Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at Brown University facilitates the study of this dynamic region from a multidisciplinary perspective. CLACS organizes academic conferences, lectures, and cultural programming, and supports our over 100 faculty affiliates as well as graduate and undergraduates interested in the region. The undergraduate concentration was first approved in 1973 and was later incorporated into the Center for Latin American Studies (eventually renamed CLACS) after its establishment in November of 1984.

For additional information, please visit the department's website: http://www.watsoninstitute.org/clacs/

Course usage information

LACA 0210. Afro Latin Americans and Blackness in the Americas (AFRI 0210).

Interested students must register for AFRI 0210.

Fall LACA0210 S01 17149 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 0537A. Popular Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (HIST 0537A).

Interested students must register for HIST 0537A.

Fall LACA0537A S01 17121 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 0610. Mapping Portuguese-Speaking Cultures: Brazil (POBS 0610).

Interested students must register for POBS 0610.

Fall LACA0610 S01 17123 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 0710N. A Comparative Introduction to the Literatures of the Americas (COLT 0710N).

Interested students must register for COLT 0710N.

Fall LACA0710N S01 17152 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 0901W. The Space Within: Contemporary Borderland Moving Image Practice (MCM 0901W).

Interested students must register for MCM 0901W.

Fall LACA0901W S01 17148 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1070. The Burden of Disease in Developing Countries (PHP 1070).

Interested students must register for PHP 1070.

Fall LACA1070 S01 17145 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1120. Peoples and Cultures of the Americas (ANTH 1120).

Interested students must register for ANTH 1120.

Fall LACA1120 S01 17151 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1210. Afro-Brazilians and the Brazilian Polity (AFRI 1210).

Interested students must register for AFRI 1210.

Fall LACA1210 S01 17150 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1320. Rebel Island: Cuba, 1492-Present (HIST 1320).

Interested students must register for HIST 1320.

Fall LACA1320 S01 17122 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1330W. War, Revolution and Literature in Modern Latin American Literature (HISP 1330W).

Interested students must register for HISP 1330W.

Fall LACA1330W S01 17118 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1370B. Gaborium: Memory, Fiction, and Reading in Gabriel García Márquez (HISP 1370B).

Interested students must register for HISP 1370B.

Fall LACA1370B S01 17154 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1381. Latin American History and Film: Memory, Narrative and Nation (HIST 1381).

Interested students must register for HIST 1381.

Fall LACA1381 S01 17155 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
Course usage information

LACA 1501A. Exclusion, Gender and Respect: Understanding Youth Violence in Latin American Cities.

Urban crime and fear is perhaps the most important concern for Latin Americans in countries across the region such as Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela. In this course we will develop a thorough analysis of youth violence departing from the structural forces that drive youths to violent lifestyles. We will then pass through cultural dispositions associated with gender identities and the lived experience of violence, youth subjectivities and emotions expressed (such as the sense of hopelessness engendered by these experiences). Finally we will discuss the possibility of alternatives to violence for youths.

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LACA 1504A. Violence and Urban Poverty in Latin America: Ethnographic and Qualitative Perspectives.

Living in a barrio, favela, villa, or colonia means living in a state of emergency, caught in the middle of armed confrontations between state and non-state actors. This course has three main objectives: 1) to understand urban violence from the perspective of people living in poor and marginalized areas; 2) to analyze how ethnographic and interpretive research on urban violence in Latin America is presented; and 3) to consider the ethnographic narrative, the voice of the ethnographer and the challenges of conducting research in violent settings where the research itself is a social problem.

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LACA 1504B. Indigenous Politics in Latin America.

Indigenous peoples began participating politically in Latin America in the early 1990s, and have dramatically changed the political dynamics of most countries in the region ever since. In the last two decades, Latin America has experienced mass indigenous mobilizations and the rise of ethnic parties. This course covers a wide range of issues related to ethnicity in Latin America, including indigenous movements and parties, ethnodevelopment and environmental politics, ethnic radicalization and violence, transnational ethnic activism, and indigenous groups and gender politics, among others. This class introduces students to the main empirical and theoretical debates about indigenous politics in Latin America. DPLL

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LACA 1504C. Representation and Governance in the Federations of Latin America.

This course analyzes the relationships between federalism and four large topics: political stability in plural societies, economic development, democratic representation, and equality. The discussion focuses on the evolution of Latin American federations. Students will learn where federations come from, what they do, and why it matters. They will be able to compare alternative approaches to federalism and to recognize the normative problems at stake in the organization of federations. The course is intended for advanced undergraduate students in political science or international relations. It could also be useful for students majoring in economics, sociology and history.

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LACA 1505. Vertical Civilization: South American Archaeology from Monte Verde to the Inkas (ANTH 1505).

Interested students must register for ANTH 1505.

Fall LACA1505 S01 17108 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1510B. Environment and Development in Latin America.

This seminar introduces a “developmental challenges approach” to thinking about resource-based development. The approach is critically used to survey the development of extractive industries and other environmental issues in Latin America.

The main questions to be examined are:
Is resource abundance a curse?
Is Latin America too poor to be green?
Do institutions end up defining these issues, and how?

Assignments will help students develop a research project to study one case or a set of cases in comparative perspective (countries or sub-national units).

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LACA 1510C. Ethnicity and the Politics of Development in Latin America.

Over the past decades, the realities of ethnicity and the politics of development have repeatedly presented themselves for reflection in Latin America. This course seeks to identify the interfaces and interactions among the two. During the semester, we will examine four questions: First, why is ethnic inequality so persistent in the region? Second, why and how do ethnic boundaries became politicized in the region? Third, can national development and local and indigenous livelihoods coexist? Fourth, is ethnic and environmental contentious politics driving institutional transformation in Latin America?

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LACA 1510D. Popular Music and Social Change in Latin America.

This course is designed to illuminate the many ways that popular musicians shape, and are shaped by, the broader social milieu within which they act. Focusing largely on twentieth-century case studies from Cuba, Brazil, and Peru, it illustrates how social dynamics particular to Latin America have constrained popular musicians' efforts to communicate, circumscribed their artistic and political goals, and enabled them to intervene in sociocultural debates in specific ways. Issues to be considered include the sanctioning of musical styles as national symbols; the harnessing of music to project promoting racial diversity; its use as a medium of political protest as well as a vehicle for populist politics; the shifts in style wrought by industrialization, migration, and urbanization; the importance of media dissemination and commercialization, both in driving musical change and in determining its scope of influence; and the ambivalent role of the processes variously dubbed "westernization," "Americanization," and "globalization." DPLL

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LACA 1510E. Race, Music and Literature in the Spanish Caribbean.

The course provides an interdisciplinary approach to racial representations in the Literature and Popular Music of the Spanish Caribbean. It explores the different definitions and representations of the Spanish Caribbean cultures and identities from a comparative view of the Anglo and French Caribbean writers. DPLL

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LACA 1510F. Institutions of Justice and Democracy in Latin America.

The course will examine the relationship between democracy building and the performance of Institutions of Justice in Latin America. We will address issues of human rights violations, globalization and its threats, and the Challenges that Latin American regimes faces to build democratic institutions and the rule of Law. The course will focus will be both on the normative and sociological and analysis of the institutions of Justice in Latin America.

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LACA 1510G. Literature and Popular Culture in Latin America.

Latin American cultures were built on the humanistic and intellectual perspectives exposed by José Enrique Rodó and José Martí, among many others, which propose the artistic aesthetic as a social ideal and the spreading of education as a sign of progress. But these cultural and national projects were developed in "the era of mechanical reproduction" and their literary project soon was menaced by the "cultural industry." This course explores the dialogues and tensions between what has been branded as the "lettered" and the "real city" in Latin American societies in a selection of literature, film, television, and popular music. This course will be given in Spanish. DPLL

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LACA 1510H. Shaping the Brazilian Nation through Music.

This course provides an introduction to the music of Brazil, with a particular emphasis on its role in creating and contesting visions of nationhood during the twentieth century. Focusing upon a limited number of musical practices, from different regions and periods, it is not intended to provide a comprehensive survey. Rather, using a small set of case studies, it highlights key dynamics that have shaped the relation between Brazilian music and Brazilian society more broadly. Topics range from traditional practices, such as candomblé and folias de reis; to samba, bossa nova, and Northeastern regional styles; to the work of composer Heitor Villa-Lobos; to the contemporary hip hop scene of São Paolo. There are no prerequisites, but it is recommended that students have either some knowledge of Latin American culture and/or history, or some musical background. Enrollment will be limited to twenty people, with preference given to those matching these criteria. DPLL

Course usage information

LACA 1510I. Urban Latin America.

This course will analyze the crucial dynamics, contradictions and consequences of urbanization in contemporary Latin America. Themes to be addressed include: urban culture, sports, national and ethnic identities, religion and violence. Prerequisite: at least one other class in Anthropology or other social sciences.

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LACA 1510J. The Making of Modern Brazil.

Will focus on the building of the Brazilian nation and the meanings of social phenomena involved in this process. Based on studies of contemporary Brazilian society, it will analyze different aspects of that country: urbanizatioin, popular culture, revival of tradition, hybridization, imageries, symbolic aspects of money and consumption, popular music.

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LACA 1510K. Human Rights in Twenty-First Century Latin America.

Course offers a multidisciplinary introduction to the key advances in and challenges for the protection of human rights in contemporary Latin America.In contesting autocratic governments in the 1970's and 1980's, Latin America social movements and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) played a central role in the creation of the institutions and norms that constitute the international human rights system today. Enrollment limited to 20.

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LACA 1510L. The Politics of Latin America: Dilemmas and Opportunities.

A survey course on the politics of Latin America which aims at exploring the transformations experienced by the region in the last few decades. The course combines the discussion of themes (the emergent economic realities, the quality of democracy) with a more detailed look at countries of particular relevance because of their importance (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina) their unique trajectories (Chile, Cuba) and their relationship with the United States (Venezuela). Enrollment limited to 20.

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LACA 1510M. New Latin American Populisms in Comparative Perspective:Bolivia,Argentina,Venezuela + Ecuador.

Seminar: this course is based on the notion that there is more to populism and old dichotomies such as rational/irrational, rural/urban or modern/traditional. It will discuss and identify a more precise definition of populism, characterize the "new Latin American populism"and compare it with the classic populisms of the Post War era and the "neo-populisms" of the nineties. It will discuss the commonalities and differences of these regimes in terms of their coalitions of support and their public policies. Limited to 25 juniors and seniors.

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LACA 1510N. Political Systems and Political Parties in Latin America.

This course will explore the seemingly contradictory reality of Latin American political systems and political parties. The goals of the course are to analyze the transformations of the political parties and the political party systems in Latin America from the year 2000 to the present day and to highlight the manner in which the party systems transformations had to do the transformations in the representative linkage between the political parties and the civil and political societies that they are rooted in.

Course usage information

LACA 1700. Beyond Sun, Sea and Sand: Exploring the Contemporary Caribbean (DEVL 1700).

Interested students must register for DEVL 1700.

Fall LACA1700 S01 17109 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1935. Beyond Bossa Nova: Brazilian Music and Society (MUSC 1935).

Interested students must register for MUSC 1935.

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LACA 1967L. Politics and Culture Under the Brazilian Military Dictatorship, 1964-1985 (HIST 1967L).

Interested students must register for HIST 1967L.

Fall LACA1967L S01 17156 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1967T. History of the Andes from the Incas to Evo Morales (HIST 1967T).

Interested students must register for HIST 1967T.

Fall LACA1967T S01 17125 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1972C. Picturing Paradise: Art and Science in the Americas (HMAN 1972C).

Interested students must register for HMAN 1972C.

Fall LACA1972C S01 17159 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1972F. Picturing Paradise: Art and Science in the Americas (HMAN 1972F).

Interested students must register for HMAN 1972F.

Fall LACA1972F S01 17130 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1979L. Urban History of Latin America (HIST 1979L).

Interested students must register for HIST 1979L.

Fall LACA1979L S01 17157 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
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LACA 1990. Individual Thesis Preparation.

For Latin American + Carribean Studies concentrators writing senior projects or honors theses.

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LACA 1991. Individual Thesis Preparation.

For Latin American + Carribean Studies concentrators writing senior projects or honors theses.

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LACA 1992. Senior Seminar: Interpreting Latin America and the Caribbean Today.

This seminar serves as a capstone course for the Latin American and Caribbean Studies concentration. Its purpose is to enable students to synthesize the diverse material covered throughout their interdisciplinary coursework in the concentration and to reflect on overarching questions, issues, and concepts related to Latin America and the Caribbean. Open to senior Latin American Studies concentrators. Instructor permission required.

Course usage information

LACA 1993. Senior Seminar: Interpreting Latin America and the Caribbean Today.

This seminar serves as a capstone course for the Latin American and Caribbean Studies concentration. Its purpose is to enable students to synthesize the diverse material covered throughout their interdisciplinary coursework in the concentration and to reflect on overarching questions, issues, and concepts related to Latin America and the Caribbean. Open to senior Latin American Studies concentrators. Instructor permission required.

Course usage information

LACA 1994. Independent Readings in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

For upper-division students interested in pursuing topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies not currently taught in the Brown curriculum. Students must have significant prior coursework, language skills, and sufficient background knowledge to put together a comprehensive reading list and to produce a final paper that meets the research requirement in the LACA concentration.

Class requirements include weekly meetings with the instructor, reading responses submitted before each meeting, and a self-assessment at the end of the semester by the student. The independent study will culminate in a research paper of sufficient depth and sophistication to meet the research requirement for the concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Registration requires a comprehensive reading list developed by the student in consultation with the faculty member and a written agreement on course requirements. The concentration advisor’s approval is required if the course is to count toward the concentration.

No more than two (2) semesters of LACA 1994/1995 may be used toward concentration requirements in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Course usage information

LACA 1995. Independent Readings in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

For upper-division students interested in pursuing topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies not currently taught in the Brown curriculum. Students must have significant prior coursework, language skills, and sufficient background knowledge to put together a comprehensive reading list and to produce a final paper that meets the research requirement in the LACA concentration.

Class requirements include weekly meetings with the instructor, reading responses submitted before each meeting, and a self-assessment at the end of the semester by the student. The independent study will culminate in a research paper of sufficient depth and sophistication to meet the research requirement for the concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Registration requires a comprehensive reading list developed by the student in consultation with the faculty member and a written agreement on course requirements. The concentration advisor’s approval is required if the course is to count toward the concentration.

No more than two (2) semesters of LACA 1994/1995 may be used toward concentration requirements in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Course usage information

LACA 2971T. Colonial Latin America (HIST 2971T).

Interested students must register for HIST 2971T.

Fall LACA2971T S01 17158 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'

Director

Jessaca B. Leinaweaver

Professor

Richard O. Snyder
Professor of Political Science

Associate Professor

Jessaca B. Leinaweaver
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACA) leads to a strong, interdisciplinary understanding of culture, history, and contemporary issues in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latino/a diaspora.

Requirements are intentionally broad and flexible to accommodate the focused interests of students in understanding the diverse reality of this region. Concentration requirements include four themes: language, area studies, research, and internship / service work. A wide selection of courses from departments across the University expose students to the methods and materials of different disciplines and provide a background in the contemporary and historical contours of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino/a societies. For more information, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Jeremy Mumford.

Requirements are intentionally broad and flexible to accommodate the interests of students in understanding the diverse reality of Latin America and the Caribbean, yet the concentration also encourages focus. Concentration requirements cover four general areas: language and literature, area studies, independent research, and out of classroom experience.

Language

Basic competence in either Spanish or Portuguese is required. Each student must take either HISP 0100, HISP 0200, POBS 0110 or any more advanced Spanish or Portuguese language course.  This requirement may be satisfied by examination, but the examination will not count as a course. No more than one advanced language course (not including literature courses) may be counted among the ten courses required for the concentration.

Literature

Some familiarity with the literature of the region is required. Each concentrator must take at least one of the following: HISP 0730, POBS 0610, or a 1000-level Spanish or Portuguese literature course dealing with Latin America.

Area Studies

6 courses: Two types of area-focused courses are required: (1) courses specifically designated "Latin American Studies" (LAST, not including LACA 1990- LACA 1991), and (2) courses in several departmental programs that demonstrate the ways in which various disciplines have contributed to our understanding of Latin America. Approved area studies courses for the concentration are listed in Appendix B of the Concentration Guide.

At least 2 disciplines (not including Latin American Studies) must be represented among the six area studies courses. Other 1000-level courses dealing with related subjects that are especially pertinent to the study of Latin America may be substituted with approval.

Senior Thesis or Project

2 courses: A Senior Thesis or Project is optional for concentrators. It includes course credit for a reading and research course (LACA 1990-LACA 1991). In order to integrate the diverse perspectives gained in courses and readings, seniors may elect to complete a Senior Thesis or Project under the direction of one faculty member. Seniors will also choose one additional faculty member to serve as a reader. The reader will receive a draft and a finished copy of the student's thesis or project, which the reader will be responsible to grade. The reader may be involved in the earlier development of the thesis or project depending upon the arrangement made by the student with the reader. The Senior Thesis or Project will normally consist of a major research paper. A student may, with prior permission of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Concentration Advisor, present a film, videotape, museum exhibition, or other appropriate project, together with a paper that clearly demonstrates the academic relevance of the project. Only the Senior Thesis qualifies the student (along with a minimum B+ average) for Honors. The Senior Project is quite often of a more personal nature, such as observations on practice teaching or a survey of social resources on Latin America. Near the beginning of the seventh semester, students should submit to the concentration advisor a 5 to 8 page prospectus accompanied by the signature of one faculty member indicating that he or she is willing to serve as primary advisor on the project.

If a concentrator chooses to do neither a senior thesis nor a senior project, then a research paper must be written in an advanced undergraduate seminar (1000-level). The seminar must be among the approved area studies courses listed in Appendix B of the Latin American Studies Concentration Guide, and will count as one of the ten courses required for the concentration. Research papers will typically be 20-30 pages in length and must be approved by the Concentration Advisor. Students who choose this option do not take or LACA 1990 - LACA 1991. The seminar counts as the research component of the program. The distribution requirements for this option are: 2 language courses, 7 area studies courses and 1 research course (i.e. the seminar for which the paper is written).

Internships/Community Service

The Concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies requires students to complete an internship or volunteer service work in Latin America or with a local organization that works primarily with Spanish or Portuguese speaking peoples. The Center maintains a database of local and international internship opportunities. Students are also strongly encouraged to consult with the Swearer Center for Public Service. Internships and community service work are available to Brown students who study abroad at the Brown programs in Mexico (Universidad de las Americas) and in Brazil (Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro). Examples of local service work performed by concentrators in previous years include: helping compile a Spanish language guide to welfare service agencies, developing a culturally appropriate adaptation of a health testing and education program, and ESL instruction to Latin American immigrants. Such extracurricular work can be rewarding in itself; in consultation with a faculty member, it can often be used to earn academic credit and furnish material for either a Senior Thesis or Project.

A minimum of one semester or a summer of internship or volunteer service work is required. Students need to submit an internship/service work proposal form to the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Concentration Advisor for approval prior to starting the internship or service work. Upon completion of the internship or service work, students are required to submit to the Concentration Advisor a brief summary report of their experience, which must be signed by the supervisor of the student's internship or service work.

Honors

Qualified undergraduates may pursue work towards the B.A. with Honors. The requirements for graduation with Honors are the following:

  1. Maintenance of at least a B+ average in the ten courses counting for the concentration.
  2. Maintenance of at least a B+ average in all course work done for the B.A. at Brown.
  3. Completion of a Senior Thesis approved by the primary advisor and reader as acceptable for Honors. The senior thesis should be "A" level work, although an "A" thesis does not automatically qualify for honors.

Prizes and Awards: Graduating seniors in Latin American Studies are eligible for an award administered by the concentration for outstanding Senior Thesis.

Foreign Study

Study abroad (normally in the junior year) is encouraged as an important part of the concentration. Interested students should begin early to prepare for such a venture. Popular programs with Latin American concentrators include Universidad de las Americas-Puebla, Mexico, and the Catholic University (PUC-Rio) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Up to three courses taken abroad may be counted toward the ten courses required for the concentration. A list of Brown programs and approved non-Brown programs is available from the Office of International Programs (OIP) located in Rhode Island Hall. Feel free to consult the Latin American and Caribbean Studies concentration advisor about study abroad.

Latin American and Caribbean Studies Graduate Requirements

Brown offers no advanced degree in Latin American Studies, but our faculty work closely with interested graduate students in other departments such as Hispanic Studies, History, Economics, American Civilization, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and the A.M. in Development Studies. Information about these degrees may be obtained directly from these departments or programs.