The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) is one of the largest and oldest Latin American studies programs in the United States. Founded in 1940, LLILAS is a vibrant center for the interdisciplinary study of Latin America and for the dissemination of this research and creative production through teaching, publications, digital archives, and scholarly exchange. LLILAS faculty—some 160 strong—teach courses on a broad array of topics and train students for BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Latin American studies. In addition, faculty teach courses in their respective disciplines in more than thirty academic departments across the University, melding a Latin American focus with their particular areas of expertise. Graduate dual-degree programs are available to combine Latin American studies with business administration, communication studies, community and regional planning, global policy studies, information studies, journalism, law, public affairs, radio-television-film, and social work. Latin American research occupies a significant place in several other colleges, particularly in the areas of fine arts, information studies, education, law, and architecture.

LLILAS hosts an average of three Latin American visiting professors annually through the Edward Larocque Tinker Chair in Latin American Studies, endowed by the Tinker Foundation, for distinguished Latin American scholars; the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Visiting Professorship for distinguished professors on Latin American topics, endowed by Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long; and the UT-Fulbright Visiting Professorship, under an agreement with the Fulbright Commission of Brazil. 

In September 2011, LLILAS joined forces with the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, the largest university research collection on Latin America in the United States, to become LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections. Operating under a single leadership team, LLILAS Benson seeks to improve knowledge and understanding of Latin America through education, research and scholarly exchange. Throughout the year, LLILAS Benson sponsors symposia and lectures by visiting and resident specialists, and engages the public through a series of public events, exhibits, and outreach to K–16 educators and students to foster greater knowledge of Latin America around the state and the nation.

LLILAS Benson is also a frequent collaborator with a number of partner institutions, including: The University of Texas Libraries, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, the Center for Mexican American Studies, the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. In addition, LLILAS Benson has formal relationships with many institutions throughout Latin America, fostering the exchange of students, faculty, and research.

LLILAS runs two area centers, the Mexico Center and the Brazil Center. The Mexico Center was established in 1980 to coordinate the advancement of Mexican studies at the University and brings together students, faculty, visiting researchers, and the communities of Austin, Texas, and Mexico to foster a fuller understanding of the region. Visiting researchers come to campus for scholarly collaboration with peers through the Matías Romero Visiting Scholars Program. The Mexico Center sponsors the annual Austin Lecture on Contemporary Mexico, which invites a prominent Mexican intellectual to campus. The Brazil Center, founded in 1995, supports Brazilian studies across academic disciplines at the University in order to promote collaborative research and exchange between Texas and Brazil. Approximately one-quarter of LLILAS-affiliated faculty dedicate all or part of their research and/or instruction to Brazil-related content in diverse disciplines. LLILAS also houses the Argentine Studies Program to facilitate scholarly exchange between Argentina and the University. The institute’s Center for Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA) promotes research and training programs about indigenous languages, which form an important part of the society and culture of Latin America. LLILAS Benson also houses AILLA, the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America, a digital archive of recordings and texts in a wide range of genres that includes a wealth of language documentation materials.

Collectively, LLILAS and the Benson Collection maintain one of the largest collections of digital assets designed to support Latin American studies in the world. These vast holdings, all of which are freely available to a global audience via the Internet, include the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive (AHPN), the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI), AILLA, and the Primeros Libros de las Américas project. Links to all of the LLILAS and Benson digital initiatives can be found here.

LLILAS Benson is located in Sid Richardson Hall on the eastern edge of the UT campus. Additional information is available through the LLILAS website, and the Benson website.