Latino studies, separate theater and dance certificates approved

The University has approved a new Program in Latino Studies and the separation of the Program in Theater and Dance into two distinct certificate programs beginning in the 2009-10 academic year.

The new programs were approved by the faculty at its April 6 meeting following approval by the Committee on the Course of Study and the Academic Planning Group.

The Program in Latino Studies will offer an interdisciplinary curriculum to provide students with a broad understanding about the emergence and transformation of Hispanics as a pan-ethnic group, as well as their wide-ranging historical and contemporary imprints on American society and culture.

Courses that satisfy the program certificate will be offered by the departments of sociology, politics, Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures, and English, as well as the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Center for African American Studies.

"As the largest and fastest growing 'ethnic' group, Hispanics offer myriad opportunities to study the changing significance of racial boundaries, to learn about the functioning of mainstream institutions and to appreciate old and new cultural imprints on American society," said Marta Tienda, Princeton's Maurice P. During Professor in Demographic Studies and professor of sociology and public affairs, who will direct the new program. "Princeton's Latino studies program aspires to be the top-ranked program nationally by offering a rich, interdisciplinary curriculum that traverses arts, humanities and social sciences."

In addition to a required course on "Latinos in American Life and Culture," certificate students must complete four courses outside their department of concentration that draw from both the social sciences and the arts and humanities. Students also are required to write a senior thesis on a topic relating to the Hispanic population of the United States. In order to qualify for the Latino studies certificate, a course must devote at least half of its content to the U.S. Hispanic population. 

The University also has approved the separation of the Program in Theater and Dance in the Lewis Center for the Arts into two individual certificate programs. The decision to separate the programs after nearly 40 years reflects the increasing number of students who are interested in pursuing dance studies at the University.

"I'm delighted that the disarticulation of theater and dance has allowed us to honor dance as a distinct art form," said Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark '21 Professor in the Humanities and chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. "I'm delighted, too, to announce that Michael Cadden will continue as director of the Program in Theater. We hope very shortly to announce the appointment of a director of dance with a national, and international, profile who will develop what we expect to be the very best dance program within the context of a liberal arts university."

The Program in Dance will enable students -- ranging from those with no dance experience to pre-professional dancers -- to undertake demanding, studio-based courses with top professionals in the field. The program will support multiple performance opportunities each year. Its courses will cover modern, contemporary and African dance techniques, repertory and choreography, as well as dance history, analysis and criticism. Certificate candidates will need to complete four studio courses, one course in dance history and criticism, two performances in faculty and guest choreographer works, two semesters of cocurricular ballet class and technical work in assisting with program productions. They also may pursue an optional creative thesis.

The Program in Theater will allow students to work with scholars and professional artists and critics to familiarize themselves with the nature of practical work in theater and with theater's role in various cultures. The program will offer courses in playwriting, acting, directing, design, dramaturgy, performance history and criticism, as well as a full season of theatrical productions. Certificate candidates will need to complete four practical courses, one course in dramatic literature or performance history and criticism, technical work on theater productions and an independent project in their junior or senior year, such as directing, writing, designing or performing a major role in a theater production.