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Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies


1. Introduction to Latin America and The Caribbean

09S, 10S: 2

This interdisciplinary course introduces students to the geographical conditions, historical roots, and enduring cultural diversity of Latin America and the Caribbean. After a brief survey of the physical and cultural geography of the region, the course examines the history of selected countries to highlight the way European conquest and colonialism have molded Latin American institutions and attitudes. The course then turns to particular case studies of contemporary life and society to analyze the ongoing problems of ethnicity, inequality, and political repression engendered by the region’s colonial past. Finally, the course draws on these historical and anthropological understandings to assess recent economic, social, and political developments in Latin America. By juxtaposing historical realities with their living consequences, the course presents a multi-disciplinary perspective on the nature, dynamics—and future prospects—of the many peoples who inhabit this vast and diverse continent. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Baldez.

4. History, Culture and Society: The Many Faces of Latin America (Identical to African and African American Studies 16)

09W: 12 10W: Arrange

The Spanish discovery and conquest of this continent created Latin America and the Caribbean out of the diverse and complex realities of the pre-Columbian world. Since colonial times Latin American and Caribbean cultures have developed against a background of cultural repression, racial conflict, political domination, colonial exploitation, and gender inequality. And yet, in the midst of all this turmoil, Latin America and the Caribbean have produced an extraordinary variety and wealth of artistic creations, ranging from literature to the visual arts, from music to film. In this course we will turn to some of the works by Latin American and Caribbean artists and writers in an attempt to illuminate and explore some of the wonders of the cultural dynamics that shape the many faces of what we call Latin America and the Caribbean. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Gutiérrez-Nájera, Pastor (09W).

7. First-Year Seminars in Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies

Consult special listings

10. Pre-Columbian and Colonial America (Identical to History 5.6)

09S, 10W: 10A

This course will examine the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Andes and Mesoamerica, the causes and consequences of the Spanish and Portuguese Conquests, and the establishment of colonial societies and economies. Open to all classes. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Padilla.

30. Latin American Mega-Cities: Life, Myth, Image, Debates: La Ciudad de México, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo

Not offered in the period from 08F through 10S

32. State and Society in Latin America (Identical to Government 49.2)

Not offered in the period from 08F through 10S

33. The Politics and Culture of Cuba (Identical to Government 49.3)

Not offered in the period from 08F through 10S

42. The Aztecs (Identical to Anthropology 21)

09W: 11

For nearly two thousand years the dominant political power in Middle America has resided in central Mexico. Mexico City, the capital of the empire of New Spain and of the modern nation-state of Mexico, lies over the remains of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. This course examines the development of the Aztec empire and the organization of Aztec society and religion, and the Spanish conquest of the Aztec. It ends with an introduction to Nahua society in the first century after conquest. We will also consider the varied perspectives of Aztec history offered by Nahua texts, archaeology, history, and art history. (ARCH) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Nichols.

43. Olmecs, Maya, and Toltecs: Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica (Identical to Anthropology 22)

08F: 12 10W: 11

Mesoamerica, the area encompassing Mexico and northern Central America, provided the setting for two major transformations in human history: the development of maize agriculture and the emergence of cities and states. The legacy of those achievements is still evident today among contemporary Latin American societies. We begin with an examination of how people first occupied Mesoamerica during the Ice Age and discuss the development of agriculture and early villages that laid the foundations for the evolution of Mesoamerica’s earliest complex societies, including the Olmecs. We then the explore the Classic civilizations of Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, and the Maya. The course ends with an overview of the Postclassic city-states and kingdoms of the Toltecs, Mixtecs, and Maya and the Aztec empire at the time of the Spanish Conquest. (ARCH) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Nichols.

50. Topics Course

08F: 10A

In 08F, Illicit Networks, Informal Entrepreneurs, and the Neoliberal State: Interrogating Rights, Justice, and Violence in Contemporary Latin America (Identical to Anthropology 50.8). This course explores the relation between illicit networks, the informal economy, transnationalism, and the state in Latin America. We study the links between what is considered formal and informal, and legal and illegal, in order to ethnographically examine what official views obscure in the everyday relations of transnational activities. We begin with a critical examination of the categories of “illegal,” “illicit,” “the state,” and “corruption.” We reveal these categories as cultural and political constructs rather than as pre-existent neutral categories of analysis. Who applies these definitions? How have they changed and what interests do they serve? Do distinctions between “illegal” and “illicit” provide us with a useful label or do they obscure the power of the state to determine legitimacy? Are some activities inherently illegal? Dist: SOC. WCult: NW. Galemba.

52. Gender Politics in Latin America (Identical to Government 49.4 and Women’s and Gender Studies 31)

10W: 10

This course examines women’s movements in Latin America. Women in Latin America are perhaps the most highly mobilized population in the world. Throughout the region women have organized around myriad issues, including the right to vote, human rights, poverty, legal rights, anticommunism, the workplace, race, ethnicity and war. Women’s efforts to challenge fiercely repressive regimes, deeply entrenched norms of machismo and extreme poverty defy conventional stereotypes about women and provide us with inspiring examples of how to sustain hope during difficult times. The seminar will introduce students to recent scholarship on women’s movements in Latin America in the 20th century and seek to understand the emergence, evolution and outcomes of women’s movements in particular countries and crossnationally. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Baldez.

53. Protests and Parties in Latin America (Identical to Government 49.5)

09W: 2A

For many people, Che Guevara remains the key symbol of protest in Latin America. His passionate belief in social justice, his refusal to compromise and the extraordinary personal sacrifices he made on behalf of the poor all contribute to his enduring legacy. While this legacy continues to inspire people to engage in protest and revolutionary movements, it does little to help us understand the conditions under which organized movements will succeed in their goals-or even form in the first place. Under what conditions do people organize on behalf of their collective interests? Under what conditions will efforts to mobilize succeed? We compare revolutionary movements, social movements, political parties and other forms at political action in various countries throughout the region Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Baldez.

54. The Creative Dimension of the Jewish Diaspora in Latin America (Identical to Jewish Studies 73 and Comparative Literature 52)

08F: 2

A historical introduction to the course will locate the Jewish reality in Latin America over the centuries with its different exiles and migratory movements. The course will study the literary production of key Jewish Latin American writers and the representation of Jewish identity through films, short stories, poetry and other materials. Major themes include Anti-Semitism, identity and cultural expression, ideology and religion. Dist: LIT or INT; WCult: CI. Merino.

56. Latin American Women Writers

09S: 11

This course focuses on narrative by Latin American women, primarily fiction, and how that fiction has been a force for social change. The course will introduce students to Feminist theories which have been applied to and by Latin American scholars to give account of diverse literary forms produced across cultural differences. The core articulating idea of the course is women’s impact on literature and on the world. Students will become familiar with important authors and common themes in contemporary Latin American literature by women and different literary periods and movements in Latin American literature. Dist: LIT; WCult: NW. Lirot.

66. Caribbean Literature (Identical to English 67 and AAAS 80)

09W: 10A

Dist: LIT; WCult: CI. Vásquez.

76. History of Mexico, 1876 to the Present (Identical to History 87)

09W, 10W: 2A

Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Padilla.

77. Democracy and Accountability in Latin America (Identical to Government 84.11)

09S: 2A

Dist: SOC. Carey.

78. Twentieth Century Art from Latin America (Identical to Art History 75)

Not offered in the period from 08F through 10S

80. Seminar

10W: 2

In 10W, Gender and Race in Latin America. This course looks at how different ideas about gender and race have shaped Latin American politics in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will focus on the evolution of these categories as the basis for political incorporation and representation over time, instances of collective mobilization around gender and race, the creation and impact of law and public policy, and political institutions as they relate to race and gender. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Baldez.

89. Independent Study

All terms: Arrange

Students wishing to pursue intensive supervised study in some aspect of Latin American and Caribbean Studies should consult the appropriate member of the LACS faculty to design and carry out an independent study project. Students are required to submit a short description proposal to the program office in the term prior to doing the independent study. This course fulfills the ‘culminating experience’ requirement for all majors who do not complete the Honors Program.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

98, 99. Honors Thesis I and II

All terms: Arrange

Guidance in the selection of a topic and in research and writing will be provided by the student’s thesis adviser. Only students accepted into the Honors Program may take this sequence.


