About Us

The Latin American  Studies Program at UCR is a long-established field of study. It was founded in 1964 and carries on the UCR tradition of strong interest in Latin America. Our faculty continues to explore the connections among regions in what is commonly called "Latin America" and the multi-lingual Caribbean as well as the links between the Latin American continent, the Caribbean, the US, Spain, Portugal, and other places in the world as we move to an ever more integrated global system.

Latin American Studies majors and minors acquire a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the cultures, societies, politics, economics, history, institutions, geography, arts, literature, and languages of Latin America, its nations and peoples. Majors also enjoy the opportunity to explore a wide variety of subjects of particular individual interest. This broadly based education is an increasingly valuable asset as the United States, and especially California, become more integrated with Latin America.

The major leads to a Bachelors of Arts degree in Latin American Studies. It also may be combined in a double major with other academic departments, such as Anthroplogy, Economics, Dance, Media and Cultural Studies, Music, Hispanic Studies, History, Sociology, Political Science, and many others.

Many students are already qualified to be minors in Latin American Studies without even knowing it!

About the Director

Alfonso Gonzales
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies

INTS 4007
(951) 827-6512

Dr. Alfonso Gonzales is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California Riverside. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA (2008), and M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University (2002). Prof. Gonzales is a theorist of Latino and Latin American politics with a research agenda focused on issues of migration control, human rights, migrant social movements and the politics of race in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. His research is in simultaneous dialogue with scholarly debates in Latino politics, political theory, Latino and Latin American studies, and critical ethnic studies. His underlying concern is to understand how Latino migrant and refugee social movements influence policy and the politics of migration control from the ground up.  

Dr. Gonzales is the author of the award-winning Reform without Justice: Latino Migrant Politics and the Homeland Security State (Oxford University Press, 2013). The book explores post-9/11 migration control policies and Latino migrant activism through the lens of neo-Gramscian theory and includes interviews with over 60 migrant activists in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C, as well as with deportees in Mexico and Central America. This book was awarded the Américo Paredes Book Prize for the best book in the field of Chicana/o and Latina/ o studies. In 2014, Reform without Justice alsogarnered an honorable mention as the best nonfiction book in its category at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival. His numerous academic articles have been published in Latino StudiesCamino Real: Estudios de las Hispanidades Norteamericanas, and North American Congress on Latin America’s (NACLA) Report on the Americas, and with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

Since writing Reform without Justice, Professor Gonzales has started a second book project on Mexican and Central American asylum claims in the U.S. This project grew out of his experience as an expert witness in Mexican and Central American asylum cases in numerous immigration courts in California, Texas, and New York. His popular writings on these issues have appeared in op-eds, co-written with colleagues across the country, in major outlets such as Politico, Huffington Post, and The Hill.  In 2016 he spearheaded an international conference on migrant detention and Latino asylum seekers through the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT Austin. In June of 2016 he had the honor of sharing his most recent research as the keynote speaker at the annual Global Studies Association conference in Austin Texas.

As a first generation college student, born in Tijuana and raised in the working-class community of Mira Loma located in Western Riverside County, Alfonso Gonzales is particularly thrilled to be teaching at the University of California Riverside.

Career Opportunities

Latin American Studies graduates are well prepared to pursue a number of careers, including those in diplomatic service, governmental and non-governmental organizations and corporations with Latin American operations, and teaching. Graduates also may go on to graduate or professional schools for additional studies in such disciplines as government, business administration, law, and Spanish and Portuguese literatures.

The Program sponsors speaker series, involving eminent scholars of many disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. It organizes presentations of important films, and cultural events for the community and university. Please see Upcoming Events for more information.

UCR IS HOME TO the Latin American Perspectives Journal: http://www.latinamericanperspectives.com/