Handbook of Latin American Studies

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Handbook of Latin American Studies

In 1935 fifteen scholars from many of the disciplines that then comprised Latin American studies met in the New York offices of the Social Science Research Council to discuss the future of their respective fields. The participants in that conference, eager to promote crossdisciplinary collaboration and the sharing of research and resources, created the Handbook of Latin American Studies, an annotated multilingual bibliography and reference work for Latin American studies. The American Council of Learned Societies agreed to support the publication of the first two volumes of the new compilation, and the historian Lewis Hanke, then at Harvard, took charge of its content.

Hanke approached some of the true pioneers of the field for essays, with the understanding that they would look on their work as an unpaid service to the profession, requiring the highest level of commitment and scholarship. He also insisted on including Brazil along with Spanish-speaking countries. At that time, few academics in the United States thought Latin America worthy of analytical study, but with the inclusion of work by major scholars, the Handbook elevated the stature of the field. Since its inception the Handbook has served as a guide to the articulation of major subjects, with trends, ideologies, and tropes evolving or disappearing through its pages. As such, the Handbook has become the historical record for Latin American studies from 1935 onward.

Since 1939, with the inception of its Hispanic Division, the Library of Congress has been responsible for editorial direction and, since number eleven, for financing; the Handbook has been published by Harvard University Press, the University of Florida Press, and, since 1979, the University of Texas Press. The Handbook was divided into separate humanities and social sciences volumes in 1964, with each published in alternating years. In 1990 the Handbook was entered into its own database at the Library of Congress, and its own Spanish- and Portuguese-language interfaces soon became available on the Web, together with the original English. The Handbook continues to survey notable works in the field, providing free access to its online database (updated weekly), and publishing an annual print volume.

See alsoLibrary of Congress, Hispanic Division .


Handbook of Latin American Studies. Available from http://www.loc.gov/hlas.

                                 Barbara A. Tenenbaum