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Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses

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Latinx and Latin American Studies

Professors R. López (Chair), Schmalzbauer, and Schroeder Rodríguez; Associate Professor Del Moral*; Assistant Professor Barba, Coranez Bolton, and Hicks.

Affiliated Faculty: Professors Cobham-Sander, Corrales, and Stavans†; Assistant Professors Arboleda, Infante, Ravikumar, Sanchez-Naranjo, Walker, and Vicario*.

Latinx and Latin American Studies (LLAS) is an interdisciplinary major program designed for students interested in critically examining the diverse histories and cultures of Latin America, the Caribbean, and U.S. Latinxs. Students in the major gain breadth and depth of learning through courses in the humanities and the social sciences that situate these histories and cultures within local, national, regional, hemispheric, and global contexts over time, while practical experiences such as community projects and study abroad provide opportunities to apply this learning in transformative ways.

Major Program. Majoring in LLAS requires the completion of nine courses: seven courses as described below, plus two additional courses to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.

  • one required course: LLAS 200: Major Debates in Latinx and Latin American Studies.
  • one course on U.S. Latinxs in any department.
  • one course on Latin America in any department.
  • one course on the Caribbean in any department.
  • two courses taught in one of the languages spoken in Latin America and the Caribbean, other than English. These courses may focus on the development of language skills, and/or they may be content courses on a subject relevant to the Major.
  • a research or methods seminar in any department, with completion of the written project on a topic relevant to LLAS. In order to ensure that the research will be on a topic relevant to LLAS, the research or methods seminar must be approved by both the Major advisor and the professor teaching the course.

LLAS majors may credit up to three courses from another major, provided they fall into one of the categories listed above. In addition, majors must have

  • a concentration with at least three courses in one of the following areas: U.S. Latinxs, Latin America, or the Caribbean.
  • at least two courses in the humanities and at least two in the social sciences.
  • coursework in at least three departments.
  • residency requirement: at least five of the nine courses must be taken at Amherst College.
  • Capstone Requirement: The capstone requirement will be met through a portfolio of work done in the Major, introduced by a reflective essay that addresses how the interdisciplinary nature of the coursework informs a question or topic of special interest to the student and his/her long-term plans. Students will publicly share these reflections during a LLAS Major Capstone Symposium.

Departmental Honors Program. Candidates for Latin Honors must complete a senior thesis. The work of the thesis may be creative or scholarly in nature. Interested candidates must apply and be accepted by the end of their third year, and must, in addition to the coursework described above, enroll in LLAS 498 and/or 499 during their senior year.

*On leave 2019-20.†On leave fall semester 2019-20.  

135 Race and Religion in the U.S. West/Mexico Borderlands

(See RELI 135)

144H Contemporary Dance Technique: Salsa Performance and Culture

(See THDA 144H)

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(See ARHA 186)

200 Major Debates in Latinx and Latin American Studies

In this course students will become familiar with the major debates that have animated Latinx and Latin American Studies, addressing a wide range of issues from the Conquest to the present. Each week students will focus on specific questions such as: Does Latin America have a common culture? Is Latin America part of the Western world? Is Latinx a race or an ethnicity? Is U.S. Latinx identity rooted in Latin America or the United States? Are Latin American nations post-colonial? Was the modern concept of race invented in the Caribbean at the time of the Conquest? The opposing viewpoints around such questions will provide the main focus of the reading assignments, which will average two or three articles per week. In the first four weeks, students will learn a methodology for analyzing, contextualizing, and making arguments that they will apply in developing their own positions in the specific controversies that will make up the rest of the course.

Professor Coráñez Bolton will be offering this course completely online via Zoom. The class will have a mix of synchronous “live” class meetings and some asynchronous components via Moodle (discussion threads, recorded lecture materials and presentations, etc). The class will also feature some live online screenings of relevant documentaries and films to encourage a community of viewership. While there will be some asynchronous work, a greater emphasis will be on synchronous class meetings and discussions. This class will require several short oral reading presentations, one longer formal oral presentation, and an analytical essay of approximately 7-10 pages. For the final projects, students will have latitude to prepare something more free-form, artistic, literary, or visual if it is desired and always in consultation with the professor.

Limited to 15 students.

Fall semester. Professor Sony Coranez Bolton.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

201 Power and Resistance in the Black Atlantic

(See BLST 201)

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(See ARCH 204)

205 Owning the Bilingual Self

(See SPAN 205)

208 Spain and the Pacific World, 1571-1898

(See HIST 208)

234 The Sanctuary Movement: Religion, Activism, and Social Contestation

(See RELI 234)

240 Religion on the Move: Religion and Migration in North America

(See RELI 240)

248 Cuba: The Politics of Extremism

(See POSC 248)

250 Being Human in STEM

(See CHEM 250)

261 History of Central America

(See HIST 261)

262 Latin America and the United States

(See HIST 262)

263 Struggles for Democracy in Modern Latin America, 1820 to the Present

(See HIST 263)

264 Introduction to Latin America: Conquest, Colonization and Rebellion

(See HIST 264)

300 Chicanx and Filipinx Farmworkers' History in California

This course offers a broad historical analysis of the Chicanx and Filipinx labor movement histories of the 1960s and 1970s. Accepted students must commit to traveling to California during Spring Break. To situate this course we will begin by considering the shifting contexts of race framed in the United States' imperialism through wars, borders, immigration policies, and labor contracting to feed the nation. Our class will make ample use of Amherst College’s own archives on the United Farm Workers. The course will also be interdisciplinary, focusing on how these movement histories have been represented in literature, cinema, and theatre. The course will be conducted in English. Students taking the course to fulfill the Spanish or LLAS major have the option to conduct written work in Spanish.

Limited to 10 students. Omitted 2020-21. Professors Barba and Coranez Bolton.

2023-24: Not offered

301 Literature and Culture of the Hispanic World

(See SPAN 301)

330 Latinx Religion

(See RELI 330)

341 Mexican Rebels 

(Offered as LLAS 341 and HIST 341 [LA, TE, TS]) What inspires individuals to risk everything to try to change their world? Students will attempt to answer this question through cases ranging from personal acts of rebellion, to social movements and armed conflict. The course pays close attention to personal acts of rebellion against repressive racial, political, and gender structures, focusing on such figures as Hernán Córtes’s legendary consort La Malinche (Malintzin Tenepal), the seventeenth-century protofeminist Sor Juana Inéz de la Cruz, the transgender revolutionary general Amelia/o Robles Ávila, and the artists Gerardo Murillo, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. We also will address armed conflicts such as the Tlaxcalan war against the Aztec Empire, the Wars of Independence (1810-1821), the Maya uprising against white domination in the second half of the nineteenth century, guerrilla resistance against US and French invasions in the 1840s and 1860s, the War of Reform (1857-1860), the Cristero War (1926-1929), the Zapatista uprising of the 1990s, and, most importantly, the Mexican Revolution of (1910-1921). And we will examine social protests, such as the student movement that ended in the Tlatelolco Massacre of 1968, El Barzón, #YoSoy132, MORENA, APPO, the Ayotzinapa protests, and peasant ecology initiatives.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor R. Lopez.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

342 Marxism and Revolution in Twentieth-Century Latin America

(See HIST 342)

343 Comparative Borderlands: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Transnational Perspective

(See SPAN 342)

344 The Cuban Revolution, 1959–2009

(See HIST 344)

345 Gender and Sexuality in Latin America

(See HIST 345)

346 Indigenous Histories of Latin America

(See HIST 346)

362 Childhood in African and Caribbean Literature

(See ENGL 318)

375 Amherst Latinx Lives

(See SPAN 375)

455 One Hundred Years of Solitude

A patient, detailed, Talmudic reading of Gabriel García Márquez’s masterpiece, Cien años de soledad, known as “the Bible of Latin America.” The course sets it in biographical, historical, and aesthetic context. Conducted in Spanish.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Stavans. 

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2018, Spring 2021

461 The Creole Imagination

(See ENGL 491)

485 Telenovelas

(See SPAN 485)

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023

498, 499 Senior Honors

Spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

Related Courses

- (Course not offered this year.)ARHA-255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics (Course not offered this year.)BLST-201 Power and Resistance in the Black Atlantic (Course not offered this year.)HIST-263 Struggles for Democracy in Modern Latin America, 1820 to the Present (Course not offered this year.)HIST-345 Gender and Sexuality in Latin America (Course not offered this year.)POSC-307 States of Extraction: Nature, Women, and World Politics (Course not offered this year.)POSC-421 Indigenous World Politics (Course not offered this year.)SPAN-301 Literature and Culture of the Hispanic World (Course not offered this year.)