Latin American Studies

Undergraduate

Latin American studies is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes critical approaches to the culture, history, society, and political economy of the vast region spanning from Mexico to Argentina.

Program Overview

As societies long defined by — and in opposition to — external powers, Latin America and the Caribbean have in modern times developed distinctive national and cultural identities celebrated on a world stage in art, music, and literature. The program studies the region in its enormous geographic diversity — from plantation to highland Americas, from Mexico to Argentina; and linguistic variety — four European, several Creole, and numerous indigenous languages. You may pursue course work in several thematic and geographic areas.

Alum Connections

Stories from Latin American Studies Alums

Courses and Requirements

As distinct from the major in Spanish, most courses are taught in English.

Learning Goals

The three areas of the Spanish, Latina/o/x and Latin American Studies department share the following common learning goals:

  • Recognize, examine, and interrogate the past, current state, and emerging realities and histories of the societies and cultures of Latin America, Spain, the Caribbean, and the US Latina/o/x population.
  • Describe and interpret the character of their relations with each other and with the wider world.
  • Distinguish among and employ multi/interdisciplinary, transnational, and cross-border perspectives.
  • Analyze critically and articulate with logical arguments the diverse configurations and varying experiences of (classic, post, and neo) colonialism and diaspora in and among the regions, nations, and populations of our concern.
  • Develop the ability to write, read, speak, and conduct research in the primary languages of our area(s) of coverage, particularly English and Spanish.
  • Creatively contribute to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge through different modalities individually and collectively.
  • Engage with and maintain a sustained contact with the local Latina/o/x communities.

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 40 credits:

A command of Spanish or Portuguese
A minimum of 40 credits in Latin American Studies including:
LATAM-180Introduction to Latin American Cultures4
Two elective courses, at any level, in Latin American studies8
At least one course, at any level, dealing with subjects outside traditional Latin America—that is, the non-Hispanic areas of the Caribbean or South America; indigenous peoples of the region; the migration of Hispanic or Caribbean communities abroad4
At least two courses, at any level, outside the student's primary area of interest8
At least one advanced (300-level) course on Spanish American or Brazilian literature taught in the language4
At least three additional 300-level courses in Latin American studies12
Total Credits40

Other Requirements

  • Students pick an area of interest within Latin American studies and plan their coursework in close consultation with their major advisor.

Additional Specifications

  • The Latin American Studies major is available only to students who entered the College before fall 2022. Students entering fall 2022 or later should consider a minor in Latin American Studies; the Five College Certificate in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies; or proposing a special major with this focus.
  • An elementary knowledge of the other language (Spanish or Portuguese) and study abroad are strongly recommended for all majors.
  • It is also strongly recommended that majors complete an appropriate course in American, African American, or Latin American studies that assesses the role of the United States in Latin America, studies United States Latino communities, or compares related experiences across United States/Latin American boundaries.
  • Programs for study abroad can be arranged throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Students who declare a Latin American studies major automatically fulfill the College's "outside the major" requirement.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 20 credits:

LATAM-180Introduction to Latin American Cultures4
One 200-level or 300-level Latin American studies course4
At least one course at the 300 level4
2 additional approved courses8
Total Credits20

Additional Specifications

  • Courses in the student’s major field may not be used to fulfill the requirements of the minimum minor. For example,  a student majoring in Spanish may not use any Spanish course to count towards the both the Spanish major and the Latin American Studies minor.

Course Offerings

LATAM-180 Introduction to Latin American Cultures

Spring. Credits: 4

Examines the confrontation, assimilation, and transformation of Amerindian, African, and European cultures in Latin America from the sixteenth century to the present. Focuses on the processes in which distinctive self-images emerged in the region and how these images have been challenged and changed over time. Uses films, literature, and folk traditions to complement scholarly analysis of the emergence of a New World mentality.

Crosslisted as: HIST-180
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
A. Pitetta

LATAM-287 Topics in Latin American Studies

This course studies significant problems relating to Latin America in greater depth from the perspectives of appropriate disciplines. Some topics may be cross-listed with other departments.

LATAM-287FM Topics in Latin American Studies: 'Frames of Mind: Tracking Power/Knowledge'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

A frame of mind typically refers to a mood or perspective. However, such dispositions also reflect a certain regulation of thought and thus behavior. In other words, something "frames" our minds in the first place. This course explores these ideas by interrogating the history of commonplace assumptions regarding issues such as freedom, race, prison, sexuality, government, and insanity. Authors include Giorgio Agamben, Wendy Brown, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edward Said, Ann Laura Stoler, and others.

Crosslisted as: CST-249FM
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
J. Crumbaugh
Advisory: The course is geared toward both first-year students with minimal experience with philosophy and other students who have an interest in critical theory.

LATAM-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

LATAM-386 Central America: Reform, Reaction, Revolution

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar explores the diverse experiences of Central American nations in the twentieth century. From a common basis in an export-oriented agriculture, social and political alternatives ranging from social democracy to recurrent military rule, neofascist regimes, and revolutionary socialism have emerged in the isthmus. The course uses materials ranging from autobiography and literature to historical and anthropological studies to understand how this came to be. In addition to national cases, we consider the unique experiences of the area's indigenous and Atlantic-coast peoples within and outside the nation-state framework.

Crosslisted as: HIST-386
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
L. Gudmundson
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in Latin American Studies or related field.

LATAM-387 Special Topics in Latin American Studies

This course studies significant problems relating to Latin America in greater depth from the perspectives of appropriate disciplines. Some topics may be cross-listed with other departments.

LATAM-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.

