Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that integrates courses in the social sciences and the humanities, bringing together different methods of inquiry to understand and learn about the cultures and societies that integrate Latin America. Students in the program explore the relevance of the interactions of the original native population of this area of the world with people coming from Europe, Africa, and Asia for more than half a millennium. The mutual influences have been deep and continue today, yet they also are troubling and uneven.

This interdisciplinary program is composed of courses in the Social Sciences and the Humanities. It brings together different methods of inquiry to better understand the cultures and societies of Latin America, and to explore the relevance of Latin America in a global context.

Faculty members from several disciplines including anthropology, economics, environmental studies, history, politics, and literary and cultural studies, contribute to the major. Courses focus on Latin America from initial European encounters to the present and study various countries in this hugely diverse area of the world that includes Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean.

In keeping with the values of a liberal arts education, a major in Latin American Studies challenges ethnocentric attitudes by encouraging students to grapple with questions such as: the historical dimensions of encounter, conquest, enslavement, resistance, revolution, and negotiation; the differential impacts of globalization and the multiple connections between world regions; and the importance of race/ethnicity, religion, class, and gender in the shaping of historical and contemporary Latin America. The study of Latin America includes also its political and religious institutions, the power relations within countries and in relation to countries outside the region, its migrations and diasporas, past and present, especially in the United States. By allowing students to ask globally pressing questions, Latin American Studies cultivates students’ critical inquiry and curiosity about the broader world. knowledge and analytical skills.

With a degree in Latin American Studies, Bates graduates work in many fields, including, but not limited to, international business, US, Latin American or international government work, education, international development, the non-profit sector  (e.g. environment, human rights, health), journalism, the arts, or scientific research.