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Chile Despertó, Santiago, Photograph by Carla Puentes Hernández

Latin American & Latino/a Studies

The interdisciplinary program of Latin American & Latino/a Studies (LALS) fosters a rich and critical understanding of Latin America, including Brazil and the Hispanic Caribbean, in its broadest sense. The program focuses on the cultural production, history and political, social and economic structures created by the inhabitants of the area extending from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego, from California to Cuba, and in dialogue with the rest of the world. Students explore the diversity that existed in Latin America before the arrival of Europeans, the societies that subsequently developed among Native Americans, Europeans, Asians and Africans, and contemporary issues and forms of expression both of Latin Americans and of Latinas/os in the United States.

Department Update

Best Book Prize from the New England Council of Latin American Studies, NECLAS

Congratulations to Associate Professor and Chair Javier Puente on his book, The Rural State, receiving the Marysa Navarro Best Book Prize from the New England Council of Latin American Studies, one of the most prestigious regional association for area studies in the country. 

Best Article Prize from the Association of Latin American Art

Congratulations to Professor Dana Leibsohn, whose essay “Lost and Found at Sea, or a Shipwreck’s Art History,” co-authored with Aaron Hyman and published on West 86th, has received the Best Article Prize from the Association of Latin American Art.

Requirements & Courses

Goals for Majors in Latin American and Latino/a Studies

  • To understand Latin America and Latinxs/as/os in the United States through the lenses of literature, the arts and the social sciences.
  • To investigate the specific historical conditions that have shaped—and continue to shape—these societies.
  • To develop communication skills in Spanish and/or Portuguese.
  • To further knowledge of the unique ways in which visual culture, literature, artistic production, history, politics and economics intertwine for present­-day people who consider themselves Latin Americans.

These goals focus our curriculum to prepare majors to successfully attain essential capacities, with particular strengths in developing historical and comparative perspectives through the study of the development of societies, cultures and philosophies; the study of languages; and the understanding of multi­- and interdisciplinary approaches. Likewise, the program curriculum fosters the development of informed global citizens with its fundamental commitment to engaging with communities beyond Smith, domestically and internationally, and its attention to the regional and global challenges of ethnic and racial diversity, as well as gender, environmental and social justice.

The curriculum is attentive to the development of critical and analytical thinking skills and the cultivation of the skills necessary to convey information and understanding. Students develop close reading, clear speaking and writing skills, most explicitly but not exclusively in literature and history courses. Course offerings in the humanities create opportunities for creative expression, in written as well as visual media and performance, and those in the social sciences develop the necessary skills to evaluate and present evidence accurately, verbally and in writing. Community­-based research courses and public scholarship -oriented research projects provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively and to reflect critically on the collaborative process.

Latin American Studies Major

The major builds upon core interdisciplinary work in Latin American studies and a commitment to work in Spanish and/or Portuguese. Building on the strength of this core, students will follow a program of studies related to Spanish-speaking America and/or Brazil from the disciplines of anthropology, art, dance, economics, government, history literature and sociology, through courses offered in affiliated departments and programs. 


Ten semester courses (40 credits)

  1. Basis: LAS 150
  2. Core Requirements: LAS 250 and LAS 310
  3. Seven electives: at least one must focus on the period before Independence (e.g., pre-1825) and one must focus on Latino/a studies
    1. Two humanities courses (e.g., literary studies, historical studies, cultural studies) in Spanish or Portuguese, normally at the 200 level (8 credits)
    2. Two social sciences courses (e.g., sociology, anthropology, government, economics), normally at the 200 level (8 credits)
    3. One historically-focused course on Latin America (e.g., a course that considers Indigenous, Black and/or other histories of Latin America across a long durée, a temporal stretch that extends beyond 1950-present), normally at the 200 level (4 credits)
    4. One course that focuses on the arts in and of Latin America (art history, film and media studies, theatre, dance), normally at the 200 level (4 credits)
    5. One course on Latin America at the 300 level in any discipline (4 credits)

 In consultation with the major adviser, students are expected to identify an intellectual focus to build coherence across their seven electives. Such foci may be:

  • Thematic (e.g., race/diaspora, indigeneity, gender/sexuality, Latinidades, migration/immigration)
  • Geographic (e.g., national, transborder/border studies, regional)
  • Temporal (e.g., pre-1825, 19th/20th century, contemporary)

The S/U grading option is not allowed for courses counting towards the major, except for these (pandemic) exceptions: all relevant classes taken in the spring of 2020, which were graded S/U by the College, will count towards the major; and students may count up to two classes towards the major S/U, if those classes were taken in the 2020–21 academic year.


Students interested in completing an honors thesis should consult the program honors director. Please consult the director of honors or the departmental website for specific requirements and application procedures.

The Minor in Latino/a Studies

This minor emphasizes key intellectual and methodological capacities for Latino/a studies: exposure to the shared transnational histories of Latin and Latino/a America; critical engagement with Spanish as a language of thought and cultural production; a shared intellectual and interdisciplinary experience with a community of majors and minors in the program.


Six semester courses (24 credits)

  1. Core courses: 
    1. One course in the history of Latin America and/or the Caribbean (e.g., a course that considers Indigenous, Black and/or other histories of Latin America across a long durée, a temporal stretch that extends beyond 1950-present), normally at the 200 level (4 credits)
    2. One humanities or cultural communication course in Spanish, normally at the 200 level (4 credits)
    3. Capstone: LAS 310 (4 credits)
  2. Three Latino/a-focused courses (12 credits) that fulfill these distribution requirements:
    • At least one course in the social sciences, normally at the 200 level (anthropology, economics, government, sociology, history)
    • At least one course in the humanities/arts, normally at the 200 level (art history, dance, English, Spanish and Portuguese, theatre, world literatures)
Additional Guidelines
  • Students may count one course in Latino/a studies from another Five College institution toward the minor.
  • The S/U grading option is not allowed for courses counting towards the minor, except for these (pandemic) exceptions: any relevant classes taken in the spring of 2020, which were graded S/U by the College, will count towards the minor; students may also count up to two classes towards the major S/U, if those classes were taken in the 2020–21 academic year.
  • It is strongly recommended that students take a community-based research and learning course, either as part of the distribution requirements or in addition to the 24-credit minimum required to complete the minor.


