Catalog


Latin American Studies

Professors Fra-Molinero (Spanish, chair) and Melvin (History); Associate Professors Pérez-Armendáriz (Politics) and Pieck (Environmental Studies); Assistant Professors González-Valencia (Art and Visual Culture), Lyon (Anthropology), and Villagrana (English); Visiting Assistant Professors Longaker (Politics) and Pridgeon (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.

The Program in Latin American Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Latin America, which is understood in its broadest sense. Courses address three different, but interconnected, areas of knowledge as their objective:

1) Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. 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 Students analyze fiction, historical documents, essays, ethnographies, manifestos, poetry, and film in considering the performance and mobilization of identities.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.

2) Cultural Representations. Latin American studies courses address representations of and in Latin America from the colonial era to the postcolonial present. Focusing primarily on narratives and visual texts, they consider the contributions that cultural production makes both to relationships of power and challenges to the hegemonic center. Students develop 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.

3) Power: Imposition and Contestation. Latin American studies courses explore international and national institutions, social norms, cultures, and ideas that shape the distribution of power and resources in Latin America. They examine enduring patterns in inequality and strategies to address these patterns.

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).

Major Requirements for Class of 2020 and beyond. Students majoring in Latin American studies must complete a total of ten courses, one of which must be a 300-level seminar and one of which must be a senior thesis. In addition, students must complete a breadth requirement by taking courses from at least four different disciplines including anthropology, environmental studies, history, politics, religious studies, sociology, and Spanish.

Because proficiency in Spanish is required for courses in Spanish, students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor and the program chairs of Latin American studies and Spanish. More information on Latin American studies may be found on the website (bates.edu/latin-american-studies).

Courses.
AN/LS 205. Citizenship, Borders, and Belonging.
AN/LS 238. Culture, Conflict, and Change in Latin America.
AN/ES 242. Environment, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples.
ES/LS 350. Environmental Justice.
FYS 385. Power and Authority in Latin America through Film.
FYS 443. Heroes or Villains? Columbus and Fidel (Castro).
GS/PT 219. Social Movements in Latin America.
GS/SP 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
HI/LS 181. Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present.
HI/LS 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HI/LS 282. The City in Latin America.
HI/LS 301H. The Mexican Revolution.
HI/LS s29. Montezuma's Mexico: Aztecs and Their World.
INDS 301Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
INDS 390. The Afro-Latin Americans.
INDS s20. Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Brazil.
LAS 360. Independent Study.
LS/PT 352. Participatory Democracy.
LS/PT 353. Political Violence in Latin America.
LS/SO 226. Sports, Gender, and Nation in Latin America.
LS/PT 317. Screening Citizenship: Jewish Latin American Film.
LS/SP 341. Lectura Americana de Cervantes.
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. The Politics of Latin America.
PLTC 320. Immigrants and Their Homelands.
SPAN 230. Readings in Spanish American and Spanish Caribbean Literature.
SPAN 337. Las voces del pueblo: Poetry and Music as Social Resistance in Latin America.

Major Requirements for Class of 2019. Students in the Class of 2019 may elect to complete the major based on the follwing requirements or the requirements for the Class of 2020. 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/).

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:
HI/LS 181. Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present.
SPAN 230. Readings in Spanish American and Spanish Caribbean Literature.

2) One of the following:
GS/SP 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
INDS 390. The Afro-Latin Americans.

3) Two of the following:
AN/ES 242. Environment, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples.
ENVR 350. Environmental Justice in the Americas.
FYS 443. Heroes or Villains? Columbus and Fidel (Castro).
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:

AN/ES 242. Environment, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples.
ES/LS 350. Environmental Justice.
FYS 443. Heroes or Villains? Columbus and Fidel (Castro).
GS/SP 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
HI/LS 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HI/LS 282. The City in Latin America.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.
INDS 301Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
INDS 390. The Afro-Latin Americans.
LS/SO 226. Sports, Gender, and Nation 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:

FYS 443. Heroes or Villains? Columbus and Fidel (Castro).
HI/LS 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HI/LS 282. The City in Latin America.
INDS 301Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.

