Center for Inter-American Studies (C.IAS), University of Graz, Austria

The Center for Inter-American Studies (CIAS) of the University of Graz engages in interdisciplinary analyses of conceptual approaches redefining the Americas by exploring historical, economic, political, social, and cultural contexts of its regions, which thus lead to a transregional perspective. CIAS also coordinates the agenda of the University of Graz regarding North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

By building intraregional cooperation in international education based on teaching and research, new possibilities of collaboration and mobility have been created offering the University of Graz as a Central European institution new potential for working with American institutions of higher learning within a Western Hemispheric approach. Based on the experience of the University of Graz in establishing a focus area on South East European Studies, the Center for Inter-American Studies was created to strengthen the new focus area of “The Americas – Les Ameriques – Las Americas.” This interest in Inter-American relationships is sparked by processes such as globalization and transnational migration – developments that transform cultural identities and challenge conceptions of “self” and “other.” Especially in Europe, which itself is in the midst of negotiating a “European identity” in addition to national and regional ones, changing reference points demand a re-conceptualization of academic perspectives. For European scholars of Inter-American Studies, the “Americanness” of the Americas and the changing qualities of “self” and “other” are of particular interest, encouraging a re-definition of positions and mental framework.

The interregional and interdisciplinary approach of the Center for Inter-American Studies proves to be pivotal for creating new networks of institutions and serves as a platform for students and academics to facilitate a West Hemispheric approach. Events, lecture series, publications, international exchange, courses, and the Graz International Summer School Seggau constitute a process of establishing not only a “new” field but innovative structures of international collaboration between Europe and the Americas.

Department of English, College of Humanities, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus

The Department of English in the College of Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras Campus is dedicated to teaching, research, creative work, and community service. The Río Piedras Campus, which is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Doctoral Research Intensive University, is the oldest and largest of the eleven campuses in the University of Puerto Rico System. The Department of English offers two undergraduate majors (literature and linguistics / communication), a master’s degree in literature or linguistics, and a Ph.D. with a specialization in literature or linguistics of the Anglophone Caribbean.

The Department of English pursues academic excellence in English-language studies within the context of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean region as a whole, and transregionally. It is committed to broadening students’ education through a wide variety of critical approaches and courses ranging from early British and American to African, Caribbean, and diasporic literature and cultural expression, as well as linguistics, writing, translation, conversational English, and human communication. It is committed to offering its students an array of opportunities to meet and engage eminent writers and scholars, in the classroom and at conferences, symposia, workshops, and seminars. This work complements that of other UPR entities that maintain a long tradition of scholarship in Caribbean Studies, including the Institute of Caribbean Studies.

The department has a long tradition of welcoming academics and scientists, artists and writers, and members of the public at large to join in its academic endeavors and the enrichment of students’ educational experiences. Important in this area are its two publications. The first is the peer-reviewed journal Sargasso, A Journal of Caribbean Language, Literature, and Culture. Published for more than thirty years, it features critical essays, interviews, book reviews, as well as poems and short stories. It second publication is the multilingual student-run project Tonguas, which features poetry, visual art, and short fiction. Also significant in this realm are events such as its annual Eastern Caribbean Conference Series and its biannual Caribbean Without Borders Conference.

The English Department takes seriously the need to recognize multilingualism, the exchange of ideas, and critical thinking as resources for nurturing respect for the historical and social conditions of Puerto Rico and the challenges of the future. It does so by taking into account local circumstances and its Caribbean and Latin American surroundings while also reaching out into the international community.

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