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Latino Studies at Indiana University

The Latino Studies Program is the fruition of more than three decades of student activism and faculty engagement at Indiana University. 

1971 to 1999:

In 1971, Latino students and concerned faculty members began to denounce ongoing impediments to Latinos in higher education, including racial inequality, cultural insensitivity and underrepresentation.  Responding to their concerns, in 1973 Indiana University created the Office of Latino Affairs which offered services and programs to the Latino community and served as an advocate for Latina and Latino students and faculty.  That Office of Latino Affairs was open until the year 1999. 

Alberto Torchinksy, Ph.D.
Past Dean of the Office of Latino Affairs

Latino scholarship at Indiana University advanced significantly in the 1970s. In 1973, Dr. Luis Dávila (IU Bloomington) and Dr. Nicolas Kanellos (IU Northwest) jointly published La Revista Chicano-Riqueña.

Luis Dávila, Ph.D.

In 1976, Professor Dávila inaugurated the interdisciplinary Chicano-Riqueño Studies Program, dedicated to the study of Puerto Rican, Chicano, and other Spanish-speaking communities in the United States.  That same year saw the first issue of Chiricú, a multilingual journal of Latina and Latino literature and literary criticism, which continues to be published annually.

Another valuable resource that emerged from student and faculty activism was the Latino Cultural Center, also known as "La Casa." Since 1973, La Casa has been extremely active in fostering a sense of community among Latinos, in promoting Latino recruitment and retention, and in creating a broad awareness about Latino issues. Under the direction of Lillian Casillas, La Casa offers a rich year-long program of events that are open to students, faculty and the community.

The Latino Studies Program would like to thank Dr. Alberto Torchinksy, Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Hiring and Support, whose meticuluous history of the Office of Latino Affairs provided much of the information above.


The Latino Studies Program opened its doors under the direction of Dr. Jorge Chapa in 1999, its mission was to offer Indiana University students an array of courses in various disciplines, focusing on the history, culture and social condition of Latino communities in the United States. 

Jorge Chapa, Ph.D.

This objective has remained constant as the program has evolved and as student enrollment has grown. Professor Chapa worked closely with IU's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) to institute a "Masters Degree Area" in Latino and Latin American Studies.  He also designed our undergraduate minor in Latino Studies, before moving on to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in July, 2006.

Latino Studies was housed in Sycamore Hall from 1999 to 2010.

2004 Retreat

2006 to 2010:

Dr. John Nieto-Phillips, Associate Professor of History, was named Interim Director in July, 2006.

He launched the program's undergraduate minor as well as the current Latino Studies website in August, 2006. Dr. Arlene Diaz, Associate Professor of History, then became the Director of Latino Studies from 2007 through 2010.

Dr. Diaz initiated and worked to establish the Ph.D. Minor. In the fall of 2009, the Ph.D. Minor became available as an option for students across multiple fields of study: social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, business, law, and education.

2010 to 2014:

Dr. John Nieto-Phillips became the Director of Latino Studies in the fall of 2010.

Also in 2010, Latino Studies moved in to its current location, picture above, 814 East Third Street.

In January of 2013, Dr. Anke Birkenmaier, Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, was hired as the first Associate Director of Latino Studies.




In September of 2014 Dr. Mintzi Martinez-Rivera took over as the Associate Director of Latino Studies.


In January of 2015, Dr. Sylvia Martinez took over as the Director of Latino Studies.