What is LALS?
The Latin American and Latino Studies Program is an academic program that offers undergraduate and graduate courses on Latin America and Latinos in the United States. An interdisciplinary program with its own faculty, it focuses on Latin American history and politics, and culture and the migration and development of Latino/as in the United States, with emphasis on Chicago and the Midwest.
In addition, the program cross-lists related courses in departments such as Economics, Anthropology, Political Science, Art History, Literature (Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English), and History. A large number of courses are available to students covering topics as diverse as pre-Hispanic Archaeology, the forest, Indians of Brazil, race and ethnicity in the New World, Spanish history, development and dependency in Latin America, Mexican, Caribbean and South American history, U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America, Latino social movements in the U.S. and Latino community development.
Why Latin American and Latino Studies in Chicago?
The Latin American Studies was created in 1972 to study and teach about Latin America and Latinos in the United States. The program is unique in the country in its coverage of Latin America and the diverse Latin American nationalities in the United States. In part, this uniqueness reflects the city of Chicago, which brings together Latinos/as from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The city of Chicago also offers access to many libraries, galleries, museums, research centers, and other cultural, economic and political institutions that make intellectual life on campus and beyond a whole learning experience.
What Does Latin American Studies Offer Students?
Latin American and Latino Studies students learn the process of Latin American historical, cultural, political, sociological and economic development and its relationship to the United States development. In their coursework, they master conceptual and analytical skills needed for successful completion of university degrees and subsequent careers. A LALS major, minor or double major linked with another discipline can well serve a prospective professional who hopes to work in an area related to Latin America and/or Latinos in the United States. This has come into demand as the United States develops closer links with Latin America in light of the new worldwide economic restructuring. LALS courses provide a useful introduction to other university programs and resources and an effective link with career options in business, engineering, education, social work, the media, counseling, urban planning, statistics, marketing, health, social sciences and the humanities.
Where Do Latin American and Latino Studies Students Go?
Graduates of Latin American and Latino Studies hold advanced degrees in academic disciplines such as history, psychology, literature and political science. Many have completed professional training in medicine, dentistry, nursing, education and the law. LALS graduates have increasingly entered positions in the city of Chicago where they work at important community agencies and are employed in banking and industry. They also serve on the city council and the city administration.