What is Latin American and Latino/a Studies?
The interdisciplinary exploration of the economies, histories, literatures, cultural productions, politics, societies, and ecologies of Latin America.
Knowledge of the Latin America and the Caribbean regions is an essential part of a liberal education today. US economic, political, and cultural relations with countries from Mexico and the Caribbean to Central and South America continue to grow in importance. People of Latin American and Caribbean heritage, the Latino/a community, now constitute the largest ethnic group in the US.
What is Latin America?
- A region of twenty different nations and territories in the Americas where people speak mostly Spanish and Portuguese as well as a host of different native and creole languages.
- A region of intense ethnic and cultural fusion of African, European, and Native American origins.
- A region where most African-descended peoples of the Americas live.
- A region with some of the largest industrial economies of the world.
- A region of impressive biological diversity and ecological richness.
To educate students and the university community about Latino/a and Latin American matters with our courses and event programming.
To support internationalization, diversity, and interdisciplinary efforts on campus and in the community.
To promote an increase the size of the Latino/a and Latin American student body, faculty and staff.
To serve and educate West Michigan communities. The LAS Program enhances GVSU's relations with the regional Latino/a community.
Latin American and Latino/a Studies welcomes students from Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, the Health Sciences, Hard Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Design, and the Arts. Why? Because Latin America is building some of the most dynamic cities, fastest-growing economies, cutting-edge production of music and film, intriguing political movements, and programs of environmental sustainability, to name a few reasons. Both professionals and scholars enjoy exploring, traveling, and trying to understand life and the world within the framework of this most vibrant region of the globe. If you are interested in Latin America, take a minor in Latin American and Latino/a Studies. It will enthrall you. It will push you to learn new languages. It will give you the edge to get a job.
Photo taken by Professor Andrew Schlewitz
Arco de Santa Catalina - Antigua, Guatemala
Faculty and Community Sponsorships
Latin American and Latino/a Studies is very interested in supporting the programming ideas of fellow faculty and members of the Grand Rapids and surrounding communities, particularly events related to Latin American and Latino/a issues. If you have a program idea and would would like to request our sponsorship or financial support, please fill out our Sponsorship Request Form and submit to us.
March 24, 2017
Shelly Irwin speaks with the executive director of the Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival. The mission is to provide opportunities for constructive dialogue across cultures and to enrich the social fabric of our community.
March 01, 2017
Dancing has always been a form of expression. For people in the Dominican Republic, dance is a crucial part of their culture. Paul Austerlitz, an ethnomusicologist, visited Grand Valley State University to talk about why this is.
February 09, 2017
Davidson College professor, Devyn Spence-Benson discusses complexities of ethnic issues in Cuba. Hosted by Latin American and Latino/a Studies and African/African American Studies.
September 21, 2016
Professor Andy Schlewitz talks with Shelly Irwin from GVSU's Morning Show about the upcoming Great Lakes History Conference/Conference on the Americas and the new Area and Global Studies major: Global Studies and Social Impact (GSI).