What is Latin American Studies?
The United States and the different countries of Latin America have shared a critical history since the nineteenth century. Currently, close to 60 million Latino/a/x people are part of the U.S. society. Latino/a/x constitute 18 percent of the nation’s total population. The histories of Latin America are part of the histories of the United States and the histories of the United States are indeed part of the histories of Latin America. Courses in this major help students to develop analytical, interpretive, and evaluative skills. Divided into two concentrations, this major seeks to address important themes that pertain to linguistic and cultural diversity, as well as the impact of the ensuing and continued contact among indigenous people, Africans, and Europeans as a result of the encounter, slavery, displacement, and immigration. Focusing on Latin American Studies also pairs well as a Second Major to almost any degree program, including History, Spanish, Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology, Business, Journalism, and many others.
Latin American Studies Degree(s)
Latin American Studies at Western
HIST 327 Soccer in Latin America
SOC 397G Latinx Experiences
PLSC 404 Organized Crime and State in the Americas
AMST 314 Contemporary Latino/a Issues
What can you do with Latin American Studies?
The central goal of our B.A. in Latin American Studies is to provide students with a comprehensive and interdisciplinary understandings of the region. This knowledge often valued by all employers, including government agencies, humanitarian aid agencies, non-profit organizations, law offices, and institutions of higher education. The research, analytical, and evaluative skills that our majors develop prepare them for graduate study in many disciplines such as History, Social Sciences, Ethnic Studies, Modern and Classical Languages, Comparative Literature, Education, Journalism, Law, International Business, Social Work, and Public Health.
I did not realize how little I knew about Latin America before becoming a Latin American Studies major nor did I have a clue at how pertinent these topics would be in understanding the contemporary world. From this major I developed an unfaltering appreciation for Latin American culture and its wide array of practice. I am driven to continue to research and understand this beautifully vast region and people for the rest of my life.
Latin American Studies Major
While I was studying on exchange last fall in Argentina, I realized my passion for learning about the rich cultural diversity of Latin America. Studying Latin American Studies at Western has given me the opportunity to further understand how histories of the United States are inextricably linked to histories of Latin America and our collective present moment. I am constantly learning about new perspectives that help me gain a deeper understanding of my place in the world.Kara HenryLatin American Studies Major
Latin America was, for most of my adolescence, a myth from my past. My own country, Chile, was unfamiliar to most people around me. Then I went to college and discovered Latin American Studies. I learned about identity politics, neo-colonialism and market-driven wars for resources. The multidisciplinary nature of LAS also featured poetry, film, literature and culture. But LAS for me was also about courage and pride. Learning about myself and others in an organized and scholarly way gave voice and validity to my own life experience as an immigrant and refugee. I use these lessons every single day in my Public Health work, this year contributing to address the disproportionate representation of Latinx in the cases of COVID-19. Some of that has to do with the social determinants of health, concepts that I first learned about in my LAS courses. I am forever grateful for the perspective and analytic capabilities that I developed in my formative years of LAS.Selene JaramilloPublic Health Preparedness Coordinator
Clubs and Leadership
For students who are also seeking leadership opportunities, the Program gives the option to be part of the Latin American Studies Student Association to plan activities and be Ambassadors of the Program, giving talks about the major to other students across the campus.