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Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Winter 2022 Courses


  • Courses are listed in numerical order by the LACS course number.
  • Cross-lists are noted in parentheses.
  • All courses listed here count toward the LACS Major/Minor course requirements, unless otherwise indicated.
  • Courses that count for the foundational course requirement of the LACS Graduate Certificate are noted with [F] following the course title.
  • Numbering guide:
    • 10000: General education and introductory
    • 20000: Intermediate or advanced undergraduate
    • 30000, 40000, 50000+: Graduate or professional school
    • 20000/30000: Mixed undergraduate/graduate

*NEW* LACS 12300 Kreyol for Speakers of French II
LACS 13200 Introduction to Critical Race Studies: Historical, Global, and Intersectional Perspectives
LACS 14100 Portuguese for Speakers of Romance Languages
LACS 16200/34700 Introduction to Latin American Civilization II [F]
LACS 16460 Modern Latin American Art
LACS 20500 Cultura do Mundo Lusófono
LACS 20600 Composição e Conversação Avançada
LACS 21001 Human Rights: Contemporary Issues
LACS 21100 Las regiones del español
LACS 21150 El español en los Estados Unidos
*NEW* LACS 21320 Archival Methods: Slavery and Gender in the Americas
*NEW* LACS 21807 Cinemas of the Caribbean
LACS 21905 Brazilian Theater and Film
LACS 22001/35500 The Anthropology of Development
*NEW* LACS 22005 Latin American Literatures and Cultures: 20th and 21st Centuries
*NEW* LACS 22550/32550 Speech Play and Verbal Art
*NEW* LACS 23128 Sanctuary: Land Rights in Times of Rural Gentrification and Conservative Eviction
*NEW* LACS 25114 Nazca Art and Iconography
LACS 25303 Human Rights: Migrant, Refugee, Citizen
LACS 26386/36386 Greater Latin America
LACS 26510/36510 Cities from Scratch: The History of Urban Latin America [F]
*NEW* LACS 27075 The Latinx Religious Experience in the US
*NEW* LACS 27722/55000 Financial Crisis and the Conquest of Inflation in Latin America
*NEW* LACS 27822 Ficciones comerciales: Dinero, mercado y literatura
LACS 28400/38400 Bioarchaeology and the Human Skeleton
LACS 29700 Reading and Research in Latin American Studies
LACS 29900 Preparation of the BA Essay
LACS 38802 Problemas críticos y teóricos en el estudio de las culturas ibéricas y latinoamericanas
LACS 40100 Rdg/Rsch: Latin Amer Studies



LACS 12300 (KREY 12300)
Gerdine Ulysse
MWF 10:30-11:20 AM 

This course is intended for speakers of French, to quickly develop competence in spoken and written Kreyol (Kreyòl Ayisyen). In this intermediate-level course, students learn ways to apply their skills in French (or another Romance language with instructor consent) to mastering Kreyol by concentrating on the similarities and differences between the two languages. This course offers a rapid review of the basic patterns of the language and expands on the material presented in KREY 12200.



LACS 13200 (CRES 12200, GLST 22200, GNSE 15200, HIST 19010, SOCI 28097)
Deirdre Theresa Lyons
TR 11:00-12:20 PM

This discussion-based course offers an introduction to the core theoretical foundations of critical race studies, with an emphasis on historical, global, and intersectional approaches to the study of race and ethnicity. Critical race studies, which posits that race is endemic to society, is an interdisciplinary field of scholarship that calls us to address unequal relationships of power and domination by analyzing the historical and global construction, emergence, and consequences of race while remaining committed to justice and political action in pursuit of social change. Drawing on case studies from the Americas and elsewhere, this course aims to establish a foundation of key terms, theories, and ideas in the field as well as familiarize students with a broad survey across time and regions that challenge us to question how race has informed ideas about power, oppression, and liberation. We will read and discuss a variety of classic and contemporary texts from critical race theory, history, feminist studies, post-colonial studies, sociology, anthropology, and other disciplines. This course fulfills the CRES major requirement in theories of race/ethnicity, but is open to all undergraduates.



LACS 14100 (PORT 14100)
Alan Febraio Parma
MWF 10:30-11:20 AM                                    

This course helps students quickly gain skills in spoken and written Portuguese by building on their prior working knowledge of another Romance language (Spanish, French, Catalan or Italian). By relying on the many similarities with other Romance languages, students can focus on mastering the different aspects of Portuguese, allowing them to develop their abilities for further study. This class covers content from PORT 10100 and 10200.




