Button Menu

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies requires a minimum of five courses, including a fourth-semester proficiency in Spanish or French (see Language Block)*, and a minimum of four additional courses selected from those listed under the Culture Block. The four Culture block courses must be taken from three different departments and at least one of these must be at the 300- or 400- level. Because of curricular overlap, no student will be allowed to minor in Spanish or French and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Students may major in either Spanish or French and minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, provided that no more than three courses are used for both.
*Heritage speakers of Spanish who have placed beyond HISP 232 on the placement exam, or heritage speakers of French who have placed beyond GFS 202 and who wish to continue their study of the language, must complete HISP 332 or a 300-level language French course, and select from the courses taught in Spanish or French in the Culture Block.

Course Catalog

Requirements for a minor

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Total courses required Five
Core courses LANGUAGE BLOCK: HISP 232 or GFS 202 (or placement beyond this level on the language proficiency exam)
Other required courses CULTURE BLOCK: Four courses chosen from ANTH 273, ANTH 279, ANTH 290 (if LACS topic), ANTH 352, ANTH 354, ANTH 356, ANTH 390, ECON 250, GFS 315 (topics course, in French), GFS 420, HISP 335 (in Spanish), HISP 338 (in Spanish), HISP 390 (in Spanish; if LACS topic), HISP 444 (in Spanish), HIST 115, HIST 116, HIST 197 (if LACS topic), HIST 206, HIST 290 (if LACS topic), HIST 300, HIST 381, HIST 382, POLS 150, POLS 352, REL 267, REL 269, REL 290 (if LACS topic), REL 370 (if LACS topic), UNIV 290 (if LACS topic) Note: Courses not listed may be approved for credit towards the minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies by the Steering Committee.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One to two

Courses in Art History

ARTH 281

Histories of Performance Art

This course explores the captivating history of performance art in the Americas. Since the early twentieth century, artists have turned to performance as an experimental mode of artistic production. They have used bodily movement, music and sound, costumes, and props to reimagine the forms, institutions, and audiences for art. What does it mean to "perform" art rather than to make an art object? We will take a hemispheric approach to this question, investigating how artists working in diverse contexts in Latin America and North America have used performance as an expressive and political form. For instance, we will analyze performance works made under dictatorial regimes in Argentina and Chile, amid the transnational feminist movement of the 1970s, and during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States. Among other topics, we will consider debates around performance documentation, the ethics of audience participation, and the critical use of the body by artists of color and queer and feminist artists. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Courses in Hispanic Studies

HISP 295

Special Topics

(may be cross-listed with LACS 290) Course on social, political, and cultural topics of the Spanish-speaking world. May be co-taught, on a special topic, and/or taught in English. No prerequisites. May also count as a cognate class toward the Hispanic Studies Major and toward the minors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and/or World Literature. If offered, Hispanic Studies majors may engage optional Spanish language content for additional .5 credit toward the major. This may involve collaborating with other institutions via virtual conversation or online discussion, reading Spanish texts, and completing Spanish language writing exercises. May be repeated for credit with a different topic. May count towards language proficiency requirement of Hispanic Studies Major. Prerequisite HISP 232 or equivalent.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in History

HIST 205

From Colony to Nation: The Legacy of Colonialism in Latin America, 1700-c.1930

By surveying the late colonial period to the early twentieth-century, this class focuses on the troubled transition from colony to nation in Latin America. As students will learn, the transition from European colonialism to modern republics did not translate to the emergence of democratic societies that advanced the rights of all citizens. Indeed, slavery and patriarchal and racial hierarchies--holdovers from Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule--endured and remained deeply entrenched. Additionally, Latin America's colonial legacy complicated its transition to stable, unified nations, practicing liberal, democratic values. Ending with the neocolonial age of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, students will see how exploitive and unequal colonial relationships between Europe, the US, and Latin America were reestablished and ensconced. Throughout, this class emphasizes the experiences and agency of marginalized groups--women, native peoples, Afro-Latin Americans, and the poor--tracking changes and continuities in their realities during a time of upheaval and great change. By taking this class, students will see the impacts of Western colonialism and how it endured, leaving indelible marks on Latin America's present.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 206

History of Mexico

A social history of Mexico from pre-Hispanic times to the present. Emphasizing processes of resistance, rebellion and accommodation, this course examines the social and cultural dynamics of the major Mesoamerican societies (Aztecs and Maya), the colonial period and the process of nation formation. Attention will be given to gender and ethnic issues.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science 1 course

