Latin American Studies


About the Program

The Latin American Studies program, firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition, combines academic disciplines and includes a strong language component. The curriculum brings together courses from six departments: Anthropology/Sociology, Economics, History, Modern Languages (Spanish), Music, and International Studies. The interdisciplinary approach to Latin American Studies at Rhodes College means that students benefit from exposure to an array of methodologies, theories, and cultural considerations, making Latin American Studies an outstanding course of study for those considering careers in government, business, law, the Peace Corps, education, and journalism.

Latin America is one of the most dynamic regions in the world in terms of economic growth, regional integration, investment, and preservation of natural resources. The links that tie the United States to Latin America are many; they involve trade and finance, politics, and culture. Latin American music, art and sports have all made a place for themselves in mainstream culture in the United States, in rural as well as urban areas. The increasing interdependence of the Americas demands that students gain as much exposure as possible to the issues and forces related to the constantly changing relationships between the United States and Latin America.

Requirements for a Major in Latin American Studies

A total of forty-two to forty-four (42-44) credits as follows:

  1. Latin American Studies 200: Introduction to Latin American Studies.
  2. Latin American Studies 485: Senior Seminar.
  3. Nine of the following courses from at least four different departments. No more than three courses in any one department may count toward the major:
    1. Anthropology/Sociology 224: Latin America Before 1492.
    2. Anthropology/Sociology 325: The Maya and Their World.
    3. Anthropology/Sociology 327: Gender and Power in Latin America.
    4. Anthropology/Sociology 365: Cultural Motifs. (when the topic focuses on Latin America)
    5. Anthropology/Sociology 379: Anthropology of Social Change. (when the topic focuses on Latin America)
    6. Biology 160: An International Experience in Health Care.
    7. Economics 100: Introduction to Economics.
    8. History 261: Colonial Latin America.
    9. History 262: Modern Latin America.
    10. History 363: History of US-Latin American Relations.
    11. International Studies 200: Introduction to Comparative Politics.
    12. International Studies 265: Topics in International Studies. (when the topic focuses on Latin America)
    13. International Studies 266: Topics in International Studies. (when the topic focuses on Latin America)
    14. International Studies 273: Government and Politics of Latin America.
    15. International Studies 274: Issues in US-Latin American Relations.
    16. International Studies 310: Comparative Political Economy.
    17. International Studies 311: International Political Economy.
    18. Latin American Studies 460. (4 credits)
    19. Spanish 306: Introduction to Latin American Cultures and Literatures.*
    20. Spanish 309: Spanish in Latin America.
    21. Spanish 310: US-Latino Literatures and Cultures.
    22. Spanish 320: Spanish American Drama.
    23. Spanish 330: Spanish American Poetry.
    24. Spanish 340: Colonial and Global Visions in Spanish American Literatures.
    25. Spanish 360: Gender in Spanish American Literature.
    26. Spanish 365: Special Topics in Spanish. (when the topic focuses on Latin America)
    27. Spanish 370: Contemporary Southern Cone Literature.
    28. Spanish 405: Literature of Mexico after 1911.
    29. Spanish 406: Contemporary Novel of Spanish America.
    30. Spanish 408: Spanish American Short Story.
    31. Spanish 426: Imperial Discourses of the Hispanic World.

Requirements for a Minor in Latin American Studies

A total of twenty-two to twenty-four (22-24) credits as follows:

  1. Latin American Studies 200.
  2. Five of the following courses from at least four different departments
    (Latin American Studies 460 does not count toward the four-department
    1. Anthropology/Sociology 224.
    2. Anthropology/Sociology 325.
    3. Anthropology/Sociology 379. 
    4. Biology 160.
    5. History 261.
    6. History 262.
    7. International Studies 200.
    8. International Studies 273.
    9. International Studies 274.
    10. Latin American Studies 460.
    11. Spanish 306.*

*Notes: prerequisite for Spanish 306: course or courses required to achieve skill competency for literature courses, usually Spanish 202 and 301 or 302.

Honors in Latin American Studies

  1. Completion of all requirements for the Latin American Studies major.
  2. Completion of Latin American Studies 495-496.
  3. Completion and public presentation of a substantial research project.

Project proposal must be approved by the Latin American Studies Committee by April of the junior year.

Course Offerings

200. Introduction to Latin American Studies.

Fall. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F9.

An introduction to the diverse cultural, social, and political realities of Latin America and the Caribbean. The region is examined from an interdisciplinary perspective that draws on the fields of literature, anthropology, sociology, history, and international studies. Major topics covered in the course include gender, ethnicity, religion, magical realism, immigration, revolution, dictatorship, and human rights. The course is intended as a broad overview of Latin American studies.

460. Latin American Studies Internship.

Fall, Spring. Credit: 1-4.

Degree Requirements: F11.

A work experience at one of several local non-profit organizations and other entities whose missions intersect with the Latin American Studies curriculum. Prior to enrolling in the course, students should research placement options with Career Services and Latin American Studies faculty. The course is conducted under the joint supervision of a Latin American Studies faculty member and a representative of the partner organization. Students who enroll in the course for less than four credits may repeat the course for up to four total credits.

485. Senior Seminar.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Senior Seminar is an interdisciplinary research project from the following departments: Anthropology/Sociology; History; International Studies; Modern Languages and Literatures (Spanish), Theatre, Biology. Students must combine two disciplines in their research and work under the supervision of faculty members of the Latin American Studies Committee.

495-496. Honors Tutorial.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4-8, 4-8.


Eric Henager, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Chair
Nora Jabbour, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
David Jilg, Department of Theatre
Michael LaRosa, Department of History
Jeanne Lopiparo, Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Laura Luque de Johnson, Department of Biology
Elizabeth Pettinaroli, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Alberto del Pozo Martinez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Amy Risley, Department of International Studies

Outside the Classroom

In addition to a diverse and challenging course of study, the program gives students the opportunity to study in Latin America through selected programs at the Pontífica Universidad Católica in Santiago de Chile, FLASCO in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Universidad de Lima, Perú. Other programs in Latin America are also available, including a faculty-led short course in Cuenca, Ecuador. Students are encouraged to study or visit Latin America as part of their academic training.

As a part of the program, Latin American Studies minors and majors work with the local Spanish-speaking community through service-learning courses and internships. The Hispanic population of Memphis has grown significantly over the past decade, providing a wide array of opportunities for involvement. Bilingual education, English language instruction, legal aid, translation services and health services are just a few of the areas in which Latin American Studies students at Rhodes College make important contributions to the Latino community while acquiring life-changing skills and experiences. Students who have taken advantage of this opportunity have gone on to work in law firms, nonprofit organizations, schools, and government offices, and many have furthered their academic careers in graduate school.

As they advance as scholars in Latin American Studies, students have the opportunity to present their research at the annual Undergraduate Latin American Studies Symposium of the American Colleges of the South (ACS) held every spring at Birmingham-Southern College. The papers are later published in the Proceedings of the Symposium. Latin American Studies participants are involved in a number of other on-campus cultural activities, including visiting speakers, films, celebrations and musical events.

After Rhodes

Interested program participants have the opportunity to apply for the Five-Year Cooperative Degree Program between Rhodes College and the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) of Georgetown University. The agreement allows qualified Latin American Studies majors who have demonstrated an interest and competence in the field to complete a master’s degree within two semesters and a summer (one year) at Georgetown University. Students are guaranteed admission to Georgetown if they meet the minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50.