Home to over 500,000,000 people, Latin America has an ancient history, vibrant culture, and is one of the U.S.’s most important trading partners. Economic and cultural exchange is constant, political relations enduring, if often strained. Spain colonized the American southwest (and elsewhere) and ever-larger numbers of Americans are of Latin American descent, yet many in the U.S. remain unaware of our nation’s deep historical connections to Mexico, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and many other parts of this large, complex region.
The Latin American Studies Minor and Program, one of a variety of interdisciplinary minors in CLASS, aims to encourage study of and participation in programs about an area vital to the history, economy, and culture of city of Houston, the state of Texas, and the Southwest region. This 18-hour interdisciplinary minor offers students the opportunity to study Latin American countries and cultures in breadth and depth by requiring a basic set of courses that speak to historical, political, economic, social, and cultural trends. Then students can choose from a variety of concentrations that allow them to focus on particular approaches to the study of Latin America. We define Latin America broadly to include not only the southern parts of North America, Middle and Central America, as well as South America, but include the Spanish-speaking Caribbean as well, and consider the history and cultures of Latinos in the U.S. also relevant.
In addition to the minor, the Latin American Studies Program will promote activities such as speakers, conferences, films, and cultural events relating to Latin America for students, faculty, and the Houston community as well as encouraging participation in study abroad programs for students and faculty. To that end, while the program has no language requirement, we strongly encourage Spanish-language study (and students with majors in CLASS fulfilling the language requirement should consider doing so in Spanish).