Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program

Director: Katherine Hite (Political Science); Participating Faculty: Michael Aronna (Hispanic Studies), Light Carruyo (Sociology), Colleen Cohen (Anthropology), Brian Godfrey (Geography), Mihai Grünfeld (Hispanic Studies), Lucy Lewis Johnson (Anthropology), Timothy H. Koechlin (Economics), Joseph Nevins (Geography), Leslie Offutt (History), Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies), David Tavarez (Anthropology), Eva Maria Woods (Hispanic Studies).

The Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program provides a multidisciplinary approach to the study of Latin America and the Latino/a populations of the Americas. The program allows students to explore the multiplicity of cultures and societies of Latin and Latino/a America in ways that acknowledge the permeability, or absence, of borders.

Requirements for concentration: 12 units, including Latin American and Latino/a Studies (LALS) 105, work above the introductory level in at least three departments, and a competency in Spanish or Portuguese through the third-year level (at least one course beyond Hispanic Studies 216, or Portuguese 310-311, or the equivalent). Maximum of 4 units of language instruction may count toward the concentration, not including intermediate- and advanced-level literature courses. Hispanic Studies 216 is considered the “methods” course for the major and thus is a requirement. Students are required to take at least 1 course that focuses on the period prior to 1900, chosen from among the following: Anthropology 240, Hispanic Studies 227, History 262, History 263. In the senior year students may write a multidisciplinary thesis under the co-direction of two thesis advisers, one of whom must be drawn from the participating program faculty. If a student chooses not to write a thesis, which is required for honors upon graduation, he/she may replace it with a 300-level course with program approval. In fulfillment of the major each student should elect 12 units from the following list, according to these guidelines: no more than 2 units at the 100-level; and at least 3 units at the 300-level, which may include a one-unit graded senior thesis, the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program senior seminar, and a seminar by an instructor other than the one responsible for the senior seminar. After the declaration of the major no courses counting for the major may be elected NRO. Students interested in Latin American and Latino/a Studies should consult with the director or a participating faculty member as early as possible to discuss their program of study. The Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program strongly recommends a structured academic experience beyond Vassar relevant to the student’s program during the junior year, either in Latin America or at an appropriate domestic institution.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence: 6 units, including Latin American and Latino/a Studies 105, (1) either History 262, 263, or 264; (2) a minimum of four other courses in at least three different departments. At least two courses at the 300-level, including the Latin American and Latino/a Studies senior seminar and a seminar taught by an instructor other than the one responsible for the senior seminar, are required; these must be taken at Vassar. A maximum of 2 units of ungraded work done in a structured academic experience beyond Vassar may be counted toward the major. One year of college-level study or the equivalent in either Spanish or Portuguese must be demonstrated. Students should prepare a proposal for the correlate sequence in Latin American and Latino/a Studies after consulting the courses listed in the catalogue and discussing the sequence with an adviser in the program, as there may be other appropriate courses that are not currently listed. All proposals should include some discussion of the focus of the coursework, and must be approved by the program. One course may be “double counted” for a major and a correlate sequence.

For descriptions and timing of the courses in the listing below, please consult the department listings in this catalogue and an updated Schedule of Classes. Additional courses may be approved for the major upon petition to program faculty.

Course Offerings:

105a. Introduction to Latin American and Latino/a Studies (1)

An introduction to the basic concepts, theories, and methodologies necessary for the multidisciplinary study of Latin American and Latino communities. The focus of the course varies from year to year according to the topic selected by the instructor.

Topic for 2007/08: Latin/o(a) America: Towards a Critical Hemispheric Approach. An introduction to the multidisciplinary conceptual tools necessary to understand Latin/o(a) America as a dynamic geographic and imagined space where collective identities are crafted, diverse world views and practices compete for visibility and power, and struggles for transformation are waged in dialogue with global structural forces. Ms. Carruyo.

180b. Caliban in the Americas (1)

An introduction to the unfolding social, political and cultural significance ascribed to the Shakespearean triad of Caliban, Ariel, and Prospero across Latin America and the Hispanic, English and Francophone Caribbean. The course traces the New World origins of The Tempest and examines the history of rewriting, staging and filming this seminal play in the context of colonial emancipation, cultural identity and the politics of literacy. Mr. Aronna.

230b. Latina and Latino Literature in the U.S. (1)

(Same as English 230a) Ms. Carter.

[233. Latino Identity Formation] (1)

(Same as 233 Sociology and Urban Studies 233) Instructor to be announced.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[240. Mesoamerican Worlds] (1)

Mr. Tavárez.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[242. Brazil: Society, Culture, and Environment in Portuguese America] (1)

(Same as Geography 242, and Africana Studies 242) Mr. Godfrey.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[248. The US-Mexico Border; Region, Place, and Process] (1)

(Same as Geography 248)

Not offered in 2007/08.

