Constitution and Bylaws


Adopted 1962, revised and updated as of April 2011

ARTICLE I—Name and Character

Section 1.
The name of this organization is THE CONFERENCE ON LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY (hereafter Conference).

Section 2.
The Conference shall be devoted to general educational purposes and shall always act to remain qualified as a charitable and educational corporation exempt from federal income tax as specified under section 501 (c) (3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as the same may be from time to time amended.

ARTICLE II—Objectives

Section 1.
The specific objectives of the Conference are to foster and improve the study and teaching of Latin American history, and to encourage diffusion of knowledge about Latin America.

Section 2.
In furtherance of this object, the Conference shall:
a) assist the Program Committee of the American Historical Association in preparing programs and sessions on Latin America and related areas at the annual Association meeting;
b) provide for a breakfast or luncheon meeting of teachers, students, and others interested in Latin American history and allied fields to be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Historical Association;
c) co-sponsor, with H-Net, the electronic listserver for Latin American history, H- LATAM;
d) take whatever action deemed desirable for furthering the interests of the Conference.

ARTICLE III—Membership

Section 1.
Membership in the Conference shall be open to all persons interested in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean. Institutions as well as individuals may be members.

Section 2.
Active membership shall date from receipt by the Executive Secretary of the annual dues fixed by the General Committee, and shall continue so long as such annual dues are paid. Annual dues are payable at the beginning of the calendar year to which they may apply. Any member whose dues are in arrears for one year may, one month after the mailing of a notice of such delinquency to his or her last known address, be dropped from the rolls.

Section 3.
Only active members in good fiscal standing shall have the right to vote, (or) hold office, serve on committees, and participate in the Conference program.

Section 4.
The Executive Secretary shall prepare annually a list of members and distribute it to those listed. That list shall be open to inspection during business meetings of the Conference and shall constitute conclusive evidence of membership.


Section 1.
The officers shall be President, Vice President, and Executive Secretary. The Executive Secretary shall be appointed by the General Committee for a five year term, which may be renewed by decision of the General Committee.

Section 2.
No one who has been President of the Conference may be re-elected Vice President to succeed to that office. The President and the Vice President shall hold office for two calendar years, dating from ratification of election results by the General Committee.

Section 3.
The President shall carry out duties and perform functions customarily attached to that office and those which may be authorized or prescribed by the General Committee. Among other matters, the President shall:
a) Preside at meetings of the Conference and of the General Committee;
b) Appoint, with the approval of the General Committee, the Chairs and members of the Nominating Committee, the prize Committees, and special or ad hoc committees;
c) On approval by the General Committee, designate the speaker for the annual breakfast or luncheon meeting of the Conference;
d) Represent (or provide for representation of) the Conference at conferences, meetings, and negotiations of interest to the Conference;
e) Receive no salary or compensation for discharge of this office, but may be reimbursed for expenses of the office in amounts prescribed by the By-laws.

Section 4.
The Vice President shall assist the President and shall substitute for the President in case of absence or disability. The Vice President shall become President if that office, through any cause, becomes vacant. The Vice President shall become President for the third and fourth year following his/her election as Vice President. As needed with the advice of the CLAH General Committee, H-NET and the H-LATAM editorial board, the Vice President will appoint two or more editors for the H-LATAM electronic discussion list. Editors of H-LATAM will serve three-year, renewable terms.

Section 5.
The Executive Secretary shall keep the records of the Conference and shall supervise the Secretariat, under the general direction of the General Committee. The Executive Secretary shall perform the specific duties assigned in the By-laws, and any others as directed by the General Committee. In the absence or disability of both the President and Vice President, the Executive Secretary shall temporarily discharge the duties of those offices, but shall not succeed to the office of President if both those offices, for whatever reason, fall vacant. In such event, the General Committee shall prescribe the procedure by which the two offices will be filled for the unexpired period of the terms.

Section 6.
Actions taken by the General Committee or the Executive Committee of the General Committee outside of the annual meeting shall be recorded by the Executive Secretary as addenda to the minutes of the preceding General Committee meeting.

ARTICLE V—General Committee

Section 1.
There shall be a General Committee of the Conference. It shall conduct and supervise the business of the Conference, manage the property, and care for the general interests of the Conference, and shall be deemed its Board of Directors under the articles of incorporation of the Conference.

Section 2.
The following officers and persons ex officio shall be voting members of the General Committee: The retiring President of the Conference for two calendar years following retirement; President; Vice President; Executive Secretary of the Conference; Editor, Hispanic American Historical Review; Editor, The Americas; Editor, H-LATAM.

Section 3.
The General Committee shall also have four elected voting members, each serving two year terms and not subject to re-election for two consecutive terms. Annually, two of the four elected members shall be elected to and two shall retire from the General Committee.