3. Introduction to Latino Studies

10W: 2

This course provides students with a critical overview of some of the most central themes and issues that have shaped the experiences of Latina/o populations in the U.S. The main areas of inquiry that this course will address include: the history of ethnic levels; the formation of transnational communities and identities; the politics of language and bilingualism; race, class, and ethnicity; gender and sexuality; political and social movements; geographic space and localities; and media and popular culture. In order to foster an interdisciplinary and hemispheric approach to Latina/o Studies, course materials will draw from the social sciences and the humanities, as well as from U.S. and Latin American scholarship and cultural traditions. This course will serve as a general introduction to the more focused areas of study developed in intermediate and upper level LATS course. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Gutiérrez Nájera.

7. First-Year Seminars in Latino Studies

Consult special listings

11. PerformActivism (Identical to Theater 10)

08F: 2A

Dist. ART. Herrera.

31. Constructing Race and Ethnicity in the U.S. (Identical to Sociology 42)

Not offered in the period from 08F through 10S

40. Immigration, Race and Ethnicity (Identical to Geography 28 and Sociology 64)

10S: 10

Dist. SOC; WCult: CI. Wright.

41. Representations of/from Latin@s in the Media and the Arts

08F: 10

What role do the media and the arts play in the formation of ethnic, racial and cultural identities for Latinos/as? How do Latin@s respond to these representations of themselves through various electronic media and the arts? This class investigates how race, ethnicity, gender, and “otherness” are represented in various media and art forms, including: cinema, radio broadcasting, performance art, mural art, graphic novels, and the Internet. We will trace the history of Latin@s in various media and artistic movements, as well as hold online discussions and videoconferences with students and professionals working in these areas. Students will explore the politics and dynamics of representation by producing their own creative and critical work and presenting it to the Dartmouth community through their final projects. Dist: ART. Moody.

44. Crossing Over: Latino Roots and Transitions (Identical to Anthropology 33)

08F: 11

This course focuses on the experiences of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, and Central American migrants living in the U.S. The literature will draw from anthropology and its neighboring disciplines in an attempt to understand the social, political, and economic processes that shape the varied experiences of Latino migrants living in the United States. In doing so, the class will examine Latino migrant experiences in relation to issues such as the changing character of capitalism as an international system, the organizing role of networks and families, changing patterns of gender relations, the emergence of a second generation, and the cultural politics of class formation. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Gutiérrez Nájera.

45. Comparative Perspectives on the U.S. Mexico Borderlands (Identical to Anthropology 34)

10S: 2

The borderlands will be examined in ways that take us from a concrete analysis of the region, including conflict and organizing efforts at the border to more abstract notions that include strategies of cultural representations and the forging of new dietetics. We will consider several analytical perspectives relevant to anthropology including: gender, identity, resistance, economics, globablization, migration, and the politics of everyday life. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Gutiérrez Nájera.

54. Latina Feminisms: Acts of Intervention (Identical to Women’s and Gender Studies 54.3)

09W: 10A

Through an engagement of narratives mediated by recordings, literature, visual art and performances for, by and about Latinas, this course examines the highly contested and still-evolving site of Latina feminist practices. Students will be introduced to foundational writings in Latina feminist theory. We will pay particular attention to how the shared—and the divergent—experiences of Latinas in the US are produced, reflected, and resisted in cultural expression. Our central task will be to analyze how these women-centered texts redefine sexuality, gender, race and class. Several questions frame our studies in the course, including: How do we theorize a Latina feminist tradition? How has Latina feminism reshaped the field of ethnic and gender studies? Topics include, but are not limited to: triple oppressions theory, identity politics, mestiza consciousness, Latina subjectivity, and lesbian identities. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Herrera.

