Course Catalog 2023-2024

Latin American Studies

LAS 150 Introduction to Latin American Studies (4 Credits)

This course is a multidisciplinary, thematically-organized introduction to the cultures and societies of Latin America and communities of Latin American descent in the United States that serves as a primary gateway to the Latin American Studies major. This course surveys a variety of topics in culture, geography, politics, history, literature, language and the arts through readings, films, music, discussions and guest lectures. The course is required for all majors in Latin American Studies. {A}{H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 201br Colloquium: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a/x Studies-Banana Republics: Crops and Capitalism (4 Credits)

This colloquium explores the socio-environmental trajectories of four crops in Latin America. From the deep history of potatoes to the dawn of transgenics, this course centers crops as a pivotal lens for examining the dynamics of capitalist development in the hemisphere. The first unit studies the potato and its contribution to the major demographic trends that remade the modern world. The second unit discusses histories of colonialism, sugar, slavery, and racialized capitalism. The third unit examines the establishment of banana agriculture as a mechanism of empire-making. The final unit unveils the emergence of GMOs and the centrality of Mexican maize. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 201cc Colloquium: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a/x Studies-Climate and Conflict (4 Credits)

This class examines the intersections of climate trends and conflict dynamics in Latin America and the world. Recent climate change and global warming developments have triggered a multidisciplinary reflection on the remaking of twenty-first century geographies of social conflict. This course discusses the region's centrality in understanding the historical roots of the convergence of climate and conflict, the emergence of environmental refugees and displacement, the rise of indigenous environmental activism and grassroots movements, and the enduring experiences of environmental suffering. Enrollment limited to 20. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 201el Colloquium: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a/x Studies-Environmental Legacies and Ecological Futures in Latin America (4 Credits)

Latin America is often signaled as both a region of biological diversity and a space of daunting environmental degradation. This course explores the ecological and environmental relationships between nature and society in Latin America from pre-conquest to contemporary times. Students examine socioenvironmental issues, integrating knowledge from the sciences and the humanities. Through readings, discussions and academic research, students reflect on their disciplinary assumptions about critical issues such as ecological crises, the human perils of extractive industrial activities, environmental determinism, activism and social justice. Enrollment limited to 20.<span style="font-size:12px">

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 201li Colloquium: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies-Mapping Latine Inequalities: Race, Space and Urban Justice (4 Credits)

The course explores the relationship between race, space, gender and sexuality. Two questions guide our focus: How do communities come together to live dignified lives? What strategies of place making and world making do communities use to create home? The course turns to different cities throughout the U.S including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco to understand how historically aggrieved communities resist violent neighborhood changes. The course examines processes like gentrification and histories of dispossession. Students learn about housing justice activism, environmental racism, police brutality, gayborhoods, queer nightlife and pleasure politics. Cannot be taken S/U. Enrollment limited to 20. (E) {A}{H}{S}

Spring, Variable

LAS 201of Colloquium: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a/x Studies-Organizing Freedom: Domestic Worker History and Cultures of Resistance in the Américas (4 Credits)

This course explores women’s domestic labor, studying histories and cultures of resistance of Latin American and Latine domestic workers. It asks key questions: How do the legacies of colonialism, anti-Indigeneity and anti-Blackness shape domestic labor? What strategies have domestic workers deployed in different moments and diverse geographies to dismantle systems of oppression? How have they articulated concepts of liberation, autonomy and freedom to build alternative cultures of solidarity, mutuality and well-being? Students read key histories of domestic work in Latin America, study how domestic workers organize to build international networks and consider cultural digital projects that center domestic workers. {H}{L}


LAS 201ql Colloquium: Topics in Latin American Studies-Queer Latine Embodiments: Affect, Race and Aesthetics (4 Credits)

What modes of resistance do queer and trans bodies of color deploy to navigate an anti-queer/trans world? What lessons do bodies offer? This course focuses on queer and trans representation in cultural production, performance studies approach to queer Latine research and the importance of embodied knowledges. The course addresses topics around affect, desire, queer nightlife, anti-queer/trans moral panics and public space. Students become familiar with scholarship in the growing field of queer Latine studies while developing a stronger critical analytic on how race, class, sexuality and gender inform the reading of bodies. Enrollment limited to 20. (E) {A}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 250 Colloquium: Knowing Latin America: Ethics, Methods and Debates (4 Credits)

