In Latin American Studies, students have the unique opportunity to pursue research in an area that most interests them. There aren't strict parameters of research topics, and if a student approaches an LAS affiliated faculty member with a project, we will work hard to make a collaboration possible.
Department chair Prof. Manuel Fernández has conducted collaborative research with multiple students over the years, and has provided an outline of one of those projects conducted during the 2014-15 academic year.
The project titled "Latin American Nikkei in Japan: Issues of Identity, Integration and Assimilation" was a collaboration with two students, and examined the cultural identity struggles of the Peruvian nikkei population. This group of people with Japanese heritage living in Peru found themselves a people "without a home," as they were not fully accepted in Peru or Japan. In the study, the students had three main objectives:
1)Research the history of Japan to Perú and vice-versa since the early twentieth century,
2) analyze online publications aimed at both the nikkei in Japan and the Japanese community in Perú to gain a greater understanding of the interrelationship between immigration, social status, commercial interests, community and identity and
3) develop a list of currently active businesses, events, and people that they may contact in a future continuation of this study.
The role of Prof. Fernández as research mentor was to provide his knowledge of the similar situations of immigrant communities in the U.S., of educational practices, labor relations in multiethnic settings, and guide the research into how a group identity is both challenged and preserved in a foreign environment.
This is just one example of the kind of in-depth collaborative research that LAS students might pursue. The options are wide open to students interested in participating in this high-impact undergraduate experience.