College Bulletin 2016-2017 
    Apr 16, 2024  
College Bulletin 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Latin American and Latino Studies



MILTON MACHUCA-GALVEZ (Latin American and Latino Studies)
Anna Everetts (Administrative Assistant)


Elaine Allard (Educational Studies)3
Diego Armus (History)
Nanci Buiza (Spanish)3
Désirée Díaz (Spanish)
Christopher Fraga (Anthropology)3
Jose Luis Machado (Biology)
Edwin Mayorga (Educational Studies)
Braulio Muñoz (Sociology)
Kenneth Sharpe (Political Science)
Roberto Vargas (McCabe Library)3

Absent on leave, 2016-2017

Swarthmore’s Latin American and Latino Studies Program explores the rich diversity - as well as the similarities - among and within Latin American countries and cultures. The program also investigates the broad dynamics shaping Latino experiences in the United States. Students in the program engage with a variety of disciplines to consider what defines “Latin America.” Spoken language; literature; pre-colonial, colonial, and modern history; native, immigrant, and diasporic experiences; politics; socioeconomic conditions; religion; social structures; architecture; and political borders are all considered in this far-ranging and inclusive course of study. Students may add a minor or special major in Latin American and Latino studies. Courses from art history, history, modern languages and literatures, political science, religion, sociology and anthropology contribute to this exciting interdisciplinary program.

Most of our students spend one semester in Latin America. Studying beyond the traditional classroom walls provides students with invaluable opportunities for enriching intellectual experiences and personal growth.

The Academic Program

Students interested in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program are invited to consult with the program coordinator and members of the LALS Committee before developing a proposal. The proposal should establish how Latin American and Latino Studies relates to the overall program of undergraduate study and to the departmental major. The minor is open to students of all divisions.

Course Minor

Latin American and Latino Studies minors must complete the following requirements:


LALS requires the successful completion of SPAN 004 Intensive Advanced Spanish or its equivalent.

This requirement is waived for native speakers of Spanish and for students who demonstrate sufficient competence in this language, as determined by the Latin American and Latino Studies Committee. Note: LALS credit is not offered for language courses.


Students must complete a minimum of 5 Latin American and Latino Studies approved courses and seminars.

  • These 5 courses must span the two divisions (Humanities and Social Sciences).
  • In order to develop a basic introduction to Latin America, students must complete one of the following 3 courses by their sophomore year: LALS 005: Introduction to Latino Studies, HIST 004: Introduction to Latin American History, or SPAN 010: En busca de Latinoamérica.
  • Only 1 of the total 5 courses required by the Latin American and Latino Studies minor may overlap with a student’s major or other minor.
  • To graduate with a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies, a student must maintain a minimum grade of “B” in the program, and a “C” average in any other course work.

Study Abroad

  • Students are required to spend a minimum of one semester abroad in a program approved by both the Latin American and Latino Studies Program and the Off-Campus Study Office. The experience of living and studying abroad in any Latin American Spanish-speaking country is strongly encouraged by Latin American studies faculty. By extending learning beyond the traditional classroom, students have distinctive opportunities for enriching intellectual experiences and unique opportunities for personal growth. Students are welcome to choose from a selection of approved programs available in other locations throughout Latin America.
  • Students may apply two courses from work taken abroad in Latin America to their Latin American and Latino Studies academic program.
  • Courses taken abroad must have a clear Latin American focus and must be preapproved by the appropriate department in order to count for the LALS minor.
  • Study abroad must be pursued in Spanish. Students must complete Spanish 004, or its equivalent, before going abroad.
  • Language courses are not eligible for study abroad credit.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to complete the introductory course requirement (see above).
  • The study abroad requirement may be waived for students who have lived and studied in Latin America for a number of years, but they must apply for this waiver at the time of being considered for the minor.
  • Only in exceptional cases, with the support of a faculty member and the approval of the LALS Committee, will a semester’s internship or a community service project in Latin America fulfill this requirement.

Honors Minor

To complete an honors minor in Latin American and Latino Studies, students must have completed all requirements for the interdisciplinary minor. From within these offerings, they may select for outside examination a seminar taken to fulfill the interdisciplinary minor’s requirements. However, the seminar chosen may not be an offering within their major department.

Special Major

Students may plan a Latin American and Latino Studies special major that includes closely related work in one or more departments. Students must have completed at least two LALS-related courses with grades of B or better to be accepted into the major.  Students also have the possibility of designing an individualized special major in coordination with other departments.

Special majors consist of at least 10 courses and no more than 12 courses.

Latin American and Latino Studies special majors and individualized special majors must complete the major comprehensive requirement of a 1 or 2-credit thesis or other written research project designed to integrate the work across departmental boundaries, or a comprehensive examination. Any student interested in pursuing an individualized special major must meet with the LALS program coordinator.

Life After Swarthmore

Swarthmore graduates who have taken part in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program find that their rich understanding of the cultures and people of Latin America and Latinos in the U.S. is attractive to employers. Graduates most frequently pursue careers in public service, law, government, education, humanities, social sciences, and the media.