Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program

Acting Director: Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies); Participating Faculty: Michael Aronna (Hispanic Studies), Light Carruyo (Sociology), Colleen Cohen (Anthropology), Brian Godfrey (Geography), Mihai Grünfeld (Hispanic Studies), Katherine Hite (Political Science), Lucy Lewis Johnson (Anthropology), Timothy H. Koechlin (Economics), Miranda Martinez (Sociology), 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 310-3 11, 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 each student must write a multidisciplinary thesis under the co-direction of two thesis advisers, one of whom must be drawn from the participating program faculty. 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, including a 1-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:

105b. 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 2006/07: 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.

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

(Same as English 230a)

233a. Latino Identity Formation (1)

(Same as 233 Sociology and Urban Studies 233) Ms. Martinez

240b. Mesoamerican Worlds (1)

(Same as Anthropology 240) Mr. Tavárez.

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

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

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

(Same as Geography 248)

Not offered in 2006/07.

251b. Development and Social Change (1)

(Same as Sociology 251) Ms. Carruyo.

[253. Latina/os in the Americas] (1)

(Same as Sociology 253)

Not offered in 2006/07.

282b. The U.S.-Mexico Border: Nation, God, and Human Rights in (1)


(Same as Geography 282b, American Culture 282b). Mr. Nevins, Mr. Speers.

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)

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)

Not offered in 2006/07.

[340. 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.

Not offered in 2006/07.

370b. From Mega-Cities to Eco Cities? Environmental History, Planning, and Sustainability (1)

(Same as Geography 370, Urban Studies 370) Mr. Godfrey.

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 2006/07: 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 Mexican 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 nineteenth century and the present. Students complete an original research product related to the course topic, and the use of original Spanish or Portuguese sources is encouraged. Mr. Tavárez.

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

By special permission.

Approved Courses

Africana Studies 105a Issues in Africana Studies (1)

Topic for 2006/07: The African Diaspora and the Caribbean

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

Africana Studies 230b Creo Religion of the Caribbean (1)

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

[Anthropology 245 The Ethnographer’s Craft] (1)

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

Economics 268b Economic Development in Less Developed Countries (1)

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

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

Not offered in 2006/07.

Geography 282b The U.S.-Mexico Border: Nation, God, and Human Rights in Arizona-Sonora (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 387a Latin American Seminar (1)

Hispanic Studies 387b Latin American Seminar (1)

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

Not offered in 2006/07.

History 251b A History of American Foreign Relations (1)

[History 262a Early Latin America to 1750] (1)

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

[History 362b The Cuban Revolution] (1)

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

Not offered in 2006/07.

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

Political Science 252a Politics of Modern Social Movements (1)

[Political Science 258a Latin American Politics] (1)

Not offered in 2006/07.

Political Science 355a Seminar on Violence (1)

Portuguese a and b First, Second and Third Year of Spoken Language (1)

(Self-Instructional Language Program)

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

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