Latin American Studies

Program Description

The Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies program promotes a multidisciplinary approach to the history, politics, culture, and society of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latino communities in the United States. By emphasizing the inter-dependence of the Americas, it seeks to help students understand civic and social responsibilities in terms that go beyond national borders, preparing them for participation in a multicultural world.

Gettysburg College offers a minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies and a combined major in Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, which draw on courses in the humanities and social sciences. Students who minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies are required to take six courses and are encouraged to spend a semester studying abroad in Latin America or the Caribbean. The combined LACLS/Spanish major requires a total of twelve courses, including one semester of study abroad in a College-affiliated program in a Latin American country. Approved College-affiliated programs currently include sites in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru.

The College, the town of Gettysburg, and the greater Washington, D.C. area provide a stimulating environment for the study of Latin America. On campus, the program of activities includes lecture series, musical performances, panel discussions, art exhibits, and films focused on Latin America. Students have opportunities to interact with the growing Latino community in Gettysburg by participating in heritage festivals and service-learning-based courses and by volunteering with local community groups. Students can also pursue internships in Washington, D.C., with organizations such as the Organization of American States and the Washington Office on Latin America.

Program Requirements

To minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, students must fulfill the College's language distribution requirement in Spanish or one of the other principal languages spoken in Latin America. Students on the alternate-language track may also minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies.

Requirements:

  • To minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, students must fulfill the College's language distribution requirement in Spanish, or one of the other principal languages spoken in Latin America.
  • Students must take six courses from the combined major course offerings:
    • No more than two may be at the 100 level
    • At least one must be a 300 or 400-level LAS course taken at the College.
  • Minors are strongly encouraged to take LAS 140 or LAS 147.
  • Courses must be in at least two of the College's divisions -- i.e., the courses must draw on both humanities and the social sciences.
  • Students on the alternate-language track may also minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies.

Study Abroad:

  • A maximum of two courses taken on a study abroad program in Latin America may be substituted for any course except the 300 or 400-level LAS course.

Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies Course Options:

Core Courses (required of all LACLS/Spanish majors):

  • One 100-level course chosen from the following:
    • LAS 140 Introduction to Latin America: Social Sciences
    • LAS 147 Introduction to Latin America: Cultural Studies
    • One of the LAS First-Year Seminars: FYS 133-2, FYS 163-3, FYS 195, FYS 199-2, FYS 199-3
  • One 200-level course chosen from LAS 220, LAS/Hist 261, LAS/Soc 262, LAS 263/Hist 262, or LAS/Pol 275
  • One 300- or 400-level course chosen from LAS 300, LAS 322, LAS/SOC 331, LAS/Hist 361, or LAS/Pol 412

Elective Courses (select three of the following): 

  • FYS 133-2 Gender and Politics in Latin America
  • FYS 163-3 The 2012 US Presidential Election in Latin American Media
  • FYS 195 Tales of Torture and Terror
  • FYS 199-2 On the Road in Latin American Film
  • FYS 199-3 Film, Fabrication, and Latin America
  • LAS 140 Introduction to Latin America: Social Sciences
  • LAS 147 Introduction to Latin America: Cultural Studies
  • LAS/Econ 214 Latin American Economic History and Development
  • LAS 220 Topics in Latin American Literature
  • LAS 222/WGS 221 Bridging the Borders: Latina and Latin American Women Writers
  • LAS 223/AFS 236 Mapping Caribbean Identities
  • LAS 231/WGS 231/ANTH 231 Gender and Change in Africa and Afro-Latin America
  • LAS/Anth 232 Precolumbian Civilizations of Mesoamerica
  • LAS/Anth 236 Precolumbian Civilizations of South America
  • LAS/MUS/AFS 251 Topics in Musicology: Global-Music of the Caribbean
  • LAS/Hist 261 Colonial Latin American History
  • LAS/Soc 262 Social Development of Latin America
  • LAS 263/Hist 262 Modern Latin American History
  • LAS/Hist 264 Brazil: Earthly Paradise to Industrial Giant
  • LAS/ENG 265 U.S. Latino Voices
  • LAS/Soc 267 Society and Politics in Latin America
  • LAS/Pol 275 Latin American Politics
  • LAS 276/SOC 276 Contemporary Mexican State and Society
  • LAS 300 Special Topics in Latin American Studies
  • LAS 304 Film and Revolution in Latin America
  • LAS 322 The Hispanic Heritage in the United States
  • LAS 331/Soc 331 Reinventing Latin American Societies
  • LAS/Hist 361 The Mexican Revolution
  • LAS 362/Hist 362 The U.S. and Latin America since 1898
  • LAS/Hist 364 Social Difference in Brazilian History
  • LAS 460 Individualized Study
  • Pol 252 North-South Dialogue (only when course includes travel to Latin America)


