On July 1, 2012 the University of Connecticut inaugurated El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies, a new research institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The institute was a merger and revision of all the constituent elements of the former Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (est. 1974) and the former Institute of Puerto Rican and latino Studies (est. 1994). At a time when many public universities were cutting funding for research centers, UConn committed additional and on-going funding and support for its interdisciplinary institutes, including new tenure-track faculty lines and enhanced collaborative programming budgets.
Offering BA and MA degrees grounded in both traditional disciplinary and interdisciplinary methodologies, El Instituto is at the forefront of new ways of thinking about hemispheric Latina/o disaporas, U.S. Latina/os, Latin American and Caribbean societies and U.S./Latin American relations related to coloniality, race, migration, education, media, economics, health, cultural studies and human rights. El Instituto provides a central place for research, scholarship, and academic programs uniting over 60 scholars at the University of Connecticut. It also offers linkages to local, regional, national and hemispheric academic communities and areas of investigation with a historical research focus on the life of Latino and Puerto Rican communities in New England.
El Instituto plays prominent roles in national organizations such as the Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA), Latina and Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit), South-North Exchange on Theory, Culture, and Law, and the Consortium for Latin American Studies Programs, and its faculty are active in research consortia throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The inauguration of El Instituto also marked the beginning of a formal collaborative relationship with the university library and its dedicated librarian and curator for the significant holdings in U.S. Latino, Latin American and Caribbean materials http://www.lib.uconn.edu/services/liaison/Ramos.html. Endowed funds help procure new primary materials for the collection and sponsor the annual Eyzaguirre and Mead lecture series that bring renowned scholars to campus for talks and workshops.