HIST 207

Latin American Environmental History

The diversity of people, geography and ecology in Latin America combine to make it one of the most diverse environments on the planet. Complementing this diversity is a rich history of human interactions with the environment. Knowing this history informs us about indigenous economic and cultural practices that offer alternative ways of thinking about how people relate to their environment. The history of conquest and colonization illustrate the dramatic, if not catastrophic, impact of European environmental practices, which helps us to further understand how modernity attempted to control nature, as well as the consequences of this effort. Learning the history also shows the troubled relationship between capitalism and the planet's resources, and how the troubles were important in shaping Latin America's social, political, economic and cultural landscapes. The history is important for our thinking about the contemporary and future challenges we face, especially in the areas of climate change, resource extraction, food sovereignty, disease and energy.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science 1 course

HIST 215

Close Encounters with Empires: The Beginnings of Latin America

Empires, both indigenous and European, played key roles in shaping the early history of Latin America, a period defined by powerful and innovative native empires, European conquest and expansion, the formation of racial and patriarchal hierarchies, the slave trade, massive historical change, and surprising cultural continuities. From the Aztecs and the Incas to the Spanish and the Portuguese, early empires--as we will learn--made lasting marks on the societies, cultures, and peoples of this important region. These empires, however, would not have made such enduring impacts without the people that constituted them, those who by force, coercion, or voluntary action both constructed and became entangled in empire's web. Thus, this class pays close attention to the everyday people who experienced close encounters with colonial, imperial, and expansionary states during this early period, namely native peoples, the poor, Afro-Latin Americans, mixed-race individuals known as castas, and women. By focusing on marginalized groups' experiences under various empires and their essential roles in negotiating, resisting, constructing, and transforming their respective societies, this class demonstrates the profound ways people "from below" shaped the course of history and, by extension, our present reality.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 216

Power to the People: The Struggle for Democracy and Rights in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Latin America

This class surveys the ongoing struggle for rights, equality, and democracy by everyday people--women, native people, Afro-Latin Americans, the poor, and the queer community--in twentieth and twenty-first century Latin America. Characterized by the rise of unions, working class involvement in politics, attempts at land reforms, and the advancement of women's suffrage, the first half of the twentieth-century saw an expansion in people's rights and political participation, thereby making Latin American nations more democratic and inclusive than ever before. However, as students will learn, the struggle for equal rights and stable democracies for all citizens did not proceed in a linear, unobstructed fashion in the region. Rather, progress was fitful at best and, at worst, often times took significant steps back. Threats, both domestic and international, posed significant challenges to the democratization of Latin America; US and CIA interventions during the Cold War, for example, led to dictators across the region who impoverished their own countries; terrorized their populations; ended democratic rule; and limited the rights of women, the queer community, and people of color. Thus, this class challenges the "myth of progress," highlighting that democracy, civil rights, and greater equality are not guarantees in our modern world. That being said, this course demonstrates that everyday people persistently negotiated and pushed back against structures of oppression, leading to indigenous rebellions, social revolutions, and feminist and gay liberation movements. Indeed, Latin Americans "from below" shaped and continue to shape Latin America. The class will end by considering the current state of democracy and women's, queer, and indigenous rights, as well as other major issues facing the regions' nations in the twenty-first century.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 385

Latin American Revolutions

This discussion course examines the revolutionary movements which swept Latin America after World War Two. These include: Guatamal in 1940-1954, Bolivia 1952, Cuba 1959, Chile 1970, Nicaragua 1979 and Chiapas 1994. Our analysis will cover a range of social, political, economic, and cultural frameworks for understanding these revolutions, why they happened, did they succeed, or why they failed. Analysis will focus on theories of revolution, why they happen, what their process is, and the thorny issue of how to evaluate their success or failure. We will learn about peasant and urban working class movements, as well as issues of consciousness as it pertains to the formation of counter-hegemonic movements. Guerilla warfare, the 'foco' strategy, and organizing tactics will be examined. We will develop an understanding of the role of US foreign policy in each revolution. the course will have a gender component by exploring how the role of women changed over time in the revolutionary movements. We develop an understanding of how and why the pre-1994 Chiapas revolutions were 'modern' responses to social, political, economic and cultural problems and how the Zapatista rebellion can be understood as the first postmodern revolution. Students will learn about why the autonomous movement is a more powerful tool of revolution than the 'traditional' revolutionary movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The course will hae approximately 7 monographs. Reading will be at the pace of a book every two weeks (150 pages a week+/-). Students will write multiple thesis drive essays responding to the reading. There will also be a term paper.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

