About CAS

Centre for Amerindian, Latin American Studies and Caribbean Studies

The Department of Social Anthropology and beyond the interests and expertise of our staff, we are interested in all research concerned with Latin America, the Caribbean and Amerindian societies, regardless of disciplinary outlook. We are one of the oldest research centres at The University of St Andrews, having run for 51 years since Douglas Gifford founded CAS in 1969 as the Centre for Latin American Linguistic Studies.

At CAS we are actively seeking opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, networking and ongoing conversation with interested colleagues. From September 2022 CAS will be co-directed by Dr Ana P. Gutierrez Garza and Dr Patrick O’Hare.

Dr Ana P Gutierrez Garza is a Lecturer at the Social Anthropology Department and the Director of the Gender Institute at St Andrews. Her research interests centre on care, labour and migration among Latin American diasporas in the UK, Spain and the US. How do these concerns in these three research sites connect? A common thread runs through them: of understanding political and ethical responses to structural inequality, and showing how various social, gendered, ethical and cultural practices inform those responses which often facilitate methods and strategies of coping and persevering.

Her doctoral work (2014-2018 LSE) was based on twenty months fieldwork research in London with Latin American women migrants working in sex and domestic work. After receiving her PhD she gained a postdoctoral position at the LSE (2015-2018) that allowed her to broaden the field of her research, still with a strong focus on care, inequality and migration. She is the author of Care for Sale: An ethnography of Latin American Domestic and Sex Workers in London (OUP). During 2016, she spent ten months doing fieldwork with an anti-eviction social movement called PAH (Platform for people affected by mortgages) analysing the role of advice as a form of collective care and social struggle against current austerity policies and the transformation of the welfare state in Spain. Over the last four years, she has been involved in a postdoctoral research project concerned with inequality and cooperation in Tulsa, Oklahoma analysing childrearing arrangements and the development of networks of care and cooperation among migrant women against the backdrop of a restrictive racial and legal system.

Her various field sites offer a comparative approach to the study of migration and people’s (particularly women) efforts and abilities to create possibilities for themselves in the face of precarious realities. Her lens on care and ethics has illuminated everyday day practices of resistance but also structural conditions of inequality.

Dr Patrick O’Hare FRSA is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow (FLF) in the Department of Social Anthropology. His research interests centre on recycling economies in Latin America and include the themes of labour, waste, recycling, infrastructure, and plastics. He has conducted research in Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, and the UK. Patrick’s current UKRI-funded research project is entitled ‘Transforming Plastics into Solidarity: Ethical Vertical Integration and Binational Recycling’ and centres on intersections between social and circular economies in the Uruguayan plastics industry.

Patrick is the author of ‘Rubbish belongs to the poor: hygienic enclosure and the waste commons’ (Pluto Press, 2022) and co-author of ‘Taking from, making worlds: cartonera publishers in Latin America’ (Texas University Press, 2022), as well as numerous articles, reports, and book chapters.

After receiving his PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge in 2017, he held research positions at the Universities of Surrey, Manchester, and Cambridge. He forms part of both the AHRC-funded Cartonera Publishing Research Project, focused on the cardboard book-making publishing phenomenon in Latin America and the UKRI-funded Cambridge Creative Circular Plastics Centre.

We run a regular lively and welcoming series of seminars each semester with papers from invited speakers and our postgraduate students. We also co-host events with other schools and departments within St Andrews.  


CAS infrastructure and resources

The Centre has a small suite of offices encompassing a reading room, a post-graduate computer room and an administrative office. CAS houses a small library containing a teaching collection of predominantly linguistics texts in its reading room.  Current opening hours for the CAS Reading Room are by appointment. CAS publishes specialist region-focused publications via its occasional paper and monograph series.