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About Us

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About Us

The Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CALAS) is a Center for Advanced Studies founded by a consortium of Latin American and German universities. The CALAS headquarters is located at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. Three regional offices are located at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador; the Universidad de Costa Rica in San José, Costa Rica; and the Universidad Nacional San Martín in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The German universities of Bielefeld, Kassel, Hannover and Jena are responsible for project management. The University of Bielefeld works as the network's spokesperson. In addition, numerous other universities and research institutions from all over Latin America are associated with CALAS.

CALAS was founded in March 2017 following an initiative by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to establish a Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Latin America. CALAS' bilateral bodies consist of a Board of Directors, a Steering Committee, and an internationally renowned Advisory Board.

As a Center for Advanced Latin American Studies, CALAS promotes research in the social sciences and humanities in Latin America using historical, scientific, and systematic approaches as well as transdisciplinary and transregional dialogue. CALAS is the first Spanish-language Center for Advanced Studies to join the worldwide network of university-based Institutes for Advanced Studies (UBIAS). Thus, CALAS is a driving force for the establishment of a new Latin American research landscape in the Centers for Advanced Studies, creating a space for the development of a new generation of transregional and dialogue-oriented research at the international level.

The activities of CALAS also serve to strengthen Latin American expertise in the humanities and social sciences at the participating German universities, thereby expanding the institutional framework for Latin American research in Germany in general and creating more visibility internationally. With the common goal of promoting Latin American research through transregional exchange, the German and Latin American partners work together:

- to conduct transregional, internationally visible cutting-edge research

- to initiate knowledge transfer with other areas of society.

- to contribute to the broadening of research-based teaching and international partnerships with teaching programs.

Access to knowledge is highly unequal in Latin America; certain social groups remain disadvantaged due to poverty, ethnicity, region, and/or gender. One of the main goals of CALAS as a Center for Advanced Studies is to address this inequality and counterbalance the unequal distribution of knowledge in the region. As an institution, CALAS will strive for gender balance, support of outstanding indigenous and African American researchers and scholars, and the creation of a platform for dialogue between different knowledge systems. CALAS activities also include conducting discussions and debates on multilingual and intercultural education, discrimination, free access to education, and appropriate mechanisms for affirmative action. The resulting views and position papers are published on the CALAS Internet platform.

The current CALAS research program (2017-2029) has the thematic title "Coping with Crises: Transdisciplinary Perspectives from Latin America."


More information on:

Project Members (Bielefeld University)

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