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

Crosslisted Courses

AFR 111 Introduction to Black Culture (4 Credits)

An introduction to some of the major perspectives, themes, and issues in the field of Afro-American studies. Our focus is on the economic, social and political aspects of cultural production, and how these inform what it means to read, write about, view and listen to Black culture. {S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 202bq Colloquium: Topics in Africana Studies-Black Queer Diaspora (4 Credits)

This interdisciplinary course explores over two decades of work produced by and about Black Queer Diasporic communities throughout the circum-Atlantic world. While providing an introduction to various artists and intellectuals of the Black Queer Diaspora, this course examines the viability of Black Queer Diaspora world-making praxis as a form of theorizing. We will interrogate the transnational and transcultural mobility of specific Black Queer Diasporic forms of peacemaking, erotic knowledge productions, as well as the concept of “aesthetics” more broadly. Our aim is to use the prism of Blackness/Queerness/Diaspora to highlight the dynamic relationship between Black Diaspora Studies and Queer Studies. {A}{H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 210 Colloquium: Black Political Economy-From Slavery to Reparatory Justice (4 Credits)

What constitutes the field of study called Black Political Economy? This course excavates a radical tradition of political economy in African diaspora studies, a tradition which has sheltered some of the most thoroughgoingly insightful perspectives on Black oppression in the Americas over the last 500 years. The course takes a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary approach which draws on several fields, including Africana intellectual history, political economy, sociological studies and cultural studies in its presentation of the field of study termed Black political economy. Enrollment limited to 18. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 215 Topics in Africana Studies-Caribbean Political Thought and the Quest for Freedom (4 Credits)

How have the history and geography of the Caribbean shaped the political claims of its thinkers in the quest for freedom from domination? This course tracks their contribution to issues fundamental to societal formation in the Caribbean, expressed in the aspiration for national independence and self-determination. The ideas of revolutionaries and intellectuals are counterposed with manifestos, constitutional excerpts, speeches and modes of creative expression to provide a survey of the range of political options, challenges and the immense choices that have faced the region’s people over the last 500 years. Enrollment limited to 40. {A}{H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 223 Caribbean Cultural Thought: The Plantation, Diaspora and the Popular (4 Credits)

The course introduces students to the main theoretical interpretations of culture in the Caribbean, and gives an overview of Caribbean cultural history. Students will be expected to analyze the impact of colonialism, race, class, gender and sexuality in the formation of Caribbean cultural practices, and to interpret cultural expression in its broadest political sense. Key theoretical terms that are central to any understanding of Caribbean cultural thought – the plantation, diaspora, creolization – will be addressed in detail in the course. These key terms in Caribbean cultural thought are mobilized in order to give students the analytical tools to consider a wide variety of Caribbean cultural practices, identity formations, and ways of interpreting social reality in the region. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 289 Colloquium: Race, Feminism and Resistance in Movements for Social Change (4 Credits)

This interdisciplinary colloquial course explores the historical and theoretical perspectives of African American women from the time of slavery to the post-civil rights era. A central concern of the course is the examination of how black women shaped and were shaped by the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality in American culture. Not open to first years. Enrollment limited to 25. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 399 Seminar: Black Latinx Americas-Movements, Politics & Cultures (4 Credits)

This course examines the extensive and diverse histories, social movements, political mobilization and cultures of Black people (Afrodescendientes) in Latin America. While the course will begin in the slavery era, most of our scholarly-activist attention will focus on the histories of peoples of African descent in Latin America after emancipation to the present. Some topics we will explore include: the particularities of slavery in the Americas, the Haitian Revolution and its impact on articulations of race and nation in the region, debates on “racial democracy,” the relationship between gender, class, race, and empire, and recent attempts to write Afro-Latin American histories from “transnational” and “diaspora” perspectives. We will engage the works of historians, activists, artists, anthropologists, sociologists, and political theorists who have been key contributors to the rich knowledge production on Black Latin America. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ANT 226 Archaeology of Food (4 Credits)

This course explores (1) how and why humans across the globe began to domesticate plant and animal resources approximately 10,000 years ago, and (2) new directions in the archaeology of food across time and space. The first part of the semester focuses on the types of archaeological data and analytical methods used to understand the agricultural revolution. Case studies from both centers and noncenters of domestication are used to investigate the biological, economic and social implications of changing foodways. During the remainder of the semester, emphasis is placed on exploring a number of food-related topics within archaeology, such as the relationship between agriculture and sedentism, food and gender, the politics of feasting, and methods for integrating archaeological and ethnographic approaches to the study of food across the globe. Enrollment limited to 30. {S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ANT 237 Monuments, Materials and Models: The Archaeology of South America (4 Credits)

This course offers an overview of the archaeology of South America, from the earliest traces of human occupation over 10,000 years ago to the material culture of the present. The course focuses on how archaeologists use data collected during settlement surveys, site excavations and artifact analysis to reconstruct households and foodways, social and political organization, and ritual and identity over the millennia. Discussions also include the relevance of the past in contemporary indigenous rights movements, heritage management strategies and nationalist projects. {N}{S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ANT 269 Indigenous Cultures and the State in Mesoamerica (4 Credits)

This course is a general introduction to the relationship between indigenous societies and the state in Mesoamerica. Taking a broad historical perspective, we explore the rise of native state-level societies, the transformations that marked the process of European colonization, and the relationship of local indigenous communities to post-colonial states and transnational social movements. Texts used in the course place special emphasis on continuities and changes in language, social organization, cosmology and identity that have marked the historical experience of native groups in the region. {S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ARH 201/ POR 201 Brazilian Art Inside and Out (4 Credits)

Offered as POR 201 and ARH 201. This course serves as an introduction in English to contemporary and modern Brazilian art. Course materials and class discussions address such topics as public vs. private art spaces, national vs. global identities, the role of art as agency for social change and as site of memory, activism, resistance and transformation. {A}

Fall, Variable

ARH 204 Inkas, Aztecs and Their Ancestors (4 Credits)

What is antiquity in the Americas? To explore this question, this class focuses upon visual cultures and urban settings from across the Americas. Emphasis rests upon recent research especially about the Inka, the Aztec, and their ancestors, but we will also study current debates in art history and archaeology. Among the themes we will discuss: sacrifice and rulership, representations of human and deified beings, the symbolic and economic meanings of materials and the ethics of excavation and museum display. Case studies include architectural complexes, textiles, ceramics and sculpted works from Peru, Mexico, the Caribbean and the U.S. Southwest. Counts for ARU. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ARH 207 Translating New Worlds (4 Credits)

In this class we ask how travel to and through the New World was imagined, described and lived by Indigenous residents as well as those who came to the Americas from across the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Our focus rests upon the ways in which geographies, anthropologies, material objects, and pictorial and written records shaped colonial ambitions and experiences. Among the objects we will consider: books and painted images, dyes and metals, feathers, and urban buildings. Case studies will be drawn from across the Americas, including Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, and the United States. We will also discuss contemporary cultural practices that seek to explain, interpret, and redress colonial encounters and settlements in the Americas. Group A, Counts for ARU. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ARH 290cv Colloquium: Topics in Art Historical Studies-Visual Culture and Colonization (4 Credits)

How does conquest by foreigners change the ways that images, civic spaces and objects are created and used? What kinds of hybrids does colonization produce? Is it possible to describe what is “colonial” about art or architecture? Focusing on recent scholarship, this course addresses these queries, highlighting the 16th–19th centuries. Among the topics we consider are interpretive work in the field of “colonial studies,” the mapping and construction of colonial spaces, exchanges that brought people and objects into contact (and conflict) with one another, how colonialism can shape the meaning of objects, and the nationalist histories of colonial projects. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ARH 352vc Seminar: Topics in Art History-Visual Culture and Colonization (4 Credits)

How does conquest by foreigners change the ways that images, civic spaces and objects are created and used? How do different forms of colonialism shape the meaning of objects? What kinds of loss does colonization produce, what kinds of resilience? Focusing on recent scholarship, this seminar addresses these queries, highlighting the 16th–19th centuries. Among the topics we consider: the mapping and construction of colonial spaces, exchanges that brought people and objects into contact (and conflict), nationalist histories of colonial projects, and current debates about decolonization, repatriation and reparation. Juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

DAN 144 Tango I (2 Credits)

Argentine Tango is the sensual and elegant social dance of the city of Buenos Aires, which is experiencing a worldwide revival. Class includes the movements, the steps, the history and anecdotes about the culture of Tango. The class covers traditional and modern forms. All dancers learn lead and follow, so you do not need a partner. May be taken twice for a total of four credits. Enrollment limited to 40. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

DAN 149 Salsa Dance I (2 Credits)

This course introduces the students to the New York mambo style of salsa (beginner-level). It also covers elements of the Cuban style of salsa, representative of an Afro-Caribbean dance aesthetic. Students master different variations of the salsa basic step, as well as turns, connecting steps and arm work. They learn how to dance in couples and also in larger groups known as ruedas (wheels). Toward the end of the semester, students are able to use their salsa vocabulary as basis for improvising and choreographing salsa combinations. We approach salsa as a social dance form expressive of Caribbean culture and Latino culture in the United States. Most of the work takes place in the studio but, in addition to learning the dance, students read selected articles and watch documentaries about the dance genre. Class discussions and brief writing assignments serve as an opportunity to reflect on salsa’s history and culture. Enrollment limited to 30. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

DAN 377sa Topics in Advanced Studies in History and Aesthetics-Salsa in Theory and Practice (4 Credits)

This course is an in-depth exploration of salsa from theoretical and practical perspectives. Dance lessons familiarize the students with beginner to intermediate level salsa steps, targeting skills in bodily coordination, musicality, expressivity and improvisation, as well as in memorization of choreography and communication between partners. The learning of the dance is framed within and analysis of literature on salsa cutting across dance history, anthropology, musicology and cultural studies. Readings, documentaries, class discussions and research assignments situate salsa as an expression of Latino and Latin American cultures, but also as a global product through which dancers and musicians from Cuba to Japan perform notions of gender, ethnicity and nationality. No previous dance experience required. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 110 A Century of Revolutions in Latin America (4 Credits)

This first-year seminar offers a multidisciplinary study of three major revolutionary processes in Latin America’s past century. Through the examination of the Mexican Revolution (1910), the Cuban Revolution (1959), and Sendero Luminoso’s insurrection (1980), this course explores regional trajectories of failed modernizations, social unrest, state transformations, and post-revolutionary reconfigurations. Weekly meetings are centered on the discussion of bibliography and the analysis of primary sources, including documents, fiction writings, visual arts, films, music and other materials. As a writing intensive class, students will deliver a series of research reports and one final paper on the topic of their choice. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 129 Tierra y Vida: Land and the Ecological Imagination in U.S. Latino/a Literature (4 Credits)

Tierra y Vida explores the ecological imagination of U.S. Latinos/as as expressed in narratives from the early 20th to the 21st centuries. Expanding beyond dominant tropes of land/farm worker as the core of Latino/a ecological experience, students consider a range of texts that depict the land as a site of indigenous ecological knowledge; spiritual meaning; and ethnic, racial and gendered belonging. In dialogues between Latino/a writers and theorists students also explore the possibilities of ecological futures rooted in emancipation and liberation as alternatives to ecological imaginaries still fraught with colonial desires. Students in this course participate in a digital atlas and story-mapping project. Enrollment limited to 16 first years. WI {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

GOV 226 Latin American Political Systems (4 Credits)

A comparative analysis of Latin American political systems. Emphasis on the politics of development, the problems of leadership, legitimacy and regime continuity. A wide range of countries and political issues is covered. Designation: Comparative. {S}


GOV 237 Colloquium: Politics of the U.S./Mexico Border (4 Credits)

This course examines the most important issues facing the U.S./Mexico border: NAFTA, industrialization and the emergence of the maquiladoras (twin plants); labor migration and immigration; the environment; drug trafficking; the militarization of the border; and border culture and identity. The course begins with a comparison of contending perspectives on globalization before proceeding to a short overview of the historical literature on the creation of the U.S./Mexico border. Though at the present time the border has become increasingly militarized, the boundary dividing the United States and Mexico has traditionally been relatively porous, allowing people, capital, goods and ideas to flow back and forth. The course focuses on the border as a region historically marked both by conflict and interdependence. Designation: Comparative. Preference to majors in government and/or Latin American studies. Enrollment limited to 20. {S}


GOV 239 Social Justice Movements in Latin America (4 Credits)

This course examines the relationship between social movements and the state in Latin America. There is a focus on environmental, gender, and indigenous issues and movements and their relationship with state institutions. Designation: Comparative. {S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

GOV 307lp Seminar: Topics in American Government: Latinos the Politics of Immigration in the U.S. (4 Credits)

An examination of the role of Latinos in society and politics in the U.S. Issues to be analyzed include immigration, education, electoral politics and gender. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

HST 280gi Colloquium: Topics in United States Social History-Im/migration and Transnational Cultures (4 Credits)

Explores significance of im/migrant workers and their transnational social movements to U.S. history in the late 19th and 20th centuries. How have im/migrants responded to displacement, marginalization and exclusion, by redefining the meanings of home, citizenship, community and freedom? What are the connections between mass migration and U.S. imperialism? What are the histories of such cross-border social movements as labor radicalism, borderlands feminism, Black and Brown Liberation, and anti-colonialism? Topics also include racial formation; criminalization, incarceration and deportation; reproductive justice; and the politics of gender, sexuality, race, class and nation. Enrollment limited to 18. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 125 Elementary Portuguese for Spanish Speakers (4 Credits)

A one-semester introduction to Brazilian Portuguese designed for speakers of Spanish, aimed at basic proficiency in all four language modalities: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Classes are in Portuguese and students’ individual knowledge of Spanish supports the accelerated pace of the course, with contrastive approaches to pronunciation and grammar. The course also provides an introduction to aspects of the cultures of Brazil, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa, with discussion of authentic audio-visual materials and short texts. Prerequisite: SPN 220, by placement exam or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}

Fall, Spring, Annually

POR 200 Intermediate Portuguese (4 Credits)

This course will serve as a comprehensive grammar review with a focus on Brazilian media. In addition to a grammar textbook, we will be using several other sources to stimulate class discussion, as well as to improve reading comprehension, writing skills and vocabulary-building in Portuguese, including a selection of media forms and texts, websites, television, radio and film. Prerequisite: POR 100Y, POR 110 or POR 125 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}


POR 202 Barriers to Belonging: Youth in Brazilian Film (4 Credits)

This course will serve as an introduction in English to Brazilian Cinema through the theme of youth, identity, social barriers, and a search for belonging. Course materials, films and class discussions will address such topics as migration, belonging and displacement, coming-of-age challenges, discovery and adversity, self, society and sexuality, family and loss. Selected readings and screenings will highlight the work of Brazilian filmmakers such as Walter Salles, Ana Muylaert, Sandra Kogut, Fernando Meirelles, and others. Student assignments will encompass both critical and first-person memoir essays; students may also respond via work-and-image production (videos; digital narratives; and comics. Taught in English. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 211 Transnational Visions on Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (4 Credits)

This course combines theories and techniques created by Augusto Boal for his "Theater of the Oppressed" with those of Paulo Freire in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed." It will also involve transnational and educational perspectives that prompted Boal’s view of theater as a political act, including contributions from philosophers such as Aristoteles and Machiavelli and from playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht and Dario Fo. Students will be exposed to critical pedagogy and performance theories in the first part of the course, and, in the second part, will experiment with theatrical games based on Boal's approach. Course conducted in English. . All course content will be in English, but the students who can read Portuguese, Italian and German will have the option of reading some texts in the original versions. Cannot be taken S/U. Enrollment limited to 25. {F}{S}

Spring, Variable

POR 212/ WLT 212 Author, Authority, Authoritarianism: Writing and Resistance in the Portuguese-Speaking World (4 Credits)

Introducing translated works by celebrated Portuguese-language writers, this course explores themes of resistance, including resistance to dictatorship, patriarchy, slavery, racism and colonialism, but also more ambivalent postures of resistance toward authority assumed within particular forms of expertise and knowledge production and deployment. Discussing fiction by Machado de Assis and Clarice Lispector (Brazil), Mia Couto and Paulina Chiziane (Mozambique), Grada Kilomba (Portugal/Germany), and Nobel laureate José Saramago (Portugal), students consider historical contexts, how their work resonates with our contemporary world, literature and fictionality as sites of resistance and the sometimes fraught dynamics they reveal between authorship and authority. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 220mb Topics in Portuguese and Brazilian Literature and Culture-Mapping Brazilian Culture onto an Urban Grid (4 Credits)

This course addresses a broad range of urban, social and cultural issues while also strengthening skills in oral expression, reading and writing, through the medium of short stories, essays, articles, images, music and film. In order to promote a hands-on approach to understanding culture, class assignments also encourage students to explore the Brazilian community in Boston. Prerequisite: POR 100Y or POR 125 or the equivalent. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 228 Indigenous Brazil: Past, Present and Future (4 Credits)

This interdisciplinary course considers the diverse histories, cultures and experiences of Indigenous individuals and peoples in Brazil, from the precolonial period into the present and including future oriented forms of Native activism and imagination. The class addresses specific case studies and broad themes, including territorial and environmental struggles, meanings and forms of Indigenous education, indigenous movements and leaders, legal and cultural status of indigeneity in a multiracial society, indigenous artistic practices and the dynamics of intercultural exchange and influence in Brazilian society at large. Conducted in Portuguese, with activities designed to improve proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Prerequisite: POR 200 or POR 215, or another 200-level course in Brazilian or Comparative Lusophone Culture and Society taught in Portuguese. Enrollment limited to 19. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 229 Brazil for All Seasons (4 Credits)

This course focuses on reviewing communicative skills, especially in spoken and written Portuguese, and is designed to build cultural knowledge and vocabulary. Course content and assignments focus on Brazil through the theme of the four seasons. Materials include short texts, including a young adult novel, music, and visual culture. Taught in Portuguese. Prerequisite: POR 100Y or POR 125 or the equivalent. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 232 Popular Music, Nationhood and Globalization in the Portuguese-Speaking World (4 Credits)

An introduction to popular music genres in Portuguese-speaking nations, the historical, socio-cultural and political forces that have shaped their emergence, and ways in which they communicate ideas of nationhood. We will also explore impacts of globalization on these genres and their transnational dissemination. Our approach will involve close readings of lyrics, analysis of musical form and influence, and attention to the broader cultural contexts surrounding songs, genres and musicians. Genres may include bossa nova, MPB, and forró (Brazil); fado (Portugal); morna (Cape Verde); kuduro (Angola); marrabenta (Mozambique); and transnational forms such as rock and hop-hop. Course taught in Portuguese. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 233 Borderlands of Portuguese: Multilingualism, Language Policy and Identity (4 Credits)

This course considers the shifting borders of Portuguese as a local, national and global language. The course explores language diversity within and across Lusophone countries and communities, noting differences in pronunciation and vocabulary and ways in which some varieties are esteemed and others stigmatized. Th course examines how different institutions have promoted and shaped Portuguese within and beyond officially Portuguese-speaking nations, and addresses multilingualism and ways in which Portuguese interacts with English, Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole and Indigenous languages in Brazil and Africa. Throughout, students consider views of writers and musicians as they reflect upon the language of their creative expression and what it means to be Lusophone in the world today. Course taught in Portuguese. Prerequisite: POR 125 or POR 200, or equivalent. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 381di Seminar: Topics in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies- Decolonial Imaginaries and Aesthetics (4 Credits)

In this seminar we will explore some of the entangled and contested colonial and postcolonial histories of diverse Portuguese-language communities, through the work of writers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. We will discuss colonialism and its legacies, migratory and diasporic flows, contemporary contours of a Portuguese-language transnationalism, and decolonization as a concept encompassing a range of social activism and as expressed or envisioned in different forms of cultural production. Course conducted in Portuguese. Prerequisite: 200-level course in Brazilian or comparative Lusophone culture and society taught in Portuguese. Enrollment limited to 14. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

POR 381fw Seminar: Topics in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies-Multiple Lenses of Marginality: New Brazilian Filmmaking by Women (4 Credits)

This course makes reference to the pioneering legacy of key figures in Brazilian filmmaking, such as Susana Amaral, Helena Solberg and Tizuka Yamasaki. These directors’ early works addressed issues of gender and social class biases by subtly shifting the focus of their films to marginalized or peripheral subjects. We also examine the work of contemporary filmmakers, among them Lúcia Murat, Tata Amaral, Laís Bodanzky and Anna Muylaert, focusing on the ways in which they incorporate sociopolitical topics and/or gender issues. Course conducted in Portuguese. Prerequisite: 200-level course in Portuguese, or the equivalent. Juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. {A}{F}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SOC 214 Sociology of Hispanic Caribbean Communities in the United States (5 Credits)

This community-based learning course surveys social science research, literary texts and film media on Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican communities in the United States. Historic and contemporary causes and contexts of (im)migration, settlement patterns, labor market experiences, demographic profiles, identity formations and cultural expressions are considered. Special attention is paid to both inter- and intra-group diversity, particularly along the lines of race, gender, sexuality and class. Students are required to dedicate four hours per week to a local community-based organization. Prerequisite: SOC 101. Enrollment limited to 20.

