Constitution and Bylaws


Adopted 1962, revised 1994 and 2020. 


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



Section 1.

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.

Section 2.

The specific objectives of the Conference are to foster the study and teaching of the history of Latin America and the Caribbean and its people, and to encourage the diffusion of knowledge about this topic.

Section 3.

In furtherance of this objective, the Conference shall:
a) prepare programs and sessions on Latin America and the Caribbean and its people at the annual CLAH meeting held in conjunction with that of the American Historical Association, including a luncheon meeting;
b) co-sponsor, with H-Net, the electronic listserv for Latin American history, H- LATAM;
c) within the American Historical Association and the discipline of History as a whole, represent the interests of historians of Latin America and the Caribbean;
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 and its people. Institutions as well as individuals may be members.

Section 2.
Active membership shall date from receipt by the Executive Director of the annual dues fixed by the Council, 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 be dropped from the rolls.

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

Section 4.
The Executive Director shall keep an up-to-date list of members. It will be available on the CLAH website.


Section 1.
The officers shall be President, Vice President, and Executive Director. The President and Vice President are elected positions. The Executive Director shall be appointed by the Council for a five-year term, which may be renewed by decision of the Council.

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 Council.

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 Council. Among other matters, the President shall:

a) Preside at meetings of the CLAH and of the Council;
b) Appoint, with the approval of the Council, the Chairs and members of the Nominating Committee, the prize Committees, and special or ad hoc committees
c) Represent (or provide for representation of) the Conference at organizations, meetings, and negotiations of interest to the Conference.

Section 4.
The Vice President shall assist the President and shall substitute for the President in case of absence or inability to fill duties. The Vice President shall become President if that office, through any cause, becomes vacant. The Vice President shall become President after two years following election as Vice President.

Section 5.
In the event of a vacancy in the office of Vice President, the Council shall elect one of its elected members to succeed to that office for the remainder of the term. 

Section 6.
The Executive Director shall keep the records of the Conference and shall supervise the Secretariat, under the general direction of the Council. The Executive Director shall perform the specific duties assigned in the By-laws, and any others as directed by the Council. In the absence or disability of both the President and Vice President, the Executive Director 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 Council shall prescribe the procedure by which the two offices will be filled for the unexpired period of the terms.  At the discretion of the Council, the office of Executive Director may be discharged by one or two individuals; if two individuals share the position, they shall have clearly delineated and separate responsibilities.


ARTICLE V—Council and Executive Committee

Section 1.
There shall be a Council 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 shall be voting members (ex officio) of the Council: The retiring President of the Conference for two calendar years following retirement; President; Vice President; Executive Director; Editor, Hispanic American Historical Review; Editor, The Americas; Editor, H-LATAM.  In case there are multiple individuals occupying one of the aforementioned editorial positions or for the office of Executive Director, only one of these individuals shall be a voting member, to be designated by the entity in question. That designation may change annually.

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

Section 4.
In addition to specific duties and powers here enumerated, the Council shall establish and supervise such committees, commissions, and boards as it deems necessary, establish prizes and the terms and administration thereof, supervise the annual programs of the Conference, present to the Conference proposals and projects for strengthening and expanding its programs, ratify election results, discuss and approve the Secretariat’s annual budget, and coordinate the activities of Regional and Topical Sections of the Conference.

Section 5.
The Council shall hold a business meeting to convene at the time of the Conference’s annual meeting, open to the entire Conference membership. Only Council members may vote.

Section 6. 
There shall be an Executive Committee of the Council to transact necessary business in the interim between business meetings of the Council. It shall consist of the retiring President, the President, Vice President, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee is empowered to carry out policies approved by the Council, to which it shall report its actions for ratification.

Section 7.
Actions taken by the Council or the Executive Committee outside of the annual meeting shall be recorded by the Executive Director as addenda to the minutes of the preceding Council meeting.

ARTICLE VI—Regional and Topical Sections

Section 1.
The purpose of the Regional and Topical Sections (hereafter Sections) within the Conference is to promote scholarship and teaching germane to their respective regions and topics.

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

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

Section 4.
Section officers are elected as part of the general CLAH ballot. The following procedures will be followed in all Regional and Topical Committee elections:
a) Sections will elect one new officer per year, who will serve one year as Secretary followed by one year as Chair of the Section. For this election, Section members may submit nominations for the election ballot.  The Executive Director will also ask the current Section officers for nominations, sharing with those officers a list of current Section members.
b) Balloting shall occur in conjunction with the conference elections each fall.
c) Sections may elect or appoint officers in addition to the Chair and Secretary.

Section 5.
Sections shall submit suggestions for programs to the Program Committee of the Conference.


Section 1.
H-LATAM is an international forum for the scholarly discussion of Latin American History.  It is a member of the H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online initiative.  As part of the relationship between CLAH and H-LATAM, one of the editors of H-LATAM will sit on the CLAH Council and the President, Vice-President and Executive Director of CLAH will sit on the board of H-LATAM.

Section 2.
There shall also be an H-LATAM editorial board, jointly sponsored by CLAH and H-NET. The H-LATAM Board will consist of the CLAH Council. The duties of the H-LATAM board will include approving the appointment of editors and book review editors of H-LATAM and advise on other matters that may arise associated with H-LATAM as stipulated by the Constitution and By Laws of H-NET. The Editorial board will submit yearly reports, by December, to the Council.


Section 1.
There shall be an annual election for three members of the Council and Section officers; and a biennial election for the Vice President.  At least one of the elected members of the Council shall be a graduate student or non-tenure-stream historian; in addition, the Nominating Committee shall ensure that the ballot reflects the CLAH’s diverse constituency.

Section 2.
Election shall be by majority of ballots cast by eligible active members via electronic or paper polling, tabulated by the Executive Director 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 Council, 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.
Each year, the President shall name from members of the Conference a Nominating Committee of three persons, one of whom shall be designated 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 Director, who shall place it on an electronic ballot. The ballot shall be distributed by the Executive Director to members eligible to vote, on or about October 15. Ballots submitted 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 Director, the candidates nominated thereon will be included on the ballot.

ARTICLE IX—Amendments to Constitution and By-Laws

Section 1.
This Constitution takes effect on January 4, 2020, pending a vote of the Conference membership upon the recommendation of the Council.

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 vote of the Council.

Section 3.
Any member of the Council, or a minimum of 30 members of the Conference, may at any time suggest in writing to the Executive Director proposed amendments or revisions of the Constitution or the By-laws; such proposal shall include reasons and justification for amendment. The Executive Director shall circulate such proposals to the Council and shall make provision for consideration thereof by the Council at its next meeting. 

Section 4.
The Council shall direct the Executive Director to conduct a vote of the full CLAH membership regarding amendments to the Constitution endorsed by majority vote of the Board or bearing the signatures of at least 30 CLAH members. To become valid, amendments to the Constitution must be ratified by a majority of members responding to this canvass.

Section 5. 
Changes, additions, deletions, or amendments of By-laws become valid when voted by a majority present at the business meeting of the Council. 


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

2. Reimbursement of Expenses:
The President of the Conference or their designee may authorize reimbursement for documented expenses in connection with Conference business. No member on the Conference shall receive fees for professional services except under specific authorization by the Council.

3. Duties of the Executive Director:

Under Article IV, Section 5, specific duties of the Executive Director shall include:
a) Collection of annual dues, preparation of a list of members, and maintenance of current membership records;
b) Recording the minutes of Council meetings, and publishing them in the Spring Newsletter
upon approval by the Council
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 Council there shall be a prize committee of at least three persons, appointed by the President with the approval of the Council. The Chair of each prize committee shall report the choice of his/her committee, providing in writing the reasons for that choice. The Council shall set terms and stipends of prizes and awards, as well as policies governing the stewardship of gifts supporting these prizes and awards

5. Regular or Standing Committees:
Under Article V, Section 4 of the Constitution, the Council has established the following Standing Committees:
a) Program Committee for the current year (including one member who will serve as Chair of the committee the following year)
b) Nominating Committee.

The Program Committee is to be named by the Executive Director, while the Nominating Committee is to be named by the President, both with approval of the Council;

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

The Council may create, rename, or dissolve sections pending ratification by the CLAH membership via electronic ballot.

7. Procedures in the Event of Dissolution: 
Upon dissolution of the Conference, the Council shall distribute its assets for one or more exempt purposes of its choosing, within the meaning of Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.