Section 4.
In addition to specific duties and powers here enumerated, the General Committee shall establish and supervise such committees, commissions, and boards as it deems necessary, establish prizes and the terms and administration thereof, authorize and supervise the annual programs of the Conference, present to the Conference as a whole from time to time proposals and projects for strengthening and expanding its programs, administer gift, grant, and trust funds (with power to delegate such administration), ratify election results, supervise the Secretariat, and coordinate the fund raising and scheduling activities of Regional and Topical Committees of the Conference.

Section 5.
There shall be an Executive Committee of the General Committee to transact necessary business in the interim between meetings of the General Committee. It shall consist of the retiring President, the President, Vice President, and Executive Secretary. The Executive Committee is empowered to carry out policies approved by the General Committee, to which it shall report its actions for ratification.

ARTICLE VI—Regional and Topical Committees

Section 1.
The purpose of the Regional and Topical Committees within the Conference on Latin American History is to promote scholarship germane to their respective regions and topics.

Section 2.
In furtherance of this objective, the Regional and Topical Committees shall enjoy the maximum amount of latitude, consistent with the purpose and objectives of the parent organization, in conducting their activities.

Section 3.
All members of Regional and Topical committees must be members of the Conference on Latin American History, and must, therefore, meet all requirements enumerated in Article III of this Constitution.

Section 4.
Regional and Topical Committees may determine individual positions on issues of public policy by polling their members for a majority opinion.  Should the majority of respondents approve the position, the officers of the Regional and Topical Committees must then submit the proposed statement to the General Committee for its majority approval.  Regional and Topical Committees may not express such positions through an independent organization distinct from the Conference on Latin American History without first submitting the proposed statement to the General Committee for approval. In case of such approval, it shall be clearly understood that the public statement only represents the position of the committee and does not represent the position of the Conference on Latin American History. The General Committee may also choose to poll the full membership in the event it wishes to make such a statement on behalf of the organization.  Such a statement may only be made if a majority of respondents approve the position.

Section 5.
Regional and Topical Committees shall elect their own officers. The following procedures will be followed in all Regional and Topical Committee elections:
a) When new officers are to be elected, members of the Committees will submit nominations to the Secretariat for the election ballot;
b) Balloting shall occur at least thirty days before the annual meeting of the General Committee;
c) Regional and Topical Committees may elect or appoint officers in addition to the Chair and Secretary.
d) The elected officer will serve one year as secretary followed by one year as chair.

Section 6.
Regional and Topical Committees shall fund their own activities.

Section 7.
Regional and Topical Committees shall submit suggestions for programs to the Program Committee of the parent organization.

Section 8.
Regional and Topical Committees may assess dues on their membership.


Section 1.
As part of the relationship between CLAH and H-LATAM, the editors of H-LATAM will sit on the CLAH general committee and the President, Vice-President and Executive Secretary of CLAH will sit on the board of H-LATAM. In addition, H-LATAM will provide the means for making the CLAH Newsletter, membership list and and membership application through the website.

Section 2.
There shall also be an H-LATAM editorial board, jointly appointed and sponsored by CLAH and H-NET. The board will consist of the CLAH President, Vice-President, and Executive Secretary, the H-LATAM editors, and no more than 20 representatives. Of this maximum number, up to twelve representatives will be appointed by the chairs of regional and standing committees of CLAH; up to three other representatives appointed by the H-LATAM editors can represent fields other than history. All CLAH-appointed representatives on the editorial board must be members in good standing of CLAH; they must be approved by the Vice-President of CLAH and by H-NET. Members will serve two-year, overlapping, renewable terms. Among the duties of the H-LATAM board will be to advise on book reviewers and other matters that may arise associated with H-LATAM content. The Editorial board will also assist the Editors in submitting yearly reports by December  to the CLAH General Committee.


Section 1.
There shall be an annual election for two members of the General Committee, and Regional and Topical Committee officers; and a biennial election for the Vice President.

Section 2.
Election shall be by majority of ballots cast by eligible active members via electronic or paper polling, tabulated by the Executive Secretary and verified by the President at least one month before the annual business meeting of the Conference. The election results shall be ratified by the General Committee, following which those certified as elected shall be considered the officers for the ensuing calendar year and shall assume office at the end of the annual (January) business meeting of the Conference.

Section 3.
Early each year, the President shall name from members of the Conference a Nominating Committee of three persons, one of whom he/she shall designate as Chair, to prepare a slate of officers for the ensuing calendar year. The Chair of the Nominating Committee shall inform the President of the proposed slate by September 15, and the President shall transmit the proposed slate to the Executive Secretary, who shall place it on a ballot. The ballots shall be distributed by the Executive Secretary to members eligible to vote, on or about October 15. Ballots cast by December 1 will be counted.

Section 4.
Any member eligible for election to an office specified in Section 1 of this Article may be nominated for that office by a petition bearing the signatures of at least 20 members in good standing. Provided that such petition is received not later than October 1 by the Executive Secretary, the candidates nominated thereon will be included on the mail ballot.

