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LAS Celebrates 50 Years

October 24, 2017

Latin American Studies Celebrated SFU’s 50th Anniversary in style on the evening of November 10, when we had a chance to get together and share memories with many generations of LAS grads and faculty. Seeing all those friends was a reminder of the long history of Latin America at SFU, but also of the contributions so many have made to building a dynamic community dedicated to scholarship, advocacy, and solidarity. It also gave us a wonderful opportunity to learn a little and remember those of us who are no longer around, especially those who we lost at far too young an age.

Latin American Studies has come a long way since the days when Maurice Halperin was fighting accusations that he had been a Soviet Spy, and after some lean times, the program is once again flourishing. In addition to the four Latin Americanists currently working out of the School for International Studies, we still have faculty working on and teaching about Latin America in Soc/Anth, Geography, Archeology, History, and elsewhere on campus. Many of the students in the graduate program in International Studies are now conducting research in Latin America. In short, SFU remains a real center for research and teaching about Latin America today, albeit in forms that are quite different than those that prevailed a generation ago.

One thing is certain though. We need to find a way to send the next generation of students on field schools to Latin America. Though all the folks we met on Tuesday night had a vague memory of the mountain, they had vivid recollections of their time in the field. And it was not simply memories of busses with broken axles (though that seemed oddly common from school to school).

Thank you all for coming. And don’t be strangers.