Latin American Studies

The Latin American Studies Minor

Latin American Studies is a dynamic, interdisciplinary minor designed to help students develop a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the historical, cultural, political, economic, and social conditions that have shaped contemporary Latin America. In this minor students are encouraged to articulate important connections between local and world societies in the context of the Latin American experience; this entails the study of the complex historical formation of this region and its cultural and ethnic diversity, from the foundation of Amerindian civilizations, the European conquest, and the impact of the African slave trade, to the challenges of the 21st century.

Student learning objectives are organized into the following five integrated areas, which constitute the central themes that appear throughout the curriculum:

  1. The Idea of Latin America
    Understand different worldviews and epistemologies in the imperial/colonial context of the initial encounter, the subsequent “invention” of America, and the emergence of the idea of “Latin” America in the 19th century. Explore the ways in which Latin America has been conceived of as part of the West and simultaneously as peripheral to it. Identify the present physical geographies, administrative-political structures, and demographics of the Latin American countries, and analyze the ways in which these are defined from internal and external perspectives.
  2. Cultural and Ethnic Diversity
    Explore the artistic and cultural production of Latin America throughout history, from ancient Amerindian civilizations and the legacy of the African slave trade to the present, with an emphasis on the diversity of perspectives. Compare and contrast different concepts on and theoretical approaches to the cultural and ethnic diversity of Latin America, such as transculturation, hybridization, mestizaje, neo-baroque, among others. Explore the linguistic diversity of Latin America and develop communicative proficiency in one or more Latin American languages.
  3. Conquest, Colonialism and Coloniality
    Analyze the complexities of conquest, colonialism, neocolonialism, and postcolonialism and their legacies. Understand and analyze the construction of racial categories and racism in Latin America both in the context the conquest of indigenous peoples and the subsequent African slave trade and in more recent manifestations. Explore the relationship between coloniality — the colonial matrix of power that goes beyond the historical period of colonialism — and the rhetoric of modernity in the economic, political, civic, and personal/subjective realms.
  4. Independence, National Consolidation, and Democracy
    Identify and analyze the different political and economic structures or systems that have appeared in Latin America since independence and the socio-historical conditions in which they each emerged. Analyze the manifestation of European Enlightenment ideals in Latin America and contrast them with Amerindian and Afro-American epistemologies and world views. Define and analyze the following dichotomies and concepts in this context: civilization and barbarism, progress and primitivism, development and underdevelopment. Analyze the following concepts in specific junctures of Latin American history, from 19th-century nation building, throughout the 20th century, and to the present: revolution and subversion; dictatorship and state violence; war and armed conflict; human rights and memory; justice and reconciliation; (re)democratization.
  5. Global Designs and Local Histories
    Understand the ways in which the term “Latin” America is a misnomer, both within local histories and global designs, and how other terms are used to describe this region, such as Afro-Latin America, among others. Identify and analyze current challenges faced by Latin American countries in regional, national, hemispherical, and transnational contexts. Explore and analyze Latin American experiences as part of the transnational flows of people, culture, technology, media, and finance within global capitalism.

Requirements for the Minor

  1. The Latin American Studies minor requires 18 units.
  2. Language Requirement: Students must take at least three (3) units of a Latin American language (Spanish, Portuguese, French, or any language indigenous to the region) equivalent to USD courses numbered 101, 102, 201, 202 or 212, or 301 or 311. Other language courses may be used to fulfill the language requirement only with approval of the program director.
  3. Area Studies Requirement: Students must take fifteen (15) units of approved Latin American Studies courses. A minimum of nine (9) units must be taken at the upper division level.
  4. Interdisciplinary Requirement: Students must take courses from at least two academic disciplines.
  5. Study Abroad Requirement: Students must complete three (3) units of study — which count toward the minor’s total 18 units — in a Latin American country with a USD affiliated program. Students unable to participate in a study abroad program may, with approval of the program director, fulfill this requirement by participating in a USD-sponsored service-learning trip to Latin America, or by successfully completing an internship or community-based project focused on a Latin American topic.

Please see the full course descriptions under the appropriate departmental listings. In addition to the curriculum below, there may be additional courses offered — including special topics and courses offered less frequently — in any given semester, which may count toward the minor. Please consult with the program director.

Latin American Studies Courses

Please see the full course descriptions under the appropriate departmental listings. In addition to the curriculum below, there may be additional courses offered — including Honors, special topics, and courses offered less frequently — in any given semester, which may count toward the minor. Please consult with the program director.

ANTH 327South American Indian Cultures3
ANTH 328Caribbean Cultures3
ANTH 334South American Archaeology3
COMM 480Advanced Topics in International Media (when taught as Latin America Media Systems)3-4
ECON 335Economic Development of Latin America3
ECON 339Latin America Business Environment3
ETHN 240DIntroduction To Chicano/Latino Studies3
ETHN 343Chicano/Latino Studies3
ETHN 361Immigration at US-Mexico Border: Ethnicity, Race & Gender (when taught as Latin America through Film)3
HIST 361Modern Latin America3
HIST 362Topics in Latin America History3
HIST 363History of Brazil3
HIST 383Chicano/a History3
HIST 384History of Mexico3
LANG 194Special Topics in Language, Literature and Culture (when taught as Social Justice in Latin America)3
LATS 294Special Topics in Latin American Studies1-3
LATS 494Special Topics in Latin American Studies1-3
LATS 499Independent Study1-3
PHIL 494Contemporary Philosophical Problems (when taught as Latin American Thought)3
POLS 357Politics in Latin America3
POLS 366Politics in Mexico3
POLS 374U.S.-Latin American Relations3
POLS 494Special Topics in International Relations (when taught as Latin American Politics and Film)1-4
SPAN 194Special Topics in Literature, Film and Culture3
SPAN 294Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture (when taught as Narratives of the Mexico/US Border)3
SPAN 304Cultural History of Latin America3
SPAN 305Spanish for the Professions and Social Innovation3
SPAN 360Survey of Latin American Literature3
SPAN 410DLatin@ Literatures and Cultures3
SPAN 434The "New" World3
SPAN 448Latin American Short Story3
SPAN 449Latin American Novel3
SPAN 451Latin American Poetry3
SPAN 453Mexican Literature and Culture3
SPAN 458Jewish Latin America3
SPAN 494Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture (when taught as Afro-Caribbean Literature, Border Narratives, or Travels through Central American Literature and Culture)3
THRS 321Afro-Latin Religions3
THRS 358Latinoa Catholicism3

Courses

LATS 294 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Analysis of a specific topic within Latin American Studies with a thematic, regional, or historical focus. This course may be repeated for credit with different course content.

LATS 494 | SPECIAL TOPICS IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Analysis of a specific topic within Latin American Studies with a thematic, regional, or historical focus. This course may be repeated for credit with different course content.

LATS 499 | INDEPENDENT STUDY

Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Can be repeated for Credit)

Arranged with the consent of a faculty advisor and the program director.

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Esteban del Rio, PhD, Communication Studies

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Emily Edmonds-Poli, PhD, Political Science and International Relations

Kevin Guerrieri, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Julia Medina, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Antonieta Mercado, PhD, Communication Studies

Alejandro Meter, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Amanda Petersen, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Kenneth P. Serbin, PhD, History

David Shirk, PhD, Political Science and International Relations

AFFILIATED FACULTY

Stephen J. Conroy, PhD, School of Business

Evelyn Díaz Cruz, MFA, Theatre Arts

Denise Dimon, PhD, School of Business

Kimberly Eherenman, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Iris Engstrand, PhD, History

Orlando Espín, PhD, Theology and Religious Studies

Michael González, PhD, History

Jerome Hall, PhD, Anthropology

Daniel López-Pérez, PhD, Architecture

Marcelle Maese-Cohen, PhD, English

Michelle Madsen Camacho, PhD, Sociology

Patricia Márquez, PhD, School of Business

Everard Meade, PhD, School of Peace Studies

Kristin Moran, PhD, Communication Studies

Angelo Orona, PhD, Anthropology

Alma Ortega, PhD, Copley Library

Gail Pérez, PhD, English

Alberto López Pulido, PhD, Ethnic Studies

Thomas Ehrlich Reifer, PhD, Sociology

Leonora Simonovis-Brown, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Steve Tammelleo, PhD, Philosophy

Randy Willoughby, PhD, Political Science and International Relations

Íñigo Yanguas, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures