Latin American and Iberian Studies
The Latin American and Iberian Studies (LAIS) concentration is a multidisciplanary program incorporating such diverse disciplines as literature, written arts, political studies, human rights, anthropology, history, economics, art history, and architecture. It provides an academic setting for the study of two regions inextricably bound by historical, cultural, linguistic, economic, and political ties. Students who enter the LAIS Program emerge with the linguistic and analytical preparation necessary to understand the literatures and cultures of Latin American and Iberian countries; the history of Latin America in the pre-Columbian, colonial, and national periods; the formation of social and economic structures throughout the Latin American and Iberian worlds; the history and ethnography of Mesoamerica and the Andes; contemporary Latin American and Iberian politics; and the Latinx experience in the United States. Courses in these and related areas provide a framework in which to explore a wide range of compelling issues, including the “boom” in Latin American literatures; the reinterpretation of Iberian colonialism in the Americas; the politics of democratization and redemocratization in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America; economic crisis and reform in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula; and the integration of Latinx communities into the United States’ artistic, literary, and political scenes.
LAIS majors moderate both into a primary divisional program and into LAIS, usually through concurrent Moderation, by fulfilling the primary program’s requirements and the following LAIS requirements. Prior to or concurrent with Moderation, students are required to take at least two designated LAIS core courses, listed below. After Moderation, students are expected to take two additional elective courses and one 300-level seminar; these courses may be listed primarily in another discipline and cross-listed with LAIS. At least one and preferably two of the five required LAIS courses should be taken outside the student’s home division (e.g., majors in the social studies or arts divisions must take a course in the division of languages and literature, and vice versa). The final requirement is the successful completion of a Senior Project in a primary divisional program and LAIS. This project must have a geographical, linguistic, or conceptual link with Latin America, Spain, or Portugal, and have at least one LAIS faculty member on the program board.
Two LAIS core courses are required for Moderation. For graduation, students must take three additional elective courses, at least one of which should be a 300-level seminar. At least one—and preferably two—of the five LAIS (or LAIS cross-listed) courses should be taken outside of the student’s home division and should not be (Spanish) language courses. Division-specific requirements for social studies and art regarding language are basic proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese, as shown by courses taken (e.g., Spanish 106 or 110) or placement exam, or by demonstrated speaking ability. Students are encouraged to take Spanish language courses at some point during the first two years at Bard.
Core LAIS courses include Art History 160, Survey of Latin American Art; History 152, Latin America: Independence / Sovereignty / Revolution; History 225, Migrants and Refugees in the Americas; History 331, Latin America: Race, Religion, and Revolution; LAIS 220, Mexican History and Culture; Political Studies 214, US-Latin American Relations; Political Studies 222, Latin American Politics and Society; Spanish 202, Intermediate Spanish II; Spanish 223, Cultures and Societies of Latin America and Spain; Spanish 301, Introduction to Spanish Literature; and Spanish 302, Introduction to Latin American Literature.
Additionally, recent electives include Religious Imagery in Latin American Art; Race and Ethnicity in Brazil; Crossroads of Civilization: The Art and Architecture of Medieval Spain; Spanish Literary Translation; The Latin American Short Story; Engaging Latin American Poetry; Testimonies of Latin America; Perspectives from the Margins; Surrealism in Latin American Art and Literature; Populism and Popular Culture in Latin America; and United States–Latin America Relations.