Our research

The Centre's current research focuses broadly on the problem of global inequalities, one of the University’s research beacons.

Specifically our work is organised around the following four areas.

Mobilities

Colourful bus
Exploring migration, immigration and exile.

Tackling the relationship between movement – both forced and self-determined – and identity, research in this strand addresses migration, immigration and exile. Researchers look both at highly localized manifestations of movement, as well as how such mobilities are located within regional, transnational and global structures.

Culture and power

Mayan god head
Taking a closer look at the historically charged and contested nature of culture.

Research in this area focuses on the varying ways that culture can challenge imposed economic hierarchies, political identities and social relations in the region. The historically charged and contested nature of culture informs research in this area, which includes not only cultural production and the politics of representation but also cultural politics, habits, ethics and histories.

Urban inequalities

Guatemala city
Collaborating with Manchester's Urban Institute.

Latin America is the world’s most urbanised region and its cities have some of the starkest wealth divides. But our research highlights that such urban conglomerations also house immense potential for mobilising alternative urban futures via informal building practices and architectures, political and economic self-determination, and cultural resistance. Our work in this area contributes to research undertaken within The Manchester Urban Institute.

Racial and ethnic identities

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Exploring social inequalities that coalesce around race and ethnicity.

Drawing on the racial, ethnic and cultural hybridity, mestizaje and transculturation that lie at the heart of the Latin America and the Caribbean, research in this strand tackles the historical and contemporary social inequalities that coalesce around race and ethnicity.

Regional specialisms

Mexico and Central America

Francisco Eissa Barroso, Lúcia Sá

Brazil

Karl Posso, Lúcia Sá, Angela Torresán, Chloe Nahum-Claudel, Nuno Pinto, Karen Lucas

The Caribbean

Natalie Zacek, Nicolle Alzamora

Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador

Peter Wade, Francisco Eissa Barroso, Ignacio Aguiló, Nuno Pinto, Karen Lucas

The Andes

Ignacio Aguiló, Tanja Bastia, Francisco Eissa Barroso, Valentino Gianuzzi, James Scorer

The Southern Cone

Ignacio Aguiló, Tanja Bastia, Karl Posso, James Scorer, Carlo Edoardo Altamura, Karen Lucas

Postgraduate study

The diversity of interests of academics and postgraduate students affiliated with the Centre means that we can offer one of the richest and most vibrant environments for studying the region in the UK.

Studying for a doctoral degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Manchester gives you the opportunity to work with people who are producing innovative and thought-provoking research.

Taught master’s degrees

Suggested courses at Manchester include:

Research projects

The following list of recent and current projects gives an idea of the range of research carried out by Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) staff.

Comics and Race in Latin America

Principal Investigator: Dr James Scorer

Manchester Co-Investigator: Prof Peter Wade

Funder: AHRC

Period: Mar 21 - Mar 24

This project explores the relationship between comics and race in Latin America. As comics use visual shorthands to communicate complex cultural histories quickly, they are susceptible to simplistic, stereotypical representations of cultural difference. But comics artists in Latin America have also produced more considered explorations of race, sometimes constructing anti-racist discourses.

The relationship between comics and race demands attention not only because of the region’s long-standing racial hierarchies and tensions but also because Latin America is currently undergoing a comics renaissance. There are now more independent publishers dedicated to comics, more comics festivals, greater circulation of both print and digital comics, and a growing number of artists whose work is gaining international recognition.

The project will unpack how Latin American comics in the region have treated issues of blackness and indigeneity from the nineteenth century to the present in three different countries - Argentina, Colombia and Peru. And it will analyse how the comics world, which remains predominantly white, might seek out ways to be less inscribed by racial inequalities by thinking about how race inflects the work and working practices of contemporary comics artists in these countries and beyond. 