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

SOC 350 Seminar: Caribbean Feminisms (4 Credits)

This course will introduce students to the history and sociology of feminisms in the Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the broader Caribbean. Course materials will include primary documents, secondary sources and historical fiction in English. However, students who are able to read Spanish will have the option of engaging with texts in that language. Prerequisite: SOC 101, LAS 150 or SWG 150. Enrollment limited to 14. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. (E) {H}{S}


SPN 112Y Beginning Spanish (5 Credits)

This course is for students who have had no previous experience with the language and emphasizes speaking, listening, writing, reading and "grammaring". Although it is an "elementary" course, students typically achieve an intermediate proficiency level by the end of the academic year. The course also serves as an introduction to Hispanic culture and a preparation for higher levels. Yearlong courses cannot be divided at midyear with credit for the first semester. Prerequisite: Spanish Placement Exam ( registrar/placement-exams) or successful completion of first semester of SPN 112Y. Enrollment limited to 20. First years and sophomores only.

Fall, Spring

SPN 200 Intermediate Spanish (4 Credits)

The chief goals of the course are to expand vocabulary and conversational skills, strengthen grammar and learn about key social, cultural and historical issues of the Spanish-speaking world. Vocabulary and grammar are taught within the context of the specific themes chosen to enhance students’ familiarity with the "realities" of Spanish-speaking countries. Prerequisite: SPN 112Y, SPN 120 or Spanish Placement Exam ( registrar/placement-exams). Enrollment limited to 20. {F}

Fall, Spring

SPN 230cv Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society-Climate Voices (4 Credits)

Climate change is a planetary crisis, yet its impacts and the responses to it vary both geographically and culturally. This course examines climate change and cultural-ecological narratives produced in Spanish-speaking regions of the world, with particular interest in alternative, non-mainstream media. These include community radio broadcasts and theater, participatory video, photography, graphic novels and transmedia texts that uplift minority voices. In this course students work independently and collaboratively to explore who creates these narratives, why, and where and how they do so. As a final project, students create their own climate change narratives using the texts studied as examples of alternative ways of communicating knowledge. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 230dm Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society-Domestica (4 Credits)

This course explores the realities and representation of women’s domestic labor from the thematic perspectives of precariousness (a condition and expression of subjectivity under globalization) and intimacy (understood as both an experience of affect and a condition of labor). This course uses short fiction, documentary and film from the Spanish-speaking world (the Americas and Spain) and the Portuguese-speaking world where appropriate, to explore the ways in which women’s transnational domestic labor has shaped new cultural subjects and political identities in the public as well as the private sphere. Students work on the theme of women’s domestic labor from the perspective of their choosing (for example, human rights, migration policies, racial and gendered labor regimes, neoliberal reforms and resistance). Enrollment limited to 20. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or equivalent. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 230mj Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society-Maghribi Jewish Women: Cordoba, Casablanca, Tel Aviv (4 Credits)

This course examines constructions and representations of Maghribi Jewish women from the western Mediterranean to Israel. The first part of the course focuses on Jewish women in Andalusi and Maghribi texts. Students are invited to think critically about concepts such as "tolerance," "convivencia," and "dhimma," as well as what it means to be a woman and a religious minority in Muslim-majority communities. The second half of the course examines representations and realities of Jewish women of Moroccan descent in Israeli society. This part centers on questions of immigration, class, demography, gender, diaspora and identity. Enrollment limited to 19. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 230tm Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society-Tales and Images of Travel and Migration in Latin America (4 Credits)

This class investigates questions of contact between people in contemporary Latin American texts and films. Students will analyze how experiences of travel and migration appear in Latin American culture, configuring identities and negotiating conflicts raised by the transit of people, objects and ideas in the region. Assignments include texts written since the late 20th century and films from several countries representing internal and transnational journeys. Some theoretical writings on the cultural means of travel are also included. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or equivalent. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 245fw Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Studies-Latin American Films Made by Women (4 Credits)

An overview of films made by women in Latin America since the early 2000s. The class will study works representing various countries in the region, both from well-established and emerging directors. Students will learn about the general conditions in which these women made their films, reflecting on the various ways in which gender informs the content and determines the production of those films. With the support of theoretical readings, the work of these filmmakers will offer opportunities to reflect on issues of gender and sexuality in Latin America. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}{F}

Fall, Variable

SPN 246cv Topics in Latin American Literature and Culture-El Caribe en Vaivén (4 Credits)

This course explores the complex flows of vaivén (coming and going) to, from and within the Caribbean. It examines the global, regional and local forces related to colonialism, racial capitalism and heteropatriarchy that have shaped human movements in this region. Students explore cultural expressions and critiques unveiling the manifold dimensions of race, gender, sexuality, culture and religion in Caribbean societies and diasporas. Key themes encompass undocumented migration within the Caribbean, Caribbean diasporas in the U.S. and Europe, Afro-Asian diasporas in the Caribbean and Latinx immigration to Hawaii. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. (E) {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

SPN 246mr Topics in Latin American Literature and Culture-Reinterpreting Magical Realism (4 Credits)

Magical realism has been studied as a way of representing reality that is particularly suited to Latin America. This class explores the origins of this idea in terms of how the representative strategies associated with magical realism developed historically to approach the conflictive realities of Latin America. Students read literary works associated with magical realism, including One Hundred of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, as well as theoretical texts from authors who have reflected on the meaning of this concept. They also learn about how more recent Latin American authors engage critically with magical realism. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 246ta Topics in Latin American Literature and Culture - Transpacific Archive of the Americas (4 Credits)

This course explores literary and cultural productions from the Americas concerning transpacific histories and imaginaries, spanning from the Spanish colonial era to the present. The course discussions approach issues such as imperialism, globalization, modernization, capitalism and race/gender formations by centering transnational connections across Latin America, U.S. Latinx communities and Asia. Students study multiple genres of texts related to historical events, including the Manila galleon trade, Latin American modern nation-building, Asian diaspora in Latin America, Cold War armed conflicts in Korea and Vietnam and East Asian maquiladoras in the U.S.- Mexico border. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}{H}{L}

Fall, Variable

SPN 246zn Topics in Latin American Literature and Culture-Zapatismo Now: Cultural Resistance on the "Other" Border (4 Credits)

This course explores the social and cultural expression of Zapatismo from its initial revolutionary uprising in the Mexican indigenous borderlands of Chiapas on New Year’s Eve, 1994 through its present-day global vision of an alternative world model. Through close analysis of the movement’s diverse cultural media, including communiqués, radio broadcasts, visual art, web blogs and storytelling, students examine the role of media arts and literary forms in Zapatismo’s cultural and political philosophies, as well as develop a broad understanding of Zapatismo’s influence in popular and indigenous social movements throughout Latin America and the global south. Course taught in Spanish. Prerequisites: SPN 220. Enrollment limited to 19. {A}{F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 260dl Topics in Latin American Cultural History-Decolonizing Latin American Literature (4 Credits)

This course offers critical perspectives on colonialism, literatures of conquest and narratives of cultural resistance in the Americas and the Caribbean. Decolonial theories of violence, writing and representation in the colonial context inform the study of literary and cultural production of this period. Readings explore several themes including indigenous knowledge, land and the natural world; orality, literacy and visual cultures; race, rebellion and liberation; slavery, piracy and power; and the coloniality of gender.  Prerequisite:  SPN 220 or equivalent.  Enrollment limited to 19. {F}{H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 260mr Topics in Latin American Cultural History-Modernization and Resistance (4 Credits)

This course looks at the ways in which Latin American authors confronted, appropriated and also resisted the paradigms of Modernity, from the post-Independence period to the mid 20th century. Through the study of primary sources and some recent re-interpretations of historical events, the class reflects on how Latin American culture was shaped by the legacy of colonialism and the persistent struggle to leave it behind. Special attention is paid to the clashing interactions between the indigenous populations, creole elites in a conflicted dialogue with the cultures of Europe and North America, and Africans brought to the continent as slaves. Class discussions will center on how cultural practices were traversed by notions of race, gender and social class, as well as by the larger geopolitical world context. Prerequisite: SPN 220 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 20. {F}{H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 373ds Seminar: Topics in Cultural Movements in Spanish America-Defiant Screens: Latin American Cinema After Neoliberalism (4 Credits)

The sweeping neoliberal reforms of the 1980s and 1990s had a dramatic effect in the social fabric of all Latin American countries. They also deeply impacted the region’s cinema, with many directors throughout the continent confronting head on the challenges of neoliberalism. This seminar will look at the many ways in which Latin American filmmakers explored and contested the difficult social conditions created by this market-based system of governance. The class will discuss films dealing with topics such as societal fragmentation and political agency, shifts in notions of family and gender, violence and conflict, resignifications of space, and indigeneities and social ecologies. As the continent sees political forces shifting away from the radical neoliberalism of the turn of the century, we will explore how and if these films participated in such transformations. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}{F}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 373pl Seminar: Topics in Cultural Movements in Spanish America-Embodied Politics in Latin American Films (4 Credits)

This course examines recent Latin American films in their portrayal of bodily identities and practices that carry political weight.  Students interrogates these films' attention to issues of race, gender and sexuality, as well as their portrayal of people's interaction with the spaces they inhabit.  Most of the films are from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru but are studied within the broader regional film landscape. By the end of the semester students have a general understanding of that landscape and of the way in which films dealing with embodied histories encourage political reflections. Enrollment limited to 14. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SPN 373rw Seminar: Topics in Cultural Movements in Spanish America-Radical Words: Latin American Women and the Struggle for Livable Worlds (4 Credits)

When your world is on fire, what can words do? This course explores how Latin American women intellectuals, dissidents and cultural revolutionaries (20th and early 21st centuries) have confronted unlivable realities and imagined radical alternatives. Students read works crafted on the front lines of social upheaval and in the face of ecological catastrophe, analyzing different modes of representation: testimonial, memoir, experimental fiction, visual narrative, and political manifestos. They will also gain understanding of social forces shaping the cultural imaginaries of the time: Black and Queer liberation and Indigenous sovereignty movements, struggles against state violence, and ecological, anarchist and revolutionary feminisms. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {F}{L}

Fall, Variable

THE 312ld Topics: Masters and Movements in Performance: Contemporary Latine Drama (4 Credits)

From Chavez Ravine in LA to a Brechtian telenovela set in Mexico, Contemporary Latine Drama explores Latine stories as told through the lens of dramatic performance. Readings and discussions will engage with different forms of theatre; from standard plays and one-person shows to a radio play and more. This course will cover a variety of subject matter from recent history up to the present. Spotlit writers include; Karen Zacarías, Octavio Solis, isaac gomez, Culture Clash, María Irene Fornés, Tanya Saracho, Luis Alfaro, Eduardo Machado, y más. (E) {A}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

Additional Programmatic Information

Honors Director: Michelle Joffroy (2023–24)

Please consult the director of honors for specific requirements and application procedures. More information about honors is available on the class deans website.


Admission by permission of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Committee.

  • The same as those for the major.
  • Thesis proposal, preferably prepared during the second semester of the student's junior year and submitted for consideration no later than the end of the first week of classes the following September.
  • A thesis and an oral examination on the thesis.


LAS 430d Thesis
Credits: 8 (yearlong course); offered each year

LAS 431 Thesis
Credits: 8; offered each fall

Students can choose from approximately 30 courses on Latin America offered every year by the departments of art, comparative literature, dance, government, history, sociology and Spanish and Portuguese, as well as from the interdisciplinary courses offered in the Latin American studies program. Fifty or more courses on Latin America are available through the Five College Consortium.

