Why Latin American Studies at Mac?

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 for students to develop core skills in interdisciplinarity, language, communication (written, oral, and visual), argumentation, 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.

What’s the Difference between the Latin American Studies Program and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese?

The Latin American Studies Program (LAS) is an interdisciplinary area studies program. LAS includes many Spanish & Portuguese courses, as well as courses in Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology, Fine Arts and other disciplines. By contrast, the Department of Spanish & Portuguese combines the study of Spanish and Portuguese languages with courses in literature, linguistics, and cultural studies that engage social concerns, artistic movements, and historical transformations.  Courses are taught primarily in Spanish and Portuguese.


Chispa Grant Program

Latin American Studies Chispa Grants provide a chispa—a spark—to help LAS students initiate community civic engagement projects related to their academic work,  or to present original work at a conference outside the Twin Cities. Funds may be used for a broad array of project or conference related expenses (e.g., books, travel, registration fees).

Tips for First-Year Students interested in LAS

  • Email Professor Olga Gonzalez at communicating your interest, so you can stay informed about LAS events.
  • Take an introductory (141, 151, 171 or 181) or intermediate (200-level) LATI course.
  • Take a Spanish or Portuguese course, such as HISP 101, 102, 110, 111, 203, 204, 220, 221, or 305. If already proficient at the 305 level, consider HISP 307 or Portuguese or French.
  • Check out the LAS faculty bios to see which professors work in disciplines that interest you.


Monument to the Nation in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico