The Centre for Amerindian, Latin American and Caribbean Studies has existed in St Andrews under different names since before 1969, when it was formally recognised by the Court of the University as the Centre of Latin American Linguistic Studies (CLALS).

It was founded by Douglas Gifford as part of the Department of Spanish when it encouraged the teaching of Amerindian Languages and Basque. Quechua became a regular part of Spanish Honours and was taught by the experienced Quechuista Leslie Hoggarth. A collection of books and objects was created which became the basis of the Centre's Library.

Refounded by the University in 1988 as the Institute of Amerindian Studies (IAS), it continued to teach Quechua for Spanish Honours from 1988-1994 under the direction of Tristan Platt. In 1996, it became the Centre for Indigenous American Studies and Exchange (CIASE) under the direction of Joanna Overing, and was incorporated into the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies. Relaunched as CAS in 2006, it continues to enjoy a privileged link with the Department of Social Anthropology. Huon Wardle directed CAS from 2010-2013. Sabine Hyland is the current director of the Centre.

The School currently employs four Amerindianists and one Caribbeanist with interests in the history, languages and ethnography of South America and the Caribbean. They supervise a stimulating group of more than twenty postgraduates. The Centre has an extensive library collection part of which is housed in the Centre suite: books held in the CAS Reading Room can be consulted during opening hours or by appointment with the CAS Secretary.

Theoretical perspectives emphasise the anthropological and historical interpretation of Amerindian, Peasant, Urban and Archipelagian societies, with the learning and use of languages having an important role. Changing American societies are seen in their own terms, as well as in their relations with the rest of the world. A wide network of contacts is maintained with colleagues, popular and academic organizations and NGOs, in the Americas as well as in Scotland.

Link to the catalogue of the CAS collection held in the university's Main Library

Link to the Latin American and Caribean Network (LACNET)

Link to the Rebellions, Alliances and Politics website

For further information, please contact:

Centre for Amerindian, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Department of Social Anthropology
School of Philosophical, Anthropological & Film Studies
University of St Andrews
71 North Street
St Andrews, Fife
KY16 9AL Scotland, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1334 462986/2977

Centre News

Dr. Sabine Hyland will be giving a talk as part of the MUSA One World exhibition on 16 June at 5:30. The exhibition is titled, “One World: Exploring Cultures across Continents”. South American objects from the CAS collection feature prominently in the exhibition; there are also two items (a 19th century silver shaman’s cup and a hand woven textile) Dr. Hyland's personal collection. Dr Hyland will be opening the exhibition on January 14 at 5:30; all are invited to attend. Please RSVP to Matt Sheard if you plan to attend (

Other News:

Tom Zuidema (1927-2016)

It is with sadness that we relay the death of Tom Zuidema. Tom was a towering figure in the field of Andean studies, who trained generations of students who went on to be leading scholars in the archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnography of the region. Born in the Netherlands in 1927, Tom joined the Anthropology department at the University of Illinois in Anthropology in 1964 and was a Professor Emeritus since his retirement in 1993. Tom also held appointments at the UIUC Center for Advanced Study and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In 2013 he was honored by the College of Liberal Arts and Science by inclusion in their Centennial Gallery of Excellence.

Tom was appointed by Queen Juliana to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. He received the François Premier Medal of the Collège de France. He is the recipient of multiple doctorates honoris causa, from institutions including the Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Lima, Peru (1993), the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru (2003) and the University Cuzco, Peru (2006). The University of Bologna, Italy, where Tom frequently lectured in recent years, appointed him to life membership in its Center of Advanced Studies. He received a “Mención de Honor” from the International Congress of Americanists. In 2008 he received from the President of the Republic of Peru the Order of "The Sun of Perú" in the rank of Comendador.


Recent CAS publications by Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz, Tristan Platt, Paolo Fortis and George Mentore are available directly from CAS and also via the university's online shop.

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