Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 20, 2004

Latin American and Caribbean studies experts coming to U of G

Nearly 200 experts on Latin American and Caribbean studies from 15 countries and almost every Canadian province are coming to the University of Guelph for the Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS) annual international conference Oct. 28 to 31.

CALACS is the national organization for Latin American studies in Canada. It embraces a wide range of disciplines, including history, political science, anthropology, sociology and literature.

Speakers from around the world will focus on the theme “Latin America and the Caribbean: Independence and Interdependence.” Conference panellists include scholars from the National University of Mexico, Oxford University and the University of San Carlos in Guatemala; government officials; and members of non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, the North-South Institute and MiningWatch Canada.

Well-known forensic psychologist Candice Skrapec will give the keynote address on “The Murders of Women and Girls of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico,” Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Hall. The talk will focus on Skrapec’s work in the ongoing investigation into the serial murders of women and girls in the border town of Ciudad Juarez. In the past 10 years, more than 340 young women have been found mutilated, murdered and dumped in the areas surrounding assembly plants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Skrapec will talk about the forensic aspects and the larger social and economic aspects of the investigation.

A criminology professor at California State University, Fresno, she holds a PhD in criminal justice from the City University of New York and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Calgary. Her work on investigative profiling, serial killers, forensic criminology and sexual violence has been featured in a wide range of media, including Global Televison, CBC, ABC, NBC, CNN, BBC, Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, Homicide Studies and Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

Forty-three panel discussions on topics such as “Women in 20th-Century Latin America,” “Human Rights in Chile” and “Struggles for Citizenship: Latin Americans in Canada” will take place over the four-day conference.

“With the university’s critical mass of new and established experts in Latin American and Caribbean studies, it’s fitting that we are hosting a conference of this magnitude,” said Jacqueline Murray, dean of the College of Arts.

Seven new faculty members with expertise in Latin American and Caribbean studies were hired to bring U of G’s number of professors in this field to 18. “It’s one of the largest convergences of interdisciplinary Latin Americanists at a Canadian university,” said Murray.

The idea to host the CALACS congress came about when U of G’s Latin American and Caribbean experts came together for their inaugural meeting about a year ago. History professors Karen Racine and Stuart McCook and Spanish professor Rosario Gomez are co-chairing the conference.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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