Latin American Studies
Fernando Gómez, Modern Languages and Literatures, chair
Catherine Denial, History
Jessie Dixon, Modern Languages and Literatures
Claudia Fernández, Modern Languages and Literatures
Timothy Foster, Modern Languages and Literatures
Gregory Gilbert, Art and Art History
Konrad Hamilton, History
William Hope, Anthropology/Sociology
Frederick Hord, Africana Studies
Karen Kampwirth, Political Science
Jerome Miner, Modern Languages and Literatures
Julio Noriega, Modern Languages and Literatures
Antonio Prado, Modern Languages and Literatures
Robin Ragan, Modern Languages and Literatures
Magali Roy-Féquière Gender and Women's Studies
The major and minor in Latin American Studies are designed to help students better understand, and act in, an increasingly interconnected world. Through courses and a final integrating project, students gain an appreciation of the culture, history, politics, economics and literature of the region. Students explore the range of dilemmas that face all of Latin America, as well as the diversity of Latin American countries, whose linguistic, ethnic, cultural and political differences are sometimes as great as their similarities.
The major and minor are appropriate for students in a variety of majors. Scientists with interests in environmental issues can benefit from an understanding of social issues that shape the debate over degradation of the region’s rainforests. Social science majors can expand their understanding of political and cultural factors that shape economic development in countries whose economies are increasingly integrated with that of the United States. Educational Studies students can gain knowledge which will assist in their teaching U.S. students from diverse backgrounds, increasing numbers of whom are immigrants from Latin America or of Latin American descent.
Latin American Studies majors are required to, and minors are strongly encouraged to participate in a study-abroad program, such as the ACM program in Costa Rica or Knox’s Argentina program. The student’s understanding of the region and facility in Spanish is deepened immeasurably by living and studying with Latin Americans. Credits earned in off-campus programs may be applied to the major or minor with the program chair’s approval.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - LAST 221, 227, 231, 326.
- Speaking Key Competency - LAST 230B, 230C, 230D, 230E.
- Information Literacy & Informed Use of Technology - Specialized information literacy is introduced into 100-level courses. Use of technology is developed in the 200 and 300 level courses, especially for W courses.
Departmental Learning Goals
We are committed to these goals because we believe that cross-cultural knowledge will make our graduates better human beings.
Our goals are that students reach a greater understanding of language, literature, and social sciences. These are our expectations:
Students with a Latin American Studies major will:
- Demonstrate Spanish language competency at the advanced college level.
- Be able to analyze current and historical events in Latin America.
- Be able to analyze Latin American literature.
- Demonstrate cultural flexibility and resourcefulness within a different cultural context than their own.
- Articulate the values, beliefs, and customs that underlie everyday life in at least one specific location in Latin America.
Requirements for the major
10 credits as follows:
- PS 122 or HIST 121
- Two of the following: SPAN 230B, 230C, 230D, 230E
- Six electives on Latin American topics (two must be in History/Social Science; two must be 300 level; and three must be taught in Spanish).
- A one-credit senior capstone project (LAST 399 or 400)
- In addition, all Latin American Studies majors must participate in the Knox College program in Buenos Aires, some other approved study abroad program in a Latin American country, or an equivalent experience of at least a trimester in duration (such as an internship or an independent study) in a Latin American country.
Requirements for the minor
5 credits as follows:
- Two social science credits in Latin American Studies from two different departments
- One literature credit in Latin American Studies
- Two additional courses in Latin American Studies.
- Demonstrated competence in Spanish (such as by completing a 200-level Spanish course)
- A project or paper in which the student analyzes some question in Latin American Studies. The project can be completed through:
- an Honors project;
- an independent study (1 or 1/2 credit); or
- approved course work(i.e., a paper or other project completed within a non-Latin American Studies course that addresses a Latin American topic).
The student is encouraged to consider basing the project or paper on research conducted during field work in Latin America (methods utilized in field work could include interviews, participant-observation, volunteer work, media analysis, photography, literary or artistic work). Field work can take place in the context of a formal program or informal travel. Alternatively, the project or paper can be based on library work. The choice of the project must be made in consultation with the program advisor for the Latin American Studies minor.