Latin American Studies Program

The Latin American Studies Program enables students to deepen their understanding of this fascinating, complex region of the world through an interdisciplinary approach. Majors explore both historical and contemporary social, political, and economic issues, tensions, and inequalities that challenge the area, while attaining an awareness of and appreciation for the rich cultural diversity of Latin America. Study abroad, the biannual Walker Symposium, internships, independent research, and visits by scholars, artists, and activists enhance formal classroom learning. Latin American studies graduates emerge as active global citizens capable of analyzing and articulating central issues defining the region.


Director, Associate Professor Lindsay Mayka (Government)
Appointment in Latin American Studies: Professor Ben Fallaw
Affiliated Faculty: Professor Patrice Franko (Economics and Global Studies); Associate Professors Lindsay Mayka (Government), and Winifred Tate (Anthropology); Assistant Professors Ana Almeyda-Cohen (Spanish), Jose G. Martinez (Music), Tiffany Miller (Spanish), Nicolás Ramos (Spanish), Bretton White (Spanish); Visiting Assistant Professors Sandra Bernal Heredia (Spanish), Charles Hankin (Spanish), 
and Damaris Mayans (Spanish)


Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in Latin American Studies

A total of 11 courses, including Latin American Studies 173, 174, Spanish 135 and 231 (both to be taken before study abroad), two Latin American literature courses at the 200 level or above, three courses on Latin America at the 200 level or above in at least two disciplines in the social sciences, and either a fourth course in the social sciences of Latin America at the 200 level or above (no more than two in the same discipline total) or a Latino/a literature course at the 200 level or above, and one senior seminar or senior project.

Students must receive a grade of C or better for a course to count toward the major. No major requirements may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses taken to fulfill the major.

Majors are required to spend at least one semester in Latin America matriculated in a program that offers university-level courses (not in a language acquisition program). In exceptional cases, the board will consider petitions to waive this requirement. All course work abroad must be conducted in either Spanish or Portuguese. All study-abroad plans must be approved by the director of the Latin American Studies Program. Programs not on the pre-approved list will be considered through our own petition process (apart from that of Off-Campus Study). Students may count up to four semester courses of foreign study credit toward the major if they study abroad for an entire year, but only up to two semester courses if they study abroad for just one semester. Students with transfer credits should be advised that four semester courses, combining study abroad and credits from other institutions, is the maximum total permitted to count toward the Latin American studies major. A minimum grade point average of 2.7 is required for permission to study abroad. Prerequisites for study abroad include the completion of Spanish 135 and Spanish 231 (may be taken concurrently) with a grade of C or better.

Note: Students wishing to fulfill the advanced grammar requirement in Portuguese must enroll, after securing the approval of the director of the Latin American Studies Program, in either a one-semester language program abroad (which will not replace the study-abroad requirement) or in an intensive summer language program that certifies advanced proficiency.

Honors in Latin American Studies

Students majoring in Latin American studies with a 3.7 major average or better and 3.3 overall GPA at the end of their fifth semester (including course work done abroad) may apply for admission to the honors program by May 30 of their junior year. Permission of the program director and faculty sponsor is required. The honors program involves a yearlong independent research project that replaces the senior seminar requirement. Students must successfully defend their proposal before fall break, their first chapter (or equivalent) before the end of the first semester, and their thesis before the end of the academic year. Successful completion of the work of the honors thesis and of the major will enable the student to graduate with “Honors in Latin American Studies.”

Other Applicable Courses +

Courses Approved for the Major in Latin American Studies


  • 236 Illegal Drugs, Law, and the State
  • 242 Anthropology of Latin America: City Life
  • 249 Courts, Trials, and Pursuit of Justice
  • 361 Militaries, Militarization, and War
  • 365 Space, Place, and Belonging


  • 214 Economic Policy and Performance in Contemporary Latin America

Global Studies

  • 397 Topics in Latin American Economic Policy


  • 253 Introduction to Latin American Politics
  • 264 Challenges to Democracy in Latin America
  • 456 Civil Society and Social Change in Latin America

Latin American Studies

  • 173 History of Latin America, 1491 to 1900
  • 174 Introduction to Latin American Studies
  • 221 Crime, Violence, and Security in Latin America
  • 272 Mexican History: Justice, Rights, and Revolution
  • 275 Strongmen and Populism in Modern Spain and Latin America
  • 277 The Maya
  • 2XX Baile: History, Culture, and Performance in Latin Dance
  • 373 Religion and Unbelief in Modern Latin American History
  • 378 U.S. in Latin America: Intervention, Influence, Integration
  • 473 Seminar: Historical Roots of Violence in Modern Latin America


  • 135 Introduction to Literary Analysis
  • 231 Advanced Spanish
  • 2xx  Language Justice and Civic Engagement
  • 2xx Indigenous Textualities and Decolonial Modernities
  • 237 Conquest and Resistance in the Americas
  • 239 Latin America at the Movies
  • 244 Bad Women and B-Films in Contemporary Latin America
  • 246 Latin American Theater
  • 254 Aquí estamos: U.S. Latinx in the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • 278 Narratives, Artifacts, and Monuments of Pre-Columbian Civilizations
  • 3xx Environmental Knowledge, Imperialism, and Resistance
  • 346 Race, Rights, and Land in the Americas
  • 347 Latinx Indigeneities and Mesoamerican Borders
  • 348 The Afro-Americas: Race, Power, and Subjectivity
  • 357 Borderland Cinema: Latinx Media Representations in the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • 376 Narratives, Artifacts, and Monuments of Pre-Columbian Civilization
  • 498 Seminar: Abia Yala: Indigenous Resistance, Revolution, and Decoloniality
  • 498 Seminar: Sex, Drugs, and Magic in Mexico and the Caribbean

Note: Additional courses, often taught by visiting faculty, may be available from time to time as temporary offerings and may be counted toward the major with permission of the Latin American Studies Program director. Up to two courses from a semester of study abroad and up to four courses from a year of study abroad may be counted toward the major with permission of the program director.