Latin American Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Ana De La O, C120, 77 Prospect St., 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. 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 director of undergraduate studies. 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 director of undergraduate studies, 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.


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; 2 electives; 3 sems or upper-level courses in junior and senior years 

Senior requirement Senior essay (LAST 491)


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, Maria 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

Electives within the Major

Students wishing to count toward the major courses that do not appear on this list should consult with the director of undergraduate studies.

* AFAM 338a / ENGL 335a / LITR 280a, Caribbean PoetryAnthony Reed

Survey of major twentieth-century Caribbean poets such as Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, and Aimé Césaire.  WR, HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFAM 352b / AMST 438b / ER&M 291b / LITR 295b / WGSS 343b, Caribbean Diasporic LiteratureHeather Vermeulen

An examination of contemporary literature written by Caribbean writers who have migrated to, or who journey between, different countries around the Atlantic rim. Focus on literature written in English in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, both fiction and nonfiction. Writers include Caryl Phillips, Nalo Hopkinson, and Jamaica Kincaid.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFST 353a / MUSI 353a, Topics in World MusicMichael Veal

A critical introduction to selected cultures of world music. Specific cultures vary from year to year but generally include those of Native America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Preference to Music majors according to class.  HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* AFST 486a / HIST 388Ja, Slavery and the Slave Trade in AfricaRobert Harms

The slave trade from the African perspective. Analysis of why slavery developed in Africa and how it operated. The long-term social, political, and economic effects of the Atlantic slave trade.  WR, HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* ANTH 438b, Culture, Power, OilDouglas Rogers

The production, circulation, and consumption of petroleum as they relate to globalization, empire, cultural performance, natural resource extraction, and the nature of the state. Case studies include the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and the former Soviet Union.  SO
W 9:25am-11:15am

ECON 325b, Economics of Developing CountriesDaniel Keniston

Analysis of current problems of developing countries. Emphasis on the role of economic theory in informing public policies to achieve improvements in poverty and inequality, and on empirical analysis to understand markets and responses to poverty. Topics include microfinance, education, health, agriculture, intrahousehold allocations, gender, and corruption. After introductory microeconomics and econometrics.  SO
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* ECON 465a / EP&E 224a / GLBL 330a, Debating GlobalizationErnesto Zedillo

Facets of contemporary economic globalization, including trade, investment, and migration. Challenges and threats of globalization: inclusion and inequality, emerging global players, global governance, climate change, and nuclear weapons proliferation. Prerequisite: background in international economics and data analysis. Preference to seniors majoring in Economics or EP&E.  SORP
F 9:25am-11:15am

* ECON 467b / GLBL 307b, Economic Evolution of the Latin American and Caribbean CountriesErnesto Zedillo

Economic evolution and prospects of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. Topics include the period from independence to the 1930s; import substitution and industrialization to the early 1980s; the debt crisis and the "lost decade"; reform and disappointment in the late 1980s and the 1990s; exploration of selected episodes in particular countries; and speculations about the future. Prerequisities: intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics.  SO
M 9:25am-11:15am

ER&M 200b, Introduction to Ethnicity, Race, and MigrationAlicia Camacho

Historical roots of contemporary ethnic and racial formations and competing theories of ethnicity, race, and migration. Cultural constructions and social practices of race, ethnicity, and migration in the United States and around the world.  HU, SO
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* ER&M 300b, Comparative Ethnic StudiesDaniel HoSang

Introduction to the methods and practice of comparative ethnic studies. Examination of racial formation in the United States within a transnational framework. Legacies of colonialism, slavery, and racial exclusion; racial formation in schools, prisons, and citizenship law; cultural politics of music and performance; social movements; and postcolonial critique.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EVST 422a / ANTH 409a / ER&M 394a / F&ES 422a, Climate and Society from Past to PresentMichael Dove

Discussion of the major traditions of thought—both historic and contemporary—regarding climate, climate change, and society; focusing on the politics of knowledge and belief vs disbelief; and drawing on the social sciences and anthropology in particular.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* F&ES 020a / EVST 020a, Sustainable Development in HaitiGordon Geballe

The principles and practice of sustainable development explored in the context of Haiti's rich history and culture, as well as its current environmental and economic impoverishment. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  WR
TTh 9am-10:15am

* FILM 363a / LITR 360a, Radical Cinemas of Latin AmericaMoira Fradinger

Introduction to Latin American cinema, with an emphasis on post–World War II films produced in Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Examination of each film in its historical and aesthetic aspects, and in light of questions concerning national cinema and "third cinema." Examples from both pre-1945 and contemporary films. Conducted in English; knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese helpful but not required.  HU
M 7pm-11pm, W 7pm-8:50pm

* HSHM 422a / HIST 467Ja, Cartography, Territory, and IdentityWilliam Rankin

Exploration of how maps shape assumptions about territory, land, sovereignty, and identity. The relationship between scientific cartography and conquest, the geography of statecraft, religious cartographies, encounters between Western and non-Western cultures, and reactions to cartographic objectivity. Students make their own maps. No previous experience in cartography or graphic design required.  WR, HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* LAST 030a / ANTH 030a / ARCG 030a, Inca Culture and SocietyRichard Burger

History of the Inca empire of the Central Andes, including the empire's impact on the nations and cultures it conquered. Overview of Inca religion, economy, political organization, technology, and society. Ways in which different schools of research have approached and interpreted the Incas over the last century, including the influence of nationalism and other sources of bias on contemporary scholarship. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  SO
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* LAST 222a / SPAN 222a, Legal SpanishMercedes Carreras

An introduction to Spanish and Latin American legal culture with a focus on the specific traits of legal language and on the development of advanced language competence. Issues such as human rights, the death penalty, the jury, contracts, statutory instruments, and rulings by the constitutional courts are explored through law journal articles, newspapers, the media, and mock trials. Enrollment limited to 18. A maximum of one course in the 200-230 range may count as an elective toward the Spanish major.  L5

* LAST 223b / SPAN 223b, Spanish in Film: An Introduction to the New Latin American CinemaMargherita Tortora

Development of proficiency in Spanish through analysis of critically acclaimed Latin American films. Includes basic vocabulary of film criticism in Spanish as well as discussion and language exercises. Enrollment limited to 18.  L5
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* LAST 225b / SPAN 225b / SPAN S225E, Spanish for the Medical ProfessionsMercedes Carreras

Topics in health and welfare. Conversation, reading, and writing about medical issues for advanced Spanish-language students, including those considering careers in medical professions. Enrollment limited to 18.  L5

* LAST 227a / SPAN 227a, Creative WritingMaría Jordán

An introduction to the craft and practice of creative writing (fiction, poetry, and essays). Focus on the development of writing skills and awareness of a variety of genres and techniques through reading of exemplary works and critical assessment of student work. Emphasis on the ability to write about abstract ideas, sentiments, dreams, and the imaginary world. Enrollment limited to 18. A maximum of one course in the 200-230 range may count as an elective toward the Spanish major.  L5
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* LAST 243a or b / SPAN 243a or b, Advanced Spanish GrammarStaff

A comprehensive, in-depth study of grammar intended to improve students' spoken and written command of Spanish. Linguistic analysis of literary selections; some English-to-Spanish translation. Enrollment limited to 18.   L5

LAST 247b / SPAN 247b, Introduction to the Cultures of Latin AmericaRolena Adorno

A chronological study of Latin American cultures through their expressions in literature and the arts, beginning in the pre-Columbian period and focusing on the period from the nineteenth century to the present. Emphasis on crucial historical moments and on distinctive rituals such as fiestas. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish. Counts toward the major in Spanish.  L5, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* LAST 253a / HIST 253Ja, Dissidence and Control in Early Modern Spain and its EmpireMaría Jordán

Aspects of Spanish culture and society in the Golden Age (c. 1550–1650) that demonstrate discontent, dissidence, and suggestions for reform. Emphasis on the intersection of historical and literary sources and the dynamic between popular and elite cultures.  WR, HU
T 9:25am-11:15am

LAST 261a / SPAN 261a, Studies in Spanish Literature IRolena Adorno

An introduction to Spanish prose, drama, and lyric poetry from their medieval multicultural origins through the Golden Age in the seventeenth century. Readings include El Cid, La Celestina, Conde Lucanor, and works by Miguel de Cervantes and Calderón de la Barca. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish. Counts toward the major in Spanish.  L5, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* LAST 262b / SPAN 262b, Studies in Spanish Literature IILeslie Harkema

An introduction to Spanish prose, drama, and lyric poetry from the eighteenth century to the present, centered on the conflict between modernity and tradition and on the quest for national identity. Texts by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Antonio Machado, Federico García Lorca, Ramón Sender, and Ana María Matute, among others. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish.  L5, HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* LAST 289b / ER&M 289b / HSAR 464b / PORT 391, Twentieth-Century Latin American ArtMonica Bravo

Survey of some of the major artistic figures, movements, and theorists associated with twentieth-century Latin American art. The historical scope begins with academic art and concludes with what might be more appropriately deemed the global contemporary. Consideration of whether there is such a thing as Latin American art.  HU
M 9:25am-11:15am

* LAST 274a / ER&M 274a / HSAR 416a, The Mexican Cultural Renaissance, 1920–1940Monica Bravo

Study of Mexican modern artists including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo and the influx of foreign artists drawn to Mexico after the Revolution of the 1910s. Consideration of the relationship of art to revolution and how history works to make meaning from the past.   HU
Th 2:30pm-4:20pm

* LAST 293b / ER&M 293b, History and Culture of CubaAlbert Laguna

Investigation of the history and culture of Cuba from the colonial period to the present. Cultural production in the form of film, literature, and music discussed in relation to aesthetics and historical context. The course also engages with the history and culture of Cuban communities in the United States.   HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* LAST 318a / ARCH 341a / GLBL 253a, Globalization SpaceKeller Easterling

Infrastructure space as a primary medium of change in global polity. Networks of trade, energy, communication, transportation, spatial products, finance, management, and labor, as well as new strains of political opportunity that reside within their spatial disposition. Case studies include free zones and automated ports around the world, satellite urbanism in South Asia, high-speed rail in Japan and the Middle East, agripoles in southern Spain, fiber optic submarine cable in East Africa, spatial products of tourism in North Korea, and management platforms of the International Organization for Standardization.  HU
MW 10:30am-11:20am

* LAST 320b / AFAM 340b / AMST 303b / ER&M 320b / LITR 332b, Narratives of Blackness in Latino and Latin AmericaDixa Ramirez

Focus on the cultural and literary treatments of Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latina/o subjectivity in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin America and in the United States through the study of literature, historical first-hand accounts, film, and scholarship produced from the 16th century to the present. Themes include slave insurrections, the plantation system, piracy and buccaneering, the black roots of several Latin American musical genres, miscegenation, and the central role of sexuality in race-based social hierarchies.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* LAST 334b / ER&M 364b / HIST 334Jb, Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Politics of Knowledge in Latin AmericaMarcela Echeverri Munoz

Examination of ethnicity and nationalism in Latin America through the political lens of social knowledge. Comparative analysis of the evolution of symbolic, economic, and political perspectives on indigenous peoples, peasants, and people of African descent from the nineteenth century to the present. Consideration of the links between making ethnic categories in the social sciences and in literature and the rise of political mechanisms of participation and representation that have characterized the emergence of cultural politics.  WR, HURP
Th 2:30pm-4:20pm

* LAST 343a / SPAN 343a, Humor in Contemporary Spanish American NarrativeAníbal González Perez

With the use of theoretical and philosophical discussions of humor, examination of how contemporary Spanish American narrative deploys humor for a variety of purposes: from social satire and critical reflection to the promotion of harmony among individuals and social groups. Authors include Bryce Echenique, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Cabrera Infante, and Augusto Monterroso. Conducted in Spanish.  L5, HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

LAST 355a / HIST 355a, Colonial Latin AmericaStuart Schwartz

A survey of the conquest and colonization of Latin America from pre-Columbian civilizations through the movements for independence. Emphasis on social and economic themes and the formation of identities in the context of multiracial societies.  HU
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

* LAST 356b / ER&M 270b / HIST 358Jb, History of Mexico since IndependenceGilbert Joseph

Modern Mexico from the wars of independence in the early nineteenth century to the present. Social, cultural, and economic trends and their relationship to political movements; particular emphasis on the Revolution of 1910 and the long shadow it has cast, and on patterns of relations with the United States.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

LAST 361b / HIST 361b, History of BrazilStaff

Brazilian history from European contact to the reestablishment of civilian government in the 1990s. Focus on the multiethnic nature of Brazilian society, the formation of social and political patterns, and the relationship of people to the environment.  HU
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

LAST 368a / ER&M 368a / HIST 368a, Political Violence, Citizenship, and Democracy in Latin AmericaMarcela Echeverri Munoz

Exploration of how and when definitions of citizenship and democracy have been shaped by violent conflicts; how local and global contexts have influenced individual and collective political action; and the transformation of leadership, ideologies, and utopias in different Latin American contexts.  WR, HU
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm

* LAST 372a / ER&M 342a / HIST 372Ja, Revolutionary Change and Cold War in Latin AmericaGilbert Joseph

Analysis of revolutionary movements in Latin America against the backdrop of the Cold War. Critical examination of popular images and orthodox interpretations. An interdisciplinary study of the process of revolutionary change and cold war at the grassroots level.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* LAST 386a / GLBL 215a / MGRK 237a / PLSC 375a / SOCY 389a, Populism from Chavez to TrumpParis Aslanidis

Investigation of the nature of the populist phenomenon and its impact on politics, society, and the economy in various regions of the world. Conceptual and methodological analyses are supported by comparative assessments of various empirical instances, from populist politicians such as Hugo Chavez and Donald Trump, to populist social movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.  SO
T 2:30pm-4:20pm

* LAST 416a / GLBL 189a / HLTH 325a, Methods and Ethics in Global Health ResearchLeslie Curry

Introduction to research methods in global health that recognize the influence of political, economic, social, and cultural factors. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method approaches; ethical aspects of conducting research in resource-constrained settings; the process of obtaining human subjects' approval. Students develop proposals for short-term global health research projects conducted in resource-constrained settings.  SORP
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* LITR 360a / FILM 363a, Radical Cinemas of Latin AmericaMoira Fradinger

Introduction to Latin American cinema, with an emphasis on post–World War II films produced in Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Examination of each film in its historical and aesthetic aspects, and in light of questions concerning national cinema and "third cinema." Examples from both pre-1945 and contemporary films. Conducted in English; knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese helpful but not required.  HU
M 7pm-11pm, W 7pm-8:50pm

PLSC 148b / HMRT 100b, Theories, Practices, and Politics of Human RightsThania Sanchez and Tamar Ezer

Introduction to core human-rights issues, ideas, practices, and controversies. The concept of human rights as a philosophical construct, a legal instrument, a political tool, an approach to economic and equity issues, a social agenda, and an international locus of contestation and legitimation. Required for students in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights.  SO
MW 2:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 152a / EP&E 245a / EP&E 449, Global Firms and National GovernmentsJoseph LaPalombara

Interactions between large-scale firms that make international investments and policy makers and government officials in the “host” countries. National and subnational officials who work to attract investments (or not) and who set policies regulating global firms and their investments. Focus on less-developed countries. Theories as to why firms “globalize”; case studies of controversies created by overseas corporate investments; the changing economic landscape associated with investments by countries such as China, Brazil, and India.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 415b / SOCY 172b, Religion and Politics in the WorldKatharine Baldwin

A broad overview of the relationship between religion and politics around the world, especially Christianity and Islam. Religions are considered to constitute not just theologies but also sets of institutions, networks, interests, and sub-cultures. The course’s principal aim is to understand how religion affects politics as an empirical matter, rather than to explore moral dimensions of this relationship.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* PLSC 428a / EP&E 240a / GLBL 333a, Comparative Welfare Policy in Developing CountriesJeremy Seekings

Examination of public and private welfare systems in the developing world. Analysis of the evolving relationships between kin or community and states and market. Particular attention to the politics of contemporary reforms.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

Directed Reading and Senior Essay Courses

* LAST 471a, Directed ReadingStaff

For students who wish to investigate an area of Latin American Studies not covered by regular offerings. The project must terminate with a term paper or its equivalent. No more than one term of credit may be earned. To apply for admission, a student should present a prospectus and a bibliography to the director of undergraduate studies no later than one day before the course selection period concludes. Written approval from the faculty member who will direct the student's reading and writing must accompany the prospectus.

* LAST 491a or b, The Senior EssayAna De La O

Preparation of a research paper about forty pages long under the direction of a faculty adviser, in either the fall or the spring term. Students write on subjects of their own choice. During the term before the essay is written, students plan the project in consultation with a qualified adviser or the director of undergraduate studies. The student must submit a suitable project outline and bibliography to the adviser and the director of undergraduate studies by the third week of the term. The outline should indicate the focus and scope of the essay topic, as well as the proposed research methodology. Permission may be given to write a two-term essay after consultation with an adviser and the director of undergraduate studies and after submission of a project statement. Only those who have begun to do advanced work in a given area are eligible. The requirements for the one-term senior essay apply to the two-term essay, except that the two-term essay should be substantially longer.