Latino/Latin American Studies

The Latino/Latin American Studies minor consists of 20 credits of interdisciplinary coursework.  This study of the Americas is appropriate for all students, especially those majoring in History, Hispanic Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Theology, and Global Business.

Fall 2020 Webinar Series: Race, Gender, and Power in Latin America

LLAS 270
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, on an S/U basis.  Registrants for LLAS 270 will receive 1 academic credit if they attend all events and collaborate on a community project.  Students may also choose to register for 0 credits, which only requires attendance of events. Interested students should contact Dr. Bruce Campbell, Director of the Latino/Latin American Studies program, at [email protected]

Fall 2020 Webinar Series

Wednesday, September 16th, 7:00 PM

“Nutrition, Race, and Gender in Mexico”
Dr. Sandra Aguilar-Rodríguez

View this presentation on our Digital Commons site here.

This presentation analyzes cookbooks and nutrition advice published between 1920 and 1930 in Mexico in order to show how ideas of race and gender were reproduced by middle-class experts. Indigenous and rural culture were portrayed as inferior, while practices identified with the United States and Europe were presented as superior and therefore as the ideal to follow. 

Wednesday, October 14th, 7:30 pm

Women's Empowerment and Disempowerment
in Brazil in the 21st Century

Dr. Pedro dos Santos

View this presentation on our Digital Commons site here.

Few women have been elected president in the history of democratic elections around the world. Latin America became an exception in the 2000s and 2010s when at one point four women were at the helm of countries in the region. Dilma Rousseff was one of these women. Elected president of Brazil in 2010, Rousseff was re-elected in 2014 only to suffer an impeachment in 2016. As the first woman president of the country, what was her impact on the Brazilian political system? More specifically, did the fact that she was a woman affect her decisions? Did it affect how citizens saw women in the country? In this talk, Dr. dos Santos will discuss some of the ways Rousseff tried to empower women in Brazil, how she succeeded in some areas but failed in others. 

Wednesday, November 4th, 7:00 pm

“Culture as Resistance in the Chilean Andes: An Indigenous Community’s Struggle for Rights and Recognition in the Face of Mining” 
Dr. Anita Carrasco

Likantatay is an Atacameño urban indigenous community located in Calama mining town in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. In 1991, a group of 36 Atacameño immigrant families from interior rural villages, driven by the marginal conditions in which they lived in the city, decided to petition land to the Ministry of Government Property and settled down in a former pasturing zone in the poverty belt of the city. It was barren land with no public services or houses to live in. These families had to build their homes from scratch. Most were slum dwellings, with dirt floors, and shantytown construction. From its very beginnings, the people of Likantatay assert that their main objective has been to reproduce their “traditional” Atacameño community but in an urban space. In The Invention of Culture (1975) Roy Wagner develops an interesting perspective of culture as a work of art, where creation plays a central role in making culture visible. His approach fits the case of Likantatay quite well. Wagner argues that creation is embedded with invention, which is not to say that people are fake, but rather that, the power of invention is what gives the people of a culture some control over the opportunities they create for themselves, in their collective struggles for their rights and recognition. This talk addressed the story of Likantatay. They have struggled against the manifold impacts of copper mining on their community, from displacements from a rural lifestyle because of mining company’s voracious extraction of water in the desert, to the threat of a forced resettlement that they are still navigating in the present.

Unfortunately, a recording of Dr. Carrasco's presentation is not available. 

Wednesday, December 9, 7:00 pm

“Whiteness and the Casta System
in Colonial Latin America
Dr. Ann Twinam

View Dr. Twinam's presentation on our Digital Commons site here.

The colonization of Spanish America resulted in the mixing of Natives, Europeans, and Africans and the creation of a discriminatory casta system. Still, members of mixed races could potentially free themselves from such restrictions through the purchase of a gracias al sacar – a royal exemption that bestowed the privileges of whiteness. For more than a century, this possibility of purchasing whiteness has fascinated scholars as a marker of historic differences between North and Latin American treatments of race. Dr. Twinam will present from her book Purchasing Whiteness and discuss the history of race and the negotiation of inclusion and exclusion in Latin America.

For more information, see our Fall Series Poster.