Spanish Department Course Options

Core Courses  (required of all LACLS/Spanish majors):

  • Span 301 Spanish Composition and Conversation
    • Students who demonstrate an exceptional command of the Spanish language may petition the department to be exempted from this requirement.
  • Span 320 Topics Literature Course (two different sections required)
    • Students must take two different sections of Span 320. Students must make sure the titles of the two courses differ each time they take the course.
    • Students can request to replace one of the SPAN 320 courses with SPAN 345.

Elective Courses  (select three of the following):

  • Span 307 Cultural Topics: Latin America
  • Span 351 Poetry and Song in the Hispanic World
  • Span 353 Hispanic Film and Society
  • Span 354 The Nineteenth-Century Hispanic World
  • Span 355 Hispanic Theater
  • Span 370 Becoming Latino/a and Chicana/o in Latino Literature
  • Span 376 Latin American Contemporary Prose
  • Span 378 Contemporary Literature of the Hispanic Caribbean
  • Span 379 Colonialism, the Atlantic World and Latin America

Course Listing

Course level:
100 | 200 | 300 | 400
LAS-140 Introduction to Latin America: Social Sciences
Course introduces students to Latin American Studies via disciplinary approaches from the Social Sciences, including Sociology, Anthropology, Political Sciences, and Economics. It explores the formation and development of Latin American and Caribbean societies by looking at a number of topics, including the conquest of Amerindian civilizations, colonialism, neocolonialism, nationalism, revolution, modernization, social movements, democracy, and neoliberal globalization.


LAS-147 Introduction to Latin America: Cultural Studies
Course introduces students to Latin American Studies via disciplinary approaches from Cultural Studies, including Music, Visual Arts, Literature, History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. It explores the construction of Latin America and the Caribbean by looking at aesthetics and cultural artifacts from pre-Columbian times to our days in order to understand the ongoing formation of cultural communities, sensibilities, and imaginaries.


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LAS-214 Latin American Economic History and Development
Intensive examination of Latin America, using the framework of economic analysis and political economy to consider economic history, growth, and development. Economic theory provides the primary paradigm within which this region is studied, but consideration is also given to historical events that conditioned the economic outcomes. Reviews the pertinent theory and focuses on application of that theory to specific historical events. Prerequisites: Economics 103.


LAS-220 Topics in Latin American Literature
Study of Latin American literature and related arts from varying perspectives. Taught in English.


LAS-222 Bridging the Borders: U.S. Latina and Latin American Women Writers
Study of selected works in English by Latin American women and Latina women from the U.S. Course explores both connective links and dividing lines of women's lives in the context of a common cultural heritage that has evolved into multiple variants as a result of geographical, historical, economic, ethnic, and racial factors. WGS 221 and LAS 222 are cross-listed.


LAS-223 Mapping Caribbean Identities
Study of the evolution of the Caribbean people from colonial to post-colonial times through careful reading of literature. Course includes novels from the English, Spanish, and French Caribbean. A small and accessible body of post-colonial theory supplements the works of fiction. Focus is on the different political, economic, and cultural realities imposed on the various islands and their populations by the respective colonizing powers. AFS 236 and LAS 223 are cross-listed.


LAS-231 Gender and Change in Africa and Afro-Latin America
An exploration of the diversity of women's familial, political, economic and social realities and experiences in West Africa and the African Diaspora in South America and the Caribbean. Particular attention is given to the processes by which indigenous West African gender and cultural patterns and their inherent power relations have shifted since pre-colonial times and across the Atlantic into the New World. Finally, the course examines the concept of Diaspora and theories relative to processes of cultural change, resistance, and retentions, as well as the role gender plays in these processes. No prerequisites. Anth 231, WGS 231 and LAS 231 are cross-listed.


LAS-232 Precolumbian Civilizations of Mesoamerica
Introduction to the organization and development of Native American civilizations in Mexico and Central America. Evidence from archaeological and ethnographic research, Native texts and art, and Spanish Colonial writings is used to study religious beliefs, sociopolitical organization, economic relationships, and intellectual achievements of such groups as the Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs. Period prior to the sixteenth-century Spanish conquest is emphasized, but modern indigenous cultures are also studied. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106; or Latin American Studies 140 or 147. Anth 232 and LAS 232 are cross-listed.


LAS-236 Precolumbian Civilizations of South America
Introduction to the organization and development of Native American civilizations in South America. Evidence from archaeological and ethnographic research, Native texts and art, and Spanish Colonial writings is used to study religious beliefs, sociopolitical organization, economic relationships, and intellectual achievements of such groups as the Inka, Moche, and Chavin. Period prior to the sixteenth-century Spanish conquest is emphasized, but modern indigenous cultures are also studied. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106; or Latin American Studies 140 or 147. Anth 236 and LAS 236 are cross-listed.


LAS-237 Borderlands of the Americas
Examines from a comparative perspective various borderlands and frontier cultures in the Americas. Focuses on regions beyond effective control of Europeans in the Early Modern era showing how societies in these imperial peripheries functioned differently from the colonial cores by having to negotiate their daily existence with the Indian peoples that surrounded them. The course also underlines how diseases, horses, guns, alcohol and European missionaries destabilized these ancient groups and served as catalysts for the emergence of new nations.


LAS-251 Topics in Musicology: Global - Music of the Caribbean
An examination of music in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Trinidad. Disciplinary perspectives come from ethnomusicology (the study of music as culture), Africana Studies, and Latin American Studies. Covers recreational musics (such as reggae and salsa) as well as religious musics (such as bata drumming) in relation to broader cultural currents such as national identity, race, social class, gender, sexuality, and religion. MUS 251, AFS 251, and LAS 251 are cross-listed.


LAS-261 Colonial Latin American History
Exploration of Spanish and Portuguese America from its roots in Iberia and indigenous America through three centuries of change. During the period, Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans transformed their economies and cultures and created new societies. Hist 261 and LAS 261 are cross-listed.


LAS-262 Social Development of Latin America
A study of the development of Latin American states and societies. It first examines the various strategies employed by Latin American elites to develop capitalist societies that serve their interests. Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina are used to illustrate the implementation of these strategies. The second part of the course focuses on social movements to analyze the popular reaction to elites’ strategies of social development. It looks at social movements generally in the region, but it pays particular attention to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Soc 262 and LAS 262 are cross-listed.


LAS-263 Modern Latin American History
Survey of Latin American history from independence through the formation of national identity and the quest for modernity to dictatorship, democracy, and neoliberalism. Hist 262 and LAS 263 are cross-listed.


LAS-264 Brazil: Earthly Paradise to Industrial Giant
Major themes in Brazilian history from early Portuguese-indigenous relations, expanding frontiers, colonial society, and the development of African slavery, through nineteenth-century formation of national identity, to twentieth-century industrialization, political struggle, and cultural change. Hist 264 and LAS 264 are cross-listed.


LAS-265 U.S. Latino Voices
The study of selected masterpieces of Latino literature from the United States. Special emphasis is given to writers representing the largest segments of the U.S. Latino population: Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Dominicans. Other Latino communities are represented in shorter reading selections. This is primarily a literature course engaging students in literary analysis of each text’s themes, structure and style. ENG 265 and LAS 265 are cross-listed.


LAS-267 Society and Politics in Latin America
A study of historical, social and political development of the Dominican Republic. The course looks at the tensions between dictatorship, democracy, social development, and international migration to explain contemporary Dominican society. These factors are seen in the context of international capitalist development and the nation’s re-insertion into globalization. Soc 267 and LAS 267 are cross-listed.


LAS-268 Gender and Sexuality in Latino/a Cinema
Critical exploration of the representation of gender and sexuality in Latino/a cinema in the United States. The course invites students to ponder questions like: How has the cinematic representation and self-representation of Latinos/as evolved since the 1920s? How do gender and sexuality interact with race, class, and the politics of language to construct specific images of Latinos/as in film? How do gender, sexuality, and politics interact to construct different representations of Latino history on film?


LAS-275 Latin American Politics
Introduction to Latin American politics. Focus is on political issues surrounding economic development in the Latin American context: political preconditions, policy choices of Latin American regimes and leaders, and political consequences of development in general, and of those policy choices in particular. Course also compares the political systems and development trajectories of Latin American countries to other countries in the world. Pol 275 and LAS 275 are cross-listed. Prerequisite: POL 104


LAS-276 Contemporary Mexican State and Society
Study of the development of Mexico’s economic and social development in the Twentieth Century. The course focuses on two tasks: it provides an outline of economic and social development since independence and evaluates the process of industrialization in the twentieth century. The basic conceptual framework is that a socio-historical approach may help us understand the successive periods of growth and stagnation in Mexican society. What does the sociological analysis teach us about the current obstacles to social and economic development?


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LAS-300 Topics in Latin American Studies
A study of Latin American societies as seen through the lenses of Anthropology, Political Science, Literature, History, Economics or Sociology.


LAS-304 Film & Revolution in Latin America
Investigation of Latin American movies that urge revolutionary change. Special attention to films of the Cuban Revolution and to underground cinema, neorealist films, and indigenous film movements in other Latin American countries. Attention to the social and political context in which the films were made. Analysis of the contrasting presuppositions and assertions in revolutionary filmmakers’ theoretical writings, of the impact of their theories on their films, and of the evolution of revolutionary movies.


LAS-322 The Hispanic Heritage in the United States
Study of the Hispanic experience in the territory that is now the United States, from the early Spanish explorations to the present. This course examines the historical roots of the various groups that belong to this large and diverse segment of the U.S. population, looking at the issues that distinguish each group, as well as those that join all the groups under the Hispanic umbrella. Readings, films, guest speakers, and contact with the local Hispanic community provide sources of information for reflection on the ways in which the various groups have faced the challenges of integration into American society.


LAS-331 Reinventing Latin American Societies
A study of the changing pattern of democratic development in Latina America. It will first analyze the processes of transition and consolidation of the region’s democracies from the 1980s to 2009 and, then, focus, on issues of clientelism, citizenship, and populism. What is holding back the consolidation of democracy in the region? Prerequisite: LAS 140 or any other course with a focus on Latin America. Soc 331 and LAS 331 are cross-listed.


LAS-361 The Mexican Revolution
Study of the background, precursor movements, participants, events, and outcome of the violent social revolution; that swept the Mexican countryside between 1910 and 1917. Hist 361 and LAS 361 are cross-listed.


LAS-362 The U.S. & Latin America since 1898
The United States and Latin America since 1898. This course examines the evolution of U.S. policy toward Latin America, identifying the historical developments that have shaped that policy. It also investigates the effects these policies have had in the region and the ways in which Latin Americans have reacted to them. While the course centers on traditional diplomatic history in its orientation, it also examines interactions among non-state actors and the broader cultural and social dimensions of international relations.


LAS-364 Social Difference in Brazilian History
Intensive study of Brazilian history with an emphasis on the creation of social difference, the formation of concepts of race and ethnicity, and the construction of colonial, imperial, and national identities. Exploring historiographical trends and recent scholarship, the course emphasizes topics such as early contact, colonial society, Indian and African slavery, immigration, religion and culture, and indigenism. Prerequisite: LAS/Hist 261, LAS 263/Hist 262 or instructor permission. Hist 364 and LAS 364 are cross-listed.


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LAS-450 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.


LAS-451 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.


LAS-452 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.


LAS-453 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.


LAS-460 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.


LAS-461 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.


LAS-462 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.


LAS-463 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U.


LAS-464 Individualized Study-Research



LAS-470 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.


LAS-471 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.


LAS-472 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.


LAS-473 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.


LAS-474 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


LAS-475 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


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