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 include:

AN/ES 242. Environment, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples.
FYS 385. Power and Authority in Latin America through Film.
FYS 443. Heroes or Villains? Columbus and Fidel (Castro).
GS/SP 323. Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands.
HI/LS 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.
HI/LS 282. The City in Latin America.
HI/LS 301H. The Mexican Revolution.
INDS 301Y. The Spanish Inquisition.
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. Immigrants and Their Homelands.

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 course work and that the student consults with a thesis advisor to develop the proposal.

Study Abroad. Up to three courses taken at a study-abroad program may count toward the major. These courses do not count toward the breadth requirement and they do not substitute for the 300-level senior seminar. 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. Courses taken pass/fail may not count toward the Latin American studies major.

Courses

HI/LS 181. Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present.

Beginning with the first encounters between Europeans and Americans and ending with the challenges of globalization in the twenty-first century, this course offers a chronological and topical overview of 500 years of Latin American history. It examines individual lives within the frameworks of sweeping political, social, and cultural transformations. Students use primary documents, images, analytical texts, and films to explore the major themes of the course, including the nature of conquest; the mixing of European, African, and American cultures; independence and nation building; and twentieth-century social revolutions and military dictatorships. Special attention is given to issues of race, gender, religion, and the role of the United States. Not open to students who have received credit for HIST 181. Enrollment limited to 49. (Latin American.) (Early Modern.) (Modern. ) Normally offered every year. K. Melvin.
Concentrations

AN/LS 205. Citizenship, Borders, and Belonging.

Increasing levels of globalization have prompted scholars to predict the diminishing importance of national borders. Contrarily, in the age of detention, deportation, and refugee crises, citizenship has gained renewed importance. In this course, students explore different ways of organizing citizenship around the world from multiple perspectives including those of refugees, visa seekers, unauthorized immigrants, soldiers, and mothers, among others. They examine how formal framings of rights are shaped by a politics of representation where the ideal citizen is crafted and contested. They also consider how those excluded from legal and cultural citizenship form alternative structures of belonging. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. J. Lyon.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

HI/LS 213. The Cuban Revolution.

Fidel Castro and his youthful band of bearded revolutionaries captured worldwide attention when they overthrew dictatorship in 1959. Since then, the Cuban Revolution has inspired equally impassioned support and opposition from Cubans on the island and in exile, as well as cold war international actors. Engaging a wide range of primary sources, this course examines the social, political, and cultural history of the Cuban Revolution from its origins in the nation's struggle for independence through its legacies in the present day, as new leadership explores the meaning of revolution almost sixty years after the triumph of Fidel. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. (Latin American.) One-time offering. A. Baldacci.
Concentrations

LS/SO 226. Sports, Gender, and Nation in Latin America.

The state and civil society in Latin America have been involved in the individual practice of professional sports, which channel aspirations of inclusion among different social, ethnic, and racial groups. Sports in Latin America developed into a phenomenon of mass spectatorship that supersedes and at times displaces political debate. In Latin America national and local pride are challenged by transnational sport stars in a time of increasing globalization. This course considers the history of sports in Latin America from male-dominated origins (soccer, baseball, boxing) to the more recent media attention on Latin American women in Olympic disciplines, challenging the identification of the nation with the male body. Not open to students who have received credit for LS/SO 106. Open to first-year students. B. Fra-Molinero.
Concentrations

AN/LS 238. Culture, Conflict, and Change in Latin America.

Over 400 million Latin Americans share a common language, but the region's racial, ethnic, geographical, and cultural diversity complicates a singular continental identity. This course surveys the anthropological scholarship on the diverse lifeways in Latin America and the Caribbean. Images and texts drawn from distinct locales considers how contrasting anthropological perspectives from the region’s peoples, histories, and contemporary challenges. Of particular concern are the ways legacies of colonialism shape both Latin America and anthropology. Additional topics of interest include indigenous and Afro-Latinx resistance and expression; immigration, transnationalism, and deportation; sex, gender, and sex work. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. J. Lyon.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

HI/LS 279. The Age of Independence in Latin America.