Courses in Other Departments Counting toward the Minor in Latin American Studies

Africana Studies
AFCNA-181Introduction to African Diaspora Religions4
Anthropology
ANTHR-216LASpecial Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Latin America'4
ANTHR-216LTSpecial Topics in Anthropology: 'Race and Religion in Latin America'4
ANTHR-316LASpecial Topics in Anthropology: 'Race and Religion in Latin America'4
Critical Social Thought
CST-249FMSpecial Topics in Critical Social Thought: 'Frames of Mind: Tracking Power/Knowledge'4
CST-249NYTopics in Critical Social Thought: 'Nueva York'4
CST-349ACAdvanced Topics: 'Latina/o/x Studies in Action'4
CST-349HDAdvanced Topics: 'Disposable People: A History of Deportation'4
CST-349MCAdvanced Topics: 'Latinas/os/x and Housing: Mi Casa Is Not Su Casa'4
CST-349UUAdvanced Topics: 'Latina/o Immigration'4
English
ENGL-361LPAdvanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Writing In/Out of Place: 'Latinx and Latin American Poetry'4
Film, Media, Theater
FMT-230CNIntermediate Courses in History and Theory: 'Latin American Cinema'4
FMT-230LAIntermediate Courses in History and Theory: 'Latin American Film History'4
FMT-230LXIntermediate Courses in History and Theory: 'Latinx Media'4
Gender Studies
GNDST-204RPWomen and Gender in the Study of Culture: 'Race, Racism, and Power'4
GNDST-333FMAdvanced Seminar: 'Latina Feminism(s)'4
GNDST-333MCAdvanced Seminar: 'Latinas/os/x and Housing: Mi Casa Is Not Su Casa'4
GNDST-333QHAdvanced Seminar: 'Queering the Horror: Collective Memory, Political Violence, and Dissident Sexualities in Latin American Narratives'4
GNDST-333UUAdvanced Seminar: 'Latina/o Immigration'4
GNDST-333WEAdvanced Seminar: 'Weird Feelings: Unsettling Latin American Short Fiction'4
History
HIST-180Introduction to Latin American Cultures4
Italian
ITAL-361AVSeminar in Romance Languages and Cultures: 'About Vanguards and Revolutionary Ideas'4
Latin American Studies
LATAM-180Introduction to Latin American Cultures4
LATAM-287FMTopics in Latin American Studies: 'Frames of Mind: Tracking Power/Knowledge'4
LATAM-386Central America: Reform, Reaction, Revolution4
Latina/o Studies
LATST-250BRSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Borderlands Literature and Film'4
LATST-250FDSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'U.S. Latinx Foodways'4
LATST-250LRSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Latina/o/x Urbanism'4
LATST-250MTSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Multicultural Theater and Latina/o Experience'4
LATST-250NYSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Nueva York'4
LATST-250PBSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'The Politics of Borders'4
LATST-250RPSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Race, Racism, and Power'4
LATST-350ACSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Latina/o/x Studies in Action'4
LATST-350FMSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Latina Feminism(s)'4
LATST-350MCSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Latinas/os/x and Housing: Mi Casa Is Not Su Casa'4
LATST-350RFSpecial Topics in Latina/o Studies: 'Critical Refugee Studies'4
LATST-360Latina/o Immigration4
LATST-365Disposable People: A History of Deportation4
Politics
POLIT-243Introduction to Latin American Politics4
POLIT-255PAGender and Power in Global Contexts: 'The Politics of Abortion in the Americas'4
POLIT-267The Politics of Finance and Financial Crises4
POLIT-269Social Movements: Theory and Praxis4
Religion
RELIG-331LAAdvanced Topics in Religion: 'Race and Religion in Latin America'4
Romance Lang. & Literature
ROMLG-375AVSeminar in Romance Languages and Cultures: 'About Vanguards and Revolutionary Ideas'4
Spanish
SPAN-240CNVisual Cultures, An Introduction: 'Latin American Cinema'4
SPAN-240TRVisual Cultures, An Introduction: 'After Tragedy and Labor: Precarious Lives and Affection in Narratives of Violence'4
SPAN-250CCConcepts and Practices of Power: 'Contemporary Latin American Cultures'4
SPAN-250LMConcepts and Practices of Power: 'Making Latin America: From Independence to the Present'4
SPAN-260BLStudies in Language and Society: An Introduction: 'Being Bilingual'4
SPAN-260CNStudies in Language and Society: An Introduction: 'Spanish Across the Continents'4
SPAN-330FAAdvanced Studies in Identities and Intersections: 'Writing Myself: First Person Genres and Biopolitics in Latin America'4
SPAN-330WEAdvanced Studies in Identities and Intersections: 'Weird Feelings: Unsettling Latin American Short Fiction'4
SPAN-340ARAdvanced Studies in Visual Cultures: 'Occupying the Arts: Activism, Crisis and Arts in Latin America'4
SPAN-340TWAdvanced Studies in Visual Cultures: 'Translating Words into Images: The Interaction of Film and Literary Texts Contemporary Latin America'4
SPAN-350MGAdvanced Studies in Concepts and Practices of Power: 'Spanish Migrations'4
SPAN-350QHAdvanced Studies in Concepts and Practices of Power: 'Queering the Horror: Collective Memory, Political Violence, and Dissident Sexualities in Latin American Narratives'4
SPAN-360AVAdvanced Studies in Language and Society: 'About Vanguards and Revolutionary Ideas'4
SPAN-360LGAdvanced Studies in Language and Society: 'The Politics of Language'4

Contact Us

The Department of Spanish, Latina/o, Latin American Studies helps students understand the past, current state, and emerging realities of the cultures of Latin America, Spain, the Caribbean, and the Latina/o heritage populations within the United States.

Cara Lapenas
  • Academic Department Coordinator

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