Latin American Studies Courses (ILAS)

ILAS 200. Democracy in Latin America (4)

This course is intended as an introduction to the study of Latin America using the concept of democracy as our optical lens. The course is concerned with both the object of study, Latin America, and the context from which the study emanates, the United States. What has been the experience of democracy within the Latin American context? What is said and thought in the United States regarding democracy in Latin America? How do these two traditions interact with each other? We will be concerned primarily with the post-World War II historical context and will look at societies in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Southern Cone. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Cultural Perspectives.

ILAS 206. Introduction to Latin American Literature in Translation (4)

This course introduces literary expression in 19th- and 20th-century Latin America and is meant for students not necessarily familiar with the region or its languages. While incorporating film, essays, art, and basic historical background, the course focuses on short stories, poems, plays and novels from various countries, including the United States, in order to familiarize students with a variety of genres and periods. Since the course is in English, we will also address issues of translation. The course may offer a particular focus of particular relevance to the region, depending on the professor. Topics covered may include national identity; gender and sexuality; experimental representations of reality; ethnicity and social class; religion; memory; and history.

ILAS 310. The Latino/a Experience in the United States (4)

There has been a long and sometimes conflict-laden relationship between the United States and its Spanish-speaking neighbors to the south. This relationship has become even more important as the world has become more global and multi-cultural in nature. According to the last U.S. census, the Latino/a population in the United States is the largest minority group in the country. This is by no means a minor social event in the history of the American continent. This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of Americans of Latino descent in the United States across time and space. The course concentrates on two main issues: 1) the past and current social situation and cultural expressions of these groups within U.S. society; and 2) the construction of the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino/a" as labels used to represent a diverse ethnic/cultural constituency. The course uses an array of interdisciplinary readings and other materials from the fields of history, political science, anthropology, sociology, literature, and cultural studies.

ILAS 340. Social Change and Musical Expression in Latin America (4)

This course focuses on the relationship between social change and musical expression in Latin America. Special importance will be given to how music either resists or contributes to the formation of local and national identities within various developing democracies. Specific examples of Latin American social and political cultures will be studied with a focus on the production and interpretation of music during crucial historical moments. Various styles, genres, and artists will be analyzed with an emphasis on their cultural significance during moments of political, social and cultural transition in Latin America.

ILAS 350. Latin American Cinema (4)

This course will analyze various contemporary Latin American films with an emphasis on how each one reflects or rejects its particular social, political, and cultural context. Special attention will be paid to how each work engages the balance between what may be perceived as the traditional characteristics of a particular local identity and the changes of that identity due to economic, political, and cultural fluctuations. The representation of gender, race, class and identity in each film will be emphasized.

ILAS 370. Guatemalan History (4)

In this course we will study Guatemalan history from pre-Columbian times until the present. Although Guatemala reproduces many of the conditions typical of Latin America during the past 500 years, it is also different because of its Mayan population. Despite the Spanish conquest, Maya culture never disappeared. Today the majority of Guatemalans are Maya: they speak their own languages, they worship deities maintaining links with 4,000 years of Maya cultural tradition, and in many different ways they define themselves as a unique culture. Approximately half of the course will deal with Guatemalan history before the 20th century, and the other half will focus on the 20th century. This course is cross-listed with HIST 370.

ILAS 380.  Cultural History of Argentina (4)

At the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest nations in the world. Blessed with a territory rich in natural resources, and a highly skilled population, Argentina faced a very promising future. At the beginning of the 21st century, Argentina was a bankrupt nation, having experienced long periods of brutal dictatorship, social unrest, corrupt government, and disastrous financial policies. In this course we explore what happened to transform a promising young nation into an economic and social disaster. We also consider what is in store for the future of Argentine society, taking into account the efforts undertaken within civil society to address the challenges of the 21st century. The approach taken in the course is to look at cultural dynamics that help to shed light on social and historical manifestations.

ILAS 493/494. St. Mary's Project (8E)

A student-initiated and student-executed project of eight credit hours is the senior capstone experience. While the thesis can be written in English, a significant Spanish language component is expected. The project may be a research project in literary or cultural studies, a creative-expressive project involving arts, or a pedagogical project involving teaching applications. Also, depending on the focus of the student's interests, the project can be single or multi-disciplinary based. Whatever the nature of the project, students must demonstrate in it: 1) linguistic competence equal to the task, 2) a method of approach and execution appropriate to the task, 3) adequate knowledge of the particular area of research or endeavor, 4) an ability to analyze and reflect upon this knowledge in order to integrate it with knowledge in other areas of inquiry or performance, and 5) the readiness to critically discuss and publicly share the results of the project. Prerequisites: ILCT 393; approval of a faculty project mentor; approval of the department chair. NOTE: Students whose projects are to be based on material collected "in the field" while studying abroad during their junior year or while engaged in off-campus apprenticeships or internships should discuss their plans with a faculty adviser as early as the second semester of their sophomore year. This course is repeatable for up to eight credit hours.

ILAS 199, 299, 399, 499. Independent Study (1-4E)

This course consists of an independent creative or research project designed by the student and supervised by a foreign language faculty member. The nature of the project, the schedule for accomplishment, and the means of evaluation must be formalized in a learning contract prior to registration. (See "Independent Study" under "Academic Policies" section.)