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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. Beginning summer 2018, the DUS will be Professor Erica Durante.

Concentration Requirements

1. Ten courses on Latin American, Caribbean, and/or Latinx subjects.  These may be explicitly designated as LACA classes, but do not need to be.  Up to two of these courses can be language learning classes.  Relevant courses from study abroad may count toward this total. For double concentrators, up to two classes can count toward the course requirements of both LACA and another concentration.  At least two different academic disciplines should be represented in the ten courses. Courses in which the student did substantial work on a Latin American, Caribbean, or Latinx subject may count toward this total, even if the course as a whole has a more general subject matter.  Concentrators should periodically update their courses on ASK and confirm with the Director of Undergraduate Studies that they are on track to meeting the coursework requirement. 

The courses must include at least one survey course providing a comprehensive and comparative view of the region.  Examples include the following: 

Introduction to Latin America
Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture: A World That Matters
Peoples and the Cultures of the Americas
Vertical Civilization: South American Archaeology from Monte Verde to the Inkas
Economic Development in Latin America
The Economics of Latin Americans
Encounters: Latin America in Its Literature and Culture
Modern Latin America
Latin American History and Film: Memory, Narrative and Nation

2. Competence in a Latin American and/or Caribbean language.  Competence in Spanish, Portuguese,  French, Haitian Kreyol, Kaqchikel Maya, etc. may be demonstrated through a departmental test, AP credit, language courses at Brown or elsewhere, study abroad, etc; please contact the concentration advisor to confirm. (If the student’s primary area of study is the Anglophone Caribbean, a field language is not necessary.)

3. An internship or volunteer service, located in the U.S. or overseas, for one semester or one summer. Work completed during study abroad may count toward this requirement. The service work will connect theory to practice, applying scholarly knowledge to social challenges. Students are encouraged to consult with the Swearer Center for Public Service for assistance finding a volunteer placement. Students should also meet with the DUS by the beginning of junior year to discuss their work plan for their service component. Upon completion of the internship or service work, students submit a brief summary report to the concentration advisor linking their experience to their scholarship, accompanied by a short letter from a supervisor confirming the completion of the work.

4. A capstone project.  This may be a senior honors thesis or creative project, supervised by a primary advisor and a secondary reader; a non-honors research paper; or a reflective paper about non-academic work (such as service or foreign study) related to Latin America, the Caribbean or the Latinx experience.   

The project may be completed for honors if the student is eligible (see Honors, below).

Students undertaking a capstone project are encouraged to enroll in LACA 1900. Alternatively, they may elect to enroll in one or two semesters of independent study (LACA 1990, LACA 1991) with their thesis/project advisor. 

Writing Requirement

To satisfy Brown's writing requirement as a LACA concentrator (which must be completed by the end of the 7th semester), students are encouraged to consider courses that have an emphasis on revision and feedback such as the following: 

Afro Latin Americans and Blackness in the Americas
Economic Development in Latin America
Encounters: Latin America in Its Literature and Culture
Gender Trouble in Spanish America
Clash of Empires in Latin America
The Silk Roads, Past and Present
Popular Music and Society in Latin America
Drug War Politics
Quality of Democracy in Latin America
Black Protest: Theory and Praxis

Engaged Scholars Program

The concentration also allows students to pursue the Engaged Scholars Program. The Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACA) is designed for LACA concentrators who are especially interested in making deeper connections between their academic work and local communities in Providence and beyond. Engaged Scholars combine hands-on experiences such as internships, public service, humanitarian, and development work with their academic learning in order to develop a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, social engagement.

Honors

Qualified undergraduates may work towards the A.B. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with Honors.

Requirements to graduate with Honors:

  1. Maintenance of at least a A- average in the ten courses counting for the Latin American and Caribbean Studies concentration
  2. Maintenance of at least a B+ average in all course work at Brown
  3. Completion of a senior honors thesis or project with a grade of A

Graduating seniors with Honors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies are eligible for an award administered by the concentration for Outstanding Senior Thesis or Project.

Senior Honors Thesis or Project Timeline:

  • By end of sixth semester: Students submit a one page proposal to the concentration advisor, including their thesis or project title and short description. The thesis proposal must be signed by a primary advisor and a secondary reader. The project proposal must be signed by a primary advisor.
  • By October 15: Students submit the first section of their thesis or project to their research advisor for review. They should agree with their advisor on the schedule for the remaining portions.
  • By March 15: A draft of the entire thesis or project is due to the primary advisor and the secondary reader for review and feedback.
  • By 5 pm on April 15: The final, complete senior honors thesis or project is due.
  • Students submit one copy each to the primary advisor and the secondary reader.
  • Students submit one paper copy and one electronic copy to the concentration advisor.
  • Students will make a short presentation on their research at an end-of-year event at the Watson Institute

Requirements Effective through the Class of 2019 

For students declaring their concentration prior to the 2018-2019 academic year the requirements are the same as above, except that the ten courses may include up to one language learning course and that a survey course is recommended but not required. Students who declared the LACA concentration prior to the 2017-2018 academic year may elect to follow the new guidelines if they wish, or maintain the previous requirements.