[251. Development and Social Change] (1)

(Same as Sociology 251) Ms. Carruyo.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[253. Latina/os in the Americas] (1)

(Same as Sociology 253)

Not offered in 2007/08.

290a or b. Field Work ( 1/2 or 1)

By special permission.

Reading Courses

297.01. Testimonial Narrative ( 1/2)

297.02. Indigenous Mexico ( 1/2)

297.03. Chronicles of the Conquest ( 1/2)

297.04. Latino Writings ( 1/2)

297.05. Socio-Political Thought in Latin America ( 1/2)

297.06. Latin American Cinema ( 1/2)

[297.07. The Politics of Regional Integration] ( 1/2)

Not offered in 2007/08.

297.08. Syncretic Religions of the Caribbean and Latin American ( 1/2)

297.09. The Legacy of the Plantation in Caribbean and Latin American Literature ( 1/2)

297.10. Cultures of the Amazon ( 1/2)

297.11. Native Peoples of the Andes ( 1/2)

298a or b. Independent Research ( 1/2 or 1)

By special permission.

300-301. Senior Thesis ( 1/2)

308b. National, Race, Gender in Latin America and the Caribbean (1)

(Same as Sociology 308) Ms. Carruyo.

340a. Advanced Urban and Regional Studies (1)

(Same as Geography 340 and Urban Studies 340)

Topic: Preserving Whose Cities? Heritage Sites, Historic Districts, and Public Space. Mr. Godfrey.

372b. Topics in Human Geography (1)

(Same as Geography 370, Urban Studies 370)

Topic for 2007/08: Lines, Fences, and Walls: The Partitioning of the Global Landscape. Mr. Nevins.

389b. Senior Seminar (1)

Required of all senior majors. Sponsoring department, instructor, and agenda vary from year to year, but display a multidisciplinary character through selection of materials and possible use of guest seminar leaders from other participating departments.

Topic for 2007/08b: Identities and Historical Consciousness in Latin America. This seminar explores in a highly strategic fashion the emergence and constant renovation of historical narratives that have supported various beliefs and claims about local, regional, national and transnational identities in Latin America since the rise of the Mexica and Inca empires until the present. Through the analytical tools provided by anthropological and historical approaches, we examine indigenous forms of historical consciousness and the emergence of new identity discourses after the Spanish conquest, their permutations before and after the emergence of independent nation-states, and some crucial shifts in national, regional and ethnic identity claims that have preceded and followed some revolutions and social movements between the late 19th century and the present. Mr. Tavarez.

399a or b. Senior Independent Research ( 1/2 or 1)

By special permission.

Approved Courses

Africana Studies 105 Issues in Africana Studies (1)

Africana Studies 211 Religions of the Oppressed and Third World Liberation Movements (1)

Africana Studies 230 Creole Religions of the Caribbean (1)

Africana Studies 256 Environment and Culture in the Caribbean (1)

Anthropology 245 The Ethnographer’s Craft (1)

Economics 248 International Trade and the World Financial System (1)

Economics 268 Economic Development in Less Developed Countries (1)

Geography 240 Latin America: Regional Development, Environment, and Urbanization (1)

Geography 242 Brazil: Urbanization and Environment in Portuguese America (1)

Geography 248 The U.S.-Mexico Border: Region, Place, and Process (1)

Hispanic-Studies 105-106 Elementary Spanish Language (1)

Hispanic-Studies 205 Intermediate Spanish (1)

Hispanic Studies 206 Reading and Writing about Hispanic Culture (1)

Hispanic Studies 216 Methods in Interdisciplinary Analysis (1)

Hispanic Studies 227 Colonial Latin America (1)

Hispanic Studies 229 Postcolonial Latin America (1)

Hispanic Studies 387 Latin American Seminar (1)

History 162 Latin America: The Aftermath of Encounter (1)

History 251 A History of American Foreign Relations (1)

History 262 Early Latin America to 1750 (1)

History 263 From Colony to Nation: Latin America in the Nineteenth Century (1)

History 264 The Revolutionary Option? Latin America in the Twentieth Century (1)

History 361 Varieties of the Latin American Indian Experience (1)

History 362 The Cuban Revolution (1)

History 363 Revolution and Conflict in Twentieth- Century Latin America (1)

Music 236 Music and Literary Traditions of Five Caribbean Islands (1)

Political Science 252 Politics of Modern Social Movements (1)

Political Science 258 Latin American Politics (1)

Political Science 355a Seminar on Violence (1)

Portuguese a and b First, Second and Third Year of Spoken Language  (Self-Instructional Language Program) (1)

Religion 211 Religions of the Oppressed and Third-World Liberation Movements (1)

Sociology 233 Latino Identity Formation in the U.S. (1)