Latin American Area Studies

Latin American Area Studies (LAAS) is an interdisciplinary program at Morris. Latin American countries have been our allies, enemies, trading partners, and friends. Our history is entangled with the history of the region south of the U.S. border. We influence their culture and they influence ours.

In the LAAS Discipline, we study Latin American history and culture using a wide variety of perspectives and methods and acquire:

  • A basic introduction to Latin American cultures and societies
  • The means essential to gain an understanding of Latin America and its diverse peoples
  • An understanding of Latin America in a comparative perspective

One of the most important opportunities the LAAS major provides is the chance to travel to Latin America and engage in meaningful and fulfilling study and work. For our students, the experience is often one of the most memorable of their time at Morris.

In recent years, Morris LAAS students have:

  • Traveled to northeastern Brazil for four months through the School for International Training’s Culture, Development and Social Justice program to study social programs that work to enhance the rights of women, indigenous people, rural peasants, and the urban poor

  • Conducted ethnographic field research in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, and worked at a domestic abuse crisis center evaluating the program

  • Spent a year in the Dominican Republic studying at several Dominican institutions, and interning at a free legal services office devoted to women’s rights

Classes in the Discipline are typically small, with a dedicated faculty that have extraordinary experience and accomplishments in their field. The atmosphere is supportive, and students are encouraged to craft their own curriculum (in consultation with faculty) to accord with their specific interests.