Latin American-Caribbean Studies Requirements

The Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) minor requires that students complete 20 credits and fulfill a language requirement. No more than three courses may apply from any one department. Courses from other disciplines with primary or considerable LACS content and approved by LACS faculty also fulfill the minor. There are courses that might fulfill requirements that are not obviously Latin America courses, for which you should consult with the LACS coordinator.

For current requirements and options to complete the Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor, please contact Assistant Professor of Spanish,Virginia

Required Courses and Credits

These specific courses are required:

  • HIST 201 Colonial Latin America or HIST 202 Modern Latin America
  • POSC 268 Latin American/Caribbean Politics
  • SPAN 160 Topics in Hispanic Studies

Electives from a list of courses which are designed as fulfilling LACS requirements (or which are cross-listed with LACS). See Course Descriptions.

One 300/400 level broad Latin American survey course, such as:

  • HIST 326: Gender and Power in Latin America
  • HIST 327: Revolutions in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • POSC 327: Politics Through Literature

Language: It is the expectation that Latin American and Caribbean Studies students meet their College language requirement in Spanish or French. However, an interested student may meet this expectation by demonstrating proficiency in other languages (such as Aymara, Portuguese, Quechua) through examination.

Off-Campus Study: An off-campus internship or program in Latin American-Caribbean countries with considerable cross-cultural content and approved by the LACS faculty; this option is highly recommended. Courses offered January Term 2017 are listed below:

  • The Past is Present: Service Learning In Hispaniola: The purpose of this course is to give you a first-hand perspective on how the socio-political events of the past and present impact the everyday lives of the people of the Dominican Republic, and by extension, our own. You will learn about Dominican culture, history, and the country’s relationship with Haiti and the United States through readings and excursions to important historical sites in Santo Domingo and other locations, while you 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, you will develop workshops around the theme of “Tu salud es lo que cuenta/It’s Your Health That Counts” and teach these interactive lessons in Spanish in the “Homework Rooms” that Caminante runs for K-3rd grade children. Through your work you will learn about the social, historical, and political circumstances that have impacted the very children with whom you interact and reflect upon how these same events shape your own present. We will begin the J term on campus in an intense week of preparation for the 19 days abroad.
  • Bolivia: 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.
  • Cuba After the Castros: The island nation of Cuba presents a rich learning opportunity. Since the overthrow of Batista’s dictatorship in 1959, and the pursuant break in relations with the United States, the country has combined political repression and economic stagnation with high levels of health and education for such a poor country. Highly dependent on subsidies from the Soviet Union, the Cuban regime had to regroup after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. This marked the beginning of “The Special Period”, during which the Cuban people demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to adapt to the abrupt changes it experienced. Today, Fidel Castro’s brother Raúl continues the regime, but the country’s political and economic future are very uncertain, especially since the Dec. 17th, 2014 announcement of improved US-Cuba relations. This course combines a pre-departure course with 16 days in-country meeting with people and visiting significant sites, examining firsthand some of the key political, social, economic, and cultural issues affecting this island nation.

More about J Term off-campus study