Most areas of Latin America gained their independence from Spain or Portugal during the early nineteenth century, but were these political transformations accompanied by equally great social, economic, or cultural change? This course explores not just the struggles to overthrow colonial powers, but also what it meant to live in the decades surrounding these tumultuous events. The first Latin American novel, The Mangy Parrot, provides the basis for exploring topics that include education, family, and daily life. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. (Latin American.) (Early Modern.) K. Melvin.
Concentrations

HI/LS 282. The City in Latin America.

Today the majority of people in Latin America live in cities, but this was not the case 500 years ago when the first Europeans arrived. Since then cities have become home to people of all races and social strata. This course examines the development of cities as meeting grounds among different groups of people, as centers of wealth and power, and as sites where much of Latin America's culture was formed. It concentrates on major cities in Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil from precolonial civilizations through twentieth-century mass urbanization. Not open to students who have received credit for HIST 282. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 39. (Latin American.) (Early Modern.) (Modern. ) K. Melvin.
Concentrations

HI/LS 301H. The Mexican Revolution.

Although best known for the military phase that featured such colorful figures as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican Revolution encompassed a range of ideologies, state-building projects, and social movements. This course examines how scholars have explained the revolution and how its legacies have figured in the creation of modern Mexico. Students develop their own interpretations by analyzing books, articles, novels, and films; considering theories of revolution; and evaluating primary sources. Topics covered include the roles of popular classes and women, the creation of a postrevolutionary government, and the influence of the United States. Enrollment limited to 15. (Latin American.) (Modern. ) [W2] K. Melvin.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDC 301Y. The Spanish Inquisition.

Were witches and heretics really tortured in the Spanish Inquisition's infamous jails? This course examines both the institution of the Spanish Inquisition and the lives of those who came before it. The sins that concerned the Inquisition depended on the time and place, and the crimes prosecuted in sixteenth-century Spain or eighteenth-century New Spain reveal a great deal about early modern (ca. 1500–1800) culture and society. Students read and analyze original Inquisition cases from Spain and New Spain as well as consider the ways historians have used cases to investigate topics such as sexuality and marriage, witchcraft, and the persecution of Jews and Muslims. Cross-listed in history, Latin American studies, and religious studies. Enrollment limited to 15. (European.) (Latin American.) (Early Modern.) [W2] K. Melvin.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

LS/SP 317. Screening Citizenship: Jewish Latin American Film.

This course considers films from throughout Latin America made by Jewish directors. Students learn the history of Latin American film production as well as terms and skills necessary for audiovisual analysis. The course examines the ways in which film is used as a vehicle to explore and represent issues of identity, belonging, immigration, and assimilation that have long characterized Jewish experiences in Latin America. Moreover, the course focuses on filmmakers’ engagement with key social and political issues within their respective countries as well as on a regional or global scale. Prerequisite(s): SPAN 211 and one additional 200-level Spanish course. Recommended background: SPAN 228. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Pridgeon.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDC 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, Latin American studies, and Spanish. Only open to juniors and seniors. Enrollment limited to 15. B. Fra-Molinero.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

LS/SP 341. Lectura americana de Cervantes.

A present-day reading in America of Don Quijote de La Mancha and other key texts of the Spanish and Spanish American Renaissance. This course examines themes of Islamophobia, white supremacy, conquest and empire, the slave trade, the quest for utopias, and the construction of historical narratives that shape the politics of the day. Students analyze myths and legends of the marvelous real such as the fountain of youth in Florida, the island of California, the return to the Golden Age, fabulous cities and unbelievable real ones (Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Cuzco) that are admired and destroyed, and a fake island in Louisiana called Barataria. Students consider issues that obsessed people in Cervantes' time: the expulsion of Muslims, hatred of Jews, war, gender roles and women's freedom, mental and physical disability, and changes to the environment in the form of windmills. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level Spanish course above SPAN 211. Recommended background: SPAN 231. Only open to juniors and seniors. Enrollment limited to 15. B. Fra-Molinero.
Concentrations

ES/LS 350. Environmental Justice.

This course explores issues of environmental justice in the western hemisphere by focusing on how lines of difference—especially race, class, and gender—mediate people's relationships to each other and to the natural world. How do power relations shape differential access to and control over resources? What makes people more or less vulnerable to environmental changes? The course applies critical social theory to case studies from across the Americas to explore how political, economic, and cultural forces shape environmental inequalities and how, in trying to address those inequalities, various groups challenge and broaden the assumptions and practices of modern environmentalism. Prerequisite(s): ENVR 204 or one course in Latin American studies. Not open to students who have received credit for ENVR 350. Enrollment limited to 15. [W2] S. Pieck.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

LS/PT 352. Participatory Democracy.

How far can we press the ideal of true democracy? Is the individual right to vote the apex of democratic practice, or might we strive for deeper involvement in politics and the public sphere? This course engages canonical debates on the boundaries of liberal democratic practices and casts them against innovations in democratic governance. Ideas and solutions are assessed on normative and empirical grounds with particular attention to the position of marginalized groups. In addition to seminar-style meetings, the course deploys experiential learning techniques such as simulations, games, and role playing to connect theory to praxis. A significant portion of the course includes content on newly democratizing states and democracies in the Global South. Enrollment limited to 15. (Identities and Interests.) (Institutional Politics.) [W2] One-time offering. J. Longaker.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

LS/PT 353. Political Violence in Latin America.

Why is public life in contemporary Latin America so violent? Political violence is inherent to revolutions, civil wars, and authoritarian regimes. In contrast, one of the merits of democracy is that it facilitates the peaceful allocation of resources and power. For much of the twentieth century, Latin America struggled with insurgencies, civil war, and repressive authoritarian regimes. A wave of democratic transitions in the 1980s and 1990s brought renewed hope for peace, justice, and the protection of civil liberties. However, political violence persists. In many countries it has even intensified and spread. This course explores the puzzling persistence of violence throughout the region. Recommended background: HIST 181, s49; PLTC 122, 249; or another research methods course. Enrollment limited to 15. (Identities and Interests.) (Security, Conflict, and Cooperation.) [W2] C. Pérez-Armendáriz.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

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.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDC 390. The Afro-Latin Americans.

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. Taught in English. Only open to juniors and seniors. Not open to students who have received credit for INDS 290. Enrollment limited to 15. B. Fra-Molinero.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

LAS 457. Senior Thesis.

An in-depth independent study of Latin America. 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.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

LAS 458. Senior Thesis.

An in-depth independent study of Latin America. 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.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

Short Term Courses

INDC s20. Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Brazil.

Forever the country of the future, but never forgetful of the past, Brazil pushes forward through turbulent political times that threaten hard-won progressive change. From Zumbí dos Palmares to Lei Afonso Arinos and Lei Maria da Penha to PL João W. Nery, Brazil boasts a rich tradition of engaging social justice through non-institutional and institutional avenues. This course analyzes the relationship between protest and policy through an investigation of race, gender, and sexuality movements and institutional responses to advocacy. Despite the saying that Brazil is not for amateurs, by the end of this course students gain a deeper understanding of Brazilian politics, identity, and institutions, and even um pouquinho de português. Cross-listed in gender and sexuality studies, Latin American studies, and politics. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. (Identities and Interests.) (Institutional Politics.) J. Longaker.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

HI/LS s29. Montezuma's Mexico: Aztecs and their World.

The Aztec state encompassed millions of people, featured a capital whose size and towering pyramids left the first Spanish visitors in awe, and developed a culture that continues to influence contemporary Mexico, from food and dress to festivals like the Day of the Dead. Yet Aztecs are more commonly remembered for their cannibalism than their complex civilization. This course examines the Aztec world: what it was like to live under Aztec rule, how society was organized, what people believed about how the cosmos worked, and why Aztecs practiced ritual human sacrifice. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. (Latin American.) (Premodern.) K. Melvin.
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.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations