Current Projects

Completed Projects



Over the years CERLAC has managed and participated in a number of research, institutional, development, and other types of projects. What follows are lists of such projects, which CERLAC has managed or in which CERLAC has had significant participation. We also include selected individual research projects where CERLAC has provided substantive institutional support.


Please click the items below to see further details.



Current CERLAC Projects

(& Other On-going Academic Activities)

Click on the title for details












Completed Projects







Understanding women's struggles for justice, healing and redress:

A study of gender and reparation in post-war Guatemala


This IDRC-supported undertaking, led by CERLAC Fellow Professor Alison Crosby, represents year two of a three-year project; year one is detailed here. The project is examining forms of reparation for women survivors of human rights violations during the 36-year long armed conflict in Guatemala, as a potential contribution to their broader struggles as political actors for justice, healing and redress.



The project aims to move the conversation forward by providing the first comprehensive analysis of the (ongoing) implementation of the state-sponsored National Reparations Program (PNR) in Guatemala in terms of its gendered nature and impact, and the extent to which it can be seen as a contribution or in fact an obstacle to women’s broader struggles for redress.


It is a transnational feminist participatory action research project, bringing together researchers from York University, Boston College, and the National Union of Guatemalan Women (UNAMG) in Guatemala. Through the participants' collective membership of the Women in Conflict Zones Network, the project is also making links with research on gender and transitional justice currently being undertaken in other parts of the world.


In addition to addressing theoretical and empirical gaps in the field through the publication of a book and journal articles on gender and reparation, this project is intended to influence debates on reparation in Guatemala, Latin America and internationally, and in so doing have an impact on the subsequent development of more refined and responsive reparations programs and policies that adequately address women survivors’ demands for justice and redress.






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North-South Knowledge Partnerships:

Promoting the Canada-Latin America Connection (Phase II)


This IDRC-supported project promotes and further develops an internet-based model that supports on-going North-South and South-South knowledge partnerships based on management of information and learning activities, implemented through ICT-based pedagogical approaches, resources and practices.


The initiative is coordinated by the Centro Boliviano para Estudios Multidisciplinarios (CEBEM) in Bolivia, with strong Canadian involvement, including CERLAC's. The project convenes Canadian and Latin American universities, research centres and non-governmental organizations in an experiment that seeks to combine information and communication technologies with online pedagogy to stimulate information sharing, mutual learning and collaborative knowledge creation across the North-South and academic-practitioner divide.



Phase I was implemented from January 2007 to the end of August 2008. The main purpose of the project was to develop and test a methodology for the promotion of Canadian-Latin-American knowledge partnerships based on a combination of information, communication, and online training activities. The project was experimental in nature. The overall objective was “to design, test and demonstrate a model framework of processes, resources, and tools that enable ongoing collaborative N-S and S-S learning in support of individuals, communities of practice and knowledge networks, integrating pedagogical approaches, practices, resources, and tools based on ICTs”. This objective and most of the specific objectives were met in the course of the project.


This second phase builds on the strength of the achievements of the first phase, and on the interest and commitment of several new partner institutions in both Canada and Latin America.


Of the various planned outputs of Phase II, CERLAC is assisting with the realization of two:

  • the creation of a set of inter-related databases containing information on selected institutions, experts, training programs, virtual libraries, development projects and newsletters pertaining to the major thematic areas in both Canada and Latin America; and
  • the development of a new online non-credit professional development courses produced by Canadian and Latin American project partners experimenting with different modes of collaboration. (See an update on this component of the project here.)


See CEBEM's full project website (in Spanish only) here.






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Extractive Industries Research Group (EIRG)


The Extractive Industries Research Group (EIRG) brings together faculty and graduate students at York University into a multidisciplinary collaborative research group on mining and other extractive industries.


Since forming in the spring of 2007, the group has provided research and organizational support for academic and civil society initiatives concerning the social, political, and environmental impact of these industries around the world. Recent projects include a national conference on mining held in Ecuador to coincide with that country's process of constitutional reform, and a proposal for a York-based conference on mining in Latin America.


Current members include professors and doctoral students from CERLAC and the departments of Political Science, Environmental Studies, and Osgoode Hall Law School, who meet approximately once a month to work on related projects, discuss the members' current research, and share resources. Researchers interested in getting involved with EIRG are encouraged to contact for more information.


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Baptista Essay Prize and Lecture

(1998 - )

The Michael Baptista Essay Prize was established by the friends of Michael Baptista and the Royal Bank of Canada. This $500 Prize is awarded annually to both a graduate and an undergraduate student at York University in recognition of an outstanding scholarly essay of relevance to the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, from the humanities, social science, business or legal perspective.


For the call for submissions, click here

See here for a list of previous prizewinning essays.

For a copy of the nomination form, click here.


Presented on a biannual basis, The Michael Baptista Lecture is given by a prominent speaker from Latin America and the Caribbean, addressing issues critical to the regions and their place in the world.


The Michael Baptista Essay Prize and Lecture are named in honour of Michael Baptista in recognition of the areas central to his spirit and success: the importance of his Guyanese / Caribbean roots, his dedication to and outstanding achievement at the Royal Bank of Canada, and his continued and unqualified drive and love of learning.


For more general information on this program, see CERLAC's 1997 Newsletter and the article in the May, 1996 edition of the York Gazette







Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, The Haitian Apocalypse and Rebirth



Nora Cortiñas, Argentinean Human Rights Leader and Co-founder of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo-Linea Fundadora (Mothers of May Square)

View the full lecture on-line in streaming video here.  You will need Windows Media Player 9.0 or greater, which can be downloaded here.



 J. Michael Dash,   The Disappearing Island: Haiti, History and the Hemisphere.  (Combined on this occasion with the Jagan Lecture)

View photos from the event, and/or see the full lecture program on-line, in streaming video by pasting this address into the location bar of your media player: mms://



Amanda Romero, Colombia: Internal Displacement & Humanitarian Crisis

For more information please see the York Gazette Article.



Dr. Oscar Arias (former President of Costa Rica), The Moral Challenges of Globalization: Principles for Human Development

For more informaton please see CERLAC's 1998/1999 Newsletter.






For the 2014 prizes:

Deadline: August 15, 2014.

Nominations limited to York University students.


The Michael Baptista Essay Prizes recognize annually, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, an outstanding scholarly essay of relevance to the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at York University from a humanities, social science, business or legal perspective.

The friends of Michael Baptista and the Royal Bank of Canada, where he was a Senior Vice-President until his untimely death, fund the prizes to celebrate his spirit & success, the importance to him of his Guyanese roots, his outstanding achievements at the Royal Bank and his drive & love of learning.

If you are a York faculty member who graded an exceptionally accomplished piece of student work (at the graduate or the undergraduate level) of relevance to these regions this past academic year, we encourage you to nominate the essay in question.

The prize includes a monetary component of $500 per awardee.  Winning essays will be featured on CERLAC’s website.
The essays may be from a full or half course during the 2013-2014 academic year, or a summer 2013 course.  Major Research Papers at the graduate level may also be nominated.  Submissions should be no longer than 35 double-spaced pages (exclusive of bibliography).  Deadline extensions are available in instances where significant re-writing is required to shorten the work to within that limit.


Request a nomination form from CERLAC: OR download the form here:
Submit the nominated paper and accompanying form to CERLAC no later than August 15, 2014.  Both can be submitted electronically via email to: Hard copies are not required, but can be sent to: CERLAC, 8th Floor, York Research Tower.

ONLY FACULTY MEMBERS CAN NOMINATE A PAPER. Students may not self-nominate. Nonetheless, we encourage students who have received top grades and high praise on their papers to bring the existence of this prize to the attention of their instructors, so that they might nominate the paper if they so choose. A student may have only one essay entered into the competition in any given year (if more than one is nominated, the student will be asked to choose which is to be entered into the competition). Faculty members may nominate no more than one paper per level of study (max. two overall) in any given year. For the purposes of this award, an "undergraduate student" is a student enrolled in an undergraduate program who has received no prior post-secondary degree.

The papers submitted will be reviewed by two to three faculty readers with research interests in Latin America and the Caribbean. Both the prize winners and the nominating faculty members will be advised of the decision approximately by the end of September 2014.

More about the essay prize:
Past Baptista prizewinning essays:
If you have any questions please contact CERLAC at 416.736.5237 or






GRADUATE: Priya Chendke, My Peruvian Museum.

GRADUATE: Terrine Friday, Copyright Economy: Protecting works of Mas in Trinidad and Tobago's Culture Industry.

UNDERGRADUATE: Nabila Islam, Subject Making and Resistance in the Amazon: 16th to 20th Century.



GRADUATE: Lisane Thirsk, Law and The Discursive Construction of Street Harassment as Violence in Mexico City

UNDERGRADUATE HONORABLE MENTION: Katia Hoyos Saleme, The Pawns in the Globalization Game

UNDERGRADUATE HONORABLE MENTION: Allan Jacobson Spessoto, Recuperated Workplaces



GRADUATE: Charis Kamphuis, Foreign Investment and the Privatization of Coercion: A Case Study of the Forza Security Company in Peru

GRADUATE: Caren Weisbart, Beyond Recogniton: Alternative Rights-Realizing Strategies in the Northern Quiche Region of Guatemala

UNDERGRADUATE: Rolando Aguilera, Impunity on Trial: the Case for Repealing El Salvador's Amnesty Law



GRADUATE: Priscila Becker, The Convention on Biological Diversity, Indigenous Peoples and Conservation of Biodiversity

UNDERGRADUATE: Margaret Bancerz, Counter-Hegemony and ALBA: The Answer to the FTAA



GRADUATE: Laurence Robitaille, Understanding Capoeira through Cultural Theories of the Body

UNDERGRADUATE: Emmanuelle Fick, The Body, the Stage, and the Theory: Unpacking the Body in Aime Cesaire's ‘The Tragedy of King Christophe’

For more information on the 2009 prizewinners, see the Y-File article


GRADUATE: Nicholas Balaisis, The Publicness of Melodrama in the Cuban Special Period

UNDERGRADUATE: Laura Landertinger, Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST)


GRADUATE: Talia Wooldridge, Cuban Raperas: A Feminist Revolution within the Revolution

UNDERGRADUATE: Kate Sheese, Contesting Victimhood: Indigenous Women and Violence in Chiapas, Mexico



GRADUATE: Jasmin Hristov, "Visibilizing and Humanizing Indigenous Peasant Movements: The Case of the CRIC in Colombia”

GRADUATE HONOURABLE MENTION: Marcelo Vieta, “The Worker-Recovered Enterprises Movement in Argentina”

UNDERGRADUATE: Jillian Ollivierre, “Sex on the Beach: Hypersexuality, ‘Making Do,’ and Sexual Health in the Anglophone Caribbean”



GRADUATE: Gena Chang-Campbell, "'Y/O' Mestizaje as Foil and Fetish of Postcolonial Consciousness"

UNDERGRADUATE: Fabiola Rios, "Filling the Gap: The Colonial Project and the Goddess"



GRADUATE: Jennifer Costanza, "Elusive Hegemony: A Critical Analysis of United States Policy towards Haiti"

UNDERGRADUATE: Kathryn Grimbly, "Caribbean Visual Arts in the Era of Post-Modernism"



GRADUATE: Aaron K. Kamugisha, "Reading Said and Wynter on Liberation and the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition"

UNDERGRADUATE: Jillian Di Nallo, "A “Great Mistake to Go By Looks”: Overcoming Stereotypes in Caribbean Literature"



GRADUATE: Scott Pearce, "Fueling War: The Impact of Canadian Oil Investment on the Conflict in Colombia"

UNDERGRADUATE: Jasmin Hristov, "Neoliberalism and Authoritarianism in Argentina: Unrevealed Connections"  



GRADUATE: Frank Scherer, "Chinese Shadows: Fernando Ortiz on Race and Cubanity"

UNDERGRADUATE: Megan Rivers-Moore, "The Myth of Racial Equality: Contesting the Discourse of National Identity in Cuba"



GRADUATE: Juan Gabriel Ronderos: "The War on Drugs, Its Military Perspective and Its Consequences for Latin America: The Case of Colombia"

For more information on this paper please see the following York Gazette article



GRADUATE: Hendrick Van Harten, "The Olive Branch or the Straight Jacket? Guatemala's Peace Accords in a Free Trade Area of the Americas"

UNDERGRADUATE: Chris Pennington, "In the Absence of God: French Catholicism, English Protestantism, and the Welfare of the Plantation Slaves in the 17th and 18th Century Caribbean"

For more information on these papers please see the following York Gazette article.


GRADUATE: D. Garcia: "The Protection of Creditors Under a New Jamaican Companies Act"

UNDERGRADUATE: Demitry Papasotiriou: "Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune? The Latin American Debt Crisis"  



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TLN Telelatino Awards 2014


The TLN Telelatino Award is awarded annually to two (in 2014 three) York undergraduate students to recognize exceptional work in any area of study on the experiences of Hispanic people in Canada. 

The Prize was established in 2009 by a donation made to York University by Telelatino (TLN), a Canadian television channel that broadcasts programs of interest to the Hispanic and Italian communities. Normally up to two prizes are awarded, of $1000 each.

In 2014, to celebrate TLN’s thirtieth anniversary, three prizes will be awarded.

Winning submissions will provide critical reflection on or representations of the experiences of Hispanic people in Canada, highlighting their past, present and future contributions to Canadian society and/or addressing the challenges they have successfully overcome as members of a minority group in the Canadian context. Submissions may be presented in any one of a variety of media, including essays; works of visual art, film, music, or video; documented performances; or pieces of creative writing. The work submitted should normally have been created to fulfill course or degree requirements at York University in the 2013-2014 academic year. It may be in English, Spanish, or both. Essays will normally be from 2,000 to 2,500 words; works in other media should be comparably substantial. Submissions will be judged by the following criteria, as appropriate to their medium: critical insight, originality, relevance, creativity, clarity, coherence, and potential impact.

The essay’s author must be an undergraduate student registered in an academic degree program at York University (any Faculty or College, including Glendon). Eligible students must be Canadian citizens, Ontario residents and demonstrate financial need.

For this year’s competition, submit an electronic copy of your essay, work of visual art, film, music, video, etc. to no later than August 15, 2014. A panel of York University professors associated with CERLAC and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) Program at York will act as judges for the contest. The winner will be announced in October 2014. Prize winning essays will be announced by TLN and by CERLAC and featured on their websites. The winners will also be announced on TLN (which may also interview and profile each winner).

Submit to Camila Bonifaz, CERLAC Coordinator,

Deadline for submissions: August 15, 2014

For more information, contact CERLAC at (416) 736-5237 or



Read about the 2010 prize-winners here.


TLN Telelatino Awards Winning Essays



No prizes were awarded this year

Honorable mentions: Lisette Perez and Paula Elias, Fitting in and out of Hispanic / Latino Identity, and Carlos Ponce TovarIván, Adolescent and the Teacher



1st place: Iván A. Wadgymar, Olga Patricia Jabbaz: Un empeño ejemplar en Canadá

2nd place: Natassha Feo, Pertenezco



More information: contact CERLAC at 416.736.5237 or



John Buttrick Memorial Bursary

(2010 - )

John Buttrick used his economics training to equalize the playing field. His experience of the 1929 depression and his Conscientious Objection to war forged his lifelong activism on the issues of education, unemployment, racism, poverty and peace.

Philosophically a self-declared logical positivist, John insisted on empirical analysis for investigation of social problems, large and small. The desire for rigorous examination of fact and myth seldom stopped him from working with and supporting those in search of social change. His researches for activist groups were trusted, carried weight, made a difference.

Professor Mia Bay, a close family friend, and a graduate student at the time, described him in this way: "...his endless humane curiosity about the made his company an intellectual feast...his wonderful quiet kindness and and cynical, decent and good-hearted all the same time...".

This is why I hoped a bursary created in his name at York would be a useful celebration of his life work.

- Ann Buttrick November 14, 2010


The John Buttrick Memorial Bursary is awarded annually to an international student majoring in African and Caribbean Studies demonstrating financial need. Ann G. Buttrick established the award in memory of her late husband, former CERLAC Fellow John Buttrick.


If a suitable candidate cannot be identified, the Bursary will be awarded to undergraduate students pursuing academic interests in African or Caribbean studies.


The annual award consists of $1,000.


The Bursary is approved by the Office of Student Financial Services in accordance with guidelines established by the Senate of York University.


About John Buttrick:

On July 16, 2007, at the age of 88, John Buttrick – CERLAC Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Economics at York University – passed away on Gabriola Island in British Columbia. As a former conscientious objector during World War II and an equally strong objector to the Vietnam War, John and his wife Ann came to York University in 1970, leaving behind the University of Minnesota, where he had served as Chair and Professor for several years. John taught at York from 1970 to 1990, where he was a Coordinator of the CERLAC Diploma Program and Director of the Graduate Programme in Economics during its formative years.


In his work, he combined a strong analytical interest with political economics and development theory. His ethical concern for the improvement of the welfare of the poor led him to policy studies in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In Canada, his research focused on such social issues as inner-city educational inequities and the out-migration of skilled workers, much of which he carried out as a long-term consultant to the Ontario Economic Council. After his retirement from York, John and Ann moved to Jamaica, where they lived for several years. There, John taught at the University of the West Indies and later the University of Technology Jamaica, while advising the Ministries of Planning, Education, Health, and Finance and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica. He also wrote an unpublished elementary economics textbook for Jamaican students.


Not long before his passing, he and Ann returned to Canada and took up residence on Gabriola Island, a well-known retirement community for intellectuals and artists. There, as long-term members of the Canadian Science for Peace, they actively continued to work in the peace movement with particular focus on the protection and treatment of political refugees, including deserters from the US mili- tary service in Iraq. We lament very much the passing of such a dear friend and colleague, and we send our deepest condolences to his family.


(From the 2006-2007 CERLAC Review)


See also:

Saying goodbye to John Buttrick 1919 to 2007 By Chris Bowers

Rational economist taught with dashes of civil libertarianism, pacifism


Award recipients:

2010: Jan Anderson



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The Jagan Lecture Series

Project Coordination: York International, CERLAC, and a standing committee of members of the Caribbean community (1999-)

Dr. Cheddi Jagan is already recognized globally as a politician and a visionary of world stature; what we are seeking to do by establishing these lectures is also to honour his memory as a distinguished son of the Caribbean soil and one of our enduring heroes. Yet it is not so much the man, as his large transformative vision, that we seek to commemorate. In his words 'Human rights must embrace civil and political, as well as economic and cultural rights. Human needs and human security must be the objective of development."


The Jagan Lectures will preserve Cheddi Jagan's legacy by inviting annually a leading thinker and practitioner, drawn from a wide array of countries and disciplines, to deliver a lecture in accordance with his/her own vision and practice.


The lecture will be given annually during the month of March to commemmorate Dr. Jagan's birthday, which is March 22.


Visit the CJ Lecture Series Website for more information. For more on Dr. Jagan and his legacy, see CERLAC's 1997 Newsletter and the Cheddi Jagan website.



The Lectures

Inaugural lecture 

Janet Jagan, then-Guyanese President. See CERLAC's 1998/1999 NewsletterSee the full lecture text.


