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.

Spring 2020 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. Eleonora Bertranou, Acting Director of the Latino/Latin American Studies program, at [email protected]

Spring 2020 Event Series

Tactics of Decolonization: Indigenous Movements in Latin America
Dr. Paul Dosh, Macalester College
Thursday, February 13th, 7 PM, Gorecki Conference Center, CSB

In 1994, in southern Mexico, the Zapatistas uprising challenged global capitalism and captured international attention.  Over the next 25 years, indigenous movements seeking to decolonize Latin America grew in power, toppling presidents in Ecuador and capturing the state in Bolivia.  But in 2019, indigenous movements have been forced on the defensive, with Bolivian President Evo Morales forced from office by the military, and indigenous groups in Ecuador and Guatemala trapped between opposing political leaders, none of whom represent indigenous interests.  How did indigenous power in Latin America grow, why has it faltered, and how can engaged citizens in Minnesota oppose repression and support indigenous voices in the region?   

Culture as Resistance in the Chilean Andes: An Indigenous Community’s Struggle for their Rights and Recognition in the Face of Mining
Anita Carrasco, Luther College
Wednesday, March 25th, 7 PM, Quad 264, SJU

Likantatay is an Atacameño urban indigenous community located in Calama mining town in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. In 1991, a group of 36 Atacameño immigrant families from interior rural villages, driven by the marginal conditions in which they lived in the city, decided to petition land to the Ministry of Government Property and settled down in a former pasturing zone in the poverty belt of the city. It was barren land with no public services or houses to live in. These families had to build their homes from scratch. Most were slum dwellings, with dirt floors, and shantytown construction. From its very beginnings, the people of Likantatay assert that their main objective has been to reproduce their “traditional” Atacameño community but in an urban space. In The Invention of Culture (1975) Roy Wagner develops an interesting perspective of culture as a work of art, where creation plays a central role in making culture visible. His approach fits the case of Likantatay quite well. Wagner argues that creation is embedded with invention, which is not to say that people are fake, but rather that, the power of invention is what gives the people of a culture some control over the opportunities they create for themselves, in their collective struggles for their rights and recognition. This talk addressed the story of Likantatay. They have struggled against the manifold impacts of copper mining on their community, from displacements from a rural lifestyle because of mining company’s voracious extraction of water in the desert, to the threat of a forced resettlement that they are still navigating in the present.

Women's Movements Inside and Outside the State in Brazil
Dr. Pedro dos Santos, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University
Tuesday, April 14th, 7 PM, Quad 264, SJU

The election of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil in 2018 marked a shift in the federal government's policy priorities. This has included a change from a feminist-aligned women-related policy direction to a focus on "traditional family values" with strong religious undertones. In this talk Dr. dos Santos will discuss what this policy shift means to the women's movements in Brazil, focusing on the role of such movements inside and outside the state. Tracing the origins of the modern women's movement in the country this talk will elaborate on how women and women's groups have negotiated their presence and power in the political arena, and how presidential elections can have a direct impact on the role of social movements in the creation and implementation of policies.