Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

Bard College Catalogue, 2018–19

Bard College Catalogue, 2018–19

Latin American and Iberian Studies


Nicole Caso (coordinator), Susan Aberth, Christian Crouch, Omar G. Encarnación, Patricia López-Gay, Gregory Duff Morton, Melanie Nicholson, Miles Rodríguez


The Latin American and Iberian Studies (LAIS) concentration incorporates such diverse disciplines as literature, political studies, anthropology, history, economics, art history, and human rights. It provides an academic setting for the study of two regions inextricably bound by historical, cultural, linguistic, economic, and political ties. LAIS students 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 Hispanic world; the history and ethnography of Mesoamerica and the Andes; contemporary Latin American and Iberian politics; and the Hispanic experience in the United States.


Students may moderate into LAIS, but they must also moderate into a primary divisional program. Prior to or concurrent with Moderation, students are required to take at least two designated LAIS core courses. 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 primary division. Students also complete the Senior Project, which must have a geographical, linguistic, or conceptual link with Latin America, Spain, or Portugal.


Core LAIS courses include Spanish 223, Cultures and Societies of Latin America and Spain; Spanish 301, Introduction to Spanish Literature; or Spanish 302, Introduction to Latin American Literature; Political Studies 222, Latin American Politics and Society; Art History 160, Survey of Latin American Art; LAIS 110, Colonial Latin America since Conquest; and LAIS 120, Modern Latin America since Independence.

Additionally, recent electives include Religious Imagery in Latin American Art; Crossroads of Civilization: The Art and Architecture of Medieval Spain; El Greco to Goya: Spanish Art and Architecture; Spanish Literary Translation; Cervantes’s Don Quixote; The Hispanic Presence in the United States; Testimonies of Latin America; Perspectives from the Margins; Between the Acts: Spain’s Teatro Breve; Latin American Surrealism; Populism and Popular Culture in Latin America; United States–Latin America Relations; and The Stranger in Latin America.

Colonial Latin America since Conquest
LAIS 110 / History 110
This course looks at the complex processes of conquest, empire building, and the creation of many diverse communities and cultures from the convergence of Native, European, African, and Asian peoples. The class considers peoples in the Spanish and Portuguese empires of North and South America from the late 15th century to the early 19th century, using sources like codices, native language writings, and other texts from colonial Latin America.

Modern Latin America since Independence
LAIS 120 / History 120
The course traces the process of independence of the Latin American nations from the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the early 19th century, and the long-term, contested, and often ­violent processes of nation formation in the 19th and 20th centuries. Issues discussed include the meaning and uses of the idea of Latin America; slavery and empire in 19th-century Brazil; and the roles of race, religion, women, and indigenous peoples in Latin American societies.

Mexican History and Culture
LAIS 220
This course explores the complex relationship between history and culture from Mexico’s preconquest indigenous origins to the Mexican Revolution and contemporary nation-state. Using primary sources like codices and native language writings as well as anthropological, historical, literary, and poetic texts, the class traces the major cultural continuities and revolutions to the present. Topics also include religious devotions and wars, indigenous cultures and rights, Mexican death culture, and the drug war.