For additional information, please refer to the Smith College Course Search.

LAS 150 Introduction to Latin American and Latino/a/x Studies
Professor Vicente Carrillo

LAS 201li Colloquium: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies
Mapping Latine Inequalities: Race, Space, and Urban Justice
Professor Vicente Carrillo

LAS 301iw Seminar: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies
Colonial and Postcolonial Indigenous Worlds 
Professor Javier Puente

LAS 301ql Seminar: Topics in Latin American and Latino/a Studies
Queer Latine Sexualities: Performance, Race, and Culture
Professor Vicente Carrillo

For additional information, please refer to the Smith College Course Search.

AFR 210 Colloquium
Black Political Economy: from Slavery to Reparatory Justice
Professor Aaron Kamugisha

ANT 237 Monuments, Materials, and Models: The Archeology of South America 
Professor Elizabeth Klarich

DAN 144 Tango I 
Professor Laura Grandi

SOC 377sa Topics in Advanced Studies in History and Aesthetics
Salsa in Theory and Practice 
Professor Lester Tomé

PHI 310la Seminar
Topics in Recent and Contemporary Philosophy
Professor Juan Sebastián Ospina

POR 125 Elementary Portuguese for Spanish Speakers
Professor Malcolm McNee

POR 233 Borderlands of Portuguese: Multilingualism, Language Policy, and Identity
Professor Malcolm McNee

POR 301 Colloquium
LGBTQ+ Brazil: Advocacy and Art
Professor Marguerite Harrison

SPN 112y Beginning Spanish
Professor Molly Falsetti-Yu

SPN 200 Intermediate Spanish
Professor Melissa M. Belmonte

SPN 200 Intermediate Spanish
Professor Adrián Gras-Velázquez

SPN 230dm Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society
Professor Michelle Joffroy

SPN246cv Topics in Latin American Literature and Culture
El Caribe en Vaivén
Professor Yeongju Lee

SPN246mr Topics in Latin American Literature and Culture
Reinterpreting Magical Realism
Professor María Helena Rueda

SPN260dl Topics in Latin American Cultural History
Decolonizing Latin American Literature
Professor Michelle Joffroy

SPN 373pl Seminar: Topics in Cultural Movements in Spanish America
Embodied Politics in Latin American Films
Professor María Helena Rueda

Studying Latin America at Smith

Emilia Tamayo ’23, a graduating Latin American Studies major, is showcased on ‘Meet the Majors.’ She recaps her trajectory at Smith, and how LALS provided a hub for her intellectual, political, and personal endeavors.

Meet the Majors - Emilia Tamayo

Professor Michelle Joffroy’s “A History of Domestic Work and Worker Organizing,” a groundbreaking public history intervention, unveils the narratives and legacies of domestic labor in the United States. The film Demanding Justice: A History of Domestic Workers is available online.

A History of Domestic Work & Worker Organizing
A poster reading "VIVA LA HUELGA"

Congratulations to Professor Ginetta Candelario, whose translated book, El negro detrás de la oreja, won an Honorable Mention on for the inaugural Translation Prize of the Haiti-Dominican Republic Section of LASA.

LASA Section Award - Best Article or Book Chapter

Becca Alonso ’22, a recent Smith College graduate and Latin American Studies and Study of Women and Gender major, shares insights about her trajectory at Smith College and her future as she intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies.

Meet the Majors - Becca Alonso


Aaron Kamugisha

Africana Studies

Ruth J. Simmons Professor of Africana Studies; Chair of the Department

Elizabeth Klarich


Associate Professor of Anthropology & Department Chair of Anthropology

Elizabeth Klarich

Malcolm McNee

Spanish & Portuguese

Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese

Malcolm McNee

Javier Puente

Latin American & Latino/a Studies

Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino/a Studies; Chair of Latin American and Latino/a Studies

Javier Puente


Velma Garcia
Professor Emerita of Government

Maria Estela Harreteche
Professor Emerita of Spanish and Portuguese

Nancy Saporta Sternbach
Professor Emerita of Spanish

Andrew Zimbalist
Robert A. Woods Professor Emeritus of Economics

Anne Zulawski
Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor Emerita of History and of Latin American Studies

Opportunities & Resources

Study Abroad Opportunities

The Smith College Office for International Study has an extensive list of programs available for students wishing to go abroad. This list changes frequently, so please contact them directly for details.

Study Abroad in Brazil

Advisers: Marguerite Itamar Harrison and Malcolm McNee

See your academic adviser for more opportunities.

Courses at the Five Colleges

Fifty or more Latin American courses are available through the Five College Consortium. More information about studying at the Five Colleges is available on the registrar’s website.

Master’s in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University

Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in LAS have the option of completing a Master of Arts in Latin American studies at Georgetown University in only one extra year and a summer. Those interested must consult with an LAS adviser during their sophomore year or early in their junior year.

Students primarily interested in Latin American literature may wish to consult the major programs available in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Latin American & Latino/a Studies Information Literacy Skills
A list of resources related to information literacy skills drafted by faculty, related to Class Guides (below).

Scholarship guide for Hispanic and Latina students

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
An excellent resource for up-to-date information about Latin America

LANIC at the University of Texas
An ongoing compilation of many sites in Latin America categorized by country and discipline

Five College Certificate

The Five College Certificate in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies gives you the opportunity to show an area of specialization in Latin American studies in conjunction with or in addition to your major.

Five College Offerings
Elizabeth Klarich teaching in classroom, Smith College

Contact Department of Latin American & Latino/a Studies

Dewey House 106
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3679 Email:

Administrative Assistant: Lyndsay Lettre

For questions regarding the Latin American and Latino/a Studies major or minor, please contact chair Javier Puente