Trajectories of Reform in the Spanish World: Careering, Networks and Empire under the Early Bourbons (1700-1759)

Principal Investigator: Dr Francisco Eissa-Barroso

Funder: AHRC

Period: Feb 20 - Dec 22

This project explores how early modern empires were built through the experiences, relationships and careers of individuals whose lives were spent in multiple sites of empire. It challenges our tendency to study 'composite monarchies' as sets of bilateral relations between a dominant centre and multiple peripheries, highlighting both the dialogic nature of these relations and the importance of periphery-periphery connections and interactions. Its main aim is to study how ideas, institutions and social structures often associated with the 'centralising absolutism' of the early-Bourbon monarchy in Spain were influenced by travel to and contact with different sites of empire across the Spanish world. By analysing the careers, networks and writings of royal officials involved in the design or implementation of reform in the Iberian Peninsula, the Spanish Circum-Caribbean and the Andean highlands, the project will show that experiencing various sites of empire shaped their understanding of the constituent territories of the monarchy, their views of the empire as a whole, opinions of what needed to be reformed, and of how such reforms should be introduced. Simultaneously, by studying their careers and the familial and patron-client networks they built, the project will contribute to our understanding of how different parts of the Spanish world contributed to the formation and transformation of institutions and personnel associated with imperial reform, thus further problematizing our understanding of the relationship between sites traditionally described as centres and peripheries.

Cultures of Anti-Racism in Latin America

Principal Investigator: Prof Peter Wade

Manchester Co-Investigators: Prof Lúcia Sá and Dr Ignacio Aguiló

Funder: AHRC

Period: Jan 20 - Jan 23

In a global context of persistent racism and racial inequality, alongside the growing "post-racial" denial of their importance, this project will explore the role of the arts in challenging racism. The project aims to investigate the sociality, practices and discourses of contemporary cultural producers working in literature and visual and performing arts who focus on issues of racial difference, racism and anti-racism in three Latin American contexts: Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. We work on the basis that the arts have always played a crucial role in anti-racist movements, serving as important tools with which to protest against and educate about racism. The arts have the ability to mobilise emotions through narrative and performance, and this makes them well suited to deal with racism's dependence on an emotive logic.

A notable feature of the project is that it encompasses anti-black and anti-indigenous racism in a region where practices and attitudes prejudicial to indigenous people are often not labelled as racism, but also at a time at which this label is becoming increasingly popular in struggles against such prejudice, highlighting the structural dimensions of indigenous disadvantage. A further strength of the project is its comparative approach, which seeks to use the rather different racial formations of Argentina, Brazil and Colombia to assess how generic or country-specific anti-racism strategies are.

More information: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FS004823%2F1

Latin American Anti-Racism in a 'Post-Racial' Age - LAPORA

Principal Investigators: Prof Peter Wade and Dr Mónica Moreno Figueroa (The University of Cambridge)

Funder: ESRC

Period: Jan 17 - Nov 19

This project investigates anti-racist practices and ideologies in Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The project contributes to addressing problems of racism and racial inequality in the region and to shaping on-going debates there about how to conceptualise and label racism, anti-racism, discrimination and the idea of race.

Latin American countries present new opportunities for thinking about anti-racism and the role of race at a time when many claim that, at least in Europe and the United States, we have entered a ‘post-racial’ world, where anti-racism has apparently gone into ‘crisis’ and emerged as an often insipid and hard-to-defend multiculturalism.

We propose that the situation in Latin America will help to interrogate the concept of anti-racism and its cross-cultural applicability and diversity, and provide lessons of wider relevance to anti-racism generally: how should anti-racism be conceptualised, as part of a social justice agenda, when racial differences are blurred by race mixture and merge into cultural difference, and when victim and victimiser can be the same person?

More information: https://www.lapora.sociology.cam.ac.uk/

Racism and Anti-Racism in Brazil: The Case of Indigenous Peoples

Principal Investigator: Prof Lúcia Sá

Funder: AHRC

Period: Nov 17 - Oct 19

The purpose of this Research Network is to organise three events that will bring together indigenous leaders, artists and intellectuals with academics from the Humanities and Social Sciences with a view to discuss the current rise in racism and violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil, as well as strategies to resist it and contain it.

More information: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FR004374%2F1

Comics and the Latin American City: Framing Urban Communities

Principal Investigator: Dr James Scorer

Period: Nov 16 - Oct 19

Funder: The Leverhulme Trust

More information: https://comicsandthelatinamericancity.wordpress.com/about/

This International Network looks at the way comics represent and shape urban life in Latin America. Specifically, it will focus on how Latin American cities appear in graphic fiction; how comics are used within the cityscape; and how comics, in the shape of websites, fanzines and festivals, provide a site around which urban communities coalesce.