LACS 16200/34700 (HIST 36102/16102, ANTH 23102, SOSC 26200, CRES 16102, PPHA 39770)    
Mary Hicks      
MWF 01:30-02:20 PM                                    

Winter Quarter addresses the evolution of colonial societies, the wars of independence, and the emergence of Latin American nation-states in the changing international context of the nineteenth century.



LACS 16460 (ARTH 16460)
Megan Sullivan
TR 11:00-12:20 PM                                         

This course offers an introductory survey of the art of modern Latin America from the first wave of independence in the early nineteenth century to the present day. Through the study of key artists, movements, and works of art, we will attend to a set of central problems: the formation of collective identities in these new nations, the impact of revolution, dictatorship, and political violence on the development of art in the region, the incorporation of both foreign styles and indigenous traditions, and the shifting definitions of Latin American art. Special emphasis will be placed on developing the skills needed to analyze a wide variety of modern and contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, photography, performance art, and site-specific installations.



LACS 20500 (PORT 20500)
Juliano Saccomani      
MWF 12:30-01:20 PM                                    

In this course students will explore the culture of the Lusophone world through the study of a wide variety of contemporary literary and journalistic texts from Brazil, Portugal, Angola and Mozambique, and unscripted recordings. This advanced language course targets the development of writing skills and oral proficiency in Portuguese. Students will review problematic grammatical structures, write a number of essays, and participate in multiple class debates, using authentic readings and listening segments as linguistic models on which to base their own production.



LACS 20600 (PORT 20600)
Ana Maria Fiuza Lima
MWF 11:30-12:20 PM                                    

The objective of this course is to help students acquire advanced grammatical knowledge of the Portuguese language through exposure to cultural and literary content with a focus on Brazil. Students develop skills to continue perfecting their oral and written proficiency and comprehension of authentic literary texts and recordings, while also being exposed to relevant sociocultural and political contemporary topics. Students read, analyze, and discuss authentic texts by established writers from the lusophone world; they watch and discuss videos of interviews with writers and other prominent figures to help them acquire the linguistic skills required in academic discourse. Through exposure to written and spoken authentic materials, students learn the grammatical and lexical tools necessary to understand such materials as well as produce their own written analysis, response, and commentary. In addition, they acquire knowledge on major Brazilian authors and works.


Human Rights: Contemporary Issues

LACS 21001 (HMRT 21001, HIST 29304, LLSO 21001, SOSC 21001, CHST 21001)
Susan Gzesh
MW 3:00-4:20 PM

This course examines basic human rights norms and concepts and selected contemporary human rights problems from across the globe, including human rights implications of the COVID pandemic. Beginning with an overview of the present crises and significant actors on the world stage, we will then examine the political setting for the United Nations’ approval of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. The post-World War 2 period was a period of optimism and fertile ground for the establishment of a universal rights regime, given the defeat of fascism in Europe. International jurists wanted to establish a framework of rights that went beyond the nation-state, taking into consideration the partitions of India-Pakistan and Israel-Palestine - and the rising expectations of African-Americans in the U.S. and colonized peoples across Africa and Asia. But from the beginning, there were basic contradictions in a system of rights promulgated by representatives of nation-states that ruled colonial regimes, maintained de facto and de jure systems of racial discrimination, and imprisoned political dissidents and journalists.

Cross-cutting themes of the course include the universalism of human rights, problems of impunity and accountability, notions of “exceptionalism,” and the emerging issue of the “shamelessness” of authoritarian regimes. Students will research a human rights topic of their choosing, to be presented as either a final research paper or a group presentation.



LACS 21100 (SPAN 21100)
Felipe Neri Pieras-Guasp
MW 01:30-02:50 PM

This sociolinguistic course expands understanding of the historical development of Spanish and awareness of the great sociocultural diversity within the Spanish-speaking world and its impact on the Spanish language. We emphasize the interrelationship between language and culture as well as ethno-historical transformations within the different regions of the Hispanic world. Special consideration is given to identifying lexical variations and regional expressions exemplifying diverse sociocultural aspects of the Spanish language, and to recognizing phonological differences between dialects. We also examine the impact of indigenous cultures on dialectical aspects. The course includes literary and nonliterary texts, audio-visual materials, and visits by native speakers of a variety of Spanish-speaking regions.


*NEW* Archival Methods: Slavery and Gender in the Americas

LACS 21320 (ENGL 21320)
SJ Zhang
TR 2:00-3:20 PM

This class offers an in-depth introduction to archival research methodologies with a focus on gender and slavery in the Americas. Students will apply their knowledge by working in historical and contemporary archives via two trips to special collections: one to view archival texts from the period and another to find an archival object of the student’s choosing that will provide the topic of their final research paper. (1650-1830, 1830-1940, Literary/Critical Theory)



LACS 21150 (SPAN 21150)
Lidwina Van Den Hout
MW 01:30-02:50 PM                                      

This sociolinguistic course expands understanding of both the historical and the contemporary development of Spanish in parts of the United States, and awareness of the great sociocultural diversity within the Spanish-speaking communities in the United States and its impact on the Spanish language. This course emphasizes the interrelationship between language and culture as well as ethno-historical transformations within the different regions of the United States. Special consideration is given to identifying lexical variations and regional expressions exemplifying diverse sociocultural aspects of the Spanish language, and to recognizing phonological differences between dialects. We also examine the impact of English on dialectical aspects. The course includes sociolinguistic texts, audio-visual materials, and visits by native speakers of a variety of Spanish-speaking regions in the United States.



LACS 21807
Pedro Doreste
TR 2:00- 3:20 PM
W (Screening) 03:30- 06:30 PM

This course will probe the claims of cohesion within and of incompatibilities between national cinemas of the Caribbean. We will begin with a survey of Cuban filmmaking after 1959 and its outsize influence on Caribbean film practice, and the ensuing weeks will be organized as comparative case studies of upstart film industries, international collaborations, public film initiatives, nonfiction filmmaking, and major film movements from across the region. Although screenings will focus on the Greater Antilles, we will also watch films from the British West Indies, the French Antilles, the continental Caribbean perimeter, as well as the global Caribbean diaspora primarily in the U.S. and Europe. In the final weeks of the course, students will explore the hypothesis that minor cinemas are rarely designed and constructed, as was the exceptional case with Cuba in 1959, but can instead be assembled from its many, diffuse parts. This course will adopt a determined transnational and anti-elitist approach to the study of film and related media, granting admittance to diasporic filmmaking, independent or amateur film practice, the cultural reception of foreign films, derivatives of commercial cinema, lost or orphan cinema, music videos, and other “ancillary” film artifacts. The goal of the course will be to examine the possibility of a Caribbean cinematic tradition and, if nothing else, to recenter the small places which film’s most radical innovations may have once emerged.



LACS 21905 (PORT 21903)
Victoria Saramago Padua
TR 03:30-04:50 PM 

This course offers an overview of theater and cinema in Brazil, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Through an array of films and plays, students will become familiar with cultural, aesthetic, political, social, and environmental aspects of Brazil. The course will also discuss performance, adaptation, and intersections between theater and film. Play writers and filmmakers may include Qorpo Santo, Oswald de Andrade, Nelson Rodrigues, Ariano Suassuna, Plínio Marcos, Denise Stoklos, Mário Peixoto, Glauber Rocha, Susana Amaral, Guel Arraes, Lucia Murat, Eduardo Coutinho, and Kleber Mendoça Filho, among others.



LACS 22001/35500 (ANTH 22000/35500, ENST 22000)
Alan Louis Kolata
09:30-12:20 PM                                              

This course applies anthropological understanding to development programs in “underdeveloped” and “developing” societies. Topics include the history of development; different perspectives on development within the world system; the role of principal development agencies and their use of anthropological knowledge; the problems of ethnographic field inquiry in the context of development programs; the social organization and politics of underdevelopment; the culture construction of “well-being;” economic, social, and political critiques of development; population, consumption, and the environment; and the future of development



LACS 22005 (SPAN 22005, CRES 21955)
Juan Diego Mariategui
TR 12:30-01:50 PM                                         

This course will survey some of the main literary and cultural tendencies in Latin America from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. We will pay special attention to their aesthetic dimensions, as well as the socio-historical and political conditions that made them possible, and in which they simultaneously intervened. Questions to be studied might include the innovations of the Modernist and avant-garde movements, fantastic literature, the novel of the so-called “Boom,” cultural production associated with revolutionary movements, military dictatorships, and the Cold War, as well as new currents in literary and theatrical practices. Likewise, the course will foreground some of the following concepts relevant to the study of this production: modernity and modernization; development and neoliberalism; neo-colonialism and empire; cultural autonomy and ideas of poetic and cultural renewal; the epic vs. the novel; realism and non-verisimilitude; and performativity, among others. In addition to enhancing your knowledge of Latin American cultural history and improving your close reading and critical thinking skills, this course is designed to continue building on your linguistic competence in Spanish.


*NEW* Speech Play and Verbal Art

LACS 22550/32550 (LING 22550/32550)
Tulio Bermudez
MW 3:00-4:20 PM

Description TBA.



LACS 23128 (CRES 23129, HMRT 33128)
Matthew Furlong
TR 02:00-3:20 PM

How, today, do the power not to develop land and powerlessness to develop land converge? Drawing on African American studies scholar Nicole Waligora-Davis’s definition of sanctuary (as a sacred space that at the same time also “demarcates the politically provisional”) this course explores that question via the entanglements of two iconic sites of sanctuary, globally, today—the wildlife sanctuary/nature refuge and the sanctuary city, respectively. Centered on several book length ethnographic studies where these sites intersect in surprising manners, students will learn to grasp and grapple with linkages between environmental conservation governance, indigenous/peasant-led land struggles, forced population displacements, the politics of mass migration in a diverse set of global contexts.


Human Rights: Migrant, Refugee, Citizen

LACS 25303 (HMRT 24701, SOSC 24701,  SSAD 44701, LLSO 24701)
Susan Gzesh
R 5:00-7:50 PM

The fundamental principle underlying human rights is that they are inherent in the identity of all human beings, regardless of place and without regard to citizenship, nationality, or immigration status. Human rights are universal and must be respected everywhere and always. Human rights treaties and doctrines mandate that a person does not lose their human rights simply by crossing a border. While citizens enjoy certain political rights withheld from foreigners within any given nation-state, what ARE the rights of non-citizens in the contemporary world? Students will research a human rights topic of their choosing, to be presented as either a final research paper or a group presentation.



LACS 25114 (ARTH 35114)
Andrew Hamilton
W 01:30-04:20 PM

Nazca artists are world renowned for creating the sprawling and austere Nazca Lines on the south coast of Peru between 100 BC and AD 600. But they were also prolific makers of ceramics, textiles, and featherworks, among other objects—many of which were made as funerary offerings in burials. These smaller, portable works present complex troves of intricate imagery, recording elements of the Nazcas’s natural world as well as their supernatural beings and beliefs. This seminar will both introduce you to the Nazcas and allow you to work firsthand with the Art Institute of Chicago’s large collection of Nazca art. The goals of this course are to better understand this cultural and artistic tradition, to practice your powers of observation and deduction in studying objects, and also to generate research on and new understandings of this important collection. Additional topics will include the role of museums and museum collections in the 21st century, cultural patrimony, and issues of museum display and interpretation.



LACS 26386/36386 (HIST 26321, ANTH 23003, CRES 26386)          
Diana Lynn Schwartz Francisco
TR 11:00-12:20 PM                                         

What is “Latin America,” who are “Latin Americans” and what is the relationship among and between places and people of the region we call Latin America, on the one hand, and the greater Latinx diaspora in the US on the other? This course explores the history of Latin America as an idea, and the cultural, social, political and economic connections among peoples on both sides of the southern and eastern borders of the United States. Students will engage multiple disciplinary perspectives in course readings and assignments and will explore Chicago as a crucial node in the geography of Greater Latin America. Some topics we will consider are: the origin of the concept of “Latin” America, Inter-Americanism and Pan-Americanism, transnational social movements and intellectual exchanges, migration, and racial and ethnic politics.



LACS 26510/36510 (HIST 26511/36511, ENST 26511, ARCH 26511)
Brodwyn Fischer
TR 02:00-03:20 PM                                         

Latin America is one of the world's most urbanized regions and its urban heritage long predates European conquest. Yet the region's urban experience has generally been understood through North Atlantic models, which often treat Latin American cities as disjunctive, distorted knockoffs of idealized US or European cities. This class interrogates and expands those North Atlantic visions by emphasizing the history of vital urban issues such as informality, inequality, intimacy, race, gender, violence, plural regulatory regimes, the urban environment, and rights to the city. Interdisciplinary course materials include anthropology, sociology, history, fiction, film, photography, and journalism produced from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries.



