Latino/Latin American Studies

Latino/Latin American Studies consists of three intertwined programs: an academic minor, a co-curricular learning community, and study abroad programs in Chile and Guatemala.

LLAS Event Series Fall 2015



LLAS 270 Reading Circle 
Students who plan to attend all events may register for "LLAS 270: Readings in Latino/Latin American Studies."  This can be taken for either one or zero credits, pass/fail.  Requirements are:  attend all events and write a short (3-4 pages) reflective essay.  Registrants for LLAS 270 will receive 1 academic credit.  Students may also choose to register for 0 credits which does not require an essay.  Interested students should contact  Dr. Brian Larkin, Director of the Latino/Latin American Studies program, at  Students should specify whether they wish to register for 1 or 0 credit.                        





Past series include: 

Spring 2015: Popular Religion in Latin America

"Archbishop Oscar Romero: Conversion, Martyrdom, Resurrection"
Dr. Dennis Beach, OSB; Associate Professor of Philosophy, CSB/SJU
Thursday, January 22, 7pm, Quad 264, SJU
A traditionally pious priest and bishop, in three short years Archbishop Oscar Romero was transformed into "the voice of the voiceless" poor in El Salvador.  His assassination in 1980 did not end his role as an inspiration in the Salvadoran church's struggle for justice but augmented it.  Thirty-five years later, Romero is still the face of spiritual integrity in El Salvador, still "alive" in the popular church.  The presentation will explore the dynamics of this miracle of faith and justice.

"The Historical  Virgin of Guadalupe: The Local Origins of a Universal Devotion"
Dr. Brian Larkin, Professor of Latin American History, CSB/SJU
Thursday, February 26, 7pm, Little Theatre (Quad 346), SJU
The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, a humble indigenous man, in 1531, just ten years after the Spaniards had conquered Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital.  After convincing a reluctant Spanish bishop of the apparition, Juan Diego built a shrine at Tepeyac, the site of her appearance.  Soon, the conquered Indians of Mexico traveled from near and far to venerate the dark-skinned virgin who had graced one of their own with her miraculous presence.  Guadalupe's fame grew and devotion to her blossomed, so much so that she became an icon of Mexican identity and the pope named her patroness of the Americas in 1757.  Or so the pious tradition goes.  What do the historical accounts reveal about the originas of the cult of Guadalupe?  Something much different.

"The Land of the Two Goddesses: Indigenous and Christian Religiosity in the Andes"
Dr. Guillermo Mariaca, Professor of Latin American Literature, University Mayor of San Andres, La Paz, Bolivia
Thursday, March 26, 7pm, Quad 264, SJU
In 1700's Bolivia, an anonymous indigenous painter joined, in the same image, the Pachamama (divinity of the land in the Andean world) and the Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus in the Catholic world).  In 1904 the Oruro Diablada was institutionalized.  It represents simultaneously the rebellion and submission of Andean religiosity to Christianity.  Both cultural expressions unite, in the same epistemological and theological object, the present of two divinities--one indigenous and the other Christian--whose religious equivalence persists until today.  This lecture will explore through them the tension between the colonial legacy and globalization.

"Pentecostalism in Latin America"

Dr. Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Professor of History and Religious Studies, University of Texas, Austin
Thursday, April 16, 7pm, Quad 264, SJU
A Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey showed that a majority of Latin Americans today are charismatics, who having experienced the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," and who engage in ecstatic liturgical practices.  Although some of are part of Catholic Charismatic Renewal--the most rapidly-growing sector of the Church in Latin America today--most of these are Protestant Pentecostals. This presentation will discuss the grown of Pentecostalism in Latin America over the past thirty years, with special attention to multinational mega-churches such as Brazil's Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus, as well as to what some have called the "pentecostalization" of religion in Latin American in general. It will also explore the question of whether Latin America's Pentecostal "boom" has or has not begun to plateau, especially in light of the "Francis Effect." 

Fall 2014 series:  U.S. - Latin American Relations

Thursday, October 9, 7:00 pm, Quad 170, SJU. Gloria Rolando will present her documentary film "1912 - Breaking the Silence"
"1912 - Breaking the Silence" is a Cuban-produced film documenting the Independent Party of Color, the first black party in the Americas outside of Haiti and of the massacre of thousands of its members in 1912 by a Cuban government closely allied with the United States.  The film will be presented by the filmmaker Gloria Rolando, one of Cuba's leading producers of documentaries.  Other films produced by Gloria include Eyes of the Rainbow, a documentary on Assata Shakur, the Black Panther leader who took refuge in Cuba.

This event is co-sponsored with Global Awareness.

Tuesday, October 21, 7:30 pm, Quad 170, SJU. Josefa Gómez and Leonardo Luna Alzate will present "These Roses Have Thorns: Flower Workers and US Free Trade with Colombia"
Witness for Peace- Upper Midwest will host two speakers to discuss the human rights crisis in the Colombian flower industry.  Flowers are one of Colombia's biggest exports (with 76% imported to the US) - and a priority sector in the Labor Action Plan created as part of the US Free Trade Agreement; US consumers and tax payers have a direct relationship to Colombian flower growers, and their working conditions. Representatives of this industry Josefa Gómez and Leonardo Luna Alzate will share their perspectives.
This event is co-sponsored with Global Awareness.

Tuesday, October 28, 7:30 pm, Quad 170, SJU. Professor Carlos Oliva will present "Cuban-Latin American Relations in a Changing Hemisphere"
Professor of History, University of Havana, Carlos Oliva will focus on the changing nature of relations within the Western Hemisphere in the past decade with particular attention to the role of Cuba. During thepast decade, in the wake of the events of 9/11, Latin America has not been a priority for the United States and, in that context, the Latin American nations, with considerable leadership from Cuba, have crafted new inter-American organizations independent of the United States, like the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations and the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of the Americas.
This event is co-sponsored with Global Awareness.

Tuesday, November 11th, 6:30 pm, Gorecki 204 AB, CSB. LLAS will project the documentary film "Granito: How to Nail a Dictator" 
This 2013 documentary tells the extraordinary story of how a film, aiding a new generation of human rights activists, became a granito - a tiny grain of sand - that helped tip the scales of justice. A Guatemalan court recently charged former dictator Efraín Rios Montt with genocide for his brutal war against the country's Mayan people in the 1980s - and Pamela Yates' 1983 documentary, When the Mountains Tremble, provided key evidence for bringing the indictment.

Previous Event Series: 

Spring 2014
Latino/Latin American Studies Event Series and Reading Circle

The Immigration Debate

As the prospect of immigration reform continues into 2014, Latino/Latin American Studies events invite the CSB/SJU community to engage in this meaningful debate with informed and critical perspectives.

"Harvest of Empire: the Untold Story of Latinos in America"

Wednesday, January 29, 6:30, Quad 264, SJU

LLAS will present the 2012 documentary. Based on the book by award-winning journalist Juan González, this film takes a look at the role that U.S. economic and military interest played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming the cultural and economic landscape.

Wednesday, February 5, 6:30, Quad 264, SJU
Panel Commentary:

Francisco Segovia is the director of Waite House, a community center that creates human services and programs to engage the community in culturally relevant initiatives that build on peoples' strengths and addresses injustices that exist in low-income communities of color.

Mary Bellman

Mary Bellman, PhD in Political Science and CSB alumna, is faculty member of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She teaches Union Organizing and Labor Relations.



Tuesday, February 18, 6:30, BAC, CSB
Filmmaker Ramón Hamilton will present his latest movie, "Smuggled". This film is the simple story of 9 year-old Miguel Rodriguez's journey north. He and his mother are smuggled into a bus with the hope of entering the U.S. for the first time. Hamilton, who wrote and directed the film, will also discuss with the audience issues related to immigration and human trafficking.

"Latin American Immigration and the Law"

Wednesday, April 2, 6:30, Gorecki 204, CSB
Mary Kramer, immigration lawyer based in Miami and 1985 CSB alumna, will speak about her work. She specializes in cases of persons who have an unusual immigration history, persons who have been arrested or convicted of crime and complex political asylum case. This presentation will focus on the various "genres" of immigration from the different countries of Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. For example, asylum from Venezuela differs from asylum from Colombia or Mexico. Nationals from certain countries are far more likely to seek investment or professional visas while other countries send laborers to the United States-illegally.

Reading Circle Information:

Students who plan to attend all events may register for "LLAS 270: Readings in Latino/Latin American Studies." This can be taken for either one or zero credits, pass/fail. Requirements are: attend all events, meet to discuss three readings and write a short (3-4 pages) reflective essay. Registrants for LLAS 270 will receive 1 academic credit. Students may also choose to register for 0 credits which does not require an essay. Interested students should contact Eleonora Bertranou, director of the Latino/Latin American Studies program, at Students should specify whether they wish to register for 1 or 0 credit.

For video links to previous guest lectures, go to: LLAS Digital Commons

Presentations not accessible in Digital Commons include:

Patricia Ariza
Nancy Garcia
Juan Javier Pescador
Margaret Randall
Samuel Regalado
Cheryl Thomas
Corey Shouse Tourino

Overview of Program

  • Students will take a common introductory course and will complete their program with a common capstone
  • The Latino/Latin American Studies minor requires Spanish-language proficiency and twenty-five (25) credits of Latino/Latin American Studies courses: seventeen credits, required; and eight credits, elective

Program Highlights

  • The program offers a variety of courses, some focusing on particular national groups or specific academic disciplines, and others organized around comparative topics or issues
  • The purpose is to encourage in-depth study as well as to provide guidance for a general inquiry into the problem of cultural difference and its social and political implications, within both the Americas and the Caribbean
  • CSB/SJU sponsors a nationally recognized Latino/Latin American Learning Community

News and Highlights
Contact Us

Brian Larkin
Director Latino/Latin American Studies Program
CSB Richarda N8
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John's University

Collegeville, MN 56321
(320) 363-5226