Latin American & Caribbean Studies

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Courses:

    One Required Course: 

HST 291, 292: Colonial Latin America

Colonial Latin American History begins with the study of the Pre-Columbian era and concludes with the movements of Independence from Portugal and Spain.  Course materials introduce students to major themes emerging from Spanish and Portuguese Colonialism in Latin America and the Caribbean, and encourage students to reflect upon the interplay of systems of power with human experience. Topical areas of study include racial and caste systems, sex and gender, religion and spiritual beliefs, slavery and coerced labor, and rebellion and revolution. No pre-requisite.

HST 293, 294. Modern Latin America

The study of post independence Latin America, nation building, and twentieth century issues such as poverty, human rights, revolutions, and relations with the United States. The course also examines modern Latin American culture through literature, art, and religion. No pre-requisite.

SUS 350: Environmental and Cultural Conservation in Latin America

Students explore solutions to the delicate problems of environmental and cultural conservation in developing countries with a focus on Costa Rica. During the spring semester students develop projects and prepare for the two-week study/research/travel experience to Costa Rica at the end of May. This preparation includes study of the area‘s ecological diversity; political, cultural, and social issues; research skills; and relevant Spanish vocabulary and conversation skills. In Costa Rica students explore a variety of habitats, live in and interact with members of a small town, and conduct both community service and independent research projects. Research projects focus on the ecology, sociology, culture, sustainability, and public health of the region. One of the objectives of the program is to remove the blinders of specific discipline-based learning and of our own culture to enable us to develop sustainable solutions. No pre-requisite.

 

Languages, Literatures and Cultures:


FRN 305: Topics in the Francophone World (if Focus is Caribbean)

This course examines a topic of interest today in France and other countries where French is spoken. The topic varies according to the interests of the instructor and emphasizes increased acquisition of reading and speaking skills. Focusing on social and cultural contexts, the course uses texts such as newspaper and magazine articles, websites, films, literature, and other cultural texts. Rotating topics include nature and the environment, education, Franco-American relations, marriage and the family, and arts and popular culture. Assignments typically include keeping a journal, quizzes on content and vocabulary, short papers, and class presentations. Taught entirely in French Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II.

FRN 330: Francophone Cultures of Africa and the Caribbean

An introduction to the diverse cultures of the francophone world, specifically of the French-speaking African and Caribbean countries. Beginning with the period of French colonization, students will explore the development of various historical, social, political, and artistic aspects of contemporary francophone culture through film, literature, magazines, the internet, and other multi-media materials. Taught in French. Prerequisite: FRN 301 French Conversation & Composition, FRN 305 Topics in France & the Francophone World or FRN 310 French for the Professions

SPN 301, 302: Spanish Conversation & Composition

Intensive practice of spoken Spanish with emphasis on techniques of oral expression, vocabulary development, and persistent grammatical difficulties. Discussions will be based on contemporary cultural readings, films, and other multi-media materials. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: SPN 204 Intermediate Spanish II

SPN 303, 304: Advanced Spanish Conversation & Composition

Focused work in Spanish composition allowing students to develop creative, professional, and academic writing styles. Emphasis is placed on structure, style, and content as well as grammar. Classic and contemporary texts, films, and other multi-media resources will provide stylistic models as well as a cultural context for writings. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: SPN 301 or 302 Spanish Conversation & Composition

SPN 307: Spanish for the Community: Interpreting

With a rapidly growing Latino and Hispanic immigrant population, the Lehigh Valley offers Spanish students a unique opportunity to hone their language skills and cultural understanding. This class blends on-campus preparation and reflection with community based practical experience, investigation, and exploration. This service learning course incorporates collaborative projects with organizations working closely with Spanish speaking clients. To complement the community component, weekly classes will provide a solid introduction to local Hispanic/Latino culture and concerns as well as the basic theories and methodologies of oral interpretation. Offered every year during the fall semester. Students should expect to commit about 5 hours per week to the community service learning component of this course. Prerequisite: One 400 level course in Spanish or approval of instructor

SPN 308: Spanish for the Community: Translation

With a rapidly growing Latino and Hispanic immigrant population, the Lehigh Valley offers Spanish students a unique opportunity to hone their language skills and cultural understanding. This is a writing intensive course blending regular and extensively revised written work with community based practical experience, investigation, exploration, and reflection. It is also a service learning course incorporating collaborative projects with organizations working closely with Spanish speaking clients. To complement the community component, weekly classes will provide a solid introduction to the basic theories and methodologies of written translation with special focus on the specific needs and concerns of the local Latino and Hispanic immigrant communities. Designed to complement SPN 307, Spanish for the Community: Interpreting; students are welcomed and encouraged to take both. The class is conducted in Spanish, though given the special nature of English/Spanish and Spanish/English translation, class discussions may include Spanish, English, or even Spanglish. Students should expect to commit about 5 hours/week to the community service learning component of this course. Prerequisite: One 400 level course in Spanish or approval of instructor.

SPN 322, 323: Civilization of Latin America

An introduction to contemporary Latin American life with its intellectual, economic, and social phenomena as well as its regional aspects. The course also surveys the artistic, architectural, and historical heritage of Latin America. Given in Spanish. Offered every year during the spring semester. Prerequisite: SPN 301 or 302 Spanish Conversation & Composition.

SPN 415: The Literature of Conquest, Colonization and Independence in Spanish America

Reading and discussion of poetry and prose by pre-conquest indigenous civilizations and by Spanish-American writers from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Students will explore how the literary components such as theme, character and imagery represent the establishment o the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the resulting confluence of indigenous, African, and European cultures. Thus, emphasis is placed on an understanding of the technical development of the various genres within each literary period as well as on the thematic content of the work as it relates to the period’s historical, political, social and philosophical content. Prerequisite: SPN 304 Advanced Spanish Conversation & Composition or equivalent

SPN 416: Postcolonial Realities in Modern Spanish-American Literature

Reading and discussion of prose and poetry from Spanish-American writers from the late nineteenth to the twenty first centuries. Students will explore the literary expression of works that range from European-based literary movements such as the Avant-Garde examinations of reality that fueled the Boom movement known as “magical realism” to the very Latin American-based literary movements of “critical realism” that examine the postcolonial paradigm in the Americas in terms of the subaltern issues of race, gender and social class. Emphasis is placed on an understanding of the technical development of the various genres within the period as well as on the thematic content of the work as it relates to the period’s historical, political, social and philosophical context. Prerequisite: SPN 304 or equivalent

SPN 417: Contemporary Spanish American Novel

An in-depth study of the development of the novel in both the pre- and post- ―boom‖ periods of the Spanish-American narrative. Emphasis is placed on an analysis of the literary techniques and thematic aspects of the works in relation to the various artistic and philosophical movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Taught in Spanish. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: SPN 303 or 304 Advanced Spanish Conversation & Composition

SPN 418: Hispanic Literature & Film

An analysis of the relationship between literature and film, focusing on texts from Spain and/or Spanish America and their film adaptations. Issues to be discussed include film adaptation as a cultural construct; narrative voice in literature and film; the transformation of the written word to a visual image; and the relationship between politics, literature, and film. Taught in Spanish. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: SPN 303 or 304 Advanced Spanish Conversation & Composition

SPN 419: Border Literature

An exploration of contemporary narratives by Latino writers in the United States who focus on the border experience, understood as both a geographical and cultural phenomenon. Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of the literary techniques employed in the development of the narrative form within its political, social, and cultural context. Topics include issues of class, ethnicity, and gender. Taught in Spanish. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: SPN 303 or 304 Advanced Spanish Conversation & Composition

SPN 420: Human Rights Literature in the Americas

A literary exploration of the nature of human rights in the Americas through a close examination of representative works of various genres, such as poetry, the short story, the novel, and drama. Emphasis is placed on an understanding of literary theory and technique within the historical, political, and philosophical context of each work. In this way, students will explore thematic issues such as the legal and ethical rights inherent in citizenship within the world and specifically within the Americas with respect to ethnic and religious minorities, women, gays, and political dissidents. Areas of comparison/contrast will include Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, and the United States. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPN 303 or 304 Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition.

 

Electives Outside Languages, Literatures and Cultures:


ATH 260: Vodou in Haiti and the Diaspora

This course employs an anthropological approach in examining the symbols and rituals of Haitian Vodou as well as their relationship to larger economic, political, and cultural issues of peasant life. Students will draw on ethnographic sources in order to gain an understanding of the construction of the Vodou cosmology and humanity‘s unique place within it amid the spirits and specters of the invisible world. Attention will be paid in particular to rites of zombification and other acts of sorcery and their instrumental role in effecting social control in the Haitian countryside. The course will also address the diffusion of Vodou cults into the Haitian diaspora communities of North America. Prerequisite: ATH 112 Cultural Anthropology or Permission of Instructor

ATH 286: Archeology of Latin America

Latin America contains two geographic regions where civilization developed independently, Mesoamerica, and South America. This course focuses upon the origin, development, and expression of these cultures through time. Themes of power, trade, consumption, ritual, identity, and symbolism will be explored through the lens of archeology. Prerequisite: ATH 112 Cultural Anthropology, or Permission of Instructor

ECN 251: Economic Growth & International Development

The course begins with an introduction of the concept and measurement of economic growth and development. Models of growth and development processes are then analyzed. Problems in areas such as population, education, savings and capital formation, natural resources, foreign trade, foreign aid, etc. are examined, and possible policy measures are explored. Prerequisite: ECN 101 and/or ECN 102

HST 291, 292: Colonial Latin America

Colonial Latin American History begins with the study of the Pre-Columbian era and concludes with the movements of Independence from Portugal and Spain.  Course materials introduce students to major themes emerging from Spanish and Portuguese Colonialism in Latin America and the Caribbean, and encourage students to reflect upon the interplay of systems of power with human experience. Topical areas of study include racial and caste systems, sex and gender, religion and spiritual beliefs, slavery and coerced labor, and rebellion and revolution. No pre-requisite.

HST 293, 294. Modern Latin America

The study of post independence Latin America, nation building, and twentieth century issues such as poverty, human rights, revolutions, and relations with the United States. The course also examines modern Latin American culture through literature, art, and religion. No pre-requisite.

HST 373, 374: Environmental History of Latin America

An overview of environmental issues in the region known as Latin America and the Caribbean since its discovery in the early sixteenth century through the present day. This course explores settlement, disease, deforestation, and social inequalities through the lenses of colonialism and the Columbian Exchange, capitalism, and globalism. A variety of topics are considered, including health care, the Amazon, ecotourism, and sexual tourism. This course supports the Public Health and Sustainability Studies Minors and the Environmental Sciences Major. No pre-requisite.

PSC 246: Developing Nations

A study of the politics of developing nations, their struggles to overcome poverty and underdevelopment, their efforts at nation-building, and their impact in the world. The challenges and dilemmas of modernization and contending theories about the causes of underdevelopment and appropriate development strategies will be discussed. No pre-requisite.

SOC 340: Sociology of Development

This course analyzes development from a sociological perspective. It examines different theoretical models for understanding macro-level social change such as modernization theory, dependency theory, and world-systems theory. Possible topics for exploration include the environment, economic development, revolution, urbanization, population, and poverty. Through an examination of contemporary issues and dilemmas in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia we will further consider how culture, gender, sexuality, class, and race are affected and in turn shape the development process. Pre-requisite: SOC 101 or Permission of Instructor

SUS 350: Environmental and Cultural Conservation in Latin America

Students explore solutions to the delicate problems of environmental and cultural conservation in developing countries with a focus on Costa Rica. During the spring semester students develop projects and prepare for the two-week study/research/travel experience to Costa Rica at the end of May. This preparation includes study of the area‘s ecological diversity; political, cultural, and social issues; research skills; and relevant Spanish vocabulary and conversation skills. In Costa Rica students explore a variety of habitats, live in and interact with members of a small town, and conduct both community service and independent research projects. Research projects focus on the ecology, sociology, culture, sustainability, and public health of the region. One of the objectives of the program is to remove the blinders of specific discipline-based learning and of our own culture to enable us to develop sustainable solutions.  No pre-requisite.

ST375/376: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America & the Caribbean

This course examines Race and Ethnicity within the context of the African Diaspora and the cultural hybridity of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Course materials focus on the construction of national histories and identities via collective and institutional memories in individual countries across the Atlantic World.  Major themes include the classification of races and ethnicities during the colonial period; forms of labor (slave and coerced) and their relationship to these categories; resistance to colonialism and debates over abolition; and discourses on race, ethnicity, gender, and class in Modern and Revolutionary Latin America and the Caribbean. No pre-requisite.

HST 369/370: Jewish Latin America

This course studies the movement of Jewish people from Spain and Portugal to Latin America, traces the adaptation of Jews and their descendents to multiple environments in Latin America, and reflects upon the diversity of Jewish communities and traditions in Latin America.  Topics addressed include the consolidation of Catholic Spain in 1492, the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal, and the Inquisition; the effect of Jews on modern Latin American national identities; and the surge of twentieth-century anti-Semitism in political and cultural realms.  We will examine different ethnic groups within national perspectives, closely analyze how ethnic and religious groups alter national interests, and learn how this changes over time.  Major themes, including Diaspora, Memory, Hybridization, Ethnicity, and Gender, will be closely examined, with particular focuses on Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. No pre-requisite.

HST 389: The Inquisition

This course explores the origins of the Inquisition, its place in the Spanish Reconquista, and its presence in Colonial Spanish and Portuguese America. The institutional dynamics of the Inquisition influenced religious, economic, political, and socio-cultural organization—particularly in the New World—and we will trace the diverse investigations of Jews, Africans, Spanish, Portuguese, mestizos, and women.  The course relies heavily on inquisitorial records and unearths the prosecution of indigenous idolatry, the persecution of Jews, and the roles of race and gender in tribunal sentencing.  No pre-requisite.