About Us

51 Gordon Square

The Institute overlooks the gardens of Gordon Square. It is within a ten-minute walk of the British Museum, and in addition to UCL’s own world class library collection, it is close to the other major collections including the Senate House Library and the British Library. 

UCL Institute of the Americas (UCL-IA) is a leading multidisciplinary specialist institution for the study of Latin America, the United States, the Caribbean and Canada. It acts as a focal point in the UK for students and researchers seeking to develop in-depth regional and continental knowledge of the Americas. As a centre for postgraduate study specializing in the social sciences and modern history of the Americas, it offers six taught postgraduate degrees, a suite of undergraduate courses, and provides specialist supervision to doctoral level, as well as mentoring of post-doctoral fellows, on a wide range of themes and all four main regions of the Americas.

As a member of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences the Institute collaborates with colleagues across University College London to offer the largest teaching programme on the Americas in the UK. It also works with colleagues in the University of London, and across the UK, to promote cutting-edge research and teaching and public policy debate on the Americas. At the UCL Institute of the Americas we believe that specialist knowledge of regions flourishes in an environment where the integration of interdisciplinary teaching and research is valued and is supported by in-depth expertise, world-class libraries and excellent facilities. Our Fellowship programmes allow scholars from across the region to participate in, and enhance, the scholarly life of our community.

The Institute benefits from all these favourable conditions as well as enjoying its own newly refurbished premises which houses its teaching rooms, research students fellows and staff. In addition to our own specialist staff, some 30 UCL Americanists have joined the Institute as Associates, and many run courses that expand the range of options open to our students. Our students also benefit from being able to take courses at Queen Mary College, Goldsmiths and Kings College.

In offering an opportunity to acquire in-depth regional knowledge, we also bring to the study of the Americas an opportunity to gain an understanding of the transnational and global processes - trade, migration, international politics and policy – that are an integral element of the continent’s evolution. With the integration of the Americas in one Institute, combining regional expertise on North and South America and the Caribbean with a comparative, transnational perspective on the Americas as a whole, we offer students and associates a distinctive and innovative approach to regional studies by highlighting the historical and contemporary links between the two hemispheres. Our MSc in the International Relations of the Americas is the first of its kind in the UK and makes an important and distinctive contribution to fulfilling this vision. We will seek to strengthen these comparative, transnational elements over coming years.

The research carried out at the Institute is principally in nineteenth and twentieth century history and in the social sciences, (notably in the fields of politics, human rights, globalisation, development policy, and environmental sociology as well as through interdisciplinary perspectives on gender, 'race' and ethnicity). In addition to the specialist research interests of academic staff, we support some funded Research Council initiatives, such as Westminster in the Caribbean, Leverhulme fellowships, etc., and host a policy-related project for the FCO on future transport policy in Cuba. Our programme of stipendiary and non-stipendiary Visiting Fellowships is also designed to strengthen the connections with colleagues and universities across the Hemisphere as well as to promote a dynamic flow of knowledge exchange. The Institute also has a role in disseminating research through publications and manages and edits the Palgrave Macmillan Series Studies of the Americas.

Research on the Americas and general interest in the region has been growing steadily in the UK in recent years. Public knowledge of the politics, societies and cultures of the Americas has consequently widened. As part of the Institute’s mission to promote specialist regional and comparative knowledge of the Americas, the Institute complements its teaching and research programmes by creating, supporting and coordinating national and international scholarly networks. It actively participates in knowledge exchange/public engagement, and organises its own large programme of public lectures, seminars and specialist symposia serving the scholarly, diplomatic and public policy communities.

We very much look forward to building upon the activities of the Institute at UCL and to supporting and developing further lines of research in collaboration with other departments and colleagues who work in cognate areas on the Americas.

Jonathan Bell


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