Chances are when you walk through Washington Square toward the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, you’ll hear all around you a lot of what brings many of us to the Center. On a recent Friday, I heard a Jamaican speaking patois into a cellphone, a young Haitian woman talking to another in Kreyòl, and a group of Brazilian students chatting animatedly while meeting up by the arch to go out together. You can also hear any number of different varieties of Spanish throughout the park, whether moving from East to West, or North to South. And when the weather permits, you’ll hear some of its Dominican and Puerto Rican cadences spoken over congas, cowbells, and bongós among the drummers seated there to the southeast of the fountain. In the Square, as in many other places in New York City, you can hear the hemisphere right outside the door.
Since 1966, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU has been bringing together scholars, students, and community members from the area for collaboration and exchange in a city that, already for centuries, has been called home by people from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and who have shaped New York City into what it is today. And on just about any day of the week, you can follow your ear to CLACS to hear more in any of the approximately 80 public events that we host each year, including academic conferences, film screenings and festivals, talks with artists, activists, and other social actors. You can join us in conversation in Portuguese or Spanish, to be sure, but also Kreyòl or Quechua—two of the diasporic and indigenous languages taught at the Center. And if you can’t join us in person for now, you can always tune us in from afar to hear Rimasun, the Quechua-language podcast produced here for nearly a decade, as well as a number of our events live-streamed to wherever you may find yourself. In the meantime, let me welcome you on behalf of the Center and encourage you to please come and join us.
Até mais / Nos vemos / N a wè pita / Tupananchiskama.
Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese