Institute of Latin American Studies Romance Collections

Oppression_Repression_Tortures_Argentine 72
Poster produced by the Comité de défense des prisonniers politiques argentins (CODEPPA) (1972)

Located within Senate House Library, the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) library is an internationally renowned research collection for the study of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Its holdings combine the humanities and social sciences, with an emphasis on literature and film.

The research collections have particular strengths in the following areas:

  • Latin American and Caribbean literature in French, Spanish and Portuguese, as well as in English translation. Holdings are especially strong for Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico
  • Latin American and Caribbean film and film criticism (complemented by the Film and Media section of Senate House Library)
  • Around 2,500 books from first half of 19th century
  • History and contemporary history. There are particularly strong holdings for the history of the Spanish Empire and the Cuban revolution.

The Caribbean Studies Collection combines the ILAS library research collections with material in Senate House Library, the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. The primary focus is on the former British West Indies, but there is significant material from the Francophone/Creole and Hispanic Caribbean. 

Special Collections

ILAS library special collections are also housed within Senate House Library. Much of this material can be searched via the electronic catalogue, although some collections are ordered using the archives and manuscripts catalogue.

  • The Political Archives Collection contains around 100 boxes of pamphlets, political leaflets and other ephemera produced by 20th-century Latin American political parties, pressure groups, NGOs, trade unions and governments. Every country in the region is represented, but there is a particularly rich collection of Chilean material. The collection is available for consultation in the Senate House Library special collections reading room, and can be searched and ordered here.
  • The Cuban Drama Collection consists of about 100 volumes of texts and critical works dating from the 1960s to the 1980s.
  • The CIIR Archive is a selection of material from the archive of the former Catholic Institute for International Relations (now Progressio), an international development charity.
  • The Leslie Sklair Collection consists of monographs and archival material relating to the maquiladoras on the Mexican-US border.
  • The Film and Documentary Collection includes the Nissa Torrents video archive and microMACRO video collection, as well as a wide range of feature films and documentaries. Acquisitions are now mainly in DVD format together with library tapings. There are about 800 items in total.

There are also a number of collections that are yet to be fully catalogued. The BOLSA Collection consists of about 250 volumes, primarily of Latin American travel and histories. The Victor Bulmer-Thomas Central America Collection and Henry Finch Uruguay Collection are the personal collections of two scholars. Further information on these collections is available from the ILAS librarian.