Latin American Studies

Academic Year 2023 – 2024


The graduate certificate is designed to allow students who are taking seminars in the program, working closely with our faculty, and writing dissertations on a Latin American topic to receive a formal credential in the field. Many such students prepare a generals field in Latin America, but that is not a requirement for the certificate. Upon fulfilling all of the requirements, a student will receive a certificate from the Program in Latin American Studies and it will appear on the student’s official transcript.

The director of the Program in Latin American Studies oversees the graduate certificate program.

Note:  Students cannot be admitted to Princeton University through the Latin American Studies graduate certificate program since it is not a degree program.

Program Offerings

Program Offering: Certificate


Three full-term graduate- level courses offered by or cross-listed with PLAS or approved by the program director as a course that meaningfully engages Latin American studies. Two short-term (6-weeks each) graduate seminars may count as one full course if both have significant Latin American content. The following are guiding principles for course selection: 1) If a department requires degree students to take a certain number of core courses, these cannot be taken to meet the course requirement towards the Certificate in Latin American Studies; 2) Beyond “core courses,” if a department requires a designated number of electives, students can use those electives to meet the course requirement for the Certificate in Latin American Studies; and 3) Of the three graduate-level courses, at least one must be outside the student’s home department.


Advanced proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, or French (for students working on the Caribbean). Students can satisfy this requirement by completing a 200-level course taught in Spanish, Portuguese, or French, or taking a placement test at the relevant department or language program. Proficiency in an Indigenous language can also be used to fulfill the language requirement.

Dissertation and FPO

Ph.D. students are expected to either 1) write a dissertation on a Latin American topic, or 2) write a dissertation that includes significant research on Latin America. Normally the dissertation should be directed by a faculty member affiliated with the program. Since the role of Latin American Studies differs across disciplines, the program will rely on the judgment of experts in the specific discipline to certify whether the "significant research on Latin America" requirement has been satisfied. Therefore, the student's dissertation advisor is asked to write a shortletter outlining the role of Latin America in the dissertation and to certify that the dissertation research has included a "significant research on Latin America" as judged relative to the discipline. In cases where the student's dissertation advisor does not feel that they can certify the role of Latin America in the dissertation, the advisor can request that a member of the PLAS Executive Committee or Associated Faculty review the dissertation and submit a letter certifying the "significant research on Latin America" requirement of the dissertation. In all cases, the program director will review the certification letter and confirm that this requirement has been met."

Additional requirements

Works-in-Progress: Students enrolled in the graduate certificate program are required to attend the work-in-progress series for at least four semesters. Certificate students are responsible for two formal contributions to the colloquium at any time in these four semesters: 1) present a dissertation chapter or a conference paper based on dissertation research; and 2) serve as discussant on another graduate student's work-in-progress. 


  • Director

    • Gabriela Nouzeilles
  • Executive Committee

    • João Biehl, Anthropology
    • Eduardo L. Cadava, English
    • Vera S. Candiani, History
    • Beatriz Colomina, Architecture
    • Javier E. Guerrero, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Hendrik Lorenz, Philosophy
    • Gabriela Nouzeilles, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Christina P. Riehl, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    • Deborah J. Yashar, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
  • Associated Faculty

    • Jeremy I. Adelman, History
    • José L. Avalos, Chemical and Biological Eng
    • Yarimar Bonilla, Effron Center Study of America
    • Benjamin H. Bradlow, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Monica C. Bravo, Art and Archaeology
    • Natalia Castro Picón, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Matias D. Cattaneo, Oper Res and Financial Eng
    • Miguel A. Centeno, Sociology
    • Rafael Cesar, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Fernando Codá Marques, Mathematics
    • Susana Draper, Comparative Literature
    • Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Sociology
    • Agustin Fuentes, Anthropology
    • Thomas Fujiwara, Economics
    • Rubén Gallo, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Mario I. Gandelsonas, Architecture
    • Lorgia García Peña, Effron Center Study of America
    • Filiz Garip, Sociology
    • Maria E. Garlock, Civil and Environmental Eng
    • Hanna Garth, Anthropology
    • Reena N. Goldthree, African American Studies
    • Dannelle Gutarra Cordero, African American Studies
    • Bryan R. Just, Art Museum
    • Thomas D. Kaufmann, Art and Archaeology
    • Christina H. Lee, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Nicole D. Legnani, Spanish & Portuguese
    • John B. Londregan, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Rosina A. Lozano, History
    • Pedro Meira Monteiro, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Computer Science
    • Isadora M. Mota, History
    • F. Nick Nesbitt, French & Italian
    • Stephen Pacala, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    • Dan-El Padilla Peralta, Classics
    • Pamela A. Patton, Art and Archaeology
    • Grigore Pop-Eleches, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Rachel L. Price, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Alejandro W. Rodriguez, Electrical & Comp Engineering
    • Irene V. Small, Art and Archaeology
    • Garry Sparks, Religion
    • Maria Micaela Sviatschi, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Rocío Titiunik, Politics
    • Guadalupe Tuñón, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Corinna Zeltsman, History
  • Sits with Committee

    • Fernando E. Acosta-Rodriguez
  • Lecturer

    • Juan C. Ferre
    • Danny Raoul Hirschel-Burns
    • Olivia M. Lott
  • Visiting Professor

    • Michael M. Brescia

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Permanent Courses

Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.

ANT 522B - Topics in Theory and Practice of Anthropology (Half-Term) (also LAS 532)

This 6-week course for graduate students will focus on recent key theoretical and ethnographic texts on gender and sexuality. Recent research in clinical psychoanalytic, linguistics and rhetoric, and anthropology have opened up new ways of understanding attachment, gender identification, and cultural context in the shaping of sexuality. This course will explore this literature, with the primary concern the utility of these frames for ethnographic research.

ARC 571 - PhD Proseminar (also ART 581/LAS 571/MOD 573)

A research seminar in selected areas of aesthetics, art criticism, and architectural theory from the 18th to the 20th centuries on the notion of representation in art and architecture. This seminar is given to students in the doctoral program at the School of Architecture and to doctoral candidates in other departments.

ART 515 - Decolonizing Art History (also HUM 515/LAS 515)

Art history's disciplinary origins are inextricable from European colonialism and imperialism, and often work to uphold racialized concepts of development, civilization, style. The contemporary practice of art history demands that we acknowledge these origins while imagining a decolonized art history for the present. Drawing from decolonial paradigms, recent scholarship, and foundational texts of critical race studies, we work to analyze and actively reconfigure conventions of field formation, research, and format. In keeping with the political imperative of praxis, students workshop research topics and problems individually and collectively.

COM 542 - Feminist Poetics and Politics in the Americas (1960s to the present) (also GSS 542/LAS 512/SPA 558)

This course aims to explore different forms that the question of liberation has taken in writings by women philosophers and poets whose work helped to create cultural and political movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Starting in the 1960s, the course touches upon different philosophical concepts and poetic figures that have shaped the language of women's struggles (intersectionality, black and third world feminism, subalternity and feminist epistemologies, capitalist accumulation and "witch"-hunting, (re)transmission of knowledge).

ENG 555 - American Literary Traditions (also GSS 555/LAS 505)

A study of selected major American writers in the context of intellectual, religious, and cultural traditions.

FRE 504 - Slavery and Capitalism (also AAS 503/LAS 504)

This class initiates a reading of Marx's classic critique of political economy, Capital, along with a selection of the principal philosophical readings of the mature Marx since the 1960s: Louis Althusser's Reading Capital, Michel Henry's Marx, and Moishe Postone's Time, Labor, and Social Domination. Emphasis is placed upon developing a categorial understanding of Marx's conceptual apparatus adequate to the contemporary context, in the wake of the collapse of actually-existing Socialism, industrialization, and the crisis of valorization in the Twenty-First century.

HIS 504 - Colonial Latin America to 1810 (also LAS 524)

An examination of selected subjects in early Latin American history from the apogees of the great Amerindian civilizations, through the years of Spanish and Portuguese imperial control to the rebellions preceding independence. The course emphasizes social and cultural change, explores developments in historiography, and treats a variety of major problems in the field.

HUM 597 - Humanistic Perspectives on History and Society (also ARC 597/LAS 597/MOD 597/SPA 557)

In this seminar we locate Spinoza and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) in the exciting currents of seventeenth-century philosophy, theology, biblical scholarship and exegesis. Resituating Spinoza in Golden Age Holland we examine the resources and relevant controversies that shaped the Tractatus, with an eye to common concerns and traditions: the legacies of humanism and Reformation in the Netherlands, for instance, the larger worlds of his friends, as well as the vibrant Jewish community in Golden Age Amsterdam and the varieties of Christian lay piety that fall broadly under the banner of "the Radical Reformation."

SPA 548 - Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature (also ART 549/LAS 548)

An intensive study of intellectuals and nationalism in Latin America and the Caribbean; the Spanish American essay from Rod&oacute; to Paz; autobiography and first-person narrative, Mart&iacute;; and the generation of 1880 in Argentina, the <I>cr&oacute;nica modernista, poes&iacute;a gauchesca.</I>

SPA 550 - Seminar in Colonial Spanish American Literature (also LAS 525)

Intensive study of topics such as Bartolom&eacute; de las Casas and the conquest of the Indies; Sor Juana In&eacute;s de la Cruz; Neoplatonism and history in El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega; <I>criollo</I> letters and culture (1690-1824); and research methods and literary criticism pertinent to colonial literary studies.

SPA 556 - Slavery, Anti-Slavery, and Post-Slavery in the Iberian Atlantic (also AAS 554/LAS 556)

This course introduces students to important texts from the immense body of scholarship on slavery, anti-slavery movements, and post-emancipation culture in the Iberian Atlantic world, focusing primarily on the "slave societies"of 19th-century Cuba and Brazil and their connections to the greater Caribbean. Grounded in historiography, the course includes literature, court documents, visual culture, studies of post-emancipation movements, theories from the black radical tradition, and films about Latin American slavery. Sub-topics include insurrections, autobiography, religion, the role of translators, conucos/provision grounds, fashion.

SPA 562 - The Cinema of Cruelty (also HUM 562/LAS 542)

Drawing on Antonin Artaud's ideas around theatre of cruelty and André Bazin's notions of auteur film and its subversive capacity, this course looks at a group of Latin American and Spanish films and directors to explore how cruelty has become a recognizable aesthetic, one with strategic relevance for Hispanic film. This seminar understands film as a text in which cruelty functions as a cinematic trope, and also reflects on spectatorship, film's ability to inflict pain and, even more, the possibility that film constitutes a modern spectacle of cruelty.

SPA 583 - Seminar in Literary Theory (also LAS 583)

An examination of the theoretical foundations of literary study, using selected literary and critical texts.

SPI 556B - Topics in IR (also LAS 566/POL 564)

Courses that examine particular issues in international relations. Topics vary according to the interests of the students and the instructors. Fall term courses are numbered 555; spring term courses are numbered 556.