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Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that combines subject matter and modes of inquiry from several academic disciplines to give the student a broad background encompassing the historical, political, social, and cultural aspects of the region. Students are encouraged to develop the analytical and evaluative skills that will enable them to gain a systematic understanding of the region. Majors demonstrate language proficiency in Spanish and are strongly encouraged to participate in a Willamette-sponsored program in Latin America.

The degree program in Latin American Studies affords the student a wide range of career opportunities in the United States and abroad. The rapid growth of the Latino population in the United States produces an increasing need for trained persons with a knowledge of the Latin American region to work in teaching, government, the nonprofit sector, journalism, business, and other fields. The major is also well-suited to students who wish to pursue graduate work in Latin American studies or other disciplines in which a Latin American specialization is helpful.

Requirements for the Latin American Studies Major (9 Credits)

Five Credits from Society and Culture:

  • ANTH 235 Cultures of Mexico and Ecuador
  • CCM 345 (EV) Latina/o/x Communication Studies
  • HIST 256 (TH) Colonial Latin America (1)
  • HIST 258 (EV) Modern Latin America (1)
  • LAS 380/SPAN 380 Latin American Cinema (1)
  • POLI 362 Latin American Politics
  • POLI 376W Latin American Revolutions (1)
  • REL 334 (EV) Liberation Theology and Social Change (1)
  • SOC 131 (US) Sociological Inquiry: Latina/o Sociology (1)
  • SOC 315 Social Movements, Collective Action, and Protest
  • SPAN 333 (TH) Hispanic Civilization (1)

Also, every semester please check the LAS Course Schedule on the web for possible additional offerings under this category.

No double counting a Society and Culture course under the Language and Literature category, or vice versa.

Three credits from Language and Literature

  • ENGL 381 Latina/o Literature and Culture (1)
  • SPAN 355 (IT) Latin American Literature I: Conquest to Independence (1)
  • SPAN 356 (IT) Latin American Literature II: Modernismo to the Present (1)
  • SPAN 427 Topics in Latin American Literature (1)
  • SPAN 428 Contemporary Mexican Literature (1)
  • SPAN 430 History of Hispanic Thought (1)
  • SPAN 431 Contemporary Latin American Novel and Short Story (1)
  • SPAN 435 Contemporary Latin American Women Writers (1)

Also, every semester please check the LAS Course Schedule on the web for possible additional offerings under this category.

No double counting a Language and Literature course under the  Society and Culture category, or vice versa.

One credit Senior Thesis:

In the fall of your senior year, all LAS majors must take LAS 497W, Senior Thesis in Latin American Studies.

Honors Criteria

Honors in Latin American Studies is awarded to all graduating students with a GPA of 3.8 or greater in the major.

Requirements for the Latin American Studies Minor (5 Credits)

  • Four credits from Society and Culture
  • One credit from Language and Literature

Indicators of Achievement

Student Learning Outcomes for the Latin American Studies Major

  1. Interdisciplinary understanding of Latin America, including perspectives from various disciplines in the social sciences and humanities
  2. Proficiency in Spanish
  3. First-hand experience in Latin America and/or with Latinos in the U.S.
  4. Exposure to service-learning in Latin America and/or with Latinos in the U.S.
  5. Excellence in analysis of issues related to Latin America


Professor Emeriti

Course Listings

LAS 380 (CA) Latin American Cinema (1)

[Crosslisted with SPAN 380]

This course examines films, features and documentaries, by and about Latin Americans. It focuses on the political, economic, social, and aesthetic tensions that characterize the region and contextualize cinematic production. It explores the constitution of Latin American cultural identity through film. Conducted in English. Students wishing to receive credit in Spanish must produce all written work in this language.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Creating in the Arts
  • Offering: Alternate years in spring
  • Instructor: Varas

LAS 497W Senior Thesis in Latin American Studies (1)

In the Senior Thesis, students are expected to integrate various components of the major program in the analysis of a topic of special interest. Topics must be proposed to and approved by the Latin American Studies faculty. The thesis will normally be written in English, but the incorporation of documentation and references in Spanish will be required. Also, a multi-page précis of the thesis in Spanish must accompany the thesis. The thesis is presented to a faculty examination committee upon its completion.

  • General Studies Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: Senior standing in Latin American Studies
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff