The Latin American Studies (LAS) program thrives at the intersections of social science, the humanities, and the arts, and values scholarly, testimonial, and creative work by Latin American writers and artists. LAS provides a vibrant forum in which students can develop core skills in language, communication (written, oral, and visual), argument, comparison, theory, research design, and civic engagement.
The major culminates in an integrative capstone experience, often rooted in fieldwork conducted in Latin America. Each capstone is shared in a publication or presentation in the United States or Latin America. LAS provides outstanding preparation for professional careers, graduate studies, competitive fellowships, and community-based work in Latin America.
Macalester’s Latin American Studies program is distinctive in several respects:
- Outstanding breadth of faculty. LAS includes 10 faculty members, with specializations in anthropology, cultural studies, economics, gender studies, geography, international development, language, literature, history, politics, social movements, urban studies, border studies and U.S. Latin@ studies. Our faculty members not only teach more than 40 Latin America-focused courses, they are also committed to forging a strong student-faculty community of scholars engaged in the problems confronting the Americas.
- Deep commitment to language mastery. Few liberal arts colleges offer Portuguese, but Macalester has done so for decades. Many LAS students not only achieve fluency in Spanish, but also proficiency in a third language.
- Original field research. LAS juniors and seniors spend more than a year preparing for a project, conducting interviews and gathering data in Latin America, and writing capstones and honors theses. Faculty members mentor students through the entire process.
- Engaged scholarship. LAS students share the results of their original research with academic and community audiences. LAS majors complete at least one of four options: conference presentation, journal publication, community publication, and civic engagement presentation or event.