Latin American Studies

Professors Carnegie (Anthropology) and Fra-Molinero (Spanish, chair); Associate Professors Melvin (History) and Pieck (Environmental Studies); Assistant Professors Pérez-Armendáriz (Politics) and Pettway (Spanish)



The Latin American studies program works to fulfill the college's mission as a center of learning in today's global culture. By encompassing multiple approaches to the study of Latin America (including the circum-Caribbean and its diasporas), the program provides students with a set of well-developed perspectives on the region. It seeks to broaden students' worldviews, challenge ethnocentric attitudes, expand understandings of diversity in today's world, introduce alternative ways of engaging with societies and environments, and develop tools necessary to communicate across cultures.

Major Requirements. Students majoring in Latin American studies must complete a total of ten courses in at least four different fields, including five core courses, four courses in a major concentration, and the senior thesis. As an interdisciplinary program, Latin American studies relies on courses offered by a number of departments and programs. In some cases, these courses carry prerequisites.

Because proficiency in Spanish (above the SPAN 205 level) is required for the core and concentration courses in Spanish, students are strongly encouraged to plan their courses early and consult with their advisor and the program chair. Students who wish to double-major in Latin American studies and Spanish should consult the program website (bates.edu/latin-american-studies/).

Students who wish to pursue their interest in Latin America but do not wish to major should consider fulfilling the General Education concentration, Latin American Studies (C072).

Core Courses. Courses taken to fulfill the core requirements may not be counted toward the concentration.

At least three of the core courses must be taken before the senior year.

1) Both of the following:
HIST 181. Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present.
SPAN 230. Readings in Spanish American and Caribbean Literature.

2) One of the following:
INDS 290. The Afro-Hispanic Diaspora.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
SP/WS 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
SPAN 330. Writing the Caribbean Nation: Race, Religion, and Revolution.
SPAN 366. Fantastic Hispanic Cinema.

3) Two of the following:

AA/AN 251. Imagining the Caribbean.
AN/ES 242. Environment, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples.
FYS 443. Christopher Columbus: From Hero to Villain.
PLTC 209. Contemporary United States-Latin American Relations.
PLTC 249. The Politics of Latin America.

Concentrations. Majors take four courses in one of the following concentrations. At least one of these courses must be a 300-level seminar. Up to two study-abroad courses may count toward the concentration with the approval of the Committee on Latin American Studies, but study-abroad courses may not count toward the upper-level seminar.

1) Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. This concentration offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Latin American identities. Courses study the process of identity construction and the cultural politics of these identities. Students analyze fiction, historical documents, essays, ethnographies, manifestos, poetry, and film in considering the performance and mobilization of identities. The political and cultural discourses of women, indigenous communities, and blacks are examined in the context of the enduring struggle for self-determination, including responses to voluntary and forced movements of individuals and groups. Courses include:

INDS 290. The Afro-Hispanic Diaspora.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
AA/SP 350. Representing Blacks in Cuban Literature: From the Colony to the Revolution.
INDS s38. Cannibalism as an Eating Disorder in the Conquest of America.
AN/ES 242. Environment, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples.
ENVR 350. Environmental Justice in the Americas.
FYS 443. Christopher Columbus: From Hero to Villain.
HIST 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HIST 282. The City in Latin America.
HI/RE 390Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
SP/WS 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
SPAN 330. Writing the Caribbean Nation: Race, Religion, and Revolution.
SPAN 343. Postcolonial Thought in Latin America.

2) Cultural Representations. This concentration examines representations of and in Latin America from the colonial era to the postcolonial present. Focusing primarily on narratives and visual texts, this concentration considers the contributions that cultural production makes both to relationships of power and challenges to the hegemonic center. It develops critical reading methods to discern characteristics embedded in the artifacts under study, situating them in Latin American context and underscoring the regional and national differences that make the artifacts unique to their time and place. Courses include:

AA/AN 251. Imagining the Caribbean.
FYS 443. Christopher Columbus: From Hero to Villain.
HIST 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HIST 282. The City in Latin America.
HI/RE 390Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
INDS 374. Chanting Down Babylon: Caribbean Popular Cultural Insurgency.
INDS s38. Cannibalism as an Eating Disorder in the Conquest of America.
SPAN 330. Writing the Caribbean Nation: Race, Religion, and Revolution.
SPAN 342. Hybrid Cultures: Latin American Intersections.
SPAN 354. Revolución en el cine.
SPAN 366. Fantastic Hispanic Cinema.

3) Power: Imposition and Contestation. This concentration explores international and national institutions, social norms, cultures, and ideas that shape the distribution of power and resources in Latin America. The concentration examines enduring patterns in inequality and strategies to address these patterns. Courses

AA/AN 251. Imagining the Caribbean.
AN/ES 242. Environment, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples.
ANTH 330. The Development of Underdevelopment.
ECON s25. Latin American Economies.
FYS 385. Power and Authority in Latin America through Film.
FYS 443. Christopher Columbus: From Hero to Villain.
HIST 390H. The Mexican Revolution.
HIST 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HIST 282. The City in Latin America.
HI/RE 390Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
INDS s34. Place, Community, and Transformation: Kingston, Jamaica.
INDS s38. Cannibalism as an Eating Disorder in the Conquest of America.
LS/SP s21. Human Rights and Social Art in Latin America: The Case of Nogales, Mexico.
PLTC 209. Contemporary United States-Latin American Relations.
PLTC 249. Politics of Latin America.
PLTC 320. The Politics of Latin American Migrant Transnationalism.
SP/WS 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
SPAN 343. Postcolonial Thought in Latin America.

