Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary academic program that focuses on the culture, history, politics, and society of Latin America, which includes Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.


As part of the Latin American Studies curriculum, students will gain an understanding of Latin American and Latinx perspectives and analyze Latin American issues from multiple points of view. Students will develop linguistic and cultural fluency, engage with Latin American and Latinx scholarship and communities, and draw connections among the methodologies and perspectives of multiple disciplines.

LAS covers three different periods: pre-conquest societies, colonial period through 1870, and modern Latin America. For each period, students will explore key themes including economic development; political and social organization; religion; migration and diaspora; art, music, and literature; local and global relationships; and identity formation


The Latin American studies minor requires seven courses including Introduction to Latin American Studies and Intermediate Spanish-II or equivalent. Five additional courses must be chosen from a list of Latin America-focused classes that includes the following disciplines: history, anthropology, environmental studies, politics, religion, and Spanish. Also required is a capstone experience with a presentation at the annual RICE symposium or other venue for student presentations, and at a yearly Latin American Studies Senior Workshop.

Minor Requirements

Latin American Studies Faculty

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Rick Axtell

  • H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion
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Eva Cadavid

  • Paul L. Cantrell Associate Professor of Philosophy • Chair of Gender Studies Program
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Mauricio Castro

  • Assistant Professor of History
  • Chair of Latin American Studies
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Marie Petkus

  • Ewing T. Boles Associate Professor of Economics and Business
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Jamie E. Shenton

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology
  • Chair of Social Justice Program

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