Latin American Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Ana De La O, Room 327, 115 Prospect St.; (203) 432-5234;

The major in Latin American Studies is designed to further understanding of the societies and cultures of Latin America as viewed from regional and global perspectives. The Latin American Studies major builds on a foundation of language and literature, history, history of art, theater studies, humanities, and the social sciences; its faculty is drawn from many departments and professional schools of the University.

The major in Latin American Studies is interdisciplinary. With two goals in mind—intellectual coherence and individual growth—the student proposes a course of study that must satisfy the requirements listed below. The proposed course of study must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies (DUS). Though all students choose courses in both the humanities and the social sciences, they are expected to concentrate on one or the other.


Prerequisite to the major is knowledge of the two dominant languages of the region, Spanish and Portuguese. Depending on their interests, students select one language for two years of instruction and the other for one. Other languages necessary for research may in appropriate circumstances be substituted for the second language with the consent of the DUS. Students are encouraged to meet the language requirements as early as possible. Courses used to satisfy the language prerequisite may not be counted toward the major.

Requirements of the Major

The major itself requires twelve term courses: one introductory course approved by the DUS; eight courses related to Latin America from departmental offerings or from a provided list of electives; two additional electives; and the senior essay, LAST 491. The eight Latin American content courses should include courses from the following categories: two courses in the social sciences (anthropology, economics, or political science); two courses in history; two courses in Spanish American or Brazilian literatures beyond the language requirement; one course in art, architecture, film and media studies, music, or theater studies; and one seminar in any area related to Latin American Studies. Students wishing to count toward the major courses that do not appear in the program's course offerings should consult with the DUS.

Students must enroll in three seminars or upper-level courses during their junior and senior years. Elective seminars must be approved by the DUS, who can provide a list of appropriate courses.

Senior Requirement

The senior essay is a research paper written usually in one term in LAST 491. Students choose their own topics, which may derive from research done in an earlier course. The essay is planned in advance in consultation with a qualified adviser and a second reader.

In preparing the senior essay, Latin American Studies majors may undertake field research in Latin America. Students are encouraged to apply for summer travel grants through the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies to conduct field research for their senior thesis. The Albert Bildner Travel Prize is awarded to an outstanding junior who submits an application in Spanish or Portuguese in addition to the English application essay. Information about these and other grants is available on Yale's Student Grants & Fellowships website.


A list of courses intended as a guide to students in preparing their programs is available at the office of the DUS and on the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies website. Qualified students may also elect pertinent courses in the Graduate School and in some of the professional schools with permission of the director of graduate studies or professional school registrar and the DUS.

Study Abroad

Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities during summers or through the Year or Term Abroad program. For more information, see Academic Regulations, section K, Special Academic Programs, “Year or Term Abroad.”


Prerequisites 2 years of 1 lang (Spanish or Portuguese), 1 year of the other

Number of courses 12 courses beyond prereqs (incl senior essay)

Distribution of courses 1 intro course approved by DUS; 8 courses related to Latin America in specified fields and 2 electives, 3 of which must be seminars or upper-level courses in junior and senior years, approved by DUS 

Senior requirement Senior essay (LAST 491)

The major in Latin American Studies is designed to further understanding of the cultures of Latin America and to view those cultures from regional and global perspectives. The major builds on a foundation of language and literature, history, and the social sciences; its faculty is drawn from many departments of the University.

For the major in Latin American Studies, knowledge of both Spanish and Portuguese is required. Each student must complete two college-level years of one of these languages, and one year of the other.

Prospective majors should take one or more courses in the required areas of history, literature, and social science, and one course in art, architecture, film studies, music, or theater studies. Suitable courses for first-year students include the following:


Professors Rolena Adorno (Spanish & Portuguese), Ned Blackhawk (History, American Studies), Richard Burger (Anthropology), Hazel Carby (African American Studies, American Studies), Carlos Eire (History, Religious Studies), Eduardo Fernandez-Duque (Anthropology), Paul Freedman (History), Aníbal González (Spanish & Portuguese), Roberto González Echevarría (Spanish & Portuguese), K. David Jackson (Spanish & Portuguese), Gilbert Joseph (History), Stathis Kalyvas (Political Science), Daniel Markovits (Law School), Mary Miller (History of Art), Stephen Pitti (History), Susan Rose-Ackerman (Law School, Political Science), Alicia Schmidt Camacho (American Studies), Stuart Schwartz (History), Susan Stokes (Political Science), Robert Thompson (History of Art), Noël Valis (Spanish & Portuguese), Frederick Wherry (Sociology), Elisabeth Wood (Political Science)

Associate Professors Robert Bailis (Forestry & Environmental Studies), Susan Byrne (Spanish & Portuguese), Rodrigo Canales (School of Management), Ana De La O (Political Science), Moira Fradinger (Comparative Literature)

Assistant Professors Vanessa Agard-Jones (Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Ryan Bennett (Linguistics), Oswaldo Chinchilla (Anthropology), Marcela Echeverri (History), Anne Eller (History), Leslie Harkema (Spanish & Portuguese), Seth Jacobowitz (East Asian Languages & Literatures), Erica James (History of Art, African American Studies), Albert Laguna (American Studies, Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Dixa Ramirez (American Studies, Ethnicity, Race, & Migration)

Senior Lectors II Margherita Tortora, Sonia Valle

Senior Lectors Sybil Alexandrov, Marta Almeida, María Pilar Asensio-Manrique, Mercedes Carreras, Ame Cividanes, Sebastián Díaz, María de la Paz García, María Jordán, Rosamaría León, Juliana Ramos-Ruano, Lissette Reymundi, Lourdes Sabé-Colom, Bárbara Safille, Terry Seymour

Lector Selma Vital