Latin American Studies / Graduate Programme (LASP)


The Latin American Studies Programme (LASP) is an interuniversity graduate programme dedicated to research and graduate education on Latin America. The common research aim of LASP is to understand and explain the key social, political, cultural and economic transformations in this region in the context of global developments. LASP applies a comprehensive and integrated approach that combines a range of theories and methods from the social sciences and the humanities. Latin America is particularly interesting from an area studies perspective. The region not only presents a relatively clear historical, cultural, socio-economic and political cohesion, but it also increasingly presents itself as one integrated region in international relations. Despite many local and national differences its similarities are remarkable.

The Netherlands have a solid track record in Latin American area studies. However, graduate teaching on Latin American studies has also been characterized by fragmentation. A number of master programmes offer course work and thesis research on Latin America. The same is true for education, research and supervision at the PhD level. LASP seeks to strengthen the field through offering synergy, focus and exchange to graduate level teaching and research on Latin America. There is a manifest urgency for this because Latin America as a global region is clearly gaining ascendancy in economic and political terms (while its cultural significance, especially for Europe, has a long-standing pedigree). As LASP’s object of study is an emerging region, both the international need and funding for Latin American Studies have been expanding, and will continue to do so. Therefore, the relevance of strengthening advanced expertise on Latin American area studies, especially among young scholars, in the Netherlands is high.

LASP is the platform for collaboration of highly successful researchers from five academic institutions:

1) the interuniversity Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA, hosted by UvA);
2) the department of Cultural Anthropology of Utrecht University (CA/UU);
3) the Programme Group Governance for Inclusive Development of the University of Amsterdam (GID/UvA);
4) the Department of Latin American Studies of Leiden University (LAS/LU); and
5) the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of VU University Amsterdam.

The researchers in these groups study the specific characteristics of Latin America’s development as expressed at the local, national, regional, and global level. Their long-standing interdisciplinary cooperation in research and education includes the fields of cultural anthropology, (contemporary) history, political science, human geography, sociology and economics, and transversal fields like conflict studies, gender studies, urban studies and environmental studies. This graduate programme has a unique position in Dutch academia with highly qualified staff and excellent research facilities, including Europe’s second largest specialized library on Latin America. It has a broad international academic network in Europe, North America and Latin America.

The research and education programme of LASP brings these concerns together in three interlocking research lines focusing on contemporary Latin America. These research lines are organized around the concept of ‘resources’: (1) natural resource use and sustainable development; (2) sociocultural resources and identity construction; (3) political resources, governability and (in)security. For details we refer to section 2.2.1 below and also to appendix VI.
PhD students can choose in which of these research lines they want to develop their individual project. The exchange and collaboration between researchers of the three research lines provides students with an open and highly stimulating academic environment.

The common valorisation goal of LASP’s research is to contribute to the availability and quality of knowledge about Latin America for academia, civil society, the public sector, and private enterprise. Next to excellent academic publications, researchers produce policy-relevant documents, such as policy evaluations, policy advice and policy briefs. They also share their knowledge through projects and meetings with decision-makers, such as government officials, development organizations and other NGOs. This is part of a broader agenda of knowledge-building on the global South and globalization, in order to enhance the possibilities to solve problems in the region and to help improve the current and future quality of life in Latin America. In addition, LASP supports the international dissemination of research results, including those of its PhD students.





Prof. dr. J.M. Baud

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Centrum voor Studie en Documentatie van Latijns Amerika


I.S.M. Arends, F. van den Brandeler MSc, J.H. Jonkman, E. Kostner, S.A. Rumie Rojo


01/12/2014 tot 31/12/2019