Latin American Studies
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.
ILAS 205. The Latinx 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 210. Latin American Cultural Studies (4)
This course defines Cultural Studies from a Latin American perspective and examines its contribution to the continuing reinvention of Latin America and enhancement of intellectual exchanges and debates between Latin America and the Western World. It also examines how Latin American Cultural Studies addresses colonialism and postcolonial theories. The course operates with a broad understanding of culture, one that encompasses literatures, languages, political discourses, social movements, indigenous perspectives on colonialism and modernity, as well as different cultural production practices such as film, music, plastic art, theater and performace. Since Cultural Studies leads us to understand the politics of culture beyond the borders of disciplines, students in this course will experience a strong interdisciplinary approach to different practices and events through which culture either strengthens or counters structures of power.
ILAS 315. Latin American Literature in Translation (4)
This course uses literary expression to deepen understanding of Latin American perspectives on a variety of cultural and historical issues. While incorporating film, essays, art and basic historical background, the course focuses on short stories, poems, plays and/or novels from various countries, including the United States, in order to familiarize students with a variety of genres. 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. Familiarity with the region or its languages is not a prerequisite.
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 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.