New Latino/a and Latin American Studies Major Approved
Occidental College will offer an interdisciplinary Latino/a and Latin American Studies major beginning in the 2012-13 academic year, drawing on the resources of 11 different departments, from history, politics, and Spanish to music and psychology.
Occidental's 32nd academic major is the result of more than a year of discussion and debate by more than a dozen faculty members from across campus, said Dolores Trevizo, professor of sociology. "We believe we have put together an exciting and visionary new program that addresses 21st century pedagogy and a wide range of issues that exist outside our front door here in Los Angeles, one of the world's major Spanish-speaking cities," Trevizo said.
Unanimously approved by Occidental faculty, the new major will provide an interdisciplinary view of the history, geography, societies, cultural landscapes, and political and economic struggles of Latin Americans throughout the hemisphere, including inside the United States.
"When studying Latin America, it is imperative to include the millions of Latinos living inside the United States. You can't understand one without the other," said Jorge Gonzalez, dean and vice president for academic affairs. "Our goal is to become the destination of choice for any student who wants to study these subjects at a liberal arts college."
The 40-unit, 10-course major will require an introductory gateway course, two Latin American history and politics courses, two Latino Studies courses, Spanish language courses, three electives selected from relevant courses in 11 departments, and a senior seminar. Occidental's existing Latin American Studies minor will become the Latino/a and Latin American Studies minor.
Faculty members who contributed to the shaping of the new major include Trevizo and Richard Mora of sociology; Lan Chu, assistant professor of diplomacy and world affairs; Robert Ellis, Felisa Guillen, Salvador Fernandez, Adelaida Lopez, and Mike Shelton of Spanish literary studies; Shanna Lorenz, assistant professor of music; Alexandra Puerto and Lisa Sousa of history; Jacki Rodriguez, professor of psychology; Jeff Tobin and Elizabeth Chin of critical theory and social justice; Ron Solorzano, professor of education; and Raul Villa, professor of English and comparative literary studies.