Latin American Studies
- Course Work
- Undergraduate Programs
Berroa (Modern and Classical Languages), Bristol (History and Art History), Burt (Public and International Affairs), Francescato (Modern and Classical Languages), Greet (History and Art History), Karush (History and Art History, director), Leeman (Modern and Classical Languages), Lepore (Dance), Meyer (Economics), Rabin (Modern and Classical Languages), Ramos-Pellicia (Modern and Classical Languages), Seligmann (Sociology and Anthropology), Shutika (English), Yocom (English)
This program offers the opportunity to study one of the world’s most diverse and fascinating regions. Contemporary Latin America is the product of a long and turbulent history of conquest, resistance, and cultural mixing. The result is a rich and unique amalgam of African, indigenous, and European cultures. Understanding these complex societies has never been more crucial than it is today. While globalization has intensified the historical, cultural, economic, and political linkages that connect us to Latin America, Latino immigration is transforming who we are. Latinos are now the largest minority group in the United States, representing more than 13 percent of the population, and the numbers continue to rise. Knowledge of Latin American history, culture, society, and politics has become indispensable for anyone who seeks to understand the contemporary United States and its place in the world.
The Latin American Studies Program offers courses designated LAS in the Course Descriptions chapter of this catalog. As an interdisciplinary program, Latin American studies offers many other courses across a range of departments that do not bear the LAS code. For the major and minor, students should consult with the director to determine if a particular course may be used in fulfillment of a Latin American studies requirement or elective.
Latin American Studies, BA
In addition to satisfying Mason’s general education requirements and requirements for the BA degree in LAHS, students must complete 31 credits in Latin American studies with a minimum GPA of 2.00 in courses counting toward the major. The 31 credits are to be distributed as follows:
- 1 credit of LAS 100 Introduction to LAS (a weekly lecture series in which students are introduced to the faculty and the various disciplines that comprise Latin American studies)
- 3 credits of HIST 271 Latin American History to 1810
- 3 credits of HIST 272 Latin American History from 1810 to the Present
- 6 credits of social science courses related to Latin America; select two of the following:
- GOVT 331 Government and Politics of Latin America
- ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America
- ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America
- GEOG 316 Geography of Latin America
- 3 credits of humanities courses related to Latin America. Select one of the following:
- ENGL 333 Folklore of the Americas
- SPAN 322 Introduction to Latin American Culture
- SPAN 325 Major Hispanic Writers
- 3 credits of LAS 499 Latin American Studies Research Seminar (3 credit synthesis, capstone class)
- 12 credits of electives in Latin American studies. Students may satisfy this requirement with any course that contains a significant emphasis on Latin America or on the culture, politics, sociology, or history of Latinos living in the United States. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to use an internship (LAS 490) or a study abroad program to fulfill some of these credits.
In addition, all Latin American studies majors must demonstrate reading, speaking, or writing knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese by exam or achieving a minimum grade of 2.00 in a 300-level course in the language selected. Upper-level Latin American literature or culture courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese may be used to satisfy the electives requirement.
Minor in Latin American Studies
Students must complete a minimum of 18 credits distributed as follows.
- 3 credits in one of the following courses:
- HIST 271 Introduction to Colonial Latin American History
- HIST 272 Introduction to Modern Latin American History
- GOVT 331 Government and Politics of Latin America
- 15 additional credits in Latin American Studies in at least three departments. Students may fulfill this requirement with courses in anthropology, dance, economics, folklore, francophone Caribbean literature, geography, government, history, and Latin American literature or culture. Selection of courses should be made in consultation with the program director.
Students minoring in Latin American studies must also demonstrate competence in reading, speaking or writing Spanish, Portuguese, or French. Language ability is evaluated by interview or exam with an appropriate faculty member, or by achieving at least a C (2.00) in a 300-level course in francophone Caribbean literature, or Latin American literature or culture. (Students taking upper-level Latin American literature or culture courses may count them toward the second requirement above.)
In accordance with university policy, at least 8 credits must be applied only to the minor in Latin American studies, and may not be used to fulfill requirements of the student’s major, concentration, or another minor.