LTS 200

Latina/o America: A Critical Introduction to Latina/o Studies

The United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this course explores the historical, social, political, and cultural configurations of this fact and of what has come to be known as Latina/o U.S.A. The course begins with a discussion on the roots of Spanish in the Americas. What are the historical and colonial relations of power leading to the presence of Spanish speaking peoples and Latino cultures in the U.S.? In posing this question the course examines the nascent U.S. nation as a political and colonizing force throughout the 19th century; its politics of colonization towards Native Americans, Mestizos, and people of Spanish and African descent through the annexation of Florida (1819), the Mexican American War (1846-1848), and the Spanish-American War (1898). Departing from these moments, the course then interrogates ongoing U.S. border politics and U.S. empire building throughout the continent, further questioning the following: How do U.S. policies relate to the massive Latino migratory patterns during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries? How do these shape the complexities of the Latina/o experience? Literature, film, historical accounts, and social science works serve to discuss the central issues of this course: migrations, racisms, language as a marginalizing and/or empowering tool, key political and social moments in the Latino experience, the entrenchment of neoliberal economic policies and immigration, deportations and U.S. immigration policies, Latino community building, gender practices, heterogeneities of Latino populations, and politics of identity. This course is taught in English.