80. Going Solo: Latino Performance and Identity (Pending faculty approval)

09S: 10A

Within the last two decades monologue-based performance has become a popular and widely practiced theatrical genre. Latino/a solo performers, in particular, have taken center stage. This seminar focuses on how these practitioners embody and perform a wide range of political identities bounded by race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. We will examine the ways in which they participate in the production and/or deconstruction of Latino identity through their live bodies on stage. Herrera.

89. Independent Study

All terms: Arrange

Students wishing to pursue intensive supervised study in some aspect of Latino Studies should consult the appropriate member of the LALACS faculty to design and carry out an independent study project. Students are required to submit a short description proposal to the program office in the term prior to doing the independent study. This course fulfills the ‘culminating experience’ requirement for all majors who do not complete the Honors Program.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

98, 99. Honors Thesis I and II

All terms: Arrange

Guidance in the selection of a topic and in research and writing will be provided by the student’s thesis adviser. Only students accepted into the Honors Program may take this sequence.


Courses with a central focus on Latin America and the Caribbean offered by various departments. These classes count toward the LACS/LATS major.

Anthropology 35: Culture, Class and Community in Contemporary Mesoamerica

Anthropology 37: Legacies of Conquest: Latin America

Anthropology 44: Globalization from Above and Below

Art History 16: Mexican Muralism

Geography 43: Geographies of Latin America

Government 49.1: Latin American Politics and Government

Government 80: Readings in Government

History 46: Spain in the Golden Age

History 82: Popular Struggle, Political Change and United States Intervention in Central America

History 96.4: Latin American Rebels

History 96.5: Topics in Modern Latin American History

Portuguese 20: The Portuguese-Speaking World and its Literatures and Cultures: The Definition of an Identity

Portuguese 35: Advanced Studies in Brazilian Culture and Society (DFSP)

Portuguese 36: Studies in Contemporary Brazilian Literature (DFSP)

Portuguese 60: The Portuguese-Speaking World: Literature and Culture by Period (when Brazil is main subject)

Portuguese 61: The Portuguese-Speaking World: Genre (when Brazil is main subject)

Portuguese 62: Film, Media, Performance and the Arts in the Portuguese-Speaking World (when Brazil is main subject)

Portuguese 63: Special Topics: Literary and Cultural Productions in the Portuguese-Speaking World (when Brazil is main subject)

Portuguese 80: Seminar (Brazilian content)

Portuguese 87: Independent Study

Spanish 33: Argentine Civilization: The Cultural Heritage (DFSP)

Spanish 35: Studies in Spanish-American Literature: Contemporary Argentine Literature (DFSP)

Spanish 65: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Spanish 66: Latin American Culture: Migrations, Displacement, Exclusion and Exile

Spanish 67: Romanticism and the Formation of National Identities in Latin America

Spanish 68: Literature and Ideas in Spanish America (1845 to the present)

Spanish 70: Contemporary Latin American Poetry (1936-present)

Spanish 71: Twentieth-Century Regionalist Writing: The Discovery of Latin America’s Cultural Heritages

Spanish 72: Latin American and Latina Women: Gender, Culture, Literature

Spanish 73: Literature and Social Protest: Alienation, Dictatorship, Revolution and Disillusionment in Twentieth-Century Latin America

Spanish 74: Old World/New World: Tradition and Change in Contemporary Latin American Culture

Spanish 76: The Fabrication of Images: Mass Media in Latin America

Spanish 80: Latin American Literature Seminar

Departmental Seminars: These will vary from year to year. Consult the program office for a list of seminars available in 2008-2009.

LACS/LATS students are strongly advised to take courses in economics, especially Economics 1, The Price System: Analysis, Problems, and Policies, Economics 21, Microeconomics, and Economics 39, International Trade.


Comparative Literature 52: The Borderlands: Latina/o Writers in the United States

History 31: Latinos in the United States: Origins and Histories

Spanish 77: Hispanic Literature in the USA

Spanish 78: Living in the Borderlands, Latino/a Culture and Identity

Spanish 79: Latino/a Literature: Between Literary Traditions, Languages and Cultures

* Students taking Government 80, Readings in Government, may receive LACS/LATS credit if the instructor approves independent study or a seminar paper dealing with the politics of Latin America or the Caribbean.