The Sydney University Research Community for Latin America


SURCLA (Sydney University Research Community for Latin America) is an academic research network that was originally conceived by the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies (School of Languages and Cultures), but which rapidly gained the support of members of different departments and schools across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. SURCLA provides a dynamic forum for scholarly communication and interaction, a site of debate where members share their ideas, strategies and research experiences with the common goal of advancing knowledge of Latin America. Members of SURCLA come from the disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology, political sciences, gender, media, cultural and literary studies.

Aims and rationale
The main aim of SURCLA is to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching on Latin America as well as establishing the University of Sydney as the leading institution in Australia for the study of Latin America. Although SURCLA will be based in the University of Sydney, we would like to foster academic and cultural links with other Australian institutions as well as bringing students and scholars from different Latin American countries to the University. SURCLA aims to establish links with professional and community based organisations and institutions as a means to increase the visibility of the significant expertise on Latin American Studies in Australia.

Indigenous Knowledges in Latin America and Australia: Locating Epistemologies, Difference and Dissent
The University of Sydney, December 8 - 10 2011

This symposium, to be held at the University of Sydney, relates to the place of Indigenous Knowledges in Higher Education, and approaches to the same across different cultural contexts. The symposium and planned workshop will bring together Indigenous educators and intellectuals from Latin America to Sydney to meet with interested Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators, scholars and activists, as well as non-Indigenous practitioners and allies, to discuss different models and approaches of Indigenous Knowledge and Education in the tertiary sector and beyond.

This project aims at helping educators and researchers in the Higher Education sector of Australia and Latin America to identify opportunities for integrating in their research and teaching and learning relevant aspects of Indigenous Knowledges in the areas of culture, education and sustainability.

Future plans
We are working on developing a cultural agenda with a wide range of events and one main biennial international conference. In the long term we would like to offer a taught MA course in Latin American Studies. Meanwhile, we aim to become the point of reference for research students seeking PhD/MPhil/MA supervision in the field of Latin American Studies.

Current activities open to the academic and non-academic public
SURCLA hosts fortnightly seminars and documentary screenings. Head to the Department's Events page for details.

Latin American Migrants Research Project

SURCLA members Dr Vek Lewis, Fernanda Peñaloza and Dr Verónica Quinteros are currently working on a project entitled 'Latin American Migration in Sydney: The Chilean Case'. By combining ethnographic interviewing, document collection, and discourse analysis, this FARSS (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Research Support Scheme) funded research project project seeks to uncover the wide range of meanings and uses that processes of identity formation, differentiation, recognition and negotiation play among members of Sydney’s Chilean community.

For more information on the project please email or

Estudio sobre sexualidad, identidad de género y migrantes latinoamericanos en Sydney

Study on sexuality, gender identity and Latin American migrants in Sydney

The Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies of the University of Sydney invites Latin American origin people to participate in a study concerning sexuality, gender identity and migration in Sydney. This research – involving individual questionnaires and surveys, as well as group conversations – aims to explore the connections between the migration process and the formation of sexuality and gender identity.

See Dr Vek Lewis's blog for more information and the online survey.