Skip over navigation

Program in Latin American Studies

Director

Rubén Gallo

Executive Committee

João G. Biehl, Anthropology

Eduardo L. Cadava, English

Beatriz Colomina, School of Architecture

Rubén Gallo, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Robert A. Karl, History

Douglas S. Massey, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Associated Faculty

Jeremy I. Adelman, History

Vera S. Candiani, History

Bruno Carvalho, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Miguel A. Centeno, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Fernando Coda Santos Cavalcanti Marques, Mathematics

Esther da Costa Meyer, Art and Archaeology

Jessica Delgado, Religion

Susana Draper, Comparative Literature

Thomas Fujiwara, Economics

Mario I. Gandelsonas, Architecture

Javier E. Guerrero, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Thomas D. Kaufmann, Art and Archaeology

John B. Londregan, Woodrow Wilson School, Politics

Noriko Manabe, Music

Pedro Meira Monteiro, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

F. Nick Nesbitt, French and Italian

Gabriela Nouzeilles, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Stephen W. Pacala, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Grigore Pop-Eleches, Woodrow Wilson School, Politics

Rachel Price, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Ignacio Rodríguez-Iturbe, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Esteban A. Rossi-Hansberg, Woodrow Wilson School, Economics

Irene V. Small, Art and Archaeology

Marta Tienda, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Tom S. Vogl, Woodrow Wilson School, Economics

Deborah J. Yashar, Woodrow Wilson School, Politics

Sits with Committee

Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, Library

Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Sociology

Bryan R. Just, Art Museum

Stanley N. Katz, Woodrow Wilson School

Magaly Sanchez-R, Office of Population Research


The Program in Latin American Studies promotes interdisciplinary study and seeks to inspire knowledge of and experience in Latin America.

Courses are offered by the Departments of Anthropology, Art and Archaeology, Comparative Literature, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Economics, English, French and Italian (appropriate French courses only), History, Music, Politics, Religion, Sociology, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, the School of Architecture, the Woodrow Wilson School, the Center for African American Studies, the Program in Latino Studies, and the Program in Latin American Studies. Through various approaches in the humanities and the social and natural sciences, the program seeks to guide students toward an understanding of Latin American culture, history, socioeconomic conditions, politics, and society. The student's work is supervised by a departmental adviser and is combined with a departmental program in a regular field of concentration.

Admission to the Program

Students normally enter the program in the sophomore year, but an earlier start is encouraged. The requirements for admission are:

1. Satisfactory completion of the requirements for admission to a department.

2. Satisfactory completion of SPA 107, POR 109, or FRE 107 (for students focusing on the French-speaking Caribbean).

Program of Study

The Program in Latin American Studies offers two tracks of study: Latin American Studies and Brazilian Studies. For satisfactory completion of the program, a student must meet the following requirements:

1. Completion of the normal departmental program in the major department.

2. Satisfactory completion of the language requirement in Spanish, Portuguese, or French (for students focusing on the French-speaking Caribbean). This requirement also applies to certificate candidates who are pursuing degrees in the sciences and engineering.

3. For students pursuing the Latin American Studies track: Satisfactory completion of four courses in Latin American subjects sponsored or cross-listed by the program. At least one of these courses must be in Spanish American or Brazilian literature; one must be in one of the following fields: anthropology, economics, history, politics, or sociology. The remaining two courses may be selected from any field. At least one of the qualifying courses must be a seminar in Latin American studies that examines significant problems of the region in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Additional courses that may be used to satisfy program course requirements are:

ANT 335 Medical Anthropology
ECO 351 Economics of Development
SPA 346 Modern Latin American Fiction in Translation

Written course work for ANT 335 and ECO 351 must be on a Latin American topic.

With the program director's permission, a maximum of two courses not listed above or from study abroad may, if they are relevant to the student's area of research, be designated as "cognates" and counted toward satisfaction of the course requirement.

Students pursuing science studies may fulfill program requirements by taking a number of approved courses in ecology and evolutionary biology and environmental studies.

No course may be taken pass/D/fail or audit for program credit.

3a. For students pursuing the Brazilian Studies track: Satisfactory completion of three courses in Latin American subjects sponsored or cross-listed by the Program in Latin American Studies. At least one of these courses must be in Brazilian literature and culture; the two remaining courses may be selected from any field, and must have a strong Brazil-related content. Courses that are not focused entirely on Brazil must be preapproved by the program director, and the final written work must be Brazil related. At least one of the qualifying courses must be a seminar in Brazilian studies.

With the program director's permission, one of the three courses may be taken abroad, being designated as a "cognate," and will then count toward satisfaction of the course requirement.

No course may be taken pass/D/fail or audit for program credit.

