Latino/a and Latin American Studies


The Latino/a and Latin American Studies (LLAS) major offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the societies and cultures of Latin America and the Latino and Chicano experience in the United States. By extending the study of "Latin America" beyond the geopolitical borders of the region to include the Caribbean and the United States, the major emphasizes the importance of migrations, interethnic interactions, and cultural exchanges of Indigenous, European, African, and Asian peoples throughout the Americas. The LLAS program engages students with a variety of perspectives on the socio-political complexities and cultural traditions of the Americas, and the historical development of unique regional societies and cultures. The transnational perspective of our curriculum distinguishes the LLAS major from more traditional area studies programs.

Students in the major develop proficiency in Spanish and take courses from a broad range of academic disciplines and departments, including history, Spanish, sociology, English, music, politics, economics, psychology, and education. LLAS majors are strongly encouraged to participate in study abroad and summer research programs in Latin America or Spain. Our program also encourages students to engage in community-based learning through the different activities available in the Latino and Latin American communities that are integral to the city of Los Angeles. The major prepares students for graduate school as well as for a variety of career paths, including community organizing, social work, education, public history (museums and cultural centers), government, law, public service, and business.

Major Requirements


The Latino/a and Latin American Studies Major requires 44 units (or 11 courses). The course distribution requirements are: LLAS 101, two classes on Latin America, two classes on U.S. Latinx, four additional electives from any of the courses listed below, LLAS 490, and either SPAN 202 or SPAN 211.


Introductory Course

LLAS 101Introduction to Latina/o and Latin American Studies

4 units

Language Proficiency

Students must complete one of the following:

SPAN 202Advanced Spanish

4 units

SPAN 211Spanish for Heritage Speakers

4 units

Latin American Studies Courses

Students must complete two courses on Latin America selected from the list below:

DWA 222Latin America Political Economy

4 units

DWA 224Latin American Politics

4 units

DWA 229/LLAS 229Introduction to Human Rights: Focus on the Americas

4 units

DWA 286Public Diplomacy in the Americas

4 units

HIST 150/LLAS 150Colonial Latin America

4 units

HIST 151/LLAS 151Modern Latin America

4 units

LLAS 102/MUSC 102Music of Latin America

4 units

LLAS 210/SOC 210The Struggle for Human Rights in Mexico

4 units

LLAS 252/HIST 252Religion in Mexico, Pre-Columbian Times to Present

4 units

LLAS 254/HIST 254The History of Race in Latin America

4 units

LLAS 258/HIST 258Twentieth Century Mexico

4 units

LLAS 301Gender and Sexuality in Colonial Latin America

4 units

LLAS 302The Mexican Revolution

4 units

LLAS 335/SOC 335Democratizing Latin America

4 units

LLAS 355/HIST 355Indians of Mexico

4 units

LLAS 357/HIST 357Environmental History of Mesoamerica

4 units

LLAS 358/HIST 358Food and Drink in Mexican History

4 units

PHIL 223Mexican Philosophy, Culture, and Society

4 units

SPAN 303Introduction to Modern Latin American Literature and Culture

4 units

SPAN 313Latin American Film and Culture

4 units

SPAN 314Latin American Women's Voices in Fiction and Film

4 units

U.S. Latinx courses:

Students must complete two courses on U.S. Latinx selected from the list below:

ECON 324The Economics of Immigration

4 units

LLAS 202/AMST 202Latina/o Cultural and Intellectual History

4 units

LLAS 205/POLS 205Latino/a Politics

4 units

LLAS 206/EDUC 205The Politics and Pedagogy of First and Second Language Acquisition

4 units

LLAS 213/EDUC 213Chicano Education

4 units

LLAS 260/AMST 260United States Latino Literature and Cultural Studies

4 units

LLAS 284/MUSC 284Sonic Latinidad: Latino/a music in the United States

4 units

LLAS 304/HIST 300Mexico-U.S. Borderlands

4 units

LLAS 321/SOC 321Immigration to the United States from Mexico and Central America

4 units

MUSC 386Performance and Politics of the United States-Mexico Border

4 units

PHIL 322Latinx Philosophy

4 units

SPAN 342Spanish in the United States

4 units

SPAN 383Survey of Chicano Literature

4 units

Senior Seminar

LLAS 490Senior Seminar

4 units


Four additional electives from any subject area listed above.  At least one such elective must be at the 300-level (to satisfy the College's Second-Stage Writing Requirement).

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

LLAS majors satisfy Occidental College's Second-Stage Writing Requirement by earning the grade of B- or better in any 300-level LLAS course or a course cross-listed with LLAS that is writing intensive (and in which writing is in English). Students are expected to complete this graduation requirement before the beginning of their senior year.

Comprehensive Requirement

To satisfy the comprehensive requirement students will produce a senior thesis in the Senior Seminar. Declared majors propose the topic of their thesis before the end of their junior year. The thesis is a research-based essay of approximately 30 pages integrating both primary and secondary source materials. Successful completion of the senior thesis along with a public presentation of it in the spring semester will satisfy the LLAS comprehensive requirement.

Minor Requirements

To complete the LLAS minor, five courses (20 units) are required in the following distribution: LLAS 101 plus four LLAS electives selected from any of the courses above.

Transfer Credit Policies

The Latino/a and Latin American Studies program policy on transfer credit conforms to College Policy. Courses that address topics central to Latino/a and Latin American Studies approved for transfer by the appropriate department or program will be considered to apply toward the Latino/a and Latin American Studies major and minor. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.


Latino/a and Latin American Studies Courses


Regular Faculty

Dolores Trevizo, chair

Professor, Sociology

A.B., Occidental College; M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles 

Advisory Committee 

Raul Villa

Professor, English

B.A., Yale University; M.A., University of Michigan; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Affiliated Faculty

Elizabeth Braker

Professor, Biology

B.A., Colorado College; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Lan T. Chu

Associate Professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs

B.A., M.A., New York University; Ph.D., George Washington University

Salvador Fernández

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

Professor, Spanish and French Studies

B.A., University of California, Riverside; M.A., Indiana University; Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Mary J. Lopez

Professor, Economics

B.A., University of California, Riverside; M.A., Ph.D., University of Notre Dame 

Richard Mora

Associate Professor, Sociology

B.A., Harvard College (Sociology); M.A., University of Michigan (Education); M.A., Harvard University (Sociology); Ph.D., Harvard University (Sociology & Social Policy)

Jennifer Piscopo

Assistant Professor, Politics

B.A., Wellesley; M.Phil., University of Cambridge; Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

Michael Shelton

Associate Professor, Spanish and French Studies; Cognitive Science

B.S., St. Cloud State University; M.A., Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Ronald Solórzano

Professor, Education

B.S., M.Ed., Loyola Marymount University; Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Lisa Sousa

Professor, History

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles