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Working Groups

UCLA faculty and students and scholars from Latin America and other parts of the world have formed Working Groups in political economy, education and culture, arts and humanities, and public health and environment. Participation is open to all interested faculty, students, and scholars.

The Working Groups host interdisciplinary research workshops. These meetings constitute a space for academic deliberation and feature classroom lectures, seminars, and public lectures by distinguished Latin American scholars and artists.

Transatlantic Cultures in the Atlantic World

Travel and translation play a central role in the history, self-awareness, and dissemination of Latin American culture. From the first publication authored by an individual born in the Western Hemisphere, a 1595 translation by Inca Garcilaso, to contemporary language politics effecting the Indigenous languages of the Americas, questions of translation and the circulation of cultural forms, capital, and bodies have always proved central to Latin American culture. Bringing together UCLA faculty and graduate students along with visiting scholars, translators, and authors, this interdiciplinary working group examines the individuals, agencies, and practices that produce these circulating narratives. 

Robin Lauren Derby, Associate Professor

Jorge Marturano, Associate Professor


Indigenous Children’s Health In Central and South America

In spite of important advances in life expectancy and health outcomes in many countries of Latin America, many people continue to experience significant health problems, inadequate access to medical and psychological care, and disparate educational and economic opportunities to improve the quality of their lives (PAHO: Health In the Americas, 2012). In particular, indigenous communities, such as among the Maya of Guatemala, suffer from a disproportionately high burden of illness and lack of health services among children and families. With regards to children’s heath, parents make medical decisions based on several factors. These include traditional medical beliefs and practices, education level, and access to Western medical clinics and treatments. 

Reza Jarrahy, Assistant Professor of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in the David Geffen School of Medicine

Bonnie Taub, Chair of Latin American Studies and faculty in the School of Public Health, and Department of Anthropology


Central American Feminisms

Gender ideologies, structures, and practices operate simultaneously to shape women’s and men’s opportunities and behaviors within families, labor markets, and other social and cultural institutions and spaces. Feminism, as a critical study and intervention must, therefore, develop intentionally to address particular social, cultural, and structural conditions. This working group seeks to bring together faculty and graduate students from UCLA, Los Angeles, and other U.S. academic institutions to examine how U.S.-based Central American feminisms manifest in relation to historical and contemporary expressions of Latin American and U.S. Latina and women of color feminisms. Understanding Central America as a region that is gendered and heteronormative, ethnically, racially, economically, socially stratified and heterogeneous—one that exists beyond its geographic borders through its transnational immigrant populations—we want to draw on our diverse disciplinary training within the U.S. academy to conceptualize the intersectionality of the various feminist mobilizations, movements, and feminisms of Central Americans.

Leisy Abrego, Assistant Professor