4. For students pursuing the Latin American Studies Track: Completion of a senior thesis on a Latin American subject. Normally it should be written under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the program. If this is not the case, a faculty member associated with the program should be consulted early in the senior year concerning available sources. The thesis should also demonstrate an ability to use primary source materials in the original language. If the senior thesis is not devoted exclusively to a Latin American topic, the director and relevant program faculty will determine its acceptability. Ordinarily, at least half of the thesis content will deal with Latin America, or a substantial portion of the research for the thesis should be conducted in a language -- other than English -- spoken in Latin America.

4a. For students pursuing the Brazilian Studies track: Completion of a senior thesis on a Brazilian subject. Normally, it should be written under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the program. If this is not the case, a faculty member associated with the program should be consulted early in the senior year concerning available sources. The thesis should also demonstrate an ability to use primary source materials in Portuguese. If the senior thesis is not devoted exclusively to a Brazilian topic, the director and relevant program faculty will determine its acceptability. Ordinarily, at least half of the thesis content will deal with Brazil, and a substantial portion of the research for the thesis should be conducted in Portuguese.

5. Students majoring in science or engineering but whose thesis cannot be devoted to a Latin American or Brazilian topic may complete the program requirements by writing a research paper of sufficient complexity and length to substitute for the thesis requirement. The topic should be determined in consultation with the director and relevant program faculty.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who have met the requirements of the program and of their departments will receive upon graduation a certificate of proficiency in Latin American studies.

PLAS has funds available to support student travel to Latin America for research purposes. First- and second-year students are eligible for exploratory research grants; juniors can apply for senior thesis research funding. Please refer to the PLAS website for details.


Courses


LAS 210 Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas (see SOC 210)

LAS 221 Art of Hispania (see ART 221)

LAS 222 Introduction to Latin American Cultures (see SPA 222)

LAS 223 Introduction to the Literature and Culture of the Portuguese-Speaking World (see POR 221)

LAS 248 Modern Mexican Society (see SOC 248)

LAS 267 Mesoamerican Art (see ART 267)

LAS 300 The Literature and Culture of Spain and Colonial Latin America: Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque (see SPA 300)

LAS 301 Seminar. Research Methods, Sources, and Trends in Latin America Area Studies   Not offered this year

An examination of research trends, techniques, and resources necessary for the study of Latin America and the Caribbean in the social sciences and the humanities. The seminar is designed to expose students to the most relevant trends, scenarios, and strategies in both bibliographic and ethnographic field research. Prerequisites: reading knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese. Open to freshmen and sophomores. Staff

LAS 303 Modern Brazilian Literature and Culture (see POR 301)

LAS 304 Modern Latin America since 1810 (see HIS 304)

LAS 305 Colonial Latin America to 1810 (see HIS 303)

LAS 306 History of the Modern Caribbean (see HIS 305)

LAS 309 Topics in the Sociology of Latin America (see SOC 309)

LAS 310 Gender and Development in the Americas (see SOC 310)

LAS 311 Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History (see POR 304)

LAS 312 History of Modern Mexico (see HIS 309)

LAS 314 Topics in the Study of Gender (see GSS 302)

LAS 315 Luso-Afro-Brazilian Literary Traditions (see POR 300)

LAS 319 Brazilian Cinema (see POR 319)

LAS 321 Topics in the Intellectual History of Modern and Contemporary Spain (see SPA 321)

LAS 327 Modernism in Fiction (see COM 327)

LAS 331 Modern Latin American Fiction (see SPA 331)

LAS 332 Modern Latin American Poetry (see SPA 332)

LAS 334 Topics in 20th-Century Art (see ART 344)

LAS 336 Latinos in American Life and Culture (see LAO 200)

LAS 337 Race Relations in Twentieth Century Cuba   Spring HA

The Cuban revolution has been one of the most radical sociopolitical experiments of the past century. Comparing historiographical accounts with the recollections of individuals involved in the actual events, this course investigates the impact of the revolutionary process on Cuban racial politics. At the center of our enquire is an attempt to understand how Cubans see themselves in terms of race, and the role of those perceptions on the production of discourses and silences regarding racial inequality and discrimination. A. Lopez-Denis

LAS 338 The Sociology of Latinos in the U.S. (see SOC 338)

LAS 342 Topics in Latin American Modernity (see SPA 342)

LAS 343 The Invention of Latin American Traditions (see SPA 343)

LAS 344 Literature and Society in Early Latin America (see SPA 344)

LAS 345 Topics in Latin American Literature and Ideology (see SPA 345)

LAS 346 Topics in Country and Regional Economics (see ECO 371)

