph.D. program of its kind in the world

We pursue research, teaching, and community engagement that provide a robust understanding of the complexities of the past while creating deeper insight into our present and future. Our faculty is trained in areas including sociology, anthropology, history, political science, literature, economics, ethnic studies, and media studies.
Our work involves four major areas of concentration:

  • Transnationalism, migrations, and displacement
  • Intersectionality, identities, and inequalities
  • Collective action, social movements, and social change
  • Culture, power, and knowledge


We want to continue a tradition of producing critical thinkers and influential leaders poised to make a difference in communities across the Americas. We have these specific goals:

  • Expand field study and community-partnered research in the U.S. and Latin America to enable students to learn more about real-world problems and attempts to solve them.
  • Support faculty research to expand and enhance work in transnational migration, collective action and social movements, social inequalities, and cultural studies.
  • Fund student scholarship to make field research accessible to all students.
  • Establish endowed chairs to attract world-class scholars and elevate the profile of the department.
  • Bolster graduate fieldwork to recruit and retain interdisciplinary scholars of excellence


“It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.”
—Sonia Sotomayor

We want to continue preparing our students to effect real-world change. We depend on private donations to support our work. A donation from you will help fund the vital research happening at LALS and ensure a legacy of politically and publicly engaged scholarship.

Thank you for your support!


You can make a gift online or send a check, payable to the UC Santa Cruz Foundation. Please indicate your gift is for "LALS" in the memo line, and send to:

Social Sciences Division
Development Office
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Questions? You can always reach us at