LACS 27075 (AMER 27075, ANTH 23326, CRES 27075, SOCI 20539)
Raul E. Zegarra
TR 03:30-04:50 PM

"This course examines the diverse nature of Latinx religion, from its roots to present day forms, within the social and political context of the United States. The main goal of this class is to understand the distinctiveness of Latinx culture, its challenges, and possibilities, and to discern the role religion has in the Latinx experience. In order to do so, this course is structured around three central themes: 1) What Is the Latinx Experience? 2) Latinx Religion as Lived Experience, and 3) Latinx Theology, Ethics, and Politics.

The first section gives us the lay of the land, relying on biographical narratives and historical sources to understand what the Latinx experience is all about. The second section turns to sociological and ethnographic material to study the diversity of Latinx religion and the multiple functions of faith and devotion in the Latinx community. The third section turns to the constructive work of scholars who study the distinct contributions of the Latinx experience to theological reflection, ethical discernment, and political action."



LACS 27722/55000 (ECON 33590)
P. Andrés Neumeyer      
TR 02:00-03:20 PM     

The goal of this course is to illustrate the power of macroeconomic theory to interpret the economic history of several countries in Latin America. Students will learn classic theories on the monetary and fiscal aspects of inflation. Empowered by these macroeconomic foundations we all analyze different types of multiple equilibria that give rise to vulnerabilities to speculative attacks on fixed exchange rates, interest rates pegs, and public debt. Students will write papers using the models discussed in class to explain the inflation experience of a country (not necessarily in Latin America) or a particular episode of a financial crisis.



LACS 27822 (SPAN 27822)
Norman Mora Quintero        
TR 11:00-12:20 PM                                         

El objetivo de este curso es reflexionar sobre las complejas dinámicas entre dinero, mercado y cultura a partir de algunos ejemplos literarios producidos en Latinoamérica al final del siglo XX y durante lo corrido del siglo XXI. Los ejes temáticos que guiarán el curso son: i) la relación entre la literatura y la industria editorial (el relato como capital y/o mercancía, editoriales cartoneras), ii) la producción de espacios (centros comerciales) y prácticas de consumo masivos (publicidad), iv) el uso del lenguaje económico en la narrativa y la poesía, v) la circulación de valores y mercancías entre diferentes geografías, vi) “ficcionalizaciones” y metáforas del dinero, y vii) la producción de sujetos a través del discurso de la mercadotecnia y la publicidad. La intensificación de la producción industrial y la lógica del mercado y su inferencia en el campo de la cultura ha transformado la forma cómo producimos y consumimos bienes culturales. Los textos incluidos en este curso desde diferentes posiciones reflexionan sobre esta contaminación, dramatizando sus efectos o sugiriendo alternativas. Aunque el énfasis del curso serán textos literarios, películas y algunas obras de arte también serán objeto de análisis. Algunos de los autores que leeremos en este curso son, Mario Levrero, César Aira, Andrés Neuman, Lina Meruane, Alan Pauls, Mario Bellatín, entre otros.



LACS 28400/38400 (ANTH 38800, BIOS 23247)
Maria Cecilia Lozada Cerna
TR 02:00-03:20 PM

This course is intended to provide students in archaeology with a thorough understanding of bioanthropological and osteological methods used in the interpretation of prehistoric societies by introducing bioanthropological methods and theory. In particular, lab instruction stresses hands-on experience in analyzing the human skeleton, whereas seminar classes integrate bioanthropological theory and application to specific cases throughout the world. Lab and seminar-format class meet weekly.



LACS 29700

Students and instructors can arrange a Reading and Research course in Latin American Studies when the material being studied goes beyond the scope of a particular course, when students are working on material not covered in an existing course, or when students would like to receive academic credit for independent research.



LACS 29900

Independent BA thesis course.



LACS 38802 (SPAN 38800)
Miguel Martinez
T 03:30-06:20 PM                                           

En este seminario abordaremos algunas de las problemáticas clave que han estructurado el campo de los estudios literarios hispánicos/ibéricos y latinoamericanos en las pasadas décadas.



LACS 40100

Students and instructors can arrange a Reading and Research course in Latin American Studies when the material being studied goes beyond the scope of a particular course, when students are working on material not covered in an existing course or when students would like to receive academic credit for independent research.