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Academics > Majors & Minors > Latin American Studies



Julio Noriega

Professor of Modern Languages (Spanish); Chair of Latin American Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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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 history/social science* credits in Latin American Studies
  • Two humanities** credits in Latin American Studies
  • One additional course in Latin American Studies.
  • At least one of the above courses should be at the 300 level.
  • 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).

Other courses on Latin American topics, such as those taken in a study abroad program, may also count toward the major and minor. Consult the Chair for approval.

*LAST 121, LAST 122, LAST 227, LAST 231, LAST 234, LAST 237, LAST 260, LAST 263, LAST 314, LAST 326, LAST 334

**LAST 221, LAST 230B-E, LAST 235, LAST 238, LAST 240, LAST 305, LAST 306, LAST 309, LAST 335, LAST 337

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 chair of the Latin American Studies minor.

Course Descriptions

LAST 122. Introduction to Latin American Politics. (1)

An overview of the dilemmas of democratization and development. These issues are considered from a variety of perspectives (including those of indigenous people, women, peasants, religious groups and political parties), and in a number of countries. HSS; Cross Listing: PS 122; DV; K. Kampwirth;

LAST 221. Native Arts of the Americas: Their History and Cultural Legacy. (1)

Surveys the art of the native peoples of the Americas with a focus on the ancient art of Mesoamerica and the Andes, as well as cultural artifacts of native American Indian peoples. Considers methodological and cultural issues of studying non-Western artistic traditions in conjunction with a critical examination of the cultural legacy of native arts to more recent artistic developments. HUM; Prerequisite(s): ART 105, ART 106, or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: ART 221; W; DV; G. Gilbert;

LAST 227. Women and Latin American Politics. (1)

The varied roles that women play in politics--from international politics to personal politics--are considered. The focus is on the different ways in which women define their interests and act upon them, but gender in a broader sense (including men's roles) is analyzed. This course will analyze these issues in the context of a number of Latin American countries. HSS; Prerequisite(s): one course in social science or gender and women's studies required; Cross Listing: GWST 227;PS 227; W; DV; K. Kampwirth;

LAST 230. B-E Culture of the Spanish-Speaking World. (1)

These courses are organized by region to introduce students to both elite and popular cultures of the Spanish-speaking world as well as critical concepts in understanding social constructs and historical events that have shaped the region. A wide array of course materials will be used (literary, non-fiction, film, newspapers, etc.). Students may repeat different sections for credit. B) Mexico and Central America; C) The Caribbean; D) Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay); E) Andean region (Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador). O; LAST 230B-E cross-listed in SPAN; Staff;

LAST 231. Populism in Latin America. (1)

Many of the most famous (or infamous) political leaders in Latin America - people like Evita Peron, Lazaro Cardenas, Rafael Correa and Hugo Chavez - are known as "populists." This course evaluates such leaders, with particular attention to the role of class and gender in their political careers. Other themes to be addressed include: charismatic leadership, classic populism vs. neopopulism vs. radical populism, the uneasy relationship between populism and democracy, feminism and populism, and the meanings of populist followership. HSS; Prerequisite(s): One previous Political Science or History course; Cross Listing: PS 231; DV; W; K. Kampwirth;

LAST 234. Culture and Identity in the Caribbean. (1)

This course offers a study of the diversity and distinctiveness of cultural practices and social contexts of the Pan-Caribbean, understood broadly. We examine the rhythms of everyday life of Caribbean people and how these articulate with historic and contemporary experiences of migration - both forced and free - of remembrances and forgetting, of social organization and political economy, and of the affective power of cultural expressions and identities. We foreground these vantage points through a series of stories, essays, films, music, and selected ethnographic case studies. Prerequisite(s): two courses in ANSO or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: ANSO 234; W. Hope;

LAST 235. Introduction to Spanish Literatures. (1)

This course is designed to introduce students to literature through critical reading of representative works from different genres and diverse countries of the Spanish-speaking world, as well as to the different ways scholars approach literature. Through close readings of texts, including short story, drama, film novellas, poetry and essays, students acquire analytical and interpretive skills as they study how and why a work is constructed and what its social and cultural implications are. Students explore themes unique to Hispanic literature as well as what connects it to world literature. Taught in Spanish. HUM; Cross Listing: SPAN 235; Staff;

LAST 237. Music and Culture in the Americas. (1)

This class seeks to understand music making and dance as powerfully affective expressive cultural practices that people invest with social value and meaning. We will study a series of conceptual frameworks as well as basic music terminology for thinking about, listening to, and discussing music in specific cultural contexts. Case studies covered include music making in Cuba; Brazil; indigenous and mestizo musics in Peru; North American old-time country, music of the 'folk revival', and of the civil rights movement, among other case studies. This class is designed for non-music majors (although music majors are certainly welcome). Prerequisite(s): ANSO 102 or ANSO 237 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: ANSO 237; DV; W. Hope;

LAST 238. Latin American Women Writers. (1)

The past two decades have seen the rise of an unprecedented number of Latin American women writers who have made important aesthetic contributions to the literary traditions of their countries. This course examines some of their works paying special attention to the gendered politics and poetics of the text. Among some of the works included are: Nellie Campobello's novels of the Mexican Revolution, the testimonial narrative of Elena Poniatowska, the magical realist works of Isabel Allende. All works are read in English translations. HUM; Prerequisite(s): sophomore standing; Cross Listing: GWST 238; DV; M. Roy-Fequiere;

LAST 240. Caribbean Literature and Culture. (1)

The course surveys literary, historical and political works that have shaped ideas on race and culture in the Caribbean context. Special attention is given to critical readings of such texts as Columbus' letters to the Spanish crown; the 19th century Cuban anti-slavery narrative, and to the highly original literature of the Negritude movement. In addition we reflect on the significance of popular culture as a creative response to racial and social oppression. Prerequisite(s): sophomore standing or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: AFST 240; M. Roy-Fequiere;

LAST 248. Teaching Assistant. (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor; May be graded S/U at instructor's discretion; Staff;

LAST 260. African Dimensions of the Latin American Experience. (1)

A survey of the African relationships with the Latin American peoples in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the Pre-Columbian contacts, we focus on Mexico, Brazil, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, with some attention given to Guatemala, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. Prerequisite(s): ENG 102 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: AFST 260; F. Hord;

LAST 263. Slavery in the Americas. (1)

This course surveys the experiences of Africans enslaved in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. It is designed to introduce students to the complex history and issues of slavery, and to help them understand the origins, nature and impact of this institution. Slavery is examined both as an international system with global impact, and as a comparison of the smaller local systems of individual slave societies. Some of the subjects addressed include: European economic motivation and gain; capture and enslavement in Africa; differences between slave systems in the Americas; comparisons of slave revolts and abolition movements; African cultural retention in different slave populations; comparison of racist ideology and race relations in different slave societies. This course serves as the first half of the African-American history series, and as a required course for the major in Black Studies. HSS; Cross Listing: AFST 263;BKST 263;HIST 263; DV; K. Hamilton; M. Roy-Fequiere;

LAST 295. Special Topics. (1/2 or 1)

Courses offered occasionally to students in special areas of Latin American Studies not covered in the usual curriculum. Staff;

LAST 305. Spanish American Literature Through Modernismo. (1)

The development of Spanish-American literature from pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century; Popol Vuh, Columbus, Cortes, Las Casas, Inca Garcilaso, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Bolivar, Sarmiento, Isaacs, Hernandez, Marti, Dario. Alternate years. Prerequisite(s): equivalent of SPAN 235 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: SPAN 305; T. Foster;

LAST 306. Twentieth Century Spanish-American Literature. (1)

The development of the contemporary Spanish-American narrative: Gallegos, Asturias, Carpentier, Rulfo, Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Borges, Cortazar, and Ferre. Representative works in poetry: Vallejo, Mistral, Storni, Neruda. Alternate years. Prerequisite(s): equivalent of SPAN 235 or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: SPAN 306; J. Dixon-Montgomery; T. Foster;

LAST 309. Contemporary Latin American Cinema. (1)

A survey of contemporary cinema of Spanish speaking countries of Latin America. We follow a trend starting with the avant-garde cinema of the political revolutionary turbulence of the 1960's, the "New Latin American Cinema", which continues today with a series of films that originated as a reaction to the neo-liberal and globalized capitalism of the 1990's. The films are treated as visual texts, studying the film as a genre with particular stylistic forms and techniques to represent social reality ideologically and in the context of social and cinematic history. Prerequisite(s): SPAN 235; Cross Listing: FILM 309;SPAN 309;SPAN 309; A. Prado del Santo;

LAST 326. Comparative Revolution. (1)

Why do people revolt? When do they succeed? What happens after the overthrow of the old regime? This course addresses these and other questions related to class, culture, gender, and religion by considering revolutionary movements in a number of countries with a focus on Latin American, Asian, and Middle Eastern cases. HSS; Prerequisite(s): previous 200 or 300 level work in social science or history required; Cross Listing: PS 326; W, DV; K. Kampwirth;

LAST 334. LGBT Politics in Latin America. (1)

The political visibility and rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans) community in Latin America has changed dramatically over the course of the last generation or two. This course will explore how and why political life has changed, and will compare the political experiences of LGBT citizens of several particular countries. The focus of the course is on the countries of Latin America, though LGBT political history in other areas, such as the U.S. and Europe, will be considered in the introduction to the course, which will analyze both institutional and social movement politics. Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing; Cross Listing: PS 334; DV; W; K. Kampwirth;

LAST 335. "Afridentity" and "Hispanity" in Caribbean Literature from the 19th Century to the Present. (1)

This course examines the intersectionality of race, class, and color in the literatures of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic from the 19th century to the present. Through literature, film and other media, we analyze the images and experiences of blacks and mulattoes in relation to the conceptualization of Latin American identity in these countries. The course focuses on the relationship between literary texts and the socio-historical context in these post-colonial societies. Prerequisite(s): SPAN 235 or equivalent or permission of the instructor; Cross Listing: AFST 335;BKST 335;SPAN 335;SPAN 335; J. Dixon-Montgomery;

LAST 348. Teaching Assistant. (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor; May be graded S/U at instructor's discretion; Staff;

LAST 377. Ethnicity and Marginality: Representing the Indigenous "Other" in Latin American Literature. (1)

This course examines literary strategies that attempt to describe, represent, and give voice to Latin American indigenous peoples in pre-Colombian indigenous literature, in the "Cronicas" detaling the Conquest as well as more contemporary literary attempts to incorporate indigenous voices into Latin Literature such as first-person ethnography, Surrealist techniques, "mistizo" realism, drug-induced "visions" that approximate the indigenous world view, testimonial literature and New Age appreciations of indigenous practices. IN SPANISH. Prerequisite(s): SPAN 235 or permission of the Instructor; Cross Listing: SPAN 377; T. Foster;

LAST 395. Special Topics. (1/2 or 1)

Courses offered occasionally to students in special areas of Latin American Studies not covered in the usual curriculum. Staff;

LAST 400. Advanced Studies. (1/2 or 1)

See College Honors Program. Staff;

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Printed on Monday, December 11, 2017

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