Latin American Studies (LAS)

Humanities and Natural Sciences

NOTE: Because the Latin American Studies concentration is interdisciplinary, there are courses within other departments which satisfy the requirements for the LAS concentration.  These courses, along with the LAS courses are listed alphabetically by department below.

BIOLOGY:

BIOL A118 Tropical Ecology 3 crs.

Two weeks will be spent in the field in Belize, Guatemala, or Trinidad studying the plants and animals in several different ecological zones: coral reefs, pine savannah, rain forest, and mangrove swamps. A paper on the ecology of the area will be written after returning from the expedition.

HISTORY:

HIST A220 Latin America I 3 crs.
This course is a survey of pre-Columbian civilizations; European discovery and conquest; structure and problems of empire in Spanish and Portuguese America; the influence of the church; and the struggle for independence.

HIST A221 Modern Latin America 3 crs.
This course is a socio-economic, cultural, and political analysis of Latin American Republics since 1820. Emphasis is on the development of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Topics include problems and prospects, clash between the traditional and the modern, conflicts between church and state, and inter-American relations.

HIST A410 History of Mexico 3 crs.
This course covers the history of Mexico from Aztec times to the present. Emphasis on dominant social, economic, and cultural trends.

HIST A414 Northern South America 3 crs.
This course covers the history of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador including pre-Columbian past, Spanish Conquest, Colonial Period, 19th and 20th century. Emphasis is on dominant political, social, economic, and cultural trends. The course surveys the impact of the gold, cacao, oil, coffee, and drug economies. Studies will include liberalism, conservatism, and radical challenges to the established order.

HIST X241 Drugs, Terrorism, and Democracy 3 crs.
Common Curriculum: Behavioral/Social Sciences Modern
The U.S. has a complex relationship with Latin America. This course seeks to explain the three most important issues in that relationship today–drugs, democracy, and terrorism–from the widely divergent perspectives of the two cultures.

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES:

LAS H295 Revolution! Latin America/Middle East 3 hrs.

This course focuses on comparisons of literature and film between the Central American and Western Asian geographic regions (with a special emphasis on Guatemala and Iran the last time it was taught) during the Marxist/Indigenous and Islamic revolutions, respectively. Through novels, short stories and film the class engages critical analysis of the differences / similarities in terms of specific revolutionary issues in Latin America compared to a region that is the most violatile region in the world today. The class looks at how the variety in the nuanced human element of political unrest changes the dynamics of revolution in three different stages: before it becomes violent; during the event itself; and after the dust has settled. After all, revolutions attempt to change radically the way we read and write ourselves as individuals as well as how we define and portray our societies as complex combinations of varied elements. The class also considers what different effects US foreign policy has had on these revolutions in Latin America and Western Asia and brings this to bear on discussions of social justice.

LAS V135 Women Writers of Spanish America 3 hrs.

Common Curriculum: Humanities/Arts Modern

The purpose of this course is to present the students with a representative sample of important Spanish-American women writers of the 20th and 21st centuries, covering different literary periods, genres and countries (the emphasis will be on narrative).
Through detailed discussion of the texts, plus films (when appropriate) and oral presentations, the student will explore the complex cultural and historical realities that have shaped the writings of Spanish American authors in general and women in particular.

LAS V230 Chicana/o, Latina/o Literature 3 hrs.

Common Curriculum: Humanities/Arts Modern

This course offers an introduction to the literature produced in the "Hispanic" borderlands of US culture. THe early model for studying the production of literatures/cultures in the US "borderlands" centered on whether the resulting works advocated either assimilation or resistance to the hegemony of whitebread US culture. By contrast, in this class we look closely at the historical trajectory of several texts (novels, poetry, short stories, film, visual arts, manifestos) and consider whether they offer viable alternatives to this binary model.

LAS V261 Latin American Thought 3 hrs. 

Common Curriculum: Humanities/Arts Modern

This course will examine Latin American thought from its pre-Columbian roots, its colonial mixture with scholasticism, the Jesuit tradition in the 18th century, positivism of the late 19th and early 20th century, modern racial, Marxist, and nationalist ideologies to its presence in the U.S.

LAS V294 Civil Society & The Common Good 3 hrs.

Examining various socio-economic development issues within the context of Latin American, this course addresses the contentions between top-down, institutional approaches and grassroots, inter-personal solutions. While the former frequently focuses development practices and policies through technical economic and multi-lateral political applications toward development, the latter approach strives to incorporate ethical principles into action toward a more comprehensive, integral human development.

LAS V294 Economy and Politics of the Developing World 3 hrs.

This course examines the connections between politics and international economic development. The students will gain from this course a better understanding of the interaction between political and economic phenomena on an international and global scale, and learn useful tools for analyzing and assessing both current policy and historical developments.

In this class we will address questions such as: Why are tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade high in some countries but low in others? Why do we have a free trade policy for most manufactured goods, but a protectionist policy for many agricultural goods? Why does the dollar go “up” or “down” vis-à-vis other currencies, and why is this a political issue? And does development aid help or harm developing countries? Does foreign direct investment by multinational corporations

LAS V294 Salsa! Music, Society & Culture 3 hrs.

In this course we are going to study Salsa as a musical form and a commercial concept that represents an urban lifestyle which has evolved according to the assimilation of the Puerto Rican minority in the United States, which has had a determining influence upon the whole Latino Caribbean sphere. The contents of Salsa music will be useful to explain the links between society and culture, enabling students to grasp the logic through which the recording industry interprets collective sensibilities and histories in order to conceive and trade aesthetic commodities.

LAS V294 Education and Political Change in Latin America 3 hrs.

