Latino and Latina Studies Program Launched
A new interdisciplinary program examines the presence of Latinos and Hispanics as an integral part of U.S. culture and history. The curriculum for Latino and Latina studies includes courses that explore the Latino and Hispanic experience—mainly in the United States, but also as it intersects with other national and geographic boundaries across the disciplines.
“Latino and Latina studies is a new area of inquiry that incorporates other forms of knowledge,” says William Luis, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of the Humanities and director of the program in Latino and Latina studies. “It transcends any singular discourse and creates bridges across the disciplines.”
Lorraine López, associate professor of English, is co-director of the new program, which is based in the College of Arts and Science. Affiliated faculty in Latino and Latina studies come from a variety of departments and programs, including African American and diaspora studies, American studies, anthropology, English, French, Italian, history, human and organizational development, Latin American studies, music, philosophy, political science, sociology, Spanish and Portuguese, and women’s and gender studies. Undergraduate students can major or minor in Latino and Latina studies.
Luis notes that Latinos and Latinas are changing the cultural landscape of the country and shaping how Americans conceive of concepts such as identity and the nation. “By the middle of the century, Latinos and Latinas will constitute 30 percent of the U.S. population,” he says.
“The United States has become home to the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. The program will help students develop a multidisciplinary approach necessary for an evolving job market, regardless of their career choices.”