Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs


Fall 2018 LACA Courses 

LACA 0100 Introduction to Latin American Studies (Taught by Associate Visiting Professor Erica Durante) 

This course will provide an introduction to the complex and diverse region of Latin America highlighting its geographical, historical, cultural and ethnic characteristics. It will present an overview of critical junctures, paradigms, and individuals that across the centuries have defined Latin America as a unique, transnational and multilingual subcontinent. The course will be structured around three themes (Diversity, Nature and Habitats, and Instability) that will be explored from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course will be particularly valuable for students who would like to familiarize themselves with this region as well as for those who will eventually concentrate in Latin American Studies.

LACA 1503L History of Central America from the 16th Century to the Present (Taught by Cogut Visiting Professor Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj) 

This seminar examines the history and cultures, from the 16th century to the present, of Central America, a region ethnically diverse but with economic and political elements in common. We will center on the resistance, contradictions, and history of the region and its people. We begin with an overview of the appreciation of rich cultural diversity of Central America starting with the time before the Spanish Conquest, moving on to the impact of Spanish colonialism, the independence movements, and the obstacles of the twentieth century.

LACA 1503K Mosquito: Performing Epidemics in Latin America and the Caribbean (Taught by Cogut Visiting Professor Jean Segata) 

This course offers an anthropological overview of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and its epidemics in Latin America and the Caribbean. Yellow fever, dengue, Zika and chikungunya fever are the mosquito-borne diseases. For almost two centuries, they have been the focus of scientific controversies and state health department actions for the control, prevention or surveillance of humans, animals, artifacts, and environment. Moreover, this course examines how epidemics, biosurveillance and their health public policies have been performed from the global infrastructures of science, technology, and their international corporations involving local and ecological entanglements. Class is taught 80% in Portuguese and 20% in English.

LACA 1504E Latinx Music in the U.S. (Taught by Sawyer Seminar Proctor Violet Cavicchi)

This course considers U.S. Latinx experiences by examining diverse musical genres associated with Latinx peoples, including salsa, corrido, rock, and reggaeton. We will take a critical lens to understanding the transformations of Latinx musics, investigating the processes by which they became central to Latinx identity. Over the course of the semester, we will explore the connections between music and cultural, social, and political forces including the entertainment industry, race, migration, and language. The course focuses on ethnographic and historical approaches as a context for understanding current trends. Prior coursework in music, Latin American studies, American studies, or cultural anthropology preferred.

LACA 1900 Honors and Capstone Project on Latin American and Caribbean Topics (Taught by Associate Visiting Professor Erica Durante)

This workshop is designed for junior and seniors in any concentration who are researching and writing about Latin America and the Caribbean. It will help students to enhance their research and organization skills, refine their research or creative projects, and develop or complete a Capstone Project (e.g. honors thesis, honors project, substantial research paper).