In this course, students explore current perspectives central to the field of Latin American Studies, focusing on ethical and methodological questions—as they relate to research, publication, academia and activism. Students will read broadly in the humanities, social and natural sciences, developing a solid foundation for evaluating, contextualizing and applying current trends within Latin American Studies. Case studies illustrate diversity of thought, interdisciplinary approaches, and innovative directions in the field. Discussions address the roles and responsibilities of researchers, analysts and practitioners across a range of professions. Required for the major in Latin American Studies. {A}{H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Annually

LAS 260 Colloquium: Animal Histories of Latin America (4 Credits)

This colloquium centers animals as the core of a “more-than-human” account for understanding four major environmental questions in the history of Latin America: the adaption of societies to high-altitude environments, the ecological transformations framed by colonization, the kinetic capacities of emerging nation-states and the neoliberal commodification of nature. Through the interrogation of guinea pigs, sheep, horses and vicuñas, correspondingly, this course ventures into the examination of animals as proxies, partners, porters and portraits of narratives usually studied as strictly anthropogenic and anthropocentric. Enrollment limited to 20. (E) {H}{S}


LAS 291 Colloquium: Decolonize This Museum? (4 Credits)

What does it mean to de-colonize a museum? How does such work happen, and who actually does the "decolonizing?" With these questions as guide, this class considers Latin American museums--of art, natural history, local and other histories--through comparative lenses. Decolonizing conversations are taking place in many parts of the world, and so this course addresses Latin American and Latinx projects in relation to those taking place in Africa and the Pacific Islands, in western Europe and North America. Independent research projects will figure prominently; recommended: at least one class in Latin American and Latino/a Studies, art history, anthropology. {A}{H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 301ae Seminar: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies-Contesting Space: Art, Ecology, Activism (4 Credits)

What do artists have to say to activists and scientists? Students in this seminar will immerse in case studies drawn from Latin American and Latinx geographies (1970s to the present) to explore the promises and pitfalls of cultural experiments across boundaries of knowledge-making in art, ecology and activism. We will work with a range of public culture technologies--including digital storytelling, social and print media--to illuminate these “activist ecologies” for diverse publics outside academia. Open to juniors and seniors of any major. Some background in the study of the Latinx/Latin America(s) required. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and Seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}{H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 301hw Seminar: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies-Deep History of Water (4 Credits)

We live in a world largely covered by water. We inhabit physical bodies considerably made of water. We channeled water as a primary sign of civilization and are currently in search of water beyond planetary frontiers. This seminar interrogates how hydric and hydraulic narratives may inform our understanding of past, present, and future visions of power and society. Grounded in Latin America and global in its aim, this seminar is structured in four larger sections: the hydraulic origins of ancient city states, colonialism and the control of waterscapes, the hydric demise of nation-states, and the future quest for water. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required.

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 301iw Seminar: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies-Colonial and Postcolonial Indigenous Worlds (4 Credits)

This seminar explores the historical trajectory of the First Peoples and Nations of the Americas and their worlds, from their inception as Indigenous at the dawn of colonialism to their subjection as the “rural poor” amidst modernizing paradigms of progress. Following a chronological sequence, the course covers issues such as genetics and the deep history of Indigeneity in the Americas, the age of demographic collapse during the Columbian Exchange, the rise of colonial Indigenous livelihoods and ecologies, Indigenous struggles for autonomy and land as communities and campesinos and their enduring quests for Indigenous citizenship and plurinational recognition in a neoliberal age. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

LAS 310 Seminar: Senior Capstone (4 Credits)

This course studies how people trained in the field of Latin American and Latin@Studies "do their work," asking: what constitutes a compelling research topic and what methodologies are required to complete such research. Focus rests on the last decade. We explore a wide range of authors, from those interested in the arts to those who study immigration or climate change. This class also asks each student to develop and present an independent research project, teaching others in class about her topic. Throughout we consider and debate the implications of working in this field--both inside and outside academic settings. Required for the major in Latin American Studies and the minor in Latino/a Studies. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}{L}{S}


LAS 400 Special Studies (1-4 Credits)

Fall, Spring

LAS 404 Special Studies (4 Credits)

Fall, Spring

LAS 430D Honors Project (4 Credits)

Fall, Spring, Annually

LAS 431 Honors Project (8 Credits)

Fall, Spring, Annually