Using a multidisciplinary approach, students in the Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies major study the diverse, multilingual, multiethnic regions of Latin America and the Caribbean and the cultural, linguistic, and socio-political characteristics of the Latin American immigrant populations in the United States. Students apply different methods of inquiry from various perspectives and disciplines to gather information, evaluate arguments, and analyze complex issues. A total of 11 courses are required for the LALC major as described below.

Language Requirements

The LALC majors are required to be able to read, write, and understand one of the three main languages used in Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish, Portuguese, or French). For students fulfilling their language requirements for the LALC major at Dickinson, this would mean a minimum of two courses beyond the intermediate level required for all Dickinson students. Only one language course beyond the required level will count as part of the 11 for the major.

Depending on the specific region or topic of concentration, other languages used in Latin America and the Caribbean may be approved as a substitute for a second language. For example, someone working in the Netherland’s Antilles would study Dutch or a student working in the highlands of Peru may elect to study Quechua or Aymara in non-Dickinson programs.

In the case of majors who are native speakers of Spanish, Portuguese, or French, the language requirement can be waived. This should be done with the permission of the LALC chair in consultation with the appropriate language faculty. In cases where the waiver is granted, the student would take an additional elective to complete the 11 courses required for the major.

Planning the Major

Because of the extensive geographic variation and virtually unlimited thematic concentrations, students who declare a major in LALC are asked to discuss their specific interests with contributing faculty and formulate a course plan for completing the major.

The LALC majors should plan on working with two faculty advisors and the major chairperson. Of the two faculty advisors, one should be the principal concentration advisor who will plan the courses with the student and in consultation with other relevant faculty. A file will be kept on each major to be reviewed every semester to make sure that all requirements are being met.
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Latin American Studies.

Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies Minor

The minor consists of a total of six courses as follows: LALC 101 and five other courses in at least three different departments. Students pursuing the minor are encouraged to select a concentration in case they later decide to major.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Latin American Studies.

Suggested curricular flow through the major

Most students begin the LALC major with LALC 101 or one of the other introductory courses, and all finish with LALC 490 in the senior year. Otherwise, there is no necessary or preferred path through the LALC major.

Introductory Courses

LALC 101, Introduction to Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies (required of all majors)

And one of the following:

LALC 121, Introduction to Africana Studies
LALC 122, Introduction to Caribbean Studies
LALC 123, Introduction to Latino Studies
LALC 295, Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature and Culture

Methods Courses

Majors select one methods course in consultation with their advisor:

AFST 200, Approaches to Africana Studies
AMST 401, Research Methods in American Studies
ANTH 240, Qualitative Research Methods
ANTH 241, Measurement and Quantification in the Social Sciences
ECON 474, Econometrics
HIST 204, Introduction to Historical Methodology
POSC 239, Research Methods in Political Science
SOCI 240, Qualitative Methods (cross listed with ANTH 240)
SOCI 244, Quantitative Research Methods (cross listed with ANTH 241)
SPAN 305, Introduction to Literary Analysis and Theory
WGST 250, Methods in Women’s and Gender Studies

LALC Concentration and Elective Courses

LALC students should select geographic and or thematic concentrations within the major. An example would be a geographical focus on contemporary Argentina who would take HIST 131 (LA History) and POSC 251 (LA Politics), engage in a research project on an Argentine topic approved the LALC advisor, two courses from the Dickinson in South America Program, and an additional course on Argentina in another discipline.

Another example of a thematic concentration would be choosing to study community development and globalization; this is a theme that crosses geographical boundaries to possibly include Central and South America, the US-Mexico border region as well as the Caribbean. Students with this type of concentration would be able to select relevant courses in Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science or Sociology. Relevant courses could include LALC 222 (Contemporary Peoples of Latin America), LALC 236 (Latin American Economics), LALC 349 (Political Economy of the Third World), and two relevant courses in one of the study-abroad sites. For other concentrations, courses may be selected from the sciences as well as the humanities. When concentration and elective courses have prerequisites, LALC majors should have satisfied these requirements or received a waiver from the instructor with an approval of the LALC chair.

List of LALC courses for concentrations or electives:

LALC 200, Special Topics in LALC Studies
LALC 222, Contemporary Peoples of Latin America (ANTH 222) 
LALC 230, Early Latin American History to 1800 (HIST 130) 
LALC 231, Modern Latin American History since 1800 (HIST 131) 
LALC 236, Latin American Economics (ECON 236) 
LALC 242, Brazilian Cultural and Social Issues (PORT 242) 
LALC 251, Latin American Government and Politics (POSC 251) 
LALC 262, South American Archeology (262 and ANTH 262) 
LALC 272, Atlantic Slave Trade and Africans in Making the Atlantic World (HIST 272) 
LALC 283, Latin American-U.S. Relations (HIST 283) 
LALC 300, Special Topics in LALC Studies
LALC 301, Topics in American Studies, when topic is appropriate (AMST 301) 
LALC 311, Pre-Columbian and Colonial Spanish American Texts (SPAN 311) 
LALC 321, Late Colonial and Nineteenth Century Latin American Literatures (SPAN 321) 
LALC 331, Modernismo and Vanguardias (SPAN 331) 
LALC 349, Political Economy of the Third World (ECON 349) 
LALC 350, Latino/Latina Literatures (SPAN 350) 
LALC 390, Seminar in Hispanic Literature, when topic is appropriate (SPAN 410)

LALC 490,Interdisciplinary Research

This is the capstone course, which consists of research into a topic concerning the LALC region.  Students participate in a two-semester research seminar for half a credit each semester.  Students develop their research papers with the guidance of a main supervisor and two other faculty readers representing at least two disciplines. Students must successfully defend their research paper orally to satisfy the requirements for the major.


The department will grant honors based on the guidelines listed on the departmental web page.

Independent study and independent research

Independent Studies on LALC topics in the Departments of Political Science, Anthropology, Spanish and Portuguese, Religion, Philosophy, History, Economics, Art & Art History, or any other academic department that may be able to offer such instruction, with prior approval from the candidate's program supervisor.

Opportunities for off-campus study

The Dickinson in South America Program which combines a month of study in Cuenca, Ecuador with five months study in Mendoza, Argentina is an integral part of the LALC major.

Additional Remarks

Study Abroad: LALC majors are strongly urged to study at least one semester in an abroad program relevant to their concentration, and whenever possible the majors should consider an entire year abroad. Preference is given to the Dickinson in South America Program (Cuenca, Ecuador, and Mendoza, Argentina), followed by the partner program in São Paulo, Brazil, and other partnerships that may develop. Only when a Dickinson or a partner program does not meet the needs of the concentration should non-Dickinson programs be considered.