Latin American History

About the Program

Rutgers has a long and distinguished tradition as a center of scholarship and teaching on the history of Latin America and the Caribbean. The graduate program offers its students training in a range of historical themes with award-winning and recognized leaders in the region's scholarship. Chronologically, we span from the early colonial period to the late twentieth century, with particular strengths in Mexico, Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Brazil. Thematic specializations include indigenous histories, Nahuatl studies, diaspora and migration, peasant and working-class histories, and slavery and abolition studies in Latin America and the Americas. Many of the faculty working on Latin America and the Caribbean share a broad interest in comparative and transnational histories of the region, from the colonial period (with strengths in Atlantic, Pacific, and indigenous history) to the early national and modern eras (particularly Afro-Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latinx history).

The small size of the program allows students to develop scholarly interests through intense individual interaction with faculty, including independent study courses. We also share students and advising with other programs within the History Department such as Atlantic Cultures and the African Diaspora, Global and Comparative History, and Science, Technology, Environment and Health. Faculty and graduate students in the program are also active members of the Global South Workshop, which organizes presentations and events on non-Western topics within the History Department.    

Prospective students who are considering applying to our program are encouraged to contact the faculty member whose expertise most closely matches their own interests. Details about program requirements in general and about individual faculty members are available. We will also be happy to arrange for prospective students to visit campus to tour our facilities and meet with current students to talk about our program. Inquiries can be directed to the Graduate Vice Chair of the History Department.

The Curriculum

The program is structured around three required courses, a variety of individualized courses, qualifying exams and a dissertation proposal. The three required courses are: Colloquium on Colonial Latin America, Colloquium on Modern Latin America, and the Research Seminar.

Our students also take advantage of courses offered at NYU, Princeton and Columbia (and others) through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.

Students ordinarily take their major and minor field exams in the Fall of their third year and defend their dissertation proposal in the Spring of the third year.

The Faculty

Camilla Townsend, Distinguished Professor of History
Ph.D., Rutgers University
Colonial Latin America, Indigenous history of the Americas, Nahuatl Studies

Aldo A. Lauria Santiago, Professor
Ph.D., The University of Chicago
Modern Mexico, Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Latinos in the US, race and ethnicity, revolt and revolution, transnational and migration studies

Kathleen Lopez, Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Cuba, Chinese Diaspora, Modern Latin America, race and ethnicity in the Americas, diaspora and international migration

Tatiana Seijas, Associate Professor
Ph.D., Yale University
Colonial Latin America, Mexico & the Philippines, African diaspora, global history, race and ethnicity

Kim Butler, Associate Professor
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
African diaspora history, Brazil, race and politics of identity

Yesenia Barragan, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Columbia University
Modern Latin America and the Caribbean, Race, Slavery, and Emancipation in Colombia, Afro-Latin America, and the African Diaspora in the Americas

The University

The University's Center for Latin American Studies coordinates programs to bring together students and faculty interested in Latin America across many disciplines. It offers a Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies and small grants.

The Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, brings together internationally distinguished scholars with the university community and New Jersey public. The RCHA organizes weekly sessions around a two-year theme.  It also offers faculty and student fellowships.

The Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies is an undergraduate department that offers teaching opportunities for our graduate students. The Department has a nationally-leading curriculum of Caribbean and US Latino Studies.

The Rutgers Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies promotes multi-disciplinary research about the Caribbean to foster a better understanding of the region and its people. It offers a Graduate Certificate in Critical Caribbean Studies.

The Rutgers Latino Studies Research Initiative is a working group of faculty and students promoting Latino, border and transnational studies. It offers small fellowships and a yearly symposium.