LAS 347 Topics in the Culture of Cities (see SPA 351)

LAS 348 Fictions and Communities in the Andes (see SPA 348)

LAS 349 Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies (see SPA 350)

LAS 350 Pre-Columbian Peoples of Tropical America and Their Environments (see EEB 332)

LAS 351 Tropical Biology (see EEB 338)

LAS 353 Topics in Gender and Representation (see SPA 353)

LAS 354 Topics in Cinema and Culture (see SPA 319)

LAS 356 Topics in the Politics of Writing and Difference (see SPA 352)

LAS 357 Mario Vargas Llosa: Politics and Literature in Latin America   Fall LA

An overview of the role of writers and intellectuals in the major political debates that marked the 20th century, with special focus on intellectual and literary responses to the literary revolution. We will spend several weeks looking at the histories of Mexico, Perú, and the Dominican Republic, and how intellectuals from those countries have responded to political events that include dictatorships, revolutions, coups d'etat, and political assassinations. Guest speakers will include some of the major participants in these literary and political episodes. Students will work with archival materials from the period located in Firestone library. R. Gallo

LAS 358 Fiction: Creative Writing Workshop (also SPA 362)   Fall LA

This workshop is designed to clear the way to self-expression, wiping out the myths that link writing with inspiration. We will use a wide array of tools that will trigger the student's narrative instincts emphasizing the notion of process. We will learn to discuss literary craft in a constructive way and to read as writers, not only reading each other, but also through dissecting successful short stories and texts by writers on writing. This workshop is not exclusive for aspiring writers, even when, to ensure a place in it, the student must have a creative project in Spanish to develop during the semester. Á. Enrigue Soler

LAS 363 Medicine and Society in Contemporary Cuba (also ANT 387)   Spring SA

This course will approach human encounters with disease and wellness in contemporary Cuba from the point of view of medical anthropology. It will be based on the notion that understanding how Cuba achieves its impressive public heath indicators requires the study of both policies from above and practices from below. A. Lopez-Denis

LAS 364 Modern Latin American Fiction in Translation (see SPA 346)

LAS 366 Ancient Arts of Mexico (see ART 366)

LAS 367 Latin American Politics (see POL 367)

LAS 371 Cuban History, Politics and Culture (also SPA 372)   Fall SA

This seminar constitutes an introduction to the study of Cuba from a historical perspective. During the first half of the semester the course follows a chronological approach, covering the political and socioeconomic development of the country from the sixteenth century to the present. In the second half of the semester, it examines a series of sociocultural issues that are central to the life of contemporary Cubans, on the island and abroad. At the core of the class lies an interrogation of the relevance of the Cuban case for larger discussions on colonialism, modernity, socialism and development. Staff

LAS 372 Public Health and Private Healing in the Atlantic World (also SPA 373/GHP 372)   Fall SA

This seminar explores the impact of transatlantic exchanges between Europe, Africa and the Americas on the development of the environmental, political and sociocultural trends that affect our health and our ability to heal today. During the first half of the semester we will reconstruct the interconnected histories of the medicalization of the West and the westernization of the Rest, from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth century. In the second half of the semester we will explore the contemporary consequences of these historical developments. Staff

LAS 382 Environmental Challenges and Urban Solutions (see ENV 382)

LAS 401 Latin American Studies Seminar (also SPA 412/LAO 401)   Not offered this year LA

The seminar will concentrate upon themes and topics in Latin American history, politics, society, literature, and/or culture. The focus will vary from year to year. Staff

LAS 402 Latin American Studies Seminar   Fall SA

The seminar will concentrate upon themes and topics in Latin American history, politics, society, literature, and/or culture. The focus will vary from year to year. Staff

LAS 403 Latin American Studies Seminar   LA

The seminar will concentrate upon themes and topics in Latin American history, politics, society, literature, and/or culture. The focus will vary from year to year. Staff

LAS 404 Latin American Studies Seminar (also SPA 410/POR 411)   Not offered this year LA

The seminar will concentrate upon themes and topics in Latin American history, politics, society, literature, and/or culture. The focus will vary from year to year. Staff

LAS 405 Latin American Studies Seminar  

The seminar will concentrate upon themes and topics in Latin American history, politics, society, literature, and/or culture. The focus will vary from year to year. Staff

LAS 406 Latin American Studies Seminar  

The seminar will concentrate upon themes and topics in Latin American history, politics, society, literature, and/or culture. The focus will vary from year to year. Staff

LAS 408 Selected Topics in 20th-Century Latin America (see HIS 408)

LAS 428 Topics in Hispanic Culture (Europe and America) (see SPA 401)

LAS 443 Global Exchange in Art and Architecture (see ART 443)