Latin American Studies
Latin American Studies (LAS) is a multidisciplinary program that aims to help students make connections across different scholarly approaches to “the Americas” and to make sense of interdisciplinary frameworks for understanding the people, economies, cultures and politics of one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse regions. Importantly, one of the primary pedagogical goals of the LAS Program is to decenter the U.S. perspective on Latin America by considering U.S. based perspectives in conjunction with perspectives gleaned throughout the Americas. The LAS curriculum includes the study of history, political economy, sociology, literature, fine and media arts, culture, and major languages of the region. Course offerings cover a wide range of topics and geographical focuses in departments including Anthropology, Art and Art History, Economics, Government, Hispanic Studies, History, Religious Studies, and Sociology.
Requirements for the major are listed below. (Total credits for the major: 33)
Major Declaration: Prospective majors in LAS should discuss their plans for study with an affiliated faculty by the end of the sophomore year. Upon declaring, the major students will select two fields of emphasis that will serve as “concentrations” within the multi-disciplinary major, which will enable them to pursue an in depth course of study within a focused area. Disciplinary concentration fields include: Anthropology, Art and Art History, Economics, Government, Hispanic Studies, History, Sociology. Students can also, in consultation with the LAS program director, design a thematic or global field relevant to Latin America, choosing courses (at least 9 credits) from any discipline or program that together allow for in-depth study of a chosen topic relevant to Latin America. In the past, students have designed thematic fields in Human Rights, Global Development, and Political Thought. Declaration forms and instructions for majors and minors are available on the Global Studies website and at the Registrar’s Office.
Immersion Experience: The immersion experience is an experience, beyond the William & Mary classroom, that is clearly linked to Latin America or Latinos residing in the U.S. or other parts of the world. Its purpose is to develop students’ awareness of issues impacting Latin American countries and people. The immersion experience is affords students an opportunity to apply their in-class learning to real-world situations and develop frameworks for engaging real-world issues affecting Latin American cultures, nations, and communities. The immersion experience is a non-credit bearing requirement and may be tied to a service learning opportunity or to a study abroad experience. Students can also satisfy this requirement through an internship that focuses on Latin American or Latino issues in the United States. Students who fulfill this requirement by participating in a William & Mary study abroad program or through a LAS-affiliated program such as Borderlands, SOMOS, MANOS or the National Security Archives programs should complete a pre-approval form (available on the LAS web-site) and enroll in LAS 400. In other cases fulfillment of the immersion requirement is subject to the approval of the student’s major advisor or the LAS program director.
Language requirement: The concentration in Latin American Studies includes a language requirement that exceeds the College-wide proficiency requirement. The requirement can be met with three credits at the 300-level or above taught in a target language spoken in the region. Although the College is not currently able to offer languages beyond Spanish, a student could count another language (for example, Portuguese or Nahuatl) provided they can demonstrate proficiency through accredited academic courses taken domestically or abroad. In special cases this requirement can also be satisfied by an equivalent language immersion experience subject to approval by the LAS program director.
The Global Studies Programs
Students who major in Global Studies (GBST) design an interdisciplinary sequence of courses together with an advisor in one of the following area concentrations: Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, and Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Through coursework in the culture, history, languages, literature, politics, and religions of major world regions, students explore the specificity of a given region, the ways in which global forces are realized in and through local contexts, and the interconnections between global regions. Majors often combine their program of study with service learning, internships, or study abroad. Familiarity with a specific region provides a foundation for grappling with the emerging possibilities and the ethical responsibilities of living in an interconnected world.
In general, a major in Global Studies includes courses from at least three departments. Detailed descriptions of the degree programs are provided below. Additional information about courses and requirements is available from area concentration faculty advisors.
Language Requirement. Degrees in Global Studies include a modern foreign language component which exceeds the College’s proficiency requirement. Students meet the requirement by completing a specific level of language instruction as detailed in their concentration.
Major Writing Requirement (MWR). The major writing requirement may be satisfied in Global Studies by (1) completing the appropriate senior seminar of the individual program, or (2) fulfilling the major writing requirement for a department contributing courses to your selected concentration or (3) completing a writing project designed to meet the MWR with special permission from a faculty member. Students should consult with their area concentration advisor on how best to fulfill this requirement.
Major Computer Proficiency Requirement (CPR). Global Studies majors may satisfy the computing proficiency requirement by (1) fulfilling the computing requirement for a department that offers a course in the student’s major (2) completing a course that counts for the CPR for a student’s area concentration or (3) completing CSCI 131 or higher. Concentrators in AMES fulfill the CPR by completing AMES 493 with a grade of C- or better.
Study Abroad. Students are strongly encouraged to seek overseas opportunities and pursue summer and semester-long programs of study, scholarship, and service in all areas of Global Studies, or at approved institutions in the United States. Contact the Global Education Office at the Reves Center for International Studies for information on William & Mary study abroad programs and on programs offered by other institutions. With prior approval, courses taken abroad may be applied to the major or used for other requirements. Funding for independent research projects may be available from the Charles Center for Interdisciplinary Study; students should also investigate scholarship opportunities available through the Reves Center’s Global Education Office for language study.
Major Declaration. Prospective majors in Global Studies should discuss their plans for study with an affiliated faculty in an area concentration by the end of the sophomore year. Declaration forms and instructions for majors and minors are available at the Global Studies website and at the Registrar’s Office.
Minors. In Global Studies students may complete a minor in Comparative and Diaspora Studies of Asia and the Middle East, East Asian Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies, or South Asian Studies.
Senior Honors Students who wish to conduct an honors project must apply for admission to the Departmental Honors program, which is administered by the Charles Center. As part of the application, students must get the approval of an honors project by a faculty member of their area concentration. Application, which includes a faculty signature and a prospectus, should be made to the Charles Center by the end of classes in the academic semester before the project is to begin. A prospectus includes: (1) a clear statement of the problem to be researched; (2) a brief, critical review of scholarly literature on the research topic; (3) a description of the methodology to be employed; (4) and an approximate schedule of work. Eligible applicants must carry a 3.2 grade point average in Global Studies and must also meet the College eligibility standard of 3.0 overall or in their junior year. For further information and an application, contact the Charles Center.
Students admitted into the Honors program in Global Studies will enroll in the honors courses (495-496) appropriate to their concentration during both semesters of their senior year. Honors candidates are responsible for (1) formulating and completing a program of study in consultation with a faculty advisor; (2) preparation and presentation, by two weeks before the last day of classes in the spring semester, of an honors essay; and (3) satisfactory performance in a comprehensive oral examination which focuses on the subject matter of the honors essay. For College provisions governing admission to the Senior Honors program, see the discussion of major honors elsewhere in this catalog and the Charles Center web site.
Programs and Course Descriptions