Courses | St. Lawrence University Caribbean, Latin American and Latino Studies


The following course is offered regularly at St. Lawrence. Additional courses in Central America are available as part of the St. Lawrence program in Costa Rica and in the ISEP programs.

CLAS 104. Survey to Caribbean and Latin American Studies.

This interdisciplinary core course is designed to introduce students to the richness and diversity of Latin American cultures, the region's turbulent history of conquest and colonization and the problems of its development. The course familiarizes students with the vitality of Latin American art and literature. Our final objective is to relate Latin American culture with "cultura latina"' in the United States. The course provides a framework for more advanced studies on Caribbean and Latin American themes.

Offerings by Department


ECON 336: Economic Development
This course examines the problems of economic growth and development in the less developed countries (LDCs) of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Although a variety of approaches to development economics are studied, the analysis of new institutionalist economics is emphasized. By the end of the semester, participants should be able to understand (1) the economic diversity, as well as the diversity of development problems, among LDCs, (2) the conditions necessary or conducive to economic growth and the institutional hindrances to growth, and (3) the economic implications of alternative development strategies and policies. Prerequisites: Economics 200, 251 and 252.


ENG 224: Caribbean Literature in English
This course looks at Caribbean literature and culture from a variety of national perspectives. Although we focus primarily on the Anglophone Caribbean, former colonies of Britain, we read works translated from French, Dutch and Spanish. We attempt to deconstruct the notion of the Caribbean a "playground" for tourists and look closely at the various ethnic groups who live in the region.
Global Studies

GS 102:  Introduction to Global Studies II:  Race, Culture, Identity
Examination of their own identities and social locations leads students to an understanding of how those identities exist in a global matrix of cultural, economic and political relationships. Students are introduced to various theoretical and political positions on identity, with a focus on gender, race, ethnicity, class, spirituality and sexuality. While much of the material is drawn from the contemporary era, the historical context of European conquest and expansion and the Middle Passage frame a critical examination of the evolving ideas of “America” and the “West.” This course fulfills the diversity (DIV) requirement.

GS 250A: La Frontera: Cultural Identities on the Mexican-U.S. Borderland
This course investigates the cultural expressions derived from the interaction among people from both sides of the Mexico/U.S. border. The goal of the course is to understand the different ways in which immigration, drug smuggling, and transnational industries on affect the everyday life of borderlanders. This course will have an historical and critical approach to studying cultural expressions created around the world’s most transited border. This course explores and examines the production of U. S. Latina/Latino identities as instances of international, cultural, historical, and social borders crossings. In both regional and global contexts, we will analyze the ways in which Mexican American, identities have been shaped by colonial relations vis-à-vis Spain and by postcolonial conditions vis-à-vis the United States.

GS 255:  Popular Culture
This course introduces students to key themes in the study of popular media and to debates about the role of media in contemporary societies. It also introduces methodologies used to study culture and asks students to apply them to case studies from music, sports, comics, fashion, television, cyberculture, film or advertising. Emphasis is on various cultural expressions of ethnic subcultures in the United States and their complex negotiations with the dominant culture and their co-resisters in a global/local struggle over meaning.

GS 260:  Transnational Migration
Students acquire a global perspective on the nature of migration movements, why they take place and how they affect migrating peoples, as well as the societies receiving them. Themes include a) transnationalism and new approaches to national identity and citizenship; b) migration as a social network-driven process; c) gendered migration; d) migration and the formation of ethnic minorities. The course analyzes how transnational movements of people, goods and services affect and transform the relationships between cities and nations and explores the political meaning of contemporary nationalism and the possibilities of new forms of citizenship. Emphasis is on the (trans)formations of Latino identities in the U.S. This course fulfills the diversity (DIV) requirement.


GOV 228:  Latin American Politics
This course introduces students to the politics of Latin America.  Tracing the roots of current political conflict to the colonial era, the primary focus of the course is on underdevelopment and political change in Latin America today.  The course examines the roles of key political actors, including the military, indigenous peoples and the church.  It explores patterns of development, introducing theories that seek to explain persistent poverty and inequality as well as the periodic swings between authoritarianism and democracy in the region.  The course material emphasizes current pressures for political inclusion, tracking social movements and human rights.  Themes are illustrated with case studies.


CLAS 104/HIST 115: Survey of Caribbean and Latin American Studies
This is an interdisciplinary core course designed to introduce students to the richness and diversity of Caribbean and Latin American cultures, the regions’ turbulent history of conquest and colonization and the problems of their development. One of our main goals will be to examine our individual places in the histories of the Americas in comparative perspective. We will use many different kinds of materials this semester from primary and secondary texts, fiction and poetry, art, music and film to familiarize ourselves with the vitality of Caribbean and Latin American artistic expression, history, life, and culture. Our final objective is to relate Latin American and Caribbean cultures with the cultures of migrants from these areas in the United States. The course provides a framework for more advanced studies on Caribbean and Latin American themes.

HIST 233: Colonial Latin America
This course is designed as a survey of the formation and historical development of colonial Latin America.  We will begin with the initial encounters between some of 8the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the Iberians in the fifteenth century and end with Spain’s final loss of its colonial holdings in the Americas in 1898.  Part of our task will be to understand the dynamics of race, class and gender in the colonial societies that developed from the violent collision of cultures during the conquest.  The last part of the course will focus on the forces that finally destroyed the American colonial bonds with Spain and Portugal and the colonial legacies that endured after independence.

CLAS 234A/HIST 234A: Modern Latin American & The Caribbean
This course is designed as a survey of modern Latin America and the Caribbean. We will begin with a brief overview of the colonial era and the early national period, but the main focus of the course will be from about 1870 to the present. We will examine the historical roots of the tremendous human and cultural diversity of Latin America and the Caribbean and how this diversity has affected the evolution of societies in the region. Some of the issues that will concern us include: the region's relationships to a changing world economy, politics and human rights, and migration and diasporic cultures. Most of our attention will be focused on Ibero-America, but we will touch on Anglo- and Francophone areas in the Caribbean as well.

 HIST 256: Slavery and Freedom in the Americas
This course surveys the topic of the genesis, development, and dissolution of the transatlantic slave trade and the slave societies that created the demand for this trade in both North and South America and the Caribbean. The perspective is Atlantic in scope trying to understand the impact of this forced migration on Africa and Africans and on American (defined as all of the Americas, not just the US) societies. We will discuss the interactions of Africans and their descendents with the indigenous peoples of the Americas and with Europeans. We will tap into some of the wide array of materials now available to study the slave system and the cultures of slave societies in the Americas – memoirs and other primary materials, web-based materials, film, and secondary sources. We will briefly survey some of the movements to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself, examining how the people involved defined freedom. We will end by discussing some of the contemporary debates about the legacies of slavery in the Americas.

HIST 478:  SYE:  Atlantic Migrations
This course is designed as a research seminar, primarily for history majors and minors, the product of which will be a substantial (25-30 pages) research paper. The general focus of the course is the Atlantic world from 1492 to the mid-nineteenth century. Our theme will be the migrations, encounters, and interactions among the peoples of the continents that border the Atlantic ocean – the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the many islands in the Atlantic ocean. The first several weeks of the course will be spent becoming familiar with some of the theoretical and methodological issues that frame current research on migration in the Atlantic world—i.e. the concept of diaspora and comparisons of forced and free migration. The rest of the semester will be devoted to students’ defining, executing, and sharing the fruits of an individual research project on a specific aspect of migration or group of migrants within the Atlantic world.


SPAN 103/104: Intermediate Spanish
Spoken and written Spanish are reinforced by a review of grammar and idiomatic strategies for self-expression. The course includes use of videos, music, literature, news broadcasts and the Internet as means for understanding the contemporary culture of Hispanic America and Spain. Materials in the language laboratory facilitate conversation and increased oral comprehension. Prerequisite: Spanish 101, 102 or equivalent

SPAN 201: Advanced Spanish
Review and expansion of the four skills with emphasis on the oral and written expression of ideas in Spanish on topics of current interest and cultural significance in the Spanish-speaking world. Materials studied include journalist texts, videos, audiotapes, songs and literary works. For students who have completed Spanish 103, 104 or who have four years or more of Spanish at the secondary level.

