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THE PROGRAM: LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN AREA STUDIES (LACAS)

Mission | Undergraduate Programs | LACAS Major | Honors Program | Minor | Clarifications and Recommendations

The LACAS Mission

The purpose of the Binghamton University Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies (LACAS) Program is to further scholarship and education on Latin America and the Caribbean. We define this region broadly to include the Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Creole and Portuguese speaking countries of the Americas and the experiences of peoples of Latin American and Caribbean descent in the United States and Canada.

To realize this purpose the LACAS Program Committee is dedicated to three goals:

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Undergraduate Programs

The Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies Program (LACAS) offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Latin America, the Caribbean and peoples of Latin American and Caribbean descent in the United States. By combining interdisciplinary coursework with fieldwork in the United States, the Caribbean and/or Latin America, the program offers a wide range of educational possibilities to students seeking careers in teaching and research in these regions, or careers in international, social service, educational or political organizations engaged in promoting the economic, social and cultural life of the peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and U.S. Latin@s. Students may complete their degrees through coursework and seek honors with study-abroad and independent-study options (see Honors Program below). LACAS is unique in its emphasis on supervising independent and socially relevant student research.

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LACAS Major

The undergraduate major in Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies is a well-established program that began in 1973. To qualify for the major, students must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 10 courses selected from among those parented by or cross-listed with LACAS; courses with content on U.S. Latin@s, the Caribbean and/or Latin America; or any other course approved by the LACAS Committee. The following requirements apply:

    • at least one course in each of three separate departments;
    • two of the following three courses: LACS 105, LACS 106, LACS 107. None of these can be taken for Pass/Fail;
    • one course in library research (e.g., LACS 271) or research methodology, in which the major project focuses on Latin America and/or the Caribbean. The course cannot be taken for Pass/Fail;
    • one literature course related to Latin America and/or the Caribbean;
    • five advanced courses (300 level or above), of which one must be 400 level;
    • no more than half of the courses may be taken outside Binghamton University;
    • no more than one of the non-required courses can be taken for Pass/Fail.
  2. Show a proficiency in a language relevant to the area of specialization (e.g., Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Creole, Dutch). The LACAS language requirement can be met through one or more of the following means:

    • By taking an intermediate level course in a language relevant to the LACAS major (e.g., SPAN 211, SPAN 212, SPAN 215, SPAN 244, FREN 211, FREN 215).
    • If a student has taken the Advanced Placement Test in High School in a language relevant to the LACAS major (e.g., Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Creole, Dutch).
    • By taking the CLEP, or College Level Examination Program in a language relevant to the LACAS major (e.g., Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Creole, Dutch). (http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html).
    • Students who are native or heritage speakers in a language relevant to the LACAS major may request a waiver of the requirement from the program.

Students whose language of preference is not offered by the university or tested by the Advanced Placement Test in High School or CLEP will be formally evaluated by a professor appointed by the LACAS Director for that purpose.

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LACAS Senior Thesis and Honors Program

To be eligible to earn honors in the Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies Program, a student majoring in LACAS must have:

Anyone interested in pursuing LACAS Honors should declare it by the end of the second semester of their junior year in order to allow for adequate planning of the independent research project.

Fieldwork and LACAS Senior Thesis and Honors Program

Students may pursue fieldwork research as part of their fulfillment towards the requirements for a LACAS Senior Thesis and Honors Program. The fieldwork can be carried out in one of the following: (a) Latin America; (b) the Caribbean; or (c) in Latin@/Chican@/Caribbean communities in Binghamton or other parts the United States. For students interested in study abroad, LACAS maintains a research program in Latin America and recognizes SUNY study-abroad programs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The fieldwork site would be chosen in consultation with the LACAS Director or Associate Director, and according to a research proposal developed by the student during the semester prior to their fieldwork but no later than the end of the second semester of their junior year. All students pursuing fieldwork must take LACS 271 or a research methodology course (LACS 497, SOC 305 or similar) prior to beginning their study. In addition, they must meet the following course requirements depending on their chosen research site:

At the completion of their fieldwork, students register for LACS 498 (LACAS Senior Thesis). At that time, students write up the results of their fieldwork in a senior thesis. An A grade in the Senior Thesis would result in the student being granted Honors.

For more information contact the LACAS Director or Associate Director.

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LACAS Minor

The LACAS minor is designed for undergraduates who wish to graduate with formal recognition for coursework in the field without undertaking all the requirements of a major. To qualify for the LACAS minor, a student must complete a minimum of six courses selected from among those: parented by/or crosslisted with LACAS; courses with content on U.S. Latin@s, the Caribbean and/or Latin America; or any other course approved by the LACAS Committee. The following stipulations apply:

Any student interested in pursuing a LACAS minor should meet with the LACAS Director or Associate Director to discuss the requirements and their plan of study.

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LACAS Undergraduate Majors and Minors: Clarifications and Recommendations

Students interested in the major or minor should keep the following in mind:

In accordance with normal Harpur College policy, students may use the same course(s) to fulfill part of the course requirements for both their LACAS major and a second major. At least four of the courses for student's LACAS minor must be in addition to those counted towards the student's major.

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Last Updated: 1/3/13