Latin American Studies


Veronica Miranda, Anthropology

José Ortigas, Modern Languages and Literatures

Through the study of cultures, societies, and history of the Latin American region and Latin diaspora, the interdisciplinary minor in Latin American Studies (LAS) helps students develop:

  • global competence
  • cross-cultural awareness and communication
  • appreciation of social diversity and inclusion
  • understanding of the connections between Latin America and Latin American immigrant communities in the United States and other parts of the world.

These skills will help with careers in business, government and public service, international marketing, law, and nonprofit organizations. It also serves as a substantial foundation for graduate studies in disciplines such as Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology, as well as any cultural or interdisciplinary studies with a focus on Latin America and other regional studies.   

The minor requires demonstrated competence in one language spoken in Latin America, two foundational courses that offer an overall view of the region, and completion of  more focused optional courses dealing with specific countries or themes.

Requirements for the Minor

To qualify for the minor, students must meet a language requirement and complete seven courses in the field of Latin American Studies. At least four of those must be upper-division courses.  Courses must be chosen from at least three different departments.  

Substantial credit from study abroad will be considered for course credit by the LAS directors. An immersion experience relevant to Latin America, when complemented with significant written work upon the student’s return, may also be considered for credit.

Language Requirement

Successful completion of an upper-division SPAN course, level 100 or above; or equivalent Spanish or Portuguese language proficiency demonstrated by passing an examination given by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; or successful completion of one upper-division course in Latin American literature and culture taught in Spanish.

Note: Any upper-division SPAN course taught in Spanish may be used to meet the language requirement, but only courses dealing with Latin America count towards the 7-course requirement.  

Foundational Course I

The first group of foundational courses serves as an introduction to the Latin American region before the contemporary period. To meet this requirement, students must take one course dealing with Latin America as a region, focusing on any defined period or topic between the Precolumbian Era and late 19th century.

Some recent offerings include:

  • ANTH 185. Anthropologies of Latin America: Culture, Politics, and Power
  • ANTH 186. Mesoamerican Prehistory
  • ARTH 11. Arts of Contact: New Worlds.
  • ARTH 25. Indigenous Visions.
  • HIST 166. Latin America: Empires
  • SPAN 140. Narratives of Money

Foundational Course II

The second foundational requirement serves as an introduction to Latin American culture and civilization focusing on the formation of Latin American nation-states in the 19th century and the forces shaping Latin American nations in the 20th and 21st centuries. A course dealing with Latin America as a region, in a period from the wars of independence to present, will meet this requirement.

Some recent offerings include:

  • HIST 95. Modern Latin America
  • SPAN 137. Latin American Cultures and Civilizations
  • SPAN 146. Latin America through the Documentary Lens
  • SPAN 147. Cinema, Politics, and Society in Latin America

Students may take more than one Foundational I or II course. These shall go towards fulfilling the elective requirement.

In very specific circumstances, a course may be approved for either F-I or F-II, but under no circumstance may it be used to fulfill both requirements.

Latin American Electives. Four elective courses. Below is a partial list of courses recently taught at SCU that may be used to fulfill this requirement.  Note the list may not be complete.  Any course of instruction dealing in its entirety or substantially with a Latin American country or the region as a whole may count towards fulfilling a Latin American elective requirement.  A course that has been used to fulfill a foundational requirement cannot be used to meet an elective requirement.  

Anthropology Courses

ANTH 146. Anthropological Perspectives on Colonial California  

ANTH 184. Religion and Culture in Latin America

ANTH 185. Anthropologies of Latin America: Culture, Politics, and Power

ANTH 186. Mesoamerican Prehistory

Art History Courses

ARTH 11. Art of Contact: New Worlds.

ARTH 25. Indigenous Visions. 

ARTH 152. Arts of Ancient Mexico: From Olmec to Aztec

English Courses

ENGL 56. Global Literatures* (*when focusing on Latin America)

ENGL 156H. Global Literatures* (*when focusing on Latin America)

Environmental Studies Courses

ENVS 141. Environmental Biology in the Tropics

ENVS 144. Natural History of Baja California

ENVS 146. Agriculture, Environment, and Development: Latin America

History Courses

HIST 95. Introduction to the History of Modern Latin America .

HIST 112. The Haitian Revolution in a Global Context.

HIST 161. Modern Mexico

HIST 162. Argentina

HIST 166. Latin America: Empires

HIST 169. Special Topics in Latin American History

HIST 196S. Seminar in Latin American History

Modern Languages and Literatures Courses

SPAN 112 / SPAN 112EN. Mexican Culture

SPAN 113. The Revolution in Mexican Culture

SPAN 114. U.S.-Mexico Borderland Narratives

SPAN 132 - Hispanic Voices for Social Change

SPAN 135. Colloquium: Latin American Literature and Culture

SPAN 136. Contemporary Latin American Short Story

SPAN 137. Latin American Cultures and Civilizations

SPAN 139. Haunted Literature: Ghosts and the Talking Dead in Latin American Narrative

SPAN 142. Narconarratives

SPAN 143. Latin American Detective Fiction

SPAN 146. Latin America through the Documentary Lens 

SPAN 147. Cinema, Politics, and Society in Latin America

Political Science Courses

POLI 136. Politics in Central America and the Caribbean

POLI 137. Politics in South America

POLI 147. Politics of Mexico Japan

Public Health Course

PHSC 170. Public Health in El Salvador

Religious Studies Courses

RSOC 33. Maya Spirituality

RSOC 91. Native Spiritual Traditions

RSOC 136. Religion in Latin America

RSOC 139. Mexican Popular Catholicism and Gender

TESP 60. Hispanic Popular Religion

TESP 65. U.S. Hispanic Theology

TESP 109. Hispanic Spirituality: Guadalupe

TESP 165. Romero and the Salvadoran Martyrs

Sociology Courses

SOCI 134 Globalization and Inequality

SOCI 135. Women and Social Change in Latin America

SOCI 137 Global Development and Social Change* (*when focusing on Latin America)

In lieu of one of the electives, juniors and seniors can design an independent study with the approval of the directors of Latin American Studies and the supervision of an affiliated faculty member.

Latin American Diaspora Elective   

Students are required to complete one course focusing on Latin communities outside of Latin America. Below is a list of recently offered courses at Santa Clara. This requirement can also be fulfilled with a seminar/senior thesis course or an independent study course, with the approval of the program director and the supervision of affiliated Faculty.

ENGL 36. Introduction to Latino/a Literature

ENGL 136. LatinX Literature and Cultural Studies

ENGL 137. Native American Literature

ETHN 20. Introduction to Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x Studies

ETHN 112. Indigenous/Native Peoples of the United States and Mexico

ETHN 120. Immigration to the United States

ETHN 121.  Chicana/o/x Families and Gender Roles

ETHN 122. Chicana/o/x Communities in the United States

ETHN 125. Latinas/os/xs in the United States

ETHN 126. Latina/o/x Immigrant Detention and Incorporation in the Age of Terrorism

ETHN 165. Community-Based Research Methods

ETHN 186. Seminar - Contemporary Latina/o/x Immigration Issues 

RSOC 12. Latinos and Lived Religion in the United States

RSOC 139. Mexican Popular Catholicism and Gender

SOCI 150. Immigrant Entrepreneurship  in the United States

SOCI 180. Immigrant Communities

SPAN 176. Spanish in the U.S.

TESP 59 / WGST 44 / ETHN 25. Sex and Spirit in LatinX Theology

TESP 60. Hispanic Popular Religion

TESP 65. U.S. Hispanic Theology

TESP 114. LatinX Pentecostal Christianity

THTR 14. Chicana/o and Native American Theatre

Final notes

Students are strongly encouraged to focus on Latin American/ Latino peoples and cultures for the experiential learning requirement in the new Core Curriculum. Students are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program in Latin America, as courses abroad may be credited towards  minor requirements. Students should meet with the director of the Latin American Studies program before enrolling in Latin American study abroad programs.