LACS 100

Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Studies

This introductory course to Latin American and Caribbean cultures serves as the gateway to an interdisciplinary exploration of the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Global Learning 1 course

LACS 290

Topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

This course is an exploration of selected aspects of one of the societies and/or cultures in Latin America and the Caribbean, or a comparative treatment of aspects of these cultures. Specific case studies will include ethnographic research and/or readings of primary sources relating to Latin America and the Caribbean. Topics may include religion, migration, identity, gender, literature and art, and society. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

LACS 390

Advanced Topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

This course is designed to be an interdisciplinary examination of a significant theme, genre or period in Latin American and Caribbean literature and art, or an exploration of significant issues and/or periods in Latin American and Caribbean cultural and intellectual history. This course is different from LACS 290 in that its purpose is to explore the deeper questions raised by such issues as identity, ethnicity, gender, performance, and class. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Political Science

POLS 352

Politics of Developing Nations

An introduction to the similarities and unifying characteristics of heterogeneous developing nations. Emphasis on diversities to be found in different regions of the Third World. The focus is on issues and problems and not countries and regions, though case studies are used for illustrative purposes. The course covers theories and approaches to the study of the Third World; changes in the Third World (political, economic, governmental and regime); contemporary issues (hunger and famine, multinationals, foreign debt and the New International Economic Order); and Third World ideologies and movements (nonalignment, developmental socialism, anti-Americanism and Islamic revivalism).

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Religious Studies

REL 269

Liberation Theology

An examination of the interaction between Western religious traditions and the foremost liberation movements: Third-World, black, gay and women's liberation.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

REL 360

Bob Marley, Caribbean Religion and Culture

This course is a close study and analysis of the religious core and communicative rationality in Bob Marley's life and music. It develops the intersections between Caribbean religion and culture based on Marley's affiliation to Rastafari.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Privilege, Power And Diversity 1 course

Courses in Anthropology

ANTH 251

Latin American & Caribbean Cultures

This courses introduces students to the diverse cultures and societies of Latin America and the Caribbean via a multi-disciplinary approach. Through historical, ethnographic, and literary study, we will explore relations of power, ideology, and resistance from the colonial conquest to the present, including economic dependency, development, political institutions, the military, social movements, religious expressions and ethnic and class relations.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Global Learning 1 course

ANTH 360

African Diaspora Religions

This course is designed to explore the history, functions, and communities, which encompass religions of the African Diaspora such as Santer'a, Vodou, and Candombl'. Lectures, discussions, films, and a range of ethnographic literature will introduce students to these religious systems. Among the topics and themes to be addressed in relation to religion are issues of identity, ethnicity, gender, performance, and class. Case studies in Brazil, Cuba, and among Latinos in the U.S. will illuminate the multivocality of the religious beliefs and practices found in the African Diaspora.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Global Learning 1 course

ANTH 380

Anthropology of Reproduction in the Americas

This course examines the social and cultural constructions of reproduction, and how power in everyday life shapes reproductive behavior and its cross cultural meanings. Utilizing a hemispheric and ethnographic approach to reproduction, this course engages with examples from throughout the Americas, including but not limited to Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. The course is organized to address a reproductive spectrum including fertility, childbirth and parenting, as well as the roles and expectations for women and men in each of these stages of reproduction. Additional topics addressed are state intervention on fertility, technologies of reproduction, the cultural production of natural childbirth, the politics of fetal personhood, and the diverse reproductive health situations influenced by the intersectional nature of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality and class.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Privilege, Power And Diversity 1 course

Courses in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

WGSS 380

Chicana Feminisms

This class addresses Mexican-American women's political mobilizations and social theories from the colonial era to the present. While the course centers on the philosophies, art, and literature of Mexican-American women and self-identified Chicanas, students are encouraged to develop comparative perspectives on the intersections of Chicana feminisms with the decolonial work of women across Latin America and the Caribbean, and to make connections between Chicana feminisms and other streams of feminism across the U.S.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Privilege, Power And Diversity 1 credit