Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Latin American Studies



Graduate Degrees

Latin American Studies offers a graduate minor. The minor offers students the ability to study the region of Latin America from an interdisciplinary perspective and is open to students from across the University. It is housed in three departments: History; Comparative Literature; and Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Graduate students from across the University are encouraged to participate. Students who are admitted to the minor will develop courses of study suited to their special interests. The minor for each student will be planned jointly by the student, the student’s doctoral adviser, and an adviser designated by the Latin American Studies committee. Any change in the plan must be approved by both advisers. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed, with a minimum of 6 credits at the 500-level. Per graduate school regulations for the minor, a representative of the minor will participate on the student’s doctoral committee.

The following graduate seminars offered in FALL 2016 can be counted for the graduate minor in Latin American Studies. A minimum of 6 credits at the 500-level are required for the minor. (The total number of credits required is 15.)


HIST 570: Modern Latin American History

Professor Matthew Restall  W 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (Class# 26699)

A graduate seminar covering the major historical and historiographical developments in Latin American History since 1800.


SPAN 568: Early Spanish American Literature

Professor Julia Cuervo-Hewitt M 5:00-8:00 PM  (Class# 26942)

Selected topics from colonial period, romanticism, and the nineteenth century before modernism. NOTE: This semester this course is being offered as a sister course with SPAN 528: Seventeenth-Century Spanish Literature.

SPAN 597 (Special Topics): The Origins of the Latin American Subject

Professor John Ochoa F 2:30-5:30 PM  (Class# 26939)

This course looks at canonical texts from the late eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, in order to explore various formations of identity:national, cultural, racial and class. Topics will include post-colonial mimicry,criollo identity, various forms of indigenism, civilization vs. barbarism, regionalism vs. cosmopolitanism, europhilia and cultural independence, the historical origins of caudillismo, and anti-imperialism. Readings will include Concolorcorvo, Lizardi, Bello, Sarmiento, Altamirano, Hernández, Avellaneda, Silva, Martí, Darío, and Rodó, as well as historical documents. Theorists and critical readings will include Anderson, Mariátegui, Cornejo Polar, Sommer, González Echevarría.

FALL 2015 courses:


HIST 569: Historiography of Colonial Latin America

Professor Kent Russell Lohse R 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (Schedule #546982)

This course will examine selected themes in the historiography of colonial Latin America, drawing on examples from Mexico and Central America, the Andean region, and Brazil. Special attention will be paid to the lived experiences of Indians, slaves, and other non elite subjects.  Some of the topics to be explored include the conquest and its effects on indigenous peoples, African slavery, popular religiosity, and gender and the family.

Women’s Studies

WMNST 502: Global Perspectives on Feminism

Professor Melissa Wright T 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (Schedule #504163)

Exploration of feminist issues in a global perspective, including debates in history, ethics, and political feminism.

Graduate students pursuing the minor may also count the following 400-level courses offered in Fall 2015:


ANTH 422: Meso-American Archaeology and Ethnography

Professor Kenneth Hirth T R 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM (Schedule #471430)

Survey of ethnohistorical and ethnographic patterns of Meso-American society; origin and development of ancient civilization in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Prerequisites: ANTH 8, ANTH 9Nor ANTH 11


HIST 467: Latin America and the United States

Professor Kent Russell Lohse TR  11:15 AM – 12:30 PM (Schedule #562096)

Historical development of policies of the United States with regard to Latin American affairs from colonial times to the present.


SPAN 472 The Contemporary Spanish American Novel

Professor Julia Cuervo-Hewitt MWF 1:25 PM – 2:15 PM (Schedule #521008)   

The regionalist and social novel since 1910, together with the social background.

Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497A: Detective Fiction (Ink and gunpowder)

Instructor: Guada Martí-Peña MWF  2:30 PM – 3:20 PM (Schedule #568573)

The goal of this undergraduate course is to give students the theoretical grounding to analyze detective texts, and to introduce them to major trends in Spanish and Spanish-American detective fictions. By reading a collection of short stories, which adopt and adapt different elements of the genre (the criminal, the law, the motivation, the investigation, etc.), we will examine how several Spanish and Spanish American writers use the crime model as a pre-text and a pretext to undergo social criticism, self-inquiry and meta-fictional questionings that expand the scope of the classical whodunit.

Prerequisite: SPAN 253W