Latin American Studies


  • Joy Hayes (Communication Studies)


  • Karmen R. Berger
Undergraduate minor: Latin American studies
Undergraduate certificate: Latin American studies
Web site:

The Latin American Studies Program (LASP) is interdisciplinary, focusing on the history, politics, social organization, economy, geography, music, religion, art, and literature of Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Faculty members from across the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences participate in the Latin American Studies Program as affiliated faculty members. Other University of Iowa faculty members occasionally offer courses and participate in the program's research, study, and interdisciplinary activities.

The Latin American Studies Program prepares students for graduate study or for Latin America-related careers in business, communications, government, bilingual/bicultural education, secondary teaching, community organizing, and international work.

In addition to its instructional activity, LASP sponsors a wide variety of activities, brings scholars of Latin America to campus, and fosters institutional linkages.

Undergraduate Programs of Study

  • Certificate in Latin American Studies
  • Minor in Latin American studies


The Certificate in Latin American Studies requires a minimum of 24 s.h. The certificate program is open to current University of Iowa undergraduate students (except those earning a major in international studies with an emphasis in Latin American studies) and to all individuals who hold a bachelor's degree and are not enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in the certificate. Completion of the certificate is noted on the student's transcript.

A student may earn the certificate or the minor in Latin American studies, but not both.

The 24 s.h. required for the certificate must be earned in LASP-approved courses (see "Associated Courses" and "Courses" below) and must include at least 12 s.h. of credit earned at The University of Iowa. All students develop an individual certificate plan of study in close cooperation with a LASP advisor. They may count a total of 12 s.h. of credit earned for majors, minors, and other certificates toward the Certificate in Latin American Studies. In some cases, students may be able to count certificate courses toward certain General Education Program requirements.

The Certificate in Latin American Studies requires the following course work.

LAS:2700 (130:070) Introduction to Latin American Studies3 s.h.
LAS:4700 (130:176) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.
Spanish and Portuguese courses6 s.h.
Additional courses12 s.h.

The required Spanish and Portuguese courses (6 s.h.) must be chosen from the lists under "Associated Courses" below.

The required additional courses (12 s.h.) also must be chosen from the lists under "Associated Courses" and "Courses" below. They must include courses from at least two different departments, and they may include a maximum of one (3 s.h.) additional course in Spanish or Portuguese.

Study Abroad

The program highly recommends study abroad in Latin America. Students must have prior approval to apply credit from a study abroad program toward the certificate requirements; contact the Latin American Studies Program.


The minor in Latin American studies requires a minimum of 15 s.h. in LASP-approved courses (see "Associated Courses" and "Courses" below), including 12 s.h. in University of Iowa courses numbered 3000 or above. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all courses for the minor and in all UI courses for the minor. Course work in the minor may not be taken pass/nonpass.

A student may earn the minor or the certificate in Latin American studies, but not both.

Students may count a total of 6 s.h. earned for majors, certificates, and other minors toward the Latin American studies minor. The minor is interdisciplinary, so it may include a maximum of 6 s.h. of credit from any single department or program.

Students are strongly encouraged to take either or both of these for the minor.

LAS:2700 (130:070) Introduction to Latin American Studies3 s.h.
LAS:4700 (130:176) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.

Study Abroad

The Latin American Studies Program highly recommends, but does not require, that students have an in-depth Latin American cultural experience, usually through study abroad, before completing their undergraduate requirements.

In cooperation with International Programs Study Abroad, LASP faculty members facilitate student participation in programs in many Latin American countries. University of Iowa students may enroll in programs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and Uruguay. Programs range from intensive language study to group programs with a special focus. The University of Iowa cosponsors these programs through various consortiums.

Study abroad courses may be counted toward requirements for the certificate and the minor with prior approval from a LASP director.

Financial Support

Students are encouraged to apply for a Stanley Undergraduate Award for International Research/Fieldwork through University of Iowa International Programs. The awards are given to outstanding University of Iowa undergraduates who, in close consultation with a faculty member, propose well-conceived, small-scale research or fieldwork projects that require travel abroad. Students may conduct projects while participating in a study abroad program and may combine the award with other awards and financial assistance. For information regarding other scholarships, contact LASP advisors, International Programs staff, and the LASP director.


In addition to its instructional activity, LASP organizes a range of public programming activities each semester, including film series, photography and art exhibits, conferences, roundtable discussions, and lectures. Recent events include public lectures on community media and violence in Mexico and Colombia and on the cultural legacies of the 1960s in Latin America, and the annual Charles A. Hale Lecture in Latin American Studies. In 2012 LASP cosponsored an interdisciplinary symposium on the Latino Midwest and the International Conference of the American Portuguese Studies Association.

Associated Courses

The following courses are approved for the Latin American studies certificate and minor. Students may petition to include other courses that have significant Latin American content; consult the Latin American Studies Program.

ANTH:2110 (113:131) Latin American Economy and Society3 s.h.
ANTH:2220 (113:163) Archaeology of Mesoamerica3 s.h.
ANTH:3111 (113:119)/GHS:3040 (152:119) Health in Mexico3 s.h.
ANTH:3130 (113:104) Cultural Politics3 s.h.
ANTH:4700 (113:132)/HIST:4504 (16W:109)/SPAN:4900 (035:176)/PORT:4700 (038:176)/CL:4700 (218:153)/LAS:4700 (130:176) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.
ARTH:3120 (01H:105) Art of Pre-Columbian America3 s.h.
CINE:2624 (048:024) Introduction to Latin American Film3 s.h.
CINE:4678 (048:178)/SPAN:4810 (035:191) Topics in Latin American Cinema3 s.h.
Comparative Literature
CL:4700 (218:153)/HIST:4504 (16W:109)/LAS:4700 (130:176)/SPAN:4900 (035:176)/PORT:4700 (038:176)/ANTH:4700 (113:132) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.
Communication Studies
COMM:4152 (036:152) Latin American Media3 s.h.
DANC:1150 (137:057) Brazilian Culture and Carnival3 s.h.
ENGL:3525 (008:113) Literature and Culture of the Americas3 s.h.
ENGL:3535 (008:133) Inter-American Studies (when content is Latin American)3 s.h.
HIST:4216 (16A:112) Mexican American History3 s.h.
HIST:4217 (16A:113) Latina/o Immigration3 s.h.
HIST:4334 (16W:134) Topics in American Borderlands History3 s.h.
HIST:4501 (16W:106) Society and Revolution in Cuba3 s.h.
HIST:4502 (16W:107) History of Mexico3 s.h.
HIST:4504 (16W:109)/SPAN:4900 (035:176)/PORT:4700 (038:176)/CL:4700 (218:153)/ANTH:4700 (113:132)/LAS:4700 (130:176) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.
HIST:4505 (16W:110) Topics in Latin American History3 s.h.
HIST:4508 (16W:108) Medicine and Public Health in Latin America, 1820-20003 s.h.
HIST:4510 (16W:111) Colonial Latin America3 s.h.
HIST:4515 (16W:112) Introduction to Modern Latin America3 s.h.
HIST:4520 (16W:114) Latin America and the U.S.: The Historical Perspective3 s.h.
HIST:4525 (16W:115) Latin American Revolution3 s.h.
HIST:4526 (16W:116) Dictatorships of Latin America3 s.h.
International Studies
IS:2700 (187:070)/SPAN:2700 (035:070)/PORT:2700 (038:070)/LAS:2700 (130:070) Introduction to Latin American Studies3 s.h.
MUS:3311 (025:104) Music of Latin America and the Caribbean3 s.h.
MUS:3163 (025:163) Steel Band1 s.h.
Political Science
POLI:3104 (030:108) Immigration Politics3 s.h.
POLI:3415 (030:144) Latin American Politics3 s.h.
PORT:1800 (038:020) Contemporary Brazilian Narrative3 s.h.
PORT:2700 (038:070)/LAS:2700 (130:070)/SPAN:2700 (035:070)/IS:2700 (187:070) Introduction to Latin American Studies3 s.h.
PORT:2800 (038:115) Writing Brazil in the U.S.3 s.h.
PORT:3350 (038:105) Brazilian Literature Before 19003 s.h.
PORT:3400 (038:106) Brazilian Literature After 19003 s.h.
PORT:4000 (038:112) Topics in Luso-Brazilian Literature (when topic is Latin American)3 s.h.
PORT:4100 (038:120) Topics in Luso-Brazilian Culture (when topic is Latin American)3 s.h.
PORT:4700 (038:176)/HIST:4504 (16W:109)/SPAN:4900 (035:176)/CL:4700 (218:153)/ANTH:4700 (113:132)/LAS:4700 (130:176) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.
SPAN:1800 (035:020) Contemporary Spanish American Narrative3 s.h.
SPAN:2200 (035:114) Introduction to Spanish American Cultures3 s.h.
SPAN:2500 (035:111) Readings in Spanish American Literature3 s.h.
SPAN:2700 (035:070)/IS:2700 (187:070)/LAS:2700 (130:070)/PORT:2700 (038:070) Introduction to Latin American Studies3 s.h.
SPAN:2800 (035:113) Screening Latin America3 s.h.
SPAN:3060 (035:120) Introductory Workshop on Creative Writing in Spanish3 s.h.
SPAN:3200 (035:130) Cultures of Spanish America3 s.h.
SPAN:3220 (035:149) Visual Culture: Colonial Spanish America3 s.h.
SPAN:3230 (035:138) Modern Mexico3 s.h.
SPAN:3270 (035:146)/CL:3262 (218:162) Pan-Caribbean Literary Currents3 s.h.
SPAN:3300 (035:131) Contemporary Spanish American Fiction3 s.h.
SPAN:3310 (035:134) Spanish American Short Story3 s.h.
SPAN:3320 (035:132) Spanish American Poetry3 s.h.
SPAN:3350 (035:140) Contemporary Spanish American Literature3 s.h.
SPAN:3360 (035:144)/GWSS:3360 (131:162) Latin American Women Writers3 s.h.
SPAN:3400 (035:137) Chicano Literature and Culture3 s.h.
SPAN:3420 (035:143) Cuban American Literature and Culture3 s.h.
SPAN:3440 (035:135) Topics in Latino/a Literature and Culture3 s.h.
SPAN:4310 (035:175) Cultural Identity in Caribbean Literature3 s.h.
SPAN:4330 (035:173) Colonial Spanish American Literature3 s.h.
SPAN:4370 (035:177) Literature and Mass Culture in Latin America3 s.h.
SPAN:4380 (035:193) Narratives of Underdevelopment3 s.h.
SPAN:4390 (035:178) Topics in Spanish American Literature3 s.h.
SPAN:4800 (035:190) Chicano Cinema3 s.h.
SPAN:4810 (035:191)/CINE:4678 (048:178) Topics in Latin American Cinema3 s.h.
SPAN:4820 (035:174) Latino/a Popular Culture3 s.h.
SPAN:4900 (035:176)/HIST:4504 (16W:109)/CL:4700 (218:153)/LAS:4700 (130:176)/PORT:4700 (038:176)/ANTH:4700 (113:132) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.
SPAN:4950 (035:196) Advanced Workshop on Creative Writing in Spanish3 s.h.
Rotating Topics

The focus of these courses changes from semester to semester. With prior approval, students may use these courses to satisfy requirements for the Latin American studies certificate or minor when the course focuses on Latin America.

ANTH:3107 (113:109) Literature and Anthropology3 s.h.
CINE:3627 (048:112) Proseminar in Cinema and Culture1-2 s.h.
CINE:4618 (048:118) Topics in World Cinemas3 s.h.
ENGL:4000 (008:098) English Honors Seminar3 s.h.
HIST:2151 (16W:051) Introduction to the History Major3 s.h.
SPAN:3290 (035:148) Topics in Cinema and Society3 s.h.
SPAN:3370 (035:147) Topics in Literatures and Cultures3 s.h.
SPAN:4850 (035:172) Topics in Cultural Studies3 s.h.
SPAN:4910 (035:194) Topics in Literary Studies3 s.h.
SPAN:4920 (035:192) Topics in Film Studies3 s.h.


All Latin American Studies Program courses are approved for the certificate and minor.

LAS:2700 (130:070) Introduction to Latin American Studies3 s.h.
Cultures of Latin American countries with emphasis on cultural history and cultural production; interdisciplinary survey. Same as SPAN:2700 (035:070), PORT:2700 (038:070), IS:2700 (187:070).
LAS:4700 (130:176) Latin American Studies Seminar3 s.h.
Interdisciplinary approach. Taught in English. Recommendations: Spanish or Portuguese sufficient for background readings. Same as ANTH:4700 (113:132), SPAN:4900 (035:176), PORT:4700 (038:176), HIST:4504 (16W:109), CL:4700 (218:153).
LAS:4990 (130:105) Independent Studyarr.