SPAN 202:  Hispanic Cultural Studies
A language course with the aim of acquainting students with current Hispanic culture through the analysis of literary texts, films, advertisements and other materials drawn from Spain, Hispanic America and the Latino community in the United States. Includes a research project on a cultural topic. This course fulfills the Diversity distribution requirement.

SPAN 211: Introduction to Latin American Cultures
This course presents major topics related to history and culture in Latin America and includes an analysis of cultural pluralism in selected areas of the region. Representative documents in Spanish such as literary works, newspaper articles and videos are studied to illustrate changes in the social patterns of the culture and facilitate the enhancement of language skills. Not open to students who have completed a more advanced course. Taught in Spanish.

SPAN 221. Latin America in Film.
This class examines how Latin America is represented in films by directors from Hispanic America, Brazil, Europe and the United States. The films form the basis of conversation and research on themes related to contemporary history, inter-ethnic conflict, traditional gender roles and immigration. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish, though some of the theoretical and technical readings on film are in English. This course fulfills the Diversity and Humanities distribution requirement.

SPAN 443: Contemporary Hispanic American Literature
A study of 20th-century literature in Hispanic America as well as in the United States from diverse genres that include poetry, prose fiction, theater and testimonial works. Authors read usually include Rubén Darío, Gabriel García Márquez, Pablo Neruda, Rosario Ferré and Gloria Anzaldúa, among others.

SPAN 444: Introduction to Hispanic American Literature
Indigenous oral traditions and texts from the period prior to the arrival of the Europeans are examined, as are works from the colonial period to the present. Authors studied from the colonial period include Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Bartolomé de las Casas and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Contemporary authors include Borges, García Márquez, Allende and Rigoberta Menchú.

SPAN 445:  Literary Translation:  Theory and Practice
In this workshop, students use translation as a tool to learn how to express themselves more effectively in both English and Spanish. Theorists such as Octavio Paz, José Ortega y Gasset, Willis Barnstone, Carol Maier, Walter Benjamin, Tejaswini Niranjana and others help illuminate the practice of translation in a variety of genres that include poetry, autobiography, book reviews and subtitling of films. For students with considerable background in Spanish, including, preferably, residence in a Spanish-speaking country.

SPAN 446:  Oral Expression in Spanish
Analysis of contemporary oral usage through the study of film, video and audio materials as well as printed texts. Advanced pronunciation practice. Study of techniques of oral presentation. Assignments are designed to promote the development of persuasive skills and include formal debates on contemporary issues and other public speaking activities.

SPAN 447: Afro-Hispanic Culture and Literature.
This course explores the African Legacy in the culture of the Hispanic Caribbean: Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. While examining a variety of texts we will engage in conversation around topics that include slavery and resistance, cultural racism, class, identity construction and representation. The course also incorporates cuisine, music, dance and other sources as the basis for work that may bring in creative, disciplinary or career interests. Crosslisted with Caribbean and Latin American Studies. Taught in Spanish, and permission of the instructor is required.


172 - Reading Film Sociologically
Is film racist?  Classist?  Sexist?  Homophobic?  In this class, we consider both the dominant stories that films produce and the tales of otherness that emerge from alternative readings of film.  We examine questions of representation in film and how those representations are directly linked to the political realm.  In addition, we consider how films speak to questions such as racial, sexual and political identity.  Working from Marxist and post-Marxist theory, we also consider questions of capitalism/post-capitalism and technology, alienation, deviance and social control, and inequality.  Not open to seniors.

Special Topics Courses

247 & 248: Special topics courses offer students the opportunity to study specific topics in CLAS when offered by departments.

Additional information and a complete list of the approved courses for the minor can be obtained through the coordinator for Caribbean and Latin American Studies or the Center for International and Intercultural Studies, located in Carnegie Hall, 108.