2nd Annual Jagan Lecture 

Development: Challenges Ahead for Small States. Winston Dookeran, Governor, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. See the 1999/2000 Newsletter or the Gazette article.


3rd Annual Lecture

Race, Class & Ethnicity in a Caribbean Interpretation. Lloyd Best, Director, the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies. Click here; also see the Gazette article.


4th Annual Lecture 

Language and the Politics of Ethnicity. George Lamming, Caribbean writer, visionary and public intellectual. See the Gazette article.


5th Annual Lecture (jointly with the Michael Baptista Lecture Series)

The Disappearing Island: Haiti, History, and the Hemisphere. J. Michael Dash, Professor of Francophone Literature and Director of Africana Studies, New York University. View photos from the event. See the full lecture program on-line, in streaming video by pasting this address into the location bar of your media player: mms://


6th Annual Lecture

Sweet & Sour Sauce: Sexual Politics in Jamaican Dancehall Culture. Carolyn Cooper, Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. View the lecture in Real Player.


7th Annual Lecture

They Came in Ships: Imperialism, Migration and Asian Diasporas in the 19th Century. Walton Look Lai, Retired Lecturer of History, University of the West Indies in Trinidad.


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Fair Trade @ York


CERLAC, the Business and Society Program and other concerned faculty and students are currently working together to promote the availability of Fair Trade Coffee and other goods at York and to encourage members of the wider community to purchase such goods. We have compiled information about where Fair Trade Coffee can be purchased on campus and in the community and compiled fact sheets and links to relevant web-pages.


What is Fair Trade Coffee?

Fair Trade certified coffee is grown by democratically-run producer cooperatives and guarantees that coffee farmers have received a ‘living wage’ (minimum US$1.26/lb regardless of fluctuations in market prices). Also, producers are given access to much needed credit at fair rates and are engaged in longer term purchasing agreements which provide farmers with greater security.


What is Organic Coffee?

Organic coffees aim to address the negative environmental effects of modernized agriculture. Organically certified coffees are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.


For more information on this initiative, please visit CERLAC's Fair Trade @ York website at To subscribe to York's fair trade listserv, send an email requesting subscription to Darryl Reed:


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RELAC (Red de Estudios sobre Latinoamericanos en Canadá



The Latin Americans in Canada Research Network LAC-RN (RELAC) is a network of people who share an interest in enhancing or contributing to Latin American communities in Canada.


In November 2002, a group of professors and students from York, Toronto and Ryerson Universities organized a meeting with members of the Latin American community to identify shared research concerns between academia and the community. It was a pleasant surprise to learn about the large number of existing studies on Latin Americans in Canada. RELAC was formed as a result of this meeting.


RELAC's members decided that the most appropriate mechanism for sharing existing knowledge about Latin Americans in Canada was to organize a website that could be accessed by anyone that was interested. The first stage of the project consisted in collecting RELAC members' studies and additional research conducted in different parts of Canada.


In the future, RELAC hopes to identify research topics and educational activities of interest to participants/members and to promote collaboration between university- and community-based researchers and activists.


Currently RELAC has approximately 50 members. This includes individuals who work or participate in community service organisations, Latin American grassroots organisations, lobby groups, community groups and members of the academic community.


RELAC is an open network that seeks to expand. If you are interested in joining, please send your information to our email at


For more information on RELAC and how you can become involved please visit .



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The Mexico Group

Coordinators: Judith Adler Hellman, Political Science, York University, and Richard Roman, Sociology, University of Toronto (1981-)


CERLAC fellows and graduate students meet periodically with colleagues from other Canadian institutions to discuss their research on Mexico. Participants in the group come from the fields of Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science and Sociology and work with various interdisciplinary approaches. Group members have published in Canada and abroad on a wide range of issues touching on Mexico. In the early years, Frans Schryer and Judith Adler Hellman served as coordinators. In recent years, Judith Adler Hellman and Richard Roman have coordinated the Group.


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