Latin-American and Latino Studies
Latinos make up one-fourth of Florida's population. The state is also our nation's primary gateway to Latin America and numerous international entities base their Latin American operations here. The Latin American and Latino Studies minor provides an academic grounding in this increasingly vital region as well as experiential familiarity with its cultures and people. Students in Stetson's Latin American and Latino Studies minor have studied and worked in Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Belize, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and within local Hispanic communities. Most students who take part in our programs have their lives positively changed forever.
Latin American and Latino Studies at Stetson University is a multidisciplinary and experientially oriented program that will develop your comprehension of the region's extraordinarily diverse cultures, complex geography, engaging politics, and developing societies. Apart from its engaging course offerings, the program is particularly notable for the many opportunities it provides to study and experience life directly in the region.
LALS sponsors regular cultural programming throughout Latin America and, through our on-campus Casa Cultural Latina, also facilitates student interactions with the vibrant Latino communities in the DeLand area. As a minor, you will complete at least one substantive cultural immersion experience as part of your academic program. This can include the annual Mentored Field Experience course, study abroad in Latin America and approved internships.
Beyond the Classroom
The LALS program's strength is our intimate knowledge of the region combined with a heartfelt professional obligation to share it with our students. This summer's immersion program in southern Ecuador exemplifies this genuinely motivating approach to education.
Students in this one-month program all took two hours of Spanish instruction per day at the Universidad de Cuenca while living with a Spanish-speaking Ecuadoran family. In addition, each student participated in a language exchange partnership with an Ecuadoran student learning English.
Students also took a culture course with daily outings that included an energetic "cleansing" from an indigenous herbalist, shopping for fruit in local markets, a dance class, visits to local archeological sites and museums, a tour of a Panama factory and even buying flower-based tea made by cloistered nuns. Weekend excursions included extraordinary visits in both the Cañari and Saraguro indigenous communities, high altitude hiking in Cajas National Park, exploration of the largest Incan site in Ecuador at Ingapirca and an exciting climb to the amazing El Chorro waterfalls. It was the journey of a lifetime for all involved.
The program has a diverse faculty with varied fields of interest. Courses are taught by specialists in economics, environmental science, language, literature, political science, sociology and theatre arts. Our faculty members include a winner of the university's McEniry Award, the most distinguished award for teaching offered by Stetson University. Faculty include:
- J. Anthony Abbott, PhD, University of Minnesota
- Pamela Cappas-Toro, PhD, University of Illinois
- Ana Eire, PhD, Vanderbilt University
- Kenneth W. McCoy, PhD, Bowling Green State University
- Nicole Mottier, PhD, University of Chicago
- William R. Nylen, PhD, Columbia University
- Robert K. Sitler, PhD, University of Texas at Austin
The choices afforded to a student in this program are varied. Our graduates have gone on to advocate for Latino farmworkers, pursue graduate studies in Latin American Studies, work in Latin American language schools, and join the Peace Corps.
LALS minor Florencia Abelenda worked at the Google Inc. office as Project Lead-Advertisement Analyst for Latin American Markets. While in Los Angeles, she worked in many cultural projects related with the entertainment industry as a volunteer and then as a hobby. These projects lead her to travel around the world. She is now working on an MA in Social Organizational Psychology (Organization Development) at Columbia University in NYC. Florencia's expected graduation date is May 2019.