Swiss School of Latin American Studies

This project aims at consolidating the role of the University of Zurich and the University of Geneva in the Swiss community of Latin Americanist scholars and at fostering more cooperation between these universities for the purpose of training graduate students as well as a strengthening of our international profile.

Latin American Studies is still a marginalized field in Switzerland despite the increasing number of students at Swiss Universities working in/on the region. This was the reason why scholars from several Swiss Universities, led by Yvette Sánchez and Corinne Pernet from the University of St. Gallen, applied for and obtained funds from the SNF to build a ProDoc workshop and research program for graduate students. Running from 2011 to 2016, the program organized twenty interdisciplinary workshops in which graduate students from all over Switzerland could present their theses. Moreover, the ProDoc has fully financed six Ph.D.s and contributed to fieldwork of around forty Ph.D. students. After the end of the ProDoc Program, we have attempted to maintain the inter-university network under the name of Swiss School of Latin American Studies (SLASS) to continue promoting the training and research forum for doctoral and postdoctoral students in the social sciences and the humanities working on Latin America.

In total, the SSLAS network has associated 65 researchers (45 students, 10 postdoctoral – former ProDoc students – and 10 associated professors/senior researchers over the years). In 2016 and 2017 we counted with an average of 30 participants per workshop (attendance fluctuates as a function of the needs of doctoral students in different stages of their PhD to perform fieldwork research in Latin America).

After the ending of the SNF funding for a centralized ProDoc program, each university became responsible for obtaining their own financial resources to participate in/contribute to the SSLAS network. The University of Zurich and the University of Geneva remained relatively marginal to this new configuration, mainly because of the lack of institutional funding. With the foundation of the Lateinamerika-Zentrum in Zurich in 2016 and the growing Latin-Americanist nucleus at the University of Geneva (History and Romance Language Departments), the prospects of our two universities fully joining the network has increased.

The objective of our project is to strengthen the ties between Zurich and Geneva and to consolidate our place in the Latin Americanist community in Switzerland. Both universities count with highly qualified professors and researchers as well as with an increasing demand from Ph.D. students. We are looking for more stable financial support in order to consolidate our participation in the SSLAS network. The joint seed funding would allow us to host two workshops in June and October 2019 (one in Zurich and one in Geneva) and plan further activities.

Participants:

Prof. Dr. Yanina Welp, University of Zurich
Prof. Valeria Wagner, University of Geneva
Dr. Corinne Pernet, University of Geneva
Dr. Alice Froidevaux, University of Zurich
Prof. Johannes Kabatek, University of Zurich
Prof. Aline Helg, University of Geneva