Latino/Latin American Studies

The Latino/Latin American Studies minor consists of 20 credits of interdisciplinary coursework.  This study of the Americas is appropriate for all students, especially those majoring in History, Hispanic Studies, Political Science, Theology, and Global Business.

Fall 2019 Event Series: Social Movements in the Americas: Power, Rights, and Resources

LLAS 270
Students who plan to attend all events may register for LLAS 270: Readings in Latino/Latin American Studies. This can be taken for either one or zero credits, on an S/U basis.  Registrants for LLAS 270 will receive 1 academic credit if they attend all events and collaborate on a community project.  Students may also choose to register for 0 credits, which only requires attendance of events. Interested students should contact Dr. Bruce Campbell, Director of the Latino/Latin American Studies program, at  [email protected]

Fall 2019 Event Series

Dr. Michael Wilson-Becerril
"Recognizing and Confronting Violence: The Evidence from Latin America"
Wednesday, September 18
7 PM, Gorecki 204A, CSB

Latin America reportedly has the world's highest rates of homicide, economic inequality, violence against women, and killings of environmental activists. One dimension of the problem is conceptualiza-tion. Most people accept and even rationalize different forms of violence. Therefore remedying injustice and transforming violent conditions requires critical examination of how people give it mean-ing. Drawing on his research of Latin American politics and social movements, Dr. Wilson-Becerril will lead a discussion of the many faces of violence and violence as a discourse, and will provide an overview of regional social movements and how they resist and transform it.

Dr. Leider Valencia of COCCAM 
"Eradicating Peace: The Other Side of the Colombian War on Drugs" 
Wednesday, October 2
7 PM, QUAD 264, SJU

In 2016, the Colombian government and the country's largest guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) signed a historic peace accord to end six decades of armed conflict. Despite this, and despite a new U.S. aid package known as Plan Peace Co-lombia aimed at supporting implementation of the peace accord, many local human rights organizations and communities continue to call for international solidarity as they face continued paramilitary activity. Leider Va-lencia will discuss forces that threaten the Colombian peace process in rural areas, and how movements in the U.S. can contribute to solidarity and support for projects like the COCCAM – the National Coordinator of Grow-ers of Coca, Poppy, and Marijuana, which was formed in 2017. The COCCAM is a national organiza-tion of Colombian campesino, indigenous, and afro-descendent growers of crops criminalized as a conse-quence of their illicit use. The COCCAM advocates for voluntary crop substitution by growers, and defends the traditional ancestral uses of coca leaf and the legitimate alternative industry in marijuana and poppy. Members of the COCCAM have been targets of death threats and assassinations.

Dr. Elena McGrath
"I Am Too Poor to Fear Death: Indigenous Miners and the Defense of Natural Resources in the Andes"
Wednesday, October 23
7 PM, GOR 204C, CSB

Since 1545, the indigenous communities working to extract Bolivia's natural resources have provided im-mense wealth to first the Spanish and now multinational mining corporations. Throughout its history as a nation, Bolivians have tried to take control of this resource wealth, but found mining to be a risky founda-tion on which to build national prosperity. Moreover, mines are simply dangerous places, both for workers and the communities that live around them. Dr. McGrath traces several moments in the 20th century when indigenous communities and workers confronted international mining companies and the Bolivian state alike in order to try to control their livelihoods and protect their families, and what these can teach us about social movements today. Understanding why these workers and neighbors fought to mine can help us think about the emergence of indigenous and environmentalist social movements throughout the Andes.

View the Fall Series Poster.