CLACS Alum Builds Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University

Aldo Lauria Santiago - CLACS at NYUWhen Aldo Lauria Santiago was an MA student at CLACS at NYU, he began the research that led to several books, and eventually served as inspiration to grow the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Currently, Aldo is both Chair and Associate Professor of the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Department at Rutgers. He is also a joint professor in the History department.

“The good thing [about CLACS] is that it lends itself to people who want to get a professional MA, or for those who want to follow a traditional academic path,” he says.

Aldo says CLACS played a definitive role in his academic research and his overall career. At CLACS, he focused much of his research on El Salvador, combining Latin American history courses at NYU with political economy and economic anthropology courses at the New School. He wanted to find a way to blend social science and history methods and materials, and went on to further develop his ideas in this area as a PhD student at the University of Chicago (which he almost didn’t attend because of Chicago’s notoriously bad weather). Since then he’s written and co-authored several books on El Salvador, including To Rise in Darkness: Revolution, Repression, and Memory in El Salvador, 1920-1932, Landscapes of Struggle: Politics, Society, and Community in El Salvador, An Agrarian Republic: Commercial Agriculture and the Politics of Peasant Communities in El Salvador, 1823-1914, and Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean.

“CLACS also trained me to teach college,” Aldo says. Since joining the faculty at Rutgers, Aldo has also focused on building up the Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Department, which barely existed when he began there. In the past six year the department has become a major hub for Latino and Caribbean Studies in the area, bringing in several Caribbeanist scholars and offering diverse courses.

Aldo is currently working on two projects; one related to Veracruz peasantry in the 16th century, and one which looks at Puerto Rican workers in New York City particularly in the context of unions and civil rights organizations between 1920-1970.

Posted by Von Diaz – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

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