Senior Thesis. Planning for the senior thesis (LAS 457 or 458) begins in the junior year with the submission of a thesis proposal. Information on the proposal may be found on the Latin American studies program website (bates.edu/latin-american-studies). It is expected that the thesis relates thematically to a student's chosen concentration and that the student consults with a thesis advisor to develop the proposal.

Study Abroad. Study-abroad courses cannot substitute for the core courses or the seminar, but may count toward the concentration. Study-abroad courses to be applied toward the major must be approved by the advisor before the student begins the program abroad.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may be elected for the elective courses taken to fulfill the major.

Courses

INDS 290. The Afro-Hispanic Diaspora.

The 500-year presence of Africans and their descendants in the Spanish-speaking world has produced a significant body of literature by blacks and about blacks. Spanish America was the main destination of the African diaspora. Afro-Hispanic writers attest to the struggle for freedom and the abolition of slavery. Their literature shows how the participation of blacks in the wars of Latin American independence was a struggle for their emancipation. Afro-Hispanic writers in Spain, the Americas, and Africa use their art and ideas to address the postnational migrations of the twenty-first century, a diaspora that has not ceased. Recommended background: AAS 100. Cross-listed in African American studies, Latin American studies, and Spanish. Open to first-year students. B. Fra-Molinero.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.

This course studies the response of black writers and intellectuals of the Spanish-speaking world to issues related to the natural environment. In three countries, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and Equatorial Guinea, modernity has brought serious challenges to notions of economic progress, human rights, and national sovereignty, as well as individual and communal identity. Course materials include written texts from local newspapers and magazines, as well as other sources of information such as Internet sites that discuss issues related to the environment and the arts. All readings are in English. Cross-listed in African American studies, environmental studies, and Latin American Studies. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level Spanish literature course. B. Fra-Molinero.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

LAS 360. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Normally offered every semester. Staff.

INDS 374. Chanting down Babylon: Caribbean Popular Cultural Insurgency.

Caribbean popular culture exerts influence on the world stage disproportionate to the region's size. This course examines the politics and creolized development of Caribbean popular culture through some of its best-known modes of expression such as music, the Trinidad Carnival, and the game of cricket. Placing these cultural forms in their historical and social contexts reveals their oppositional, dissenting qualities. By applying various critical analytical lenses, however, including gender and sexuality, ethnicity, nationalism, and transnationalism, the course also considers certain conservative undercurrents of these cultural formations. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, anthropology, and Latin American studies. Enrollment limited to 15. C. Carnegie.

LAS 457. Senior Thesis.

An in-depth independent study of Latin America related to the student's major concentration. Majors register for LAS 457 in the fall semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for LAS 457 in the fall semester and LAS 458 in the winter semester. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.

LAS 458. Senior Thesis.

An in-depth independent study of Latin America related to the student's major concentration. Majors register for LAS 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for LAS 457 in the fall semester and LAS 458 in the winter semester. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Short Term Courses

LS/SP s21. Human Rights and Social Art in Latin America: The Case of Nogales, Mexico.

This course focuses on the social dynamics that generate social art committed to change in Latin America. Students examine three settings in which artists utilize the arts to generate aesthetic and production models that represent the "uniqueness of place." During ten days off campus, students work with artists who engage technology to raise consciousness about the "needs of place." In Nogales, Mexico, students consider human rights discourses that address migrants' dislocation. They also work with volunteers, hike the desert, and visit shelters to contextualize the social and natural environments. Prerequisite(s): SPAN 207. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. C. Aburto Guzmán.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDS s34. Place, Community, and Transformation: Kingston, Jamaica.

The course evaluates the feasibility of green space development in Kingston, Jamaica, a city marked by class disparities, political polarization, and the impoverishing impact of neoliberal economic policies. Through assigned texts students explore the city's physical and demographic development under colonial and postcolonial rule. They examine development initiatives, challenges, and failures through guest lectures and tours led by practicing architects, engineers, planners, environmentalists, and community workers. Students undertake ethnographic research in neighborhoods, parks, and public spaces on the use of outdoor recreational space, perceived needs, and food gardening practices to gather data that might guide future community-building green initiatives. Cross-listed in African American studies, anthropology, environmental studies, and Latin American studies. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor permission is required. (Community-Engaged Learning.) C. Carnegie.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDS s38. Cannibalism as an Eating Disorder in the Conquest of America.

Christopher Columbus coined the word cannibal during his first voyage to the American continent. The word and the concept have been used ever since to situate the Other, people to be conquered or worthy of destruction. This course explores historical texts of the conquest that describe cannibalism and challenge the practice's very existence among Caribs, Aztecs, Incas, and enslaved Africans. Students explore the related concept of the manhunt, the use by the state of modern and ancient technologies of persecution against individuals and groups it has determined to eliminate. All readings are in English. All readings are in English. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and Latin American Studies. Prerequisite(s): one course beyond SPAN 208. Recommended background: coursework in African American studies, American cultural studies, anthropology, history, literature, or women and gender studies. B. Fra-Molinero.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

LAS s50. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term. Normally offered every year. Staff.