WPI’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Initiative brings together on- and off-campus communities to confront critical issues that affect Latin America, the Caribbean, and the wider world.
Through collaboration among the university’s four schools—Arts & Sciences, The Global School, Business, and Engineering—the initiative involves diverse forms of engagement between WPI and the region, as well as broader issues and activities with particular relevance to Latin America and the Caribbean.
This effort to create a central place for scholarly activity and educational resources that connect WPI with Latin America and the Caribbean is built around three issues—sustainability, mobility, and intercultural competency. These areas harness WPI’s academic strengths, help to build a more global institution, and amplify its potential to make an impact in and learn from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Global School Virtual Event Series: Latin America and The Caribbean
The Global School Virtual Event Series is a year-long celebration of The Global School at WPI. Held on December 2, 2020, Latin America and The Caribbean event featured a keynote talk by Nobel Laureate, Carlos Nobre as well as sessions covering WPI’s Engagement with Communities and Sustainability in Latin America and how COVID-19 has affected the economy in the region.
Campus to Global
Latin American and Caribbean Studies take place in and out of the classroom at WPI. Students, faculty, and staff work together in courses, at global project centers, in student clubs, and through on-campus activities. Events bringing together the campus community to engage with topics related to the region have covered recent elections in Brazil, the presence of right-wing nationalism in Latin America, and the crises associated with migration from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States. In project centers like those in Costa Rica and Paraguay, students work with community partners to confront issues like environmental sustainability and socio-economic development.
See the Spring 2021 Project Competition Winners
WPI’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) Initiative held its second-annual project competition in Spring 2021. A panel of judges recognized the most outstanding teams and individuals who completed IQPs and HUA capstones through Project Centers based in the region during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Latin American and Caribbean Curriculum
Latin American and Caribbean Studies build pathways for greater understanding of the people, places, and issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. WPI’s comprehensive approach allows students to develop contextual awareness of subjects ranging from the region's infrastructure to the diversity of its culture. Through curriculum development, community building, research, and projects including IQPs, MQPs, and HUA, students broaden their knowledge and intracultural competency, and apply them toward work in the classroom and the field that has a more meaningful impact.
Students can follow their passions and tailor their studies to align with their interests, including earning a minor in Spanish. In addition to advanced language courses such as Spanish-American Literature in the 20th Century or Latin American and Caribbean Culture and Civilization, students have access to new course offerings specifically geared toward those interested in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
New Latin American and Caribbean course offerings:
- Introduction to Latin America and the Caribbean
- Modern Latin America and the Caribbean
- Topics in Latin American and Caribbean History
- Latin America and the Caribbean and the World (capstone humanities & arts seminar)
Latin American Project Centers
For years, students have traveled to WPI’s Latin American project centers to work on projects that make an immediate impact on the communities in which they work.
Research topics are as varied as the following:
- refurbishment and expansion of the Panama Canal
- investigating how to improve environmental efficiency and sustainability of a junior high school building in Puerto Rico
- working with local authorities to promote sustainable land use and water protection in rural farming and ranching communities in Ecuador
- developing a Monteverde Urban Trail for the Sendero Pacifico in Costa Rica
Diverse Approaches to Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Celebrating Arts & Sciences Week 2019
Latin American Initiative Events
Students, faculty, and staff had opportunities throughout the year to participate in events focused on the Latin American region. Lectures, book talks, and forums brought visiting scholars to the WPI community to foster open discussion and dialogue.
Guest Speaker: Thea Riofrancos is an assistant professor of political science at Providence College, an Andrew Carnegie Fellow (2020-2022), and a Radcliffe Institute Fellow (2020-2021).
This event was part of the Collaboration for a Better World speaker series, sponsored by the Department of Integrative and Global Studies, and was co-sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program and the Global Lab.
February 26, 2021
This event examined the connections between migration and technology and discuss the challenges in the 21st century.
Guest speaker: Dr. José Jorge Mendoza, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, co-editor of Radical Philosophy Review
Faculty Research Panel: Jennifer Rudolph (HUA); Andy Trapp (The Business School); Sarah Stanlick (The Global School); John Galante (HUA); Crystal Brown (SSPS)
January 28, 2020
The Global School Virtual Event Series is a year long celebration of The Global School at WPI and aims to highlight and grow the projects, research, and collaborations WPI has all over the world while focusing on global grand challenge themes.
December 2, 2020
Panelists: Aviva Chomsky, Salem State University; John Galante, WPI; Jessica Ordaz, University of Colorado, Boulder; Angel Rivera, WPI; Heather Silber Mohamed, Clark University; Aarti S. Madan, WPI
Presented by Hispanic & Caribbean Student Association (HCSA); Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE); International Student Council (ICS); Brazilian Student Association (BRASA); Department of Humanities & Arts
February 5, 2019
Blackness in Brazil and the United States
With Dr. Sarah Soanirina Ohmer, CUNY Lehman College
Sponsored by the Department of Humanities & Arts
April 18, 2019
Discussion of Erman’s book Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution, and Empire
Featuring Comments by Rosa Carrasquillo, Holy Cross; Holger Droessler, WPI (HUA); Ángel Rivera, WPI (HUA)
November 18, 2019
Discussing the national and international implications of Brazil’s election
Panelists: Aarti S. Madan, WPI; John Galante, WPI; Alex Sphar, WPI; Thomas Rogers, Emory University
November 27, 2018
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