Curriculum 15/16

*Asterisk indicates course is offered in Academic Year 2014-2015.
f and/or s after the course number indicates the semester.
j indicates it is offered as a JanPlan.


*LA173f   History of Latin America To understand the historical roots of Latin America’s enduring tensions and conflicts, students discuss and analyze sources (especially primary ones), write several short historical essays, and research and present a historical drama. Themes include the first American civilizations, the construction of colonial hierarchies, frustrated modernizations (religious, socioeconomic, political), liberalism and conservatism, nationalism, neocolonialism, and social revolutions. Four credit hours. H, I. Fallaw

*LA174s   Introduction to Latin American Studies Cross-disciplinary, historically grounded introduction to modern Latin America, including developing the capability to analyze and articulate the underlying forces behind the region’s historical problems and its common geographical and environmental features (i.e. frontiers, regionalism), polities, cultural features, and recurring socioeconomic structures (i.e. plantations, favelas). Historical themes include the Gilded Age of export-oriented liberal modernization, the construction of supposedly timeless national cultures during the “critical decades” of the 1920s and 1930s, urban populism and economic nationalism, the Cuban Revolution and Cold War dictatorships. Four credit hours. H, I. Fallaw

*LA 272 Mexican History: Justice, Rights, and Revolution   From the Aztec era to the disappearance of 43 students in 2014, struggles over justice and rights have defined Mexican history. To better under the conquest, independence, the liberal reform, and the revolution, we focus on how notions of justice and rights differ over time and across cultures (indigenous, colonial, liberal, revolutionary, and neoliberal). Four credit hours. H, I.

*LA275j Strongmen and Populism in Modern Spain and Latin America  Inter-disciplinary history of Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, the rise of Getulio Vargas’s Estado Novo in Brazil, the role of Zapata as an agrarian warlord in the Mexican Revolution, the failure of the Spanish Republic, and the emergence of Franco’s regime. Three credit hours. H, I. Fallaw

*LA277s History of the Maya from 200 B.C.  Multidisciplinary (archaeology, anthropology, literature, and history) study of the Mayan past from the first known Mayan writing to recent conflicts in Mexico and Guatemala. Four credit hours. H, I. Fallaw 

*LA473f Historical Roots of Violence in Modern Latin America  We examine the historical roots of persistent violence in Latin America from interdisciplinary perspectives: social, political, and cultural history, as well as anthropology, sociology, political science, and psychology. Topics include social and ethnic conflicts, domestic violence, torture, insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, dirty wars, and genocide. This seminar is writing-intensive, including two drafts of a substantial (approximately 25-page) research paper. Prerequisite: A previous course on Latin America and permission of the instructor. Four credit hours. H. Fallaw

*LA483f, 484js   Senior Honors Thesis A year-long research project for senior majors, resulting in a written thesis to be publicly presented and defended. Students may register either for two credits in the fall, January, and spring terms or for three credits in the fall and spring terms. Prerequisite: a 3.3 or higher major average at the end of the junior year and permission of the Latin American Studies Advisory Committee. Two or three credit hours.

*LA491f, 492s   Independent Study  An independent study project devoted to a topic chosen by the student with the approval of an advisor. Only independent studies taken with a Colby faculty member and approved by the director of the Latin American Studies Program may count toward fulfilling major requirements. One to four credit hours.

LA 497f:   Senior Honors Seminar As the first seminar of the senior honors thesis, students write and (orally) defend a thesis proposal (mid-course) and the first chapter (end of term), as well as writing a grant proposal for JanPlan and research plan for spring. Other major themes include interdisciplinary methods, archival research, interviewing and the IRB process, and reviewing scholarly literature in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Students who fail to successfully defend their proposal in mid-October or the first chapter at the end of the semester will be given credit for a semester-long 3 credit independent study. Four credit hours. Fallaw


*AY236f  Illegal Drugs, Law, and the State  Drawing on legal and political anthropology, we will examine the legal regimes and cultures of control that target the commerce and consumption of illegal drugs. We will consider the evolution of these policies, their role in the construction of the state, and their impact in a variety of historical moments and social worlds. Case studies will include Prohibition, cocaine, medical and recreational use of marijuana, and alternative forms of political power facilitated by the drug trade, with a special focus on Latin America. Students will gain critical reading and presentation skills and will refine their writing and research skills through the production of an original case-study research project. For LAS credit, this project must be completed on a Latin American topic. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Tate

*AY242s   Anthropology of Latin America: City Life An introduction to anthropological research on Latin America, with a particular focus on contemporary urban life. Cities attract migrants seeking new forms of communal life, educational and economic opportunities, and escaping war. We will examine the transformation of gender roles, political participation, and cultural production. Goals include learning to apply an anthropological lens to discussions of gaining a basic knowledge of issues facing contemporary Latin America. Students will gain critical reading and discussion-facilitation skills and will refine writing skills through the production of review essays. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Tate

*AY361s    Militaries, Militarization, and War  Examines the ways in which military conflict and institutions shape and are shaped by cultural, economic, and political forces in contemporary societies, especially in the Americas. Topics include the role of military service in creating and reinforcing gender norms, citizenship, and national identities; the ways in which war and militarized violence are experienced and commemorated; and ongoing controversy over counterinsurgency, internal defense, and modern forms of welfare. Students will develop their ethnographic skills through research and presentations. Formerly offered as Anthropology 398B. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Tate


*EC214s  Economic Policy and Performance in Contemporary Latin America Analysis of macroeconomic stabilization policies and microeconomic issues such as regional trade, agriculture, the transnational narcotics industry, the environment, and labor markets in contemporary Latin America. Prerequisite: Economics 133 and 134. Four credit hours. Franko


*GO253s  Latin American Politics An introduction to the political development of Latin America. Discussion of key ideas about economic development, authoritarianism, revolution and, in particular, democracy. Includes a look at the work of some of the most important political analysts writing about Latin America today. Employs both multidisciplinary and disciplinary approaches to examine key political issues in Latin American politics. The main objective is to develop analytical and critical-thinking skills as well as the ability to think comparatively about political problems. Four credit hours. Mayka

*GO456s  Seminar: Civil Society and Social Change in Latin America What are civil society organizations and what is their place in politics? This research seminar examines the evolution of civil society in contemporary Latin American democracies, and their roles in effecting social and political change. Over the past 30 years, civil society organizations in Latin America have become vehicles for poor and otherwise marginalized communities to access the political system. Topics include the collective action problem, the role of civil society organizations in interest representation and service provision, relationships with political parties and international donors, and participatory governance. Prerequisite: Latin American Politics or Latin American Studies course. Four credit hours. S, I Mayka


For 173, 174, and 497 see LAS above.

*HI272s  History of Law, Society, and Rebellion in Mexico  We look beyond the clichéd image of the Mexican bandit to consider the complex economic, social, and political problems behind ruptures in the legal order from Aztec times to the present. Focusing on revolts, the social origins and political construction of crime, and state regulation of popular culture, we trace the outlines of the history of Mexico and consider how notions of legality vary across time and cultures. Four credit hours. Fallaw

*HI275j  Strongmen and Populism in Modern Spain and Latin America A cross-disciplinary study of the historical factors behind the creation of Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, the rise of Getulio Vargas’s Estado Novo in Brazil, the role of Zapata as an agrarian warlord in the Mexican Revolution, the failure of the Spanish Republic and the emergence of Franco’s regime, and the crises that have brought populist regimes and caudillos, or charismatic strong leaders, to power. Three credit hours. Fallaw

*HI373f    History of Religion and Unbelief in Latin America   This pro-seminar seeks to understand the history of religion (formal Catholicism, African and indigenous syncretism) and disbelief (anticlericalism, free thinking, scientism) in Latin America through critical readings and analysis of primary and secondary sources (scholarly monographs, articles from academic journals) and writing. We try to comprehend how religion and disbelief shape the enduring tensions and inequalities that define Latin American History, including social class, gender, and race. Four credit hours. H,I,W2. Fallaw


*SP135f/s   Introduction to Hispanic Literature Introduction to literary analysis through Spanish, Spanish-American, and U.S. Latino/a texts. Students are presented with works of fiction in prose, poetry, drama, and film and learn how to examine the texts through close reading, detailed analysis, and strategies of interpretation. Students develop skills in writing critical essays and learn the basics of scholarly research. Prerequisite: Spanish 131. Four credit hours. L.  Garcia, White 

*SP231f/s   Advanced Spanish An in-depth analysis of Spanish grammar, focusing on the more complex and subtle linguistic and cultural dimensions of a variety of syntactical and lexical concepts. Students will achieve an advanced mastery of Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Prerequisite: Spanish 131. Four credit hours. Olivares

*SP273f Contemporary Spanish-American Short Story Close readings of contemporary Spanish-American short stories. Prerequisite: Spanish 135. Four credit hours. L. Olivares

*SP264s  Uncovering Tradition: Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature   Seeks to cultivate an inclusive and broad understanding of U.S. Latino/a literature and its evolution, from the 19th through the 21st century. Special attention will be paid to the inherent diversity within the U.S. Latino/a world, which raises questions about class, race, ethnicity, gender, and language, among other topics. Students will gain not only an overall grasp of what one would consider the tradition of U.S. Latino/a literature, but also an appreciation for its relationship to U.S. literature at large, as well as Latin American and Caribbean literature. Conducted in English but knowledge of Spanish is essential.Prerequisite: Spanish 135. Four credit hours.  L, U.  Hey-Colon

*SP276f  U.S. Latina/Chicana Women Writers An examination of a selection of novels, short stories, poetry, theater, and non-fiction by United States Latina and Chicana women writers.  Interdisciplinary in approach, the course will focus on the relationship beween the texts read and several important issues.  Topics include feminism, the social and cultural construction of race and ethnicity, immigration, cultural nationalism, and identity formation.  Readings are in English.  Four credit hours. L, U. Sasaki 

*SP297f  Transatlantic Identities in Early Modern Textual/Visual Culture   An overview of transatlantic Spanish literature of the Early Modern period. Explores representations of various encounters between disparate cultures that were brought together by a burgeoning globalization. Materials will include texts, maps, codices, painting, and architectural examples. Close readings will question how each culture negotiates the encounter with the other, examining hybridity, liminal identities, and cultural mediation, from peninsular Spain to Peru, through Mexico and the Philippines. Prerequisite: Spanish 135. Four credit hours.  L, I.  Garcia-Pinar

*SP341f  Cities, Bodies, and Nations in Caribbean Literature  Examines the close but contested relationships between bodies, cities, and nations in contemporary Caribbean literature. Special attention will be paid to key moments in the history of the three Spanish-speaking islands: the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and Operation Bootstrap in Puerto Rico. In each instance, the role of migration will be explored, within the Caribbean, to the United States, and beyond. This will facilitate a discussion on transnationalism, a development that is integral to the current understanding of the relationships between bodies, cities, and nations.Prerequisite: 200-level literature, culture, or film course. Four credit hours.  L.  Hey-Colon

*SP493s  Seminar: Sexual Dissidence in Revolutionary Cuba   A study of the textual production of same-sex sexual subjectivities in post-1959 Cuba in the context of the government’s official attitude toward homosexuality, which has evolved from the oppressive policies of the 1960s and 1970s to the more complex views of the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond. While focused on same-sex sexualities, provides a framework for discussing literary, cultural, and political dimensions of sex, gender, sexuality, desire, identity, and community. Materials include texts by writers such as Alonso Yodú, Arenas, Bobes, de Jesús, Lima, Padura Fuentes, Portela, Pérez, Urías, and Paz; documentaries; and feature films. Prerequisite: Senior standing and a 300-level Spanish literature, culture, or film course. Four credit hours.  L.  Olivares

Note: Additional courses, often taught by visiting faculty, may be available from time to time as temporary offerings and may be counted toward the major with permission of the Latin American Studies Program director. Up to two courses from a semester of study abroad and up to four courses from a year of study abroad may be counted towards the major with permission of the program director

New Classes:

Spring 2016

MU298Bs  “Experiencing Tango: Tango History/Culture through Performance”(Pending approval by LAS)

Fall 2016

AR231/LA231 “Latin American Art, 1492-1820”

Spring 2017

AR232/LA232 “Latin American Art, 1820-Present” (Pending approval by AAC)

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