Since its creation, LAI has focused on area studies. Due to the pervasive spread of globalization, the emphasis on regional research and comprehensive knowledge of local and regional, transnational and transcultural relationships is more important than ever.
For a solid foundation in research, collaboration with the humanities and social sciences is crucial, along with a close cooperation with scholars from Latin America. Substantial language training and empirical field research are also essential. Both discipline-centered and interdisciplinary courses build the core of the Institute’s program, while courses in Brazilian Portuguese and the main indigenous languages further enhance the spectrum of opportunities.
Instruction in area studies aims to provide students with a twofold qualification: on the one hand, students acquire a high level of regional expertise; on the other, they gain knowledge and competence in a specific discipline. Each of these objectives is pursued by the Master’s program “Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies” and the doctoral program. The dual anchoring of professorships at both the interdisciplinary Institute for Latin American Studies and the respective disciplinary institutes of the various university departments offers students the chance to combine area studies with discipline-based degree programs.