Courses

Spring 2023 Fall 2022 Course Info on SIS Archives

Course Descriptions

The list below includes descriptions of all undergraduate and graduate courses offered by Latin American Studies.

Visit the requirements page for course requirements for specific programs. For up-to-date information on course offerings, schedules, room locations and registration, please visit the Student Information System (SIS).

LAS 0001 Elementary Portuguese I. (Cross-listed with POR 1) Communicative approach to teach listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing and culture. The development of oral-aural skills and the practical use of language in a variety of social situations.  Language laboratory attendance is required. Conducted in Portuguese.

LAS 0003 Intermed Portuguese I. (Cross-listed with POR 3) A beginning intermediate course for students interested in expanding and strengthening their basic Portuguese linguistic skills. Reading, writing, and conversational competency is emphasized through the study of the Luso-African-Brazilian cultures. Promotes cross-cultural understanding through the use of authentic materials such as literary texts, multimedia, film, music, and videotapes.  Students may register for a recitation section that consists of a weekly 40 minute conversation group. Quizzes, oral presentations, mid-term exam, final exam. Conducted in Portuguese. Recommendations: Portuguese 0002- or consent

LAS 0007 Introduction To Latin American Art. (Cross-listed as FAH 7) Art and visual culture of Mexico and Latin America from the colonial era to the present. The role of art in the development of cultural identities in different Latin American contexts; the role of art in sustaining real and imagined historical narratives including the revival of preconquest and contemporary indigenous/folk culture; the struggle between religious and secular, nationalist, and international avant-garde artistic currents. The social and ideological uses of art and the representation of race, ethnicity, class, and gender.

LAS 0011 Portuguese for Romance Language Learners I. (Cross-listed as POR 11) Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills for Romance language learners without formal training in Portuguese. Study of grammar and stylistics, vocabulary, and effective communication based on short readings, clips, and music. Emphasizes the differences and similarities between Portuguese and other Romance languages such as Spanish with special focus on pronunciation and oral production. Designed as an intensive introduction to Portuguese for Romance language learners. Conducted in Portuguese. Students are required to register for a recitation section that consists of a weekly 40-minute conversation group. Equivalent to POR 1.

LAS 0011 Portuguese for Spanish Speakers I. (Cross-listed as POR 11) Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills for Spanish students without formal training in Portuguese. Study of grammar and stylistics, vocabulary, and effective communication based on short readings, clips, and music. Emphases on the differences between Portuguese and Spanish with special focus on pronunciation and oral production. Designed as an intensive introduction for native speakers and advanced speakers of Spanish. Conducted in Portuguese. Students are required to register for a recitation section that consists of a weekly 40-minute conversation group. Recommendation: SPN 0021 or 0022 or consent. Equivalent to POR 1.

LAS 0012 Portuguese for Spanish Speakers II. (Cross-listed as POR 12) Reading, writing, and conversational competency continue to be emphasized through the study of the Lusophone cultures. Aims to promote cross-cultural understanding through the use of authentic materials such as literary texts, multimedia, film, and music. Designed for Spanish speakers who have taken an introductory Portuguese course. Conducted in Portuguese. Students are required to register for a recitation section that consists of a weekly 40-minute conversation group. Equivalent to POR 0002 and 0003. Prerequisites: Portuguese 0011 or permission of instructor.

LAS 0018 Colonial Latin America. (Cross-listed with HIST 18) The indigenous and European backgrounds of Latin American history, the encounter and the conquest, Iberian colonial systems, economy and religion, society and sexuality, reform and rebellion.

LAS 0019 Modern Latin America. (Cross-listed with HIST 19) Latin America from its struggle for independence to the present day. Nationalism and authoritarian rule, export economies and industrial growth, social structure and social change, reform and revolution, democracy and international relations.

LAS 0021 Comp & Conversation I. (Cross-listed with POR 21) Development of the student's ability to speak and write Portuguese, with special focus on contemporary Brazilian culture. Written and oral/aural practice of Portuguese through oral reports, compositions, class discussions and debates on assigned topics, articles, short literary works, and films. A review of more advanced grammatical structures with the aim of achieving greater accuracy. Given the focus on oral expression, active participation in class is essential. Students are required to register for a recitation section that consists of a weekly 40-minute conversation group. In Portuguese.

LAS 0023 Advanced Portuguese For Spanish & Romance Languages Speakers. (Cross-listed as POR 23) Development and expansion of reading and writing skills for students without formal training in the language but with ability to comprehend and speak Portuguese due to their proficiency in Spanish and/or other Romance languages. Study of grammar and stylistics, differences in regional dialects, vocabulary expansion, and effective communication based on literary and cultural readings. Conducted in Portuguese. Recommendations: SPN 21 or 22, or FR 21 or 22, or ITAL 21 or 22, and oral proficiency of any Romance language, and consent.

LAS 0029 The Latino Writing Experience. (Cross-listed as SPN 29). Creative writing course in prose fiction, taught in English.  Writing may be in English and/or Spanish.

LAS 0031 Latin American Literature from Nation-Building to the 21st Century. Survey of Latin American literature from the late 19th to the 21st century. From Modernist poetry and prose through the groundbreaking trends of the 20th and 21st centuries such as the avant-garde, Magical Realism, the “boom,” and more recent trends. Writers may include Rubén Dario, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Samanta Schweblin, among others. Emphasis on historical context as well as literary analysis. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 22, equivalent, or consent of the instructor. Not for senior majors or students returning from programs abroad.

LAS 0050 Latin American Civilization. (Cross-listed as SPN 50) An introductory study of the main issues and debates that have shaped Latin American culture and civilization. Particular emphasis on current issues in both mainstream and alternative forms of cultural production, expressed through a variety of forms, ranging from art and music to films and essays. Conducted in English. Students may not receive credit for both SPN 50 and 150.

LAS 0080 Ancient Middle & South America (2000 BC-AD 1532). (Cross-listed with VMS 80) This class is a general survey on American cultures prior to European contact. It introduces selected topics in the field of Pre-Columbian studies such as myth, religion, cosmogony, archaeoastronomy, kingship and sacrifice as manifested in the visual culture of Middle and South American peoples. The course examines the ways art referred the worldview and the social history of indigenous cultures. The formal, technical, and iconographic merits of indigenous artworks will thus be examined in relation to historical, socio-economic and political interpretations put forth by scholars of the discipline of Pre-Columbian studies. Lectures will introduce students to some of the theories and methodological approaches scholars use to understand Amerindian visual imagery; students will be expected to critically evaluate the merits of such academic approaches through reading, writing assignments and class discussions. Those enrolled in this course will be asked to consider works presented in lectures as parts of larger puzzles that help us better comprehend the Pre-Columbian past. Additionally, students are urged to be mindful of the variety of agendas that shape the way we study the past.

Because many of the sources used to reconstruct the history of these cultures are fragmentary, readings and lecture topics have been chosen to stimulate class discussion. Students are expected to formalize their own opinion on presented topics and will be evaluated on their ability to critically synthesize concepts rather than memorize facts.

LAS 0081 Twentieth Century Mexican Art. (Cross-listed with FAH 81 and FAH 181) The dominant art forms of twentieth-century Mexico including post-revolutionary muralism and socially-concerned representational art; movements, artists, and visual genre outside of the mural school including abstraction, surrealism, photography, print culture, and film. The influence of politics, class, race, and gender on the production of art in Mexico. Art by Mexican-American artists in the U.S., and the effects of globalization and the art market on contemporary Mexican art. (May be taken at 100 level with consent; see below.)

LAS 0091 Latin American Studies Special Topics. New, one-time, or cross-listed courses focused on Latin American topics in various disciplines. May be repeated for credit.

LAS 0104 Poetry In Spanish America. (Cross-listed with SPN 104) Introduction to the rich Spanish-American poetic tradition developed throughout the 20th century. Poets may include Martí, Darío, Vallejo, Neruda, Borges, Mistral, and Palés Matos. Introduction to critical concepts and ideas traditionally used to think about poetry. Topics include diversity of cultural contexts, avant-garde movements, larger questions of memory and identity, and debates on the public role of poets and poetry. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: Two 30-level Spanish courses or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0107 Testimonial Literature Of Latin America. (Cross-listed with SPN 107) Exploration of testimonial and chronicle writing that redefines the scope of fiction and journalism by transforming factual information into experienced accounts of a given reality. Examination of how this genre intertwines with questions of truth and writing in Latin America. Course may include works and films from Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Argentina. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: Two 30-level Spanish courses or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0116 Revolution In Central And South America. (Cross-listed with HIST 116) A comparative study in historical perspective of the causes, course, and consequences of revolution and counterrevolution in twentieth-century Central and South America.

LAS 0122 Reassessing Museums: Collecting and Art, Biting the Hand that Feeds. (Cross-listed with LAS 122) As museum collections have expanded so have their responsibilities, making of these institutions one of the premier disseminators of knowledge. In some instances, museum collections can reflect the values of collectors wanting to advance and secure both their economic and social interests, but not necessarily the interest of society at large. Some museums act as receptacles of social artifacts and artistic objects organized to display the historical development and notable artistic achievements of those cultures they exhibit.

LAS 0126 Portuguese in the Community. (Cross-listed with POR 126) Analysis of Portuguese, Brazilian, and Cape-Verdean immigration to MA and U.S. through class activities and service-learning components. Immersive learning in Lusophone immigration experience by volunteering in Portuguese-language schools and community agencies. Commitment to provide volunteer services in the community in a timely and responsible fashion and to respect the needs of community agencies and their clients as well as academic objectives. Recommendations: Portuguese 021 or 22 or consent. In Portuguese.

LAS 0127 Latin American Politics. (Cross-listed with PS 127) Introduces established and changing patterns in Latin American politics. Offers a brief historical background before concentrating on twentieth-century populist politics, corporatist modes of interest representation, authoritarian rule, civil-military relations, democratization, and social movements.

LAS 0128 Mesoamerican Archaeology. (Cross-listed as ARCH 128 and ANTH 128) An introduction to the archaeology of pre-Columbian cultures of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Focus is on the origins of village life, the development of social complexity, emergence of states, ritual, religion, and culture collapse. Cultures studied include the Olmec, the Maya, the Zapotec, and the Aztec through artifacts, architecture, murals, inscribed monuments, hieroglyphs, and codices.

LAS 0148 Health in the Spanish-Speaking World. (Cross-listed as CH 124) Examination of the determinants of health in Latin American countries and among Latino communities in the United States. Focus on disease, drugs, maternal and child health, nutrition, poverty, and health. Texts include scholarly articles, narrative, poetry, and film. Conducted in Spanish. Recommendations: Two courses above Spanish 22 or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0149 Special Topics. No description at this time.

LAS 0150 Latin American Civilization. (Cross-listed as SPN 150) Introductory study of the main issues and debates that have shaped Latin American culture and civilization. Emphasis on current issues in both mainstream and alternative forms of cultural production, expressed through a variety of forms, ranging from art and music to films and essays. Conducted in Spanish. Students may not receive credit for both SPN 50 and 150. Prerequisite: Two courses above Spanish 22 or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0151 New Latin American Film. (Cross-listed as FMS 181 and SPN 151) Representative films of Latin American schools of cinema: the Brazilian Cinema Novo, Argentine Tercer Cinema, the Cuban Cinema de la Revolución, Andean indigenista film, and contemporary production. Directors may include Glauber Rocha, Fernando Birri, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Jorge Sanjinés, Carlos Diegues, Walter Salles, and Armando Robles Godoy, as well as new filmmakers. Consideration of the social, political, and cultural contexts of their works. Conducted in Spanish. Recommendations: Two 30-level Spanish courses or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0152 Sounds of Brazil: Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture. (Cross-listed with POR 152) Introduction to the popular music of Brazil. Language, culture, and history will be explored through an array of rhythms developed in Brazil as samba, baião, choro, bossa nova, MPB, and funk. Designed to highlight the role of music as a powerful expression of the Brazilian experience. Special attention to the analysis of lyrics in connection with particular styles. No previous musical knowledge is required. Pre-requisite: POR 0004

LAS 0153 Borges and the Encyclopedia of the World. (Cross-listed with SPN 153) Introduction to the literary world of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the major authors of 20th-century literature in any language. Close attention to Borges’s philosophical interests as well as the ways his literature engages with a wide range of cultures and traditions, like Jewish mysticism, the classical world, Islam or Buddhism, and Argentinian culture and history. Readings include Borges's major stories, essays, lectures, and conversations. Conducted in Spanish. Recommendations: Two 30-level Spanish courses or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0155 Reimagining the Americas the Americas: Colonial Views and Returning Gazes. (Cross-listed as VISC 155) Early studies focusing on the conquest of the Americas and the ensuing experience in the Spanish colonies emphasized the establishment of European ideals and their visual culture over Amerindian subjects. More recent studies have complicated this view by presenting locals as no longer passive agents who readily accepted the forms of their colonizers. These studies have relied on post-Colonial theory and on more nuanced socio-historical, political, and economic approaches that have yielded a more nuanced understanding of conquest and its subsequent periods. Cultural devastation and the physical ruin of indigenous cities certainly followed the cataclysmic of conquest, while greater contact with Europeans unleashed pandemics throughout the new continent. However, a flourishing of the arts also developed during this early period; these artistic enterprises, in fact, provided indigenous peoples opportunities to negotiate and assert social positions and new realities through deft political maneuverings. An examination of the visual culture from the newly fashioned, constantly changing societies of New Spain and Peru reveals a plethora of artistic tactics, some practiced during pre-Columbian times. This class focuses on examination of visual tactics and artistic diplomacy used in the Americas from the sixteenth through the end of the eighteenth-century to explore how both colonizers and their colonized subjects used art as part of statecraft to refashion themselves and reinvent American societies as a means of securing more beneficial co-existences.

LAS 0156 Film and Representation in Latin America. (Cross-listed as SPN 155) Exploration of the different ways recent Latin American films have dealt with the issue of representation. Focus on a number of topics such as political unrest, sexuality, and immigration. Analysis of the effect camera techniques and editing have on the stories conveyed, both in documentaries as well as in fiction-films. May include films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: Two 30-level Spanish courses or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0178 Women’s Voice in Spain and Latin America. (Cross-listed w/SPN 178) Examination of the emergence of women’s voices in 20th-century Spain and Latin America through a representative sampling of poetry, narrative, and essays. Focus on rich diversity of texts in treating themes of gender, race, political violence, and environmental concerns. Authors may include Storni, Burgos, Castellanos, Ferré, Rossetti, Riera, Partnoy, Morejón, and Toledo Paz. Conducted in Spanish. Recommendations: Two 30-level Spanish courses or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0180 Latin American Studies Minor Interdisciplinary Capstone Project. A senior project (normally done in the second semester of the senior year) that integrates at least two of the three disciplinary areas of the minor. This project may be written work, a photography exhibit, a performance or some other creative work. Students will participate in a periodic senior project seminar taught by the Latin American Studies faculty.

LAS 0184 Mexican Cinema & Identity. (Cross-listed with FMS 183 & SPN 184) Exploration of the great films of 20th-century Mexico in order to study the pivotal moments in the creation of Mexican identity. Films included may range from Santa, the first sound film of Mexican cinema by Antonio Moreno, to the acclaimed Amores Perros, by Alejandro González Iñárritu, among others. Analysis of films and their audiences, and discussion of the symbolic invention of the modern Mexican State from the post-revolution to modern days. Special emphasis on the films of the "Mexican Miracle" and its posterior critique in directors such as Luis Estrada. Conducted in Spanish. Recommendations: Two 30-level Spanish courses or consent of the instructor.

LAS 0190 Latin American Studies Independent Studies. Guided individual study of an approved topic with a member of the core faculty in Latin American Studies program. Recommendations: Consent.

LAS 0191 Latin American Studies Special Topics. New, one-time, or cross-listed courses focused on Latin American topics in various disciplines. May be repeated for credit.

LAS 0192 Latin American Studies Special Topics. New, one-time, or cross-listed courses focused on Latin American topics in various disciplines. May be repeated for credit.

LAS 0197 Latin American Studies Senior Seminar. Senior Seminar in Latin American Studies. May be repeated for credit.

LAS 0198 Latin American Studies Senior Thesis. No description at this time.