ARTICLE IX—Amendments to Constitution and By-Laws

Section 1.
This Constitution as amended was made effective on May 1, 1994, by a majority of those returning the ballots to the Secretariat signifying their approval.

Section 2.
The By-laws shall be considered a part of this Constitution and are adopted upon ratification of the Constitution. Individual By-Laws may be created or amended by a majority vote of Conference members responding to a mail canvass as specified by the General Committee.

Section 3.
Any member of the Conference may at any time suggest in writing to the Executive Secretary proposed amendments or revisions of the Constitution or the By-laws; such proposal shall include reasons and justification for amendment. The Executive Secretary shall circulate such proposals and shall make provision for consideration thereof by the General Committee at the first annual meeting subsequent to the initiation thereof. The General Committee shall make its recommendations at that time, and shall instruct the Executive Secretary to conduct a poll of the members to ascertain their approval or disapproval of the proposed amendment.

Section 4.
To become valid, amendments to the Constitution must be ratified by a majority vote of members responding to the canvass as specified by the General Committee. Changes, additions, deletions, or amendments of By-laws become valid when voted by a majority present at any business meeting of the Conference, or by a majority vote in the canvass specified by the General Committee.


1. Dues:
The annual dues of the Conference on Latin American History shall be payable to the Conference in an amount and manner specified by the Executive Secretary. Dues are due and payable January 1 of the year to which they apply.

2. Reimbursement of Expenses:
The President of the Conference shall be reimbursed for documented expenses in connection with that office for an amount to be determined annually by the General Committee or a subordinate body appointed thereby. Provided that funds are available from outside sources, members who serve on committees or carry out special functions approved by the General Committee may be reimbursed for expenses, but no member on the Conference shall receive fees for professional services except under specific authorization by the General Committee.

3. Duties of the Executive Secretary:
Under Article IV, Section 5, specific duties of the Executive Secretary shall include:
a) Collection of annual dues, preparation of a list of members, and maintenance of current membership records;
b) Recording the minutes of Conference and General Committee meetings, and submitting copies of the minutes of the latter to the General Committee and publishing them in the Spring Newsletter.
c) Acting as Corporation Agent, maintaining proper fiscal records, and preparing such reports as are required of the Conference as a Corporation;
d) Rendering an annual fiscal account of Conference finances for the previous year as well as a proposed budget for the following fiscal year to the members at the annual business meeting;
e) Preparation and distribution of a Newsletter at least twice yearly (Spring, Fall), with special issues as required;
f) Supervise the archival records of the Conference, and collect and deposit in these members relevant official documents and correspondence;
g) Aid in making local arrangements for the annual meetings and sessions of the Conference at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association;
h) Disbursement of prizes and awards, reimbursements, and other obligations of the Conference;
i) Preparation, distribution, and tabulation of ballots of annual elections;
j) Circulation of proposed constitutional amendments.

4. Prizes and Awards:
For each prize established by the General Committee there shall be a prize committee of at least three persons, appointed by the President with the approval of the General Committee. The Chair of each prize committee shall report the choice of his/her committee, providing in writing the reasons for that choice. The General Committee shall set terms and stipends of prizes. These established by the General Committee for the Conference are the following:
a) Bolton-Johnson Memorial Prize, $1,000 annually;
b) James A. Robertson Memorial Prize, $500 annually;
c) Paul Vanderwood Prize, $500 annually;
d) Distinguished Service Award, $500 annually;
e) Howard F. Cline Memorial Prize, $500 biennially;
f) James R. Scobie Memorial Awards, $1,500
g) Antonine Tibesar Prize, $500 annually;
h) Lewis Hanke Post-Doctoral Award, $1,000 annually;
i) Warren Dean Memorial Prize in Brazilian History, $500 annually;
j) Lydia Cabrera Award(s), maximum $5,000;
k) Elinor Kerr Melville Prize, $500 annually;
l) María Elena Martínez Prize, $500 annually

5. Regular or Standing Committees:
Under Article V, Section 4 of the Constitution, the General Committee has established the following Standing Committees, the Chair and members of which are to be named by the President of the Conference, with approval of the General Committee;
a) Program Committee for current year annual meeting of the American Historical Association;
b) Program Committee for following year annual meeting of the American Historical Association;
c) Nominating Committee.

6. Continuing Committees:
To carry out approved programs, the General Committee has created the following Regional and Topical Committees, whose membership, activities, and actions shall continue as originally specified by the General Committee, under Article VI of the Constitution:
a) Committee on Teaching and Teaching Materials;
b) Committee on Borderlands/Frontiers Studies;
c) Committee on Brazilian Studies;
d) Committee on Mexican Studies;
e) Committee on Gran Colombian Studies;
f) Committee on Andean Studies;
g) Committee on Caribbean Studies;
h) Committee on Central American Studies;
i) Committee on Chile-Rio de la Plata Studies;
j) Committee on Colonial Studies;
k) Committee on Atlantic World Studies.