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Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses

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Latinx and Latin American Studies

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

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 2023-24. †On leave fall semester 2023-2024. ‡On leave spring semester 2023-24.   

105 Spanish for Bilingual Students

(See SPAN 105)

140 Immigration and White Supremacy

(See AMST 140)

186 Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture

(See ARHA 186)

200 Major Debates in Latinx and Latin American Studies

(Offered as LLAS 200 and AMST 206) 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.

Limited to 15 students. Spring Semester. Professor Alicia Christoff. 

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

201 Power and Resistance in the Black Atlantic

(See BLST 201)

204 Housing, Urbanization, and Development

(See ARCH 204)

205 Finding Your Bilingual Voice

(See SPAN 205)

208 Spain and the Pacific World, 1571-1898

(See HIST 208)

216 Frida and Diego

(See HIST 216)

225 Latin American Literature in Translation

A joyful introduction to modern Latin American literary classics in translation through the works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Roberto Bolano, Clarise Lispector, and others. The discussion-driven classes will focus on aesthetic movements like Magical Realism as well as on the development of national identity, mestizaje, civil unrest, racial and gender relations, humor, translation, and the opposition between Europeanized and indigenous worldviews. Students will delve into canonical poems, stories, essays, and short novels from the seventeenth century to the present that have reshaped the international scene. Language: English. 

Limited to 40 students. January term. Professor Stavans. 

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

226 Theorizing the Black Queer Americas

(See BLST 226)

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

(See RELI 234)

248 Cuba: The Politics of Extremism

(See POSC 248)

255 Latin American Art: Strategies and Tactics

(See ARHA 255)

260 Art in and out of Latin America

(See ARHA 260)

261 History of Central America

(See HIST 261)

262 Latin America and the United States

(See HIST 262)

264 Introduction to Latin America

(Offered as HIST 264 [LA/TC/TE/TR/P] and LLAS 264)  Over the course of three centuries, massive migrations from Europe and Africa and the dramatic decline of indigenous populations in South and Central America radically transformed the cultural, political, economic, and material landscape of what we today know as Latin America. This course will investigate the dynamism of Latin American societies beginning in the ancient or pre-conquest period and ending with the collapse of European rule in most Spanish, Portuguese, and French speaking territories in the New World. We will explore this history through the eyes of various historical actors, including politicians, explorers, noble men and women, indigenous intellectuals, and African slaves. In addition to interrogating the myriad of peaceable and creative cross-cultural exchanges and interactions that characterized the relationship between these groups, we will also explore how conflict, exploitation, and natural disaster shaped the Colonial Latin American experience. Through a mixture of lecture, small and large group activities, and analysis of primary and secondary sources we will also consider how historians understand the past as well as the foundational debates which shape our current interpretations of colonial Latin American history. Two class meetings per week.

Not offered in 2023-24.Omitted 2022-23. Professor Lopez.

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

268 Black History of Spanish America, 1503-1886

(See BLST 268)

280 Slave Resistance in Latin America & the Caribbean

(See BLST 280)

281 Africa, Latin America, & the Atlantic Slave Trade

(See BLST 281)

282 From Slavery to Freedom in Latin America

(See BLST 282)

319 Tango to Reguetón: Popular Music in Latin American Literature

(See SPAN 319)

333 Latinx Religion and Immigration

(See RELI 333)

335 New Latin American Documentary

(See SPAN 335)

350 Black Latinas: Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latinx Women of African Descent

(See BLST 350)

355 One Hundred Years of Solitude

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude is the best novel ever written in Spanish in the Americas. Appearing inauspiciously in 1967, it became the flagship of the so-called "El Boom," an aesthetic movement that inscribed Latin America in the banquet of world literature. It also inaugurated the style called "lo real maravillioso," loosely translated into English as Magical Realism. The narrative tells the rise and fall of Macondo, a mythical town in Colombia's Caribbean coast. At its center is the Buendias, a family of dreamers and entrepreneurs through whom the history of the entire region is told. It is fair to say that after One Hundred Years of Solitude, which brought Garcia Marquez the Nobel Prize, global literature has never been the same. Its influence on figures as diverse as Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Orham Pamuk, and Mo Yan is enormous and continues to reverberate. The course is structured as a Talmudic (e.g., detailed, contextual, ahistorical) reading of the novel. Other works by the author and his contemporaries will also be discussed. After decades in Spanish, this is the first time the course will be taught in English, meaning that students will engage with the material in Gregory Rabassa's masterful translation. However, native Spanish speakers who choose so will be allowed to immerse themselves in the original and write in Spanish. 

Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2023-24. Professor Stavans. 

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023

381 El desierto: Capital, Surveillance, Nomadism

(See SPAN 381)

461 The Creole Imagination

(See ENGL 491)

498, 499 Senior Honors

Spring semester. The Department.

2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023, Spring 2024

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