Since its inception in 1986, the Program in Latin American and Latino/a Studies (LALS) has offered students an opportunity to develop a more sophisticated set of understandings of the political, cultural, and economic complexity of the region and of the region's relationships with the world.
LALS draws from the courses and methodologies of a wide range of departments--Anthropology, Economics, Education, English, Geography, Hispanic Studies, History, International Studies, Political Science, Portuguese, Sociology and most recently, Media Studies--to study the multiplicity of cultures of the Latino/a populations of the Americas. This multidisciplinarity is reflected in the introductory course and senior seminar. Every year, a different professor assumes these classes and tailors the material to his/her area of expertise, recent scholarship, and in the case of the senior seminar, to the interests of the majors.
Because of the rotating focus of the introductory course and the multiplicity of courses that satisfy the program curriculum, majors can create their own areas of expertise within the major. Their specializations are further supported by the emphasis LALS places on the importance of study abroad. Students have traveled abroad for university study in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru, as well as with various study abroad programs focusing on topics such as anthropology, political science, public health, and social justice.