Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Hispanic Studies

Director, 2010-11: Ariel Strichartz (Romance Languages), Hispanic literature and culture

Faculty, 2010-11: Gwendolyn Barnes-Karol (Romance Languages), Hispanic culture and literature; Maggie Broner (Romance Languages), Hispanic linguistics and second language acquisition; Sylvia Graciela Carullo (Romance Languages), Hispanic literature, culture and art (on leave); Christopher Chiappari (Sociology/ Anthropology), anthropology of religion, Guatemala; Jeane DeLaney (History), Latin American history and nationalism, Argentina and Brazil, modern Cuba; León Narváez (Romance Languages), Hispanic culture and literature, migration studies; Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb (Sociology/Anthropology), gender, family, race and class (on leave spring semester); Nancy Paddleford (Music), Latin American/Spanish music; David Schodt (Economics), economic development, Ecuador; Kathleen Shea (Biology), tropical biology; Kristina Thalhammer (Political Science), comparative politics, human rights; Alberto Villate-Isaza (Romance Languages), Spanish language, Hispanic culture and literature

Hispanic Studies offers an interdisciplinary structure for the systematic study of Latin America, Spain, and U.S. Latinos, with distinct geography and cultures unified by elements of a common heritage. Profound geographic variations, differing economic resources, and the interactions of Hispanic and indigenous cultures have yielded complex and diverse Spanish-speaking societies. Increasing socioeconomic contacts between states and societies in the Americas and the growing presence of Latinos in the United States underscore the need for U.S. citizens to deepen their understanding of the region.


The Hispanic Studies program offers courses, a Hispanic Studies major and a Latin American/Latino Studies concentration with an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach that contribute to the investigation of political, economic, ethnic, gender, religious, and cultural issues of the Spanish-speaking world. The support of perspectives and methodologies of several disciplines inspires students to seek a deeper understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. In addition, students find opportunities for reflecting on their own culture and society.



The requirements for the completion of a Hispanic studies major consist of eight courses: Spanish 270 or 271; Spanish 272, 273, or 274 (or a substitute course approved by the director of Hispanic Studies); the interdisciplinary seminar, Hispanic Studies 333: Contemporary Issues in Latin America; and five approved courses dealing with Latin America, Spain, or U.S. Latinos. These courses may be chosen from among history, economics, anthropology, sociology, political science, religion, and art, with no more than two courses in any one discipline.

Students may count one independent research towards the major; they may also count up to three study-abroad courses taken in Latin America or Spain. With the approval of the Hispanic Studies director, students may have any course with substantial Hispanic content counted toward their major.

Students should contact the Hispanic Studies director as early as possible to plan a major.

Requirements for the Latin American/ Latino Studies Concentration


Students majoring in any discipline except Hispanic studies who have an interest in Latin America and U.S. Latinos can pursue a Latin American/Latino studies concentration, which enables them to enhance their understanding of Latin American countries and peoples, U.S. Latinos, and the interconnectedness of Latin America and the United States. The Latin American/Latino studies concentration is an individual verbal contract negotiated between the student and the Hispanic Studies director. Topics explored might include: the nature of social and political change, economic development, social mobility and discrimination, the role of women in society, the changing nature of Hispanic life, patterns of migration, and adaptation and challenges to cultural and artistic traditions. Hispanic studies majors may not also obtain a concentration in Latin America/Latino studies.

The requirements for the completion of the Latin American/Latino studies concentration consist of a minimum of five approved courses, subject to the following requirements: One of the courses must be the interdisciplinary seminar, Hispanic Studies 333: Contemporary Issues in Latin America. A maximum of two courses in a given department may be counted. A maximum of two courses from off-campus programs may be counted. Either Sociology 264 or ARMS 121 may be included in the concentration, but not both. In addition, an interdisciplinary paper focusing on a theme related to the concentration must be written for one of the courses offered for the concentration. This paper will be developed in consultation with faculty advisors from two different disciplines. Students must contact the Hispanic Studies director as soon as possible to discuss this requirement.


Hispanic studies majors are encouraged to take advantage of the many off-campus programs available to them. Foreign study opportunities in the Spanish-speaking world currently offered to St. Olaf students include: interims in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Spain; the CIEE Program in Seville, Spain; the ACM Programs in Costa Rica; HECUA programs in Ecuador; and the IES and CIEE Programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Valparaíso, Chile. Students must secure prior approval for foreign study from the Hispanic Studies director.

Hispanic Studies faculty members participate in the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum program, which offers students the opportunity to use their foreign language skills in selected courses. (See FOREIGN LANGUAGES ACROSS THE CURRICULUM under Academic Programs in this catalog.)


Hispanic Studies 333 Contemporary Latin American Issues

This seminar focuses on the implications of studying Latin America, or the way in which different conceptualizations of this region have helped to shape Latin America as an object of study. Possible topics for approaching this question include the history of Latin American studies in the United States and the relation between scholarship on Latin America and U.S. policy in the region; Latin American responses to U.S. representations of the region; the production of images of "lo indígena" according to Western expectations; and indigenous cultures and globalization. FLAC option available. Offered in alternate years.

Hispanic Studies 298: Independent Study




Economics 243: Economic Development
History 240: Major Seminar: Non-Western History*
History 241: Historical Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in Latin America
History 242: Modern Latin America
History 243: 20th Century Cuba
History 340: Non-Western Seminar*
Political Science 252: Politics and Development
Political Science 257: U.S.-Latin American Relations
Political Science 264: Latin American Politics
Political Science 367: Seminar in Latin American Politics
Sociology/Anthropology 237: Forging a Latin American Culture
Sociology/Anthropology 264: Race and Class in American Culture

* When focused on a Latin American topic