This course introduces participants to the notion of curriculum as the educational product of contending forces within the society out of which it emerges. It relies heavily on the work of Paulo Freire and his sharp critique of the banking approach to education where knowledge is simply deposited and withdrawn. It explores the forces by which learners are induced or seduced to comply with the dominant ideologies and social practices related to authority, behavior, morality and/or spirituality. It imagines possibilities where all citizens participate freely and fully in the creation and recreation of meaning and values that make democracy healthy.

RELIGION:

RELI V294 Christianity and Liberation 3 crs.

This course is a study of the historical development of the theology of liberation in Latin America, the relationship between theoria and praxis, the Gospel and Marxism, the quest for socio-economic justice and Christianity, and implications for North American Christians.

SOCIOLOGY:

SOCI A200 Cultural Anthropology 3 crs.

This course is an introduction to cultural anthropology, which seeks to explain how and why peoples’ behaviors are both similar and different by studying their social, symbolic, and material lives. The course examines the relationships between culture and economic systems, social structures, politics, and the environment.

SOCI A204 Introduction to Haitian Society and Culture 3 crs.

This course is an introduction to the rich culture, society and history of Haiti. Readings, lectures, films, and other activities will cover a variety of topics in order to introduce the complexity of Haiti as fully as possible. We will begin by discussing Haitian history, particularly the Haitian Revolution and the impact of the Revolution on other parts of the Americas--including its impact on New Orleans. We will spend a good amount of time looking at the roles of religion in Haitian society with a focus on Vodoun (commonly known as Voodoo in the U.S.) and Christianity. We will also study some of the major literary and intellectual movements in Haiti and during this time we will read significant works of poetry, fiction and other writings representative of these movements. Finally, we will devote a substantial amount of time to studying Haitian politics, the rural and urban sectors in Haiti, and the Haitian diaspora--the large number of people who have emigrated from Haiti to many other countries. This diaspora plays an important role in the country's economy and politics.

SOCI A260 Women in Latin America 3 crs.

This course examines the social-structural context, daily realities, and contributions of Latin American women in the economy, politics, and the arts, with an emphasis on the 20th century. In so doing, the course also aims to convey a more thorough understanding of contemporary Latin American societies.

SOCI A400 Third World Repression/ Revolution 3 crs.

This course examines sociological perspectives on the causes and outcomes of revolution in the Third World (Asia, Africa, and Latin America). Special attention is given to the cultural politics of revolution, including the role of art, film, literature, and education in forging new national identities, ideologies, and practices.

SOCI X245 Peoples of Latin America 3 crs.

Common Curriculum: Behavioral/Social Sciences Modern

This Common Curriculum course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to modern Latin America–its social, economic, political, and cultural structures and practices. The course aims to help students develop the analytical skills necessary to better understand and appreciate the region’s rich diversity and complexity, including its relationship to the U.S. and world-system.

SOCI X258 U.S. Immigration: History and Policy 3 crs.

This course is designed to help students develop awareness, understanding and critical engagement of the issues of immigration. The course interdisciplinary and incorporates sociolgy, law, political science, philosophy, history, public health, and economics. The course will begin by examining the philosophy of immigration policy and the history of immigration in the United States. It will then move to the economic and social implications of immigration, and pay particular attention to 20th century Latin American migration to the U.S. Students will also read and discuss particular policy issues (border, immigration court system) in order to develop individual analyses and responses to the issues that confront policy makers and the immigrants themselves. The course will require the students to think critically in developing new approaches to immigration policy.

SPANISH:

SPAN A340 Spanish-American Literature I 3 crs.

This course is a survey of Spanish-American literature from the Discovery to the Romantic movement.

Prerequisite: SPAN A300 or A301, or permission from instructor.

SPAN A341 Spanish-American Literature II 3 crs.

This course is a survey of Spanish-American literature from the latter part of the 19th century to the present, including realism, naturalism, modernism, and post-modernism.

Prerequisite: SPAN A300 or A301, or permission from instructor.

SPAN A350 Culture of Spanish America to 1850 3 crs.

A study of the different cultural traditions that have shaped Latin America from the pre-Colombian period to 1850.

Prerequisite: SPAN A300 or A301, or permission from instructor.

SPAN A351 Culture of Spanish America from 1850 3 crs.

Continuation of SPAN A350. The course aims to study the cultural heritage that has shaped the newly formed nations of Latin America from 1850 up to the present.

Prerequisite: SPAN A300 or A301, or permission from instructor.

SPAN A410 Spanish-American Regional Literature 3 crs.

A study of the literature and culture of a particular region, nation, or culture in Spanish America. A different region or nation such as the Caribbean, the River Plate, the Andean region, Central America, Puerto Rico, or Mexico may be selected each time the course is offered. Repeatable when subject varies.

Prerequisite: any A300-level course or permission from instructor.

SPAN A455 Contemporary Currents 3 crs.

This course offers readings and discussion of contemporary literary trends, including film, from Spain and/or Spanish America. Topics vary, depending on semester, but may include the Generation of 1898  or theater of protest in Spain, modernism, fantastic literature, Indigenista literature of Spanish America, or Spanish-American women writers. Repeatable when subject varies.

Prerequisite: any A300-level course or instructor’s permission.

SPAN A456 Spanish-American Narrative 3 crs.

This course offers readings and discussion of Spanish-American novels and/or short stories.

Prerequisite: any A300-level course or instructor’s permission.

SPAN V235 Women Writers 3 crs.

Common Curriculum: Humanities/Arts Modern
This course offers an overview of major women writers of 20th-century Spanish America.

SPAN V261 Latin American Thought 3 crs.

Common Curriculum: Humanities/Arts Modern
This course will examine Latin American thought from its pre-Columbian roots, its colonial mixture with scholasticism, the Jesuit tradition in the 18th century, positivism of the late 19th and early 20th century, modern racial, Marxist, and nationalist ideologies to its presence in the U.S.