Rutgers is a leader and innovator in the study of Colombia. Courses and research on Colombia cover a wide range of topics including law, human rights, literature, race, art history, and politics.
One invaluable asset is the collaborative relationship and scholarly exchange of faculty and graduate students that has been established between the university’s School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. The Departments of Art History, Economics, Geography, and the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) all have strong ties with the Universidad de los Andes.
As a leader in the burgeoning area of Afro-Latin American Studies, Rutgers faculty research in Colombia often focuses on Hispanic Studies, translation, and Afro-Colombia. Faculty translations of key texts by Colombian authors German Patiño Ossa and Manuel Zapata Olivella cover a range of topics from slave labor and 19th century black cooking practices, to everyday black life across various regions of Colombia.
Similarly, at the CLAS, graduate student affiliations and projects have focused on Afro-Colombian issues. One successful affiliation is between the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers and the Observatorio de Discriminación Racial at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. The Observatorio studies and documents racism in Colombia, and uses this information to create new methods of countering racist practices. Graduate students have also participated as founding members of the international working group, Grupo de Investigación sobre Igualdad Racial, Diferencia Cultural, Conflictos Ambientales, y Racismos en las Américas Negras (IDCARAN), housed at Universidad Nacional en Bogotá, Colombia.
The Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC) and the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies (LHCS) have expanded their research initiatives to incorporate artists, poets, painters, and musicians focused on popular Colombian dance and music like vallenato. The centers and departments regularly collaborate to feature local Colombian artists or Colombian themes through exhibitions, workshops, and performances. They also feature events on Colombian experiences of migration, dislocation, and violence.
Undergraduate students aren’t the only ones pursuing post-baccalaureate research opportunities in Colombia. Rutgers faculty mentor New Jersey high school students conducting projects on Colombian-American communities. One such Rutgers graduating senior and mentee was awarded a 2010-11 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to be carried out in Cartagena, Colombia.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) is working with Centro de Estudios sobre Desarrollo Económico and together they are conducting the AeioTu Early Childhood Longitudinal Study to assess the effects of AeioTu’s early childhood intervention at school entry and throughout later schooling in Colombia.