2013-2014

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)

Two credits from Politics or History:

Any course with a Politics or History designation/prefix (POLI or HIST) that is approved as an LAS course. The following courses are automatically approved: POLI 362 Latin American Politics, POLI 376W Latin American Revolutions, HIST 256 (TH) Colonial Latin America, HIST 258 Modern Latin America. Also, every semester check the Course Schedule on the web for possible additional offerings under this category. Honors in Latin American Studies is awarded to all graduating students with a GPA of 3.8 or greater within the major.

Note: No double counting any courses used for other categories, i.e., Politics or History, or Language and Literature.

Four Credits from Society and Culture:

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

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

Note: No double counting any courses used for other categories, i.e., Politics or History, or Language and Literature.

Two credits from Language and Literature

  • ENGL 381 Latin @ Countercultures Digital Research Project (1)
  • SPAN 355 (IT) Latin American Literature I: Conquest to Modernismo (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)

Note: No double counting any courses used for other categories, i.e., Politics or History, or Language Literature.

One credit Senior Thesis:

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

Requirements for the Latin American Studies Minor (5 Credits)

  • Two credit from Politics or History
  • Two 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

Course Listings

LAS 251 (US) Latin American Cultures (1)

This course provides an introduction to major aspects of Latin American Cultures (especially indigenous cultures), including the following: conquest history, ethnicity, national identity, religion, healing, politics, gender, media representations, Latinos in the U.S., and language. A service-learning component involves work with a local community agency serving Latinos.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

LAS 330 Landscapes and Cultures of South America (1)

This course is designed to serve as an introduction to the lands and peoples of South America. The nature of the colonial experience is of primary concern to us, with similarities and differences drawn between the operation of the two great imperial powers, Spain and Portugal.

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Staff

LAS 331 Landscapes and Cultures of Middle America (1)

Landscapes and Cultures of Middle America is designed to serve as a general introduction to the lands and peoples of Middle America, defined territorially as Mexico, Central America, and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. As our opening lecture will demonstrate, these geographical limits are increasingly blurred as the lives of North Americans are inexorably tied to those of our southern neighbors. The course will feature regular film screenings, with visual representations of Middle America reality drawn from several genres (documentary, drama, historical reconstruction).

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Staff

LAS 379 Latinos in U.S. Politics (1)

This course looks at the role of Latino national origin groups in shaping state and national politics in the United States. It examines the political history, voting behavior, and non-electoral political mobilization of the three largest Latino groups in the United States -- Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban, and questions the degree to which it is useful to conceive of a single Latino politics and Latino community. The course also focuses on specific public policies of concern to Latinos, and it pays particular attention to the transnational hemispheric processes that link U.S. Latinos to their countries of origin. Not open to freshmen.

  • Prerequisite: One POLI 100 or 200 level course, or one 200 level LAS course or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Staff

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

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