Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program

Director: Katherine Hite (Political Science); Participating Faculty: Carlos Alamo (Sociology), Michael Aronna (Hispanic Studies), Light Carruyo (Sociology), Colleen Cohen (Anthropology), Brian Godfrey (Geography), Mihai Grünfeld (Hispanic Studies), Tracy Holland (Education), Timothy H. Koechlin (International Studies), Joseph Nevins (Geography), Leslie Offutt (History), Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies), Eréndira Rueda (Sociology), David Tavárez (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. To fulfill the “methods” course requirement for the major, students are required to take one of the following: Hispanic Studies 216, Anthropology 245, Sociology 254, Political Science 207 or Political Science 273. 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 a participating program faculty member. 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 LALS approved and/or cross listed courses 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 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 offered, 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 2009/10: What geographic and social spaces constitute Latin America? Who is a Latin American and/or a Latino/a? Addressing these questions, this course provides an introduction to the basic concepts, theories, and methodologies necessary for the multidisciplinary study of Latin American and Latina/o communities. The course introduces students to the multiple ways in which space, race, ethnicity, class and gendered identities are formed in Latin America and conversely affirmed and/or redefined in the United States. In addition, the course examines the ways in which U.S. Latina/o populations provide both economic and cultural remittances to their countries of origin that also help to challenge and rearticulate Latin American social and economic relationships. Mr. Alamo.

226b. Framing Poverty and Social Mobility: the Picaresque Novel in Spain and Latin America(1)

(Same as Hispanic Studies 226b) Mr. Vivalda.

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

(Same as English 230a). Mr. Perez

240a. Andean Worlds(1)

(Same as Anthropology 240a). Mr. Tavárez.

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

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

[ 251. Development and Social Change in Latin America ](1)

(Same as Sociology 251) Ms. Carruyo.

Alternate years: not offered in 2009/10.

290a or b. Field Work(1/2 or 1)

By special permission.

Reading Courses

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)

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

297.09. The Legacy of the Plantation in Caribbean and Latin American(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)

303 Senior Project(1/2)

US Latino/a studies programs have their origins in the joining of university students with grassroots organizers to create multidisciplinary curricula and initiatives recognizing the contributions of Latino communities.  A senior project reflects that spirit. In conjunction with two faculty members, one of whom must come from the LALS steering committee, students formulate a project topic based on continuing community-based work they have done during their Vassar years.  The project might be rooted in the local Latino/a community, or from sustained work in Latin America.  Students submit a proposal and bibliography, develop a work plan, and follow the same schedule as thesis writers.  The senior project must go beyond a fieldwork experience, and requires a well-defined written analytical component.

[ 351. Indigenous Literatures of the Americas ](1)

(Same as Anthropology 351) Mr. Tavárez.

Alternate years: not offered in 2009/10.

360a. Amerindian Religions and Resistance.(1)

(Same as Anthropology 360a). Mr. Tavárez

372a. and b. Advanced Urban and Regional Studies(1)

Topic for 2009a: Lines, Fences, and Walls: The Partitioning of the Global Landscape. (Same as Geography 372a and Urban Studies 372a.) This course examines the making of the spatial boundaries that divide and connect people and places across the Earth's surface. In doing so, it considers the origins and evolution of various types of divides-from private property lines that have marked the demise of commons throughout the world, to the barbed wire fences used to contain people and animals, and the international boundary walls and barriers that increasingly scar the global landscape-and considers various effects of and responses to these phenomena. Mr. Nevins.

Topic for 2010b: Preserving Whose City? Memory, Heritage, And Planning In Global Cities. (Same as Geography 372b and Urban Studies 372b) Urban memory and heritage are increasingly important sources of cultural identity, tourist development, and political symbolism in our globalized world. How we define ourselves depends in large part on how we treat the legacies of the past, which serve to anchor our collective memories in particular cultural landscapes. This seminar focuses on the rise of historical preservation and the impacts of heritage programs on the built forms and public spaces of global cities. After examining the theory and practice of heritage conservation with reference to case studies of historic cities, students carry out research in sites of their own choosing. Mr. Godfrey

One three-hour period.

[ 381. Politics of Memory: Latin America in Comparative Perspective ](1)

(Same as Political Science 381). Ms. Hite.

Alternate years: not offered in 2009/10.

383b. Senior Seminar: Nation, Race and Gender in Latin America and the Caribbean(1)

With a focus on Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean this course traces and analyzes the ways in which the project of nation building creates and draws upon narratives about race and gender. While our focus is on Latin America, our study considers racial and gender formations within the context of the world-system. We are interested in how a complicated history of colonization, independence, post-coloniality, and "globalization" has intersected with national economies, politics, communities, and identities. In order to get at these intersections we examine a range of texts dealing with policy, national literatures, common sense, and political struggle. Specific issues addressed include the relationship between socio-biological theories of race and Latin American notions of mestizage, discursive and material "whitening," the myth of racial democracy, sexuality and morality, and border politics. Ms. Carruyo.

385a. Women, Culture and Development(1)

(Same as Sociology 385a). Ms. Carruyo.

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

By special permission.

Approved Courses

In addition to the Program and cross-listed courses listed above, there are approved courses given in other departments and programs that can count toward a Latin American Latino/a Studies (LALS) major or correlate. Look under the respective departments for course descriptions and semester or year offered. An updated list of approved courses is available in the LALS program office and on-line on the LALS Program web site before preregistration. Students are also urged to consult the additional course offerings of LALS Program faculty members listed under their home departments. While these courses may not focus specifically on Latin America and Latino/a America, they often include case studies or materials related to the regions. In addition, LALS faculty approaches and methodologies in such courses may be beneficial to the major and therefore LALS-approved.

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)

Africana Studies 262 Literature/Caribbean Diaspora(1)

Africana Studies 275 Caribbean Discourse(1)

American Culture 250 America and the World(1)

Anthropology 241 The Caribbean(1)

Anthropology 245 The Ethnographer’s Craft(1)

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

Economics 273 Development Economics(1)

Education 367 Urban Education Reform(1)

Education 388 Education and Immigration(1)

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

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

Geography 250 Urban Geography: Built Environment, Social Space, and Sustainability(1)

Geography 266 Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development(1)

Geography 272 Geographies of Mass Violence(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 America 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)

International Studies 286 Global Political Economy(1)

International Studies 380 Global Interdependency(1)

Music 136 Introduction to World Music(1)

Music 212 Advanced Topics in World Musics(1)

Political Science 207 Political Analysis(1)

Political Science 252 Politics of Modern Social Movements(1)

Political Science 258 Latin American Politics(1)

Political Science 259 Human Rights and Politics(1)

Political Science 268 Politics of Globalization(1)

Political Science 273 Interpreting Politics(1)

Political Science 352 Seminar on Multiculturalism in Comparative Perspective(1)

Political Science 355 Seminar on Violence(1)

Political Science 358 Comparative Political Economy(1)

Political Science 363 Decolonizing and International Relations(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 321 Feminism/Praxis Knowledge(1)

Sociology 254 Research Methods(1)

Sociology 269 Constructing School and Street Kids(1)

Sociology 381 Race and Popular Culture(1)

Sociology 388 Preparing Citizens/Producing Workers(1)

Women’s Studies 282 Women of Color in the U.S.(1)

Women’s Studies 388 Latina Feminisms(1)