Latin American and Caribbean Studies Cluster Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.

Core Courses

The cluster offers three courses per year, each developed to deepen interdisciplinary understandings of one of three core areas of inquiry.  Courses within these areas are geared toward both introducing students to central issues in the region and exposing them to multidisciplinary perspectives.  Because the exploration of these central categories and the construction of multidisciplinary conversations are often best served by team-teaching, whenever possible these core courses are team-taught by two faculty members with distinct departmental affiliations.

The core areas of Inquiry, and their descriptions, are as follows:

  • Structures of Power: Courses in this area would explore the constitution of economic, political, and cultural power in Latin America and the Caribbean, with special attention to issues of persistence and transformation over time.  These courses might also especially emphasize the interplay between the region’s stubborn and drastic inequalities and the forms in which political, economic, and cultural power is acquired, exercised, and expressed.
  • Identity, Community, and Representation: Courses in this area would focus on the ways in which social identities and communities are forged, fragmented, and contend with one another in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the role identity formation plays in larger cultural, political, and social dynamics.  These courses might pay special attention to the role of political and cultural representation in these processes.
  • Global Connections: Courses in this area would explore Latin America’s longstanding and extraordinarily varied links to other points on the globe, exploring such issues as colonialism, slavery, commodity exchanges, the import and export of ideas, imperialism, and migration.


All program students must enroll, for one quarter’s credit, in a year-long colloquium that will meet 3 times per quarter.  As a requirement of their enrollment, students draft a paper and present it to students and faculty involved in the colloquium.  All students will also be required to present a colloquium paper as they reach the end of their studies, and are encouraged to attend for the duration of their residence at Northwestern.


Finally, students must meet a language requirement.  Students must have fluency in the language most appