Minor in

Latin American Studies

Student looking out at the jungle over the mountain

Become well-versed in the history, culture, society, and current events of Latin America.

Declaring the Minor

To declare your minor in Latin American Studies, speak with our undergraduate advisor for more details or fill out our Declare Minor Form.

Minor Requirements

You must complete 18 units in Latin American Studies to finish your minor, 9 of which must be upper-division units. Tier 1 Gen Eds do not count toward the minor or major.

Printable Checklist

Contemporary Latin American Topics (9 units)

Complete 3 of the following courses:

Food is of wide-ranging interest because it makes up a significant part of the cultures that bind people together into national communities. Food is central to cross-cultural studies of behavior, thought, and symbolism. This course explores the connections between what people in Latin America eat and who they are through cross-cultural study of Latin Americans' food production, preparation, and consumption. Readings are organized around critical discussions of what people cook and eat in Mexico, Tucson-Mexico Border, Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, and Argentina. A primary goal of the course is to provide students with theoretical and empirical tools to understand and evaluate the relationship between food, history, culture, and economy in Latin America at local and global levels.

This course takes representations and experiences of citizenship in modern Brazil as the springboard for the study of cross-cultural membership in society. How are understandings and experiences of citizenship bound up with the definition and institutionalization of race/ethnicity, class, and gender? This broad question will be examined in specific areas in Brazil such as public health, urban and rural development, environment, education, law, politics, and pop culture. The course covers theoretical readings and case studies from different geographical areas. Instructional materials are interdisciplinary, drawing mainly on the fields of History, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, and Geography.

This course looks at both sides of the U.S.-Latin American relationship. Since independence, the United States has been a major player in the political and economic development of the Latin American region. Conversely, policies and events originating in Latin America shape politics and society in the United States. Course topics include U.S. foreign policy and policy impact on the Latin American region, Latin America's influence on hemispheric relations, and Latin America's diverse policy approaches to the United States and the world. 

The course is organized to first provide students with a historical overview as a foundation for understanding contemporary U.S.-Latin American relations. The focus of the course then shifts to exploring the most critical contemporary policy issues. The course is divided into two parts. Part I outlines the history of U.S.-Latin American relations from Latin America's independence in the early 19th century, through the War on Terror that began in 2001. Part II focuses on five critical policy concerns that shape U.S.-Latin American relations in the 21st century: democracy, economic development, security, the environment, and migration. Students will engage in intense study of one of these policy issues to write an independent research paper, and work in groups to design and present a policy brief at the end of the term.

With a focus on Latin America, this course examines the historical, comparative, and current dynamics of two global commodities: illicit drugs and oil. These commodities ¿ which depend on a U.S. consumer base ¿ generate unfathomable wealth and unrelenting violence at local, national, and international levels. We follow them from extraction and production through consumption, examining socioeconomic and environmental impacts, their relationship to state corruption, and possible strategies for responding to the problems they create.

The course will focus on the specific characteristics of the current conflict by learning about President Felipe Calderón¿s approach to combating organized crime, the involvement of the ATF and DEA in Mexico, and the important Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs), such as the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Zetas, The Gulf Cartel and their leaders Joaquin ¿El Chapo¿ Guzmán, ¿El Lazca¿, Osiel Cardenas, Miguel Felix Gallardo, the Beltran Leyva brothers to name a few. We will also discuss the Peace Movement in Mexico and the work that is being done to change the course of the conflict. As the semester advances we will discuss more broadly the social issues imbedded in this conflict and provide opportunities for students to arrive at complex understandings of the role of drugs and violence in contemporary society.

This class will introduce students to contemporary politics in Latin America from an interdisciplinary perspective.  We will examine the modern history of politics in Latin America, paying close attention to social movements, resistance to hegemony, democratic trends and the influence of U.S. foreign policy.  We will conclude the course by looking at the current political environment and trends in the near future.  Students are expected to attend class, participate in discussion, and complete a final paper and presentation.

This course explores the development, strategies, and political impact of indigenous peoples' movements in the Latin American region. It focuses on structural factors to explain how and why indigenous communities organize politically, and the ways in which indigenous movements have shaped democratization and development from the mid-20th century until the present. The course will include cases from across the Latin American region with particular emphasis on those regions with the highest concentration of indigenous populations in Mesoamerica (Mexico and Guatemala) and the Andes (Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador). Specific topics include the construction and politicization of ethnic identity; colonization and the historical roots of racism and inequality; nationalism and mestizaje; democratization and its impact on indigenous movements; indigenous women¿s movements; indigenous resistance to neoliberalism and globalization; indigenous political parties; patterns of electoral participation; and the multinational state.

How are race and racism perceived and experienced in countries in Latin America particularly such as Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia where a mixed-race ideology and the myth of racial equality have traditionally been at the core of national identity? This class critically analyzes notions of race and anti-racist activism to examine the ideologies and circumstances of the political structure, race-targeted public policies, and black activism in contemporary Latin America.

This course offers a general introduction to contemporary Latin America from the perspective of political economy. It will focus on structural factors to help explain the main political, social and economic trends in the region. The overall goal of the course is to provide the basic, historical tools for understanding the current challenges that this region confronts.

The American immigration and border enforcement systems have undergone radical changes in the last several decades and have become flashpoints of controversy across the political spectrum. Using a human rights frame, this class will take a critical look at the development of these policies and the ways in which they have impacted immigrants and their families. Using the latest scholarship and recent in-depth journalism, we will explore the component policies of these complicated systems, their dramatic consequences for undocumented and documented people alike, and possible avenues for change within a human rights framework.

This course offers a general introduction to contemporary Latin America from the perspective of political economy. It will focus on structural factors to help explain the main political, social and economic trends in the region. The overall goal of the course is to provide the basic, historical tools for understanding the current challenges that this region confronts.

The course as taught in any one semester depends on student need and interest, and the research/teaching interests of the participating faculty member.

What do we learn about Latin America if we examine it from a woman's perspective? How is our knowledge enhanced if we watch films instead of studying only academic texts? To address these questions we will watch multiple award-winning films.  The readings and films cover three main topics: women and revolution; women, class and race; women and men. Students will write two short papers and a longer one.

Minor Electives (9 units)

Complete 3 other Latin American Studies elective courses to satisfy this requirement.