Latin American-Caribbean Studies Courses


237: Peoples and Cultures of Latin America

This course explores anthropological and inter-disciplinary approaches to the peoples of the places that have come to be called Latin America and the Caribbean. The course aims to understand processes across the Americas as variations on common themes. The peoples of North, Central, South America and the Caribbean are interconnected. Some of these themes include: 1) The active role of indigenous peoples in shaping the Americas: these lands were not a blank slate or in a state of nature when Europeans arrived. Native projects and participation continue; 2) Colonial interactions and the legacy of colonialism; 3) Independence and attempts to create national identities against the backdrop of difference and inequality; 4) Migration and immigration; 5) The apparently paradoxical resurgence of local and place-based economies during globalization.

250: Culture, Colonialism, Modernity

Bolivia is one of South America’s most vibrant and paradoxical countries. Its silver and tin mines were crucial to establish and fuel a global economy, while at the same time leaving a colonial legacy of extreme disparity and impoverishment. Vibrant cultural traditions and the reclaiming of ethnic identities contribute to an emergent Bolivian version of modernity. The course will primarily be based in La Paz (altitude 12,000 ft; average temperature 50°F, population 2.3 million in the metro area) where students will have an immersive three-week homestay with Bolivian families. During the La Paz homestay period, all students will take intensive language courses. If taken as SPAN 105, this course alone will fulfill the language requirement; no other course is required. There will be outings and lectures at museums, architectural sites, and marketplaces, with experiences in cooking, dancing, and sports integrated into language learning. Weekends will feature short trips in the surrounding region, such as the archaeological site of Tiwanaku and the Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca. The final week will bring students to southern Bolivia, including the colonial capital of Sucre, the mining city of Potosí, and the Uyuni Salt Flats.Prerequisite: None Curricular Designation: Counts towards the Experiential Learning (EL) requirement in the Social & Behavioral Sciences Division.

Art History

250: Images at War: Latin American Art After 1492

This course examines Latin American art and images as tools of conquest and resistance from the moment of Columbus’s arrival to the present day. We will discover how art functions as a vehicle of cultural and political conflict for colonial powers, enslaved laborers, national governments, minorities, and migrants. We will begin in the late 15th century and travel forward in time, studying art movements such as the Baroque, Neoclassicism, Modernism, Indigenism, Surrealism, and Conceptualism in Latin America. This course emphasizes the arts of Mexico and the Caribbean, though South American colonial and modern art will also be addressed. This course has no prerequisites and is open to all students.

241/341: Natural History of Costa Rica

The goal of this course is to introduce students to tropical biodiversity and its conservation in Central America. Participants live and study at biology field research stations in tropical rain forests, cloud forests and dry forests on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of Costa Rica. Most activity centers on observing communities of organisms (their population densities, feeding, movement, reproductive and other interactions) in their natural environment. Emphasis is placed on vertebrates including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The course also examines invertebrates and a huge variety of plants. In addition, participants visit volcanoes, museums, national parks, and historical sites. The course also includes a tour of the University of Costa Rica, with talks on biological, environmental and political-social issues.


201: Colonial Latin America

This course is intended to survey the history of Latin America from the Iberian conquest in the early 16th century to the emergence of new states during the nineteenth century. We will discuss historical processes by which both the powerful and the powerless actively participated in making Latin America as a part of the New World. We will also examine how race, ethnicity, gender, and class were interwoven into colonial Latin American history. Prerequisite: None Curricular Designation: Counts towards the Social and Behavioral Science division requirement.

202: Modern Latin America

This course is structured around the imposing and extraordinary changes that have taken place in Latin America and the Caribbean from independence until the present day. We will increase our knowledge and understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, the course will place the region within the economic, political, social, and cultural complex of the entire hemisphere.

225: History of Brazil

Through lecturers, readings, and discussions, together with films and slides, this course examines changes and continuities in Brazilian history from independence (1822) to the present. Special emphasis is placed on race, class, gender, and ethnicity. We will discuss how colonial heritages determined the “fate”of Brazil as a modern nation-state; and how various forms of power relationship emerged, evolved, disappeared, and/or transformed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

226: History of Mexico

This course analyzes the evolution of some of the most significant strands conforming the complex tapestry of Mexican history. It begins with an examination of the High cultures of Ancient Mexico, the Iberian conquest and the emergence of a colonial society; it continues with a study of the Wars of Independence and concludes with an evaluation of the Mexican Revolution and its impact on present-day Mexican society.

324: Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean

This course examines how the institution of slavery was transplanted in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 16th century, why slavery developed in some parts of Latin America and the Caribbean (and why not in other regions), and how the institution was eventually abolished by the last decades of the 19th century. It also examines other important topics, such as the transatlantic slave trade; gender and ethnicity; family and kinship; uprisings and rebellions; and the historical formation of the Black Atlantic. (ILS) .

326: Gender and Power in Latin America

This course discusses various topics concerning gender and power in Latin American history from the late colonial period to the present time. By reading articles and monographs written by historians, life histories, women’s narratives, as well as by viewing four Latin American films, we will be able to relate our own experiences to women and men in Latin America. We will also compare and contrast the experiences of different groups of women according to such factors as race, ethnicity, and class.

327: Revolutions in Latin America and the Caribbean

This course examines four cases of attempts to change fundamentally the social structure and the social basis of political power in Latin America and the Caribbean. They are: Haiti, 1789-1820; Mexico, 1910-1934; Bolivia, 1952-1960; and Cuba, 1959-1995. The four revolutions represented attempts – not always entirely successfully – of altering the fundamental ways the social basis of political power. The course attempts to ascertain the degree of indelible change imposed by the revolutionary experience.

424: CAP: Slavery in Latin America & the Caribbean

This course examines how the institution of slavery was transplanted in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 16th century, why slavery developed in some parts of Latin America and the Caribbean (and why not in other regions), and how the institution was eventually abolished by the last decades of the 19th century. It also examines other important topics, such as the transatlantic slave trade; gender and ethnicity; family and kinship; uprisings and rebellions; and the historical formation of the Black Atlantic. (ILS)

Interdisciplinary Courses

160: Introduction to Global Studies

This course will provide students with an introduction and orientation to Global Studies. They will begin to develop: 1) an understanding of the global system; 2) a capacity to think analytically and creatively within disciplines; 3) an ability to tackle problems and issues that do not respect disciplinary boundaries; 4) knowledge of and ability to interact civilly and productively with individuals from quite different cultural backgrounds-both within one’s own society and across the planet; 5) knowledge of and respect for one’s own cultural tradition(s); 6) a fostering of hybrid or blended identities; 7) a fostering of tolerance. Prerequisite: None


280: Music of the World’s Cultures

Study of music outside of the Western art tradition as both cultural and artistic phenomena. Principles of ethnomusicology will be employed within an interdisciplinary framework. Music cultures explored will include Africa, North and South America, the Middle East, Indonesia, and the Far East. Open to music and non-music majors.


346: Transcultural Nursing

Assists the student to recognize the myriad of health-related beliefs and practices that exist among and between different members of a culture and how those beliefs and practices impact upon the health of its members. This four-week experience is designed to expose the student to the social determinants of health and public health and transcultural concepts and theories. Students are exposed to different empirical frameworks to assist them in providing holistic, culturally competent care to individuals, families, populations and communities living in a foreign setting. Clinical experiences to meet course objectives occur in diverse rural and/or urban clinic and community settings with an emphasis on therapeutic interventions, health promotion, disease prevention, risk reduction and health teaching. Prerequisite: NURS 234, 334, 257 and/or NURS 357 or permission of the faculty. Offered J Term.

Political Science

268: Latin American/Caribbean Politics

A survey of post-World War II politics in Latin America and the Caribbean, with special attention to the changing political and economic policies and prospects of these states. The effects of history, culture and international contacts on local institutions are examined, as is the dynamism of grassroots movements for change in the region.


160: Introduction to Regional Hispanic Studies

What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say “Spanish”? What imagery does Latin America evoke? Who or what do you imagine when you hear the words Latino, Spaniard, and Hispanic? Do you know how many languages are spoken in Spain, or the significance of Al-Andalus? Do you understand how U.S. policies impact immigration and continue to inform our dialogue on the subject? Do you recognize how media has shaped your own assumptions and perceptions? In this course we will endeavor to answer these questions and many more. We will challenge our preconceived notions and gain a better understanding of the heterogeneous cultural landscape of the Spanish-speaking world. Through a general overview of the main socio-political, cultural, and regional topics of today’s Latin America and Spain, we will evaluate the historical and cultural influences that shaped these regions. We will examine how the linguistic and political legacies transmitted by the Spaniards during the conquest and colonization shaped Latin America, and how the enterprise of conquest and colonialism in turn shaped Spain. Through an interdisciplinary approach to the history and cultures of Spain and the Americas we will explore how Hispanic cultures have been influenced by common histories, reciprocal relationships, collaboration and conflicts. This exploration will take place through film, literature, current news, history, music and scholarly articles. All students will be encouraged to contribute their unique research interests and perspectives so we can engage in a lively and meaningful conversation. Prerequisite: None Curricular Designation: Spanish Culture course can be used towards the Foreign Language requirement OR towards the Humanities divisional requirement.

202: Intermediate Spanish II

This intermediate level course is the gatekeeper which will determine if students will be invited to pursue advanced studies in Spanish. Grammar and vocabulary will be taught in context through the reading, listening, viewing, and analysis of cultural production of the Spanish-speaking world. This course will go more in depth in grammatical points in order to help students manipulate them with more precision in written and oral assignments related to the historical, social, and cultural contexts of various Spanish-speaking countries and regions. Oral proficiency is strongly emphasized. A final grade of B+ is required in order to continue toward a major. Prerequisite: Span 201 or with Spanish faculty approval and placement exam.

204 Panoramas del pasado y el presente peninsular y de las américas

In this course, students will acquire a general sense of the history and cultures of what today comprises the Spanish-speaking world. Students will learn about important political and social periods that impacted these regions as a whole (such as the Muslim rule of Spain, the conquest, pre-Columbian civilizations, the colonial period and independence movements in Latin America) as well as focusing on the particulars of a select group of countries. Reading, writing, textual analysis, and formal presentation skills will be emphasized. Prerequisite: SPAN 202 or Spanish faculty approval and placement exam. (3 credits)

250, 350, 450: Seminar in Hispanic Studies

A seminar in a selected topic of Spanish language, literature or civilization. Occasionally, the course is taught in English.

250/350/450: Past Is Present: Service Learn

For this course students will learn about Dominican culture and history and its relationship with Haiti and the United States during excursions to Santo Domingo, while they work alongside Caminante: Proyecto Educativo, an NGO that has provided educational and vocational training in the Boca Chica community for 20 years. As part of the service/experiential learning component of the course, students will develop and teach in Spanish workshops around the theme of “Tu salud es lo que cuenta/It’s Your Health That Counts” in the “Homework Rooms” that Caminante runs for K-3rd grade children. Through their work students will learn about the social, historical, and political circumstances that have impacted the very children with whom they interact and reflect upon how these very same events shape their own present. Prerequisite: SPAN 201 or intermediate -Level Spanish Proficiency Curricular Designation: Counts toward the Experiential Learning (EL) component in the Humanities Division.

285, 485: Spanish Term Abroad

Will count when the trip is to Puerto Rico or Chile, or any other part of Latin America.

319/419 La cultura popular

Through the analysis of telenovelas, music, and film, we will discuss what these modes of popular culture say about a particular society. We will look at how these forms of cultural expressions convey conflicts between classes, gender and ethnic groups, and what these popular cultural productions say about the relationship between a specific society in the Spanish speaking world and the outside world. The texts for this course will be the forms of popular cultures themselves to provide students the opportunity to create with the language. May be repeated for credit. When repeated, this course bears the number 320 or 321. Prerequisite: SPAN 203 Advanced Written and Oral Communication in Spanish or Spanish faculty approval. (3 credits)

327/427 Themes or Genres

A study of a recurrent theme or specific genre. Possible topics include: National identity, Nationalism, Gender and Sexuality, Space and borders. May be repeated for credit. When repeated, this course bears the numbers 328 or 329. Prerequisite: SPAN 203 Advanced Written and Oral Communication in Spanish or Spanish faculty approval. (3 credits)

335/435 El cine hispánico

In this course, students will analyze several representative films from Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. by such directors as Bunuel, Almodovar, Gutierrez Alea, Littin, Bemberg, and Solas. Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Robert Rodriguez, Gregory Nava, Pilar Miró, Iciar Bollaín. All films will be studied as social, historical, and cultural texts. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 203 Advanced Written and Oral Communication in Spanish or Spanish faculty approval. (3 credits)


225: Human Rights

This course will focus on the dramatic post cold-war transformation of human rights as a focus of social struggle and will examine the contradictions between the Human Rights standards the U.S. demands of other countries and its own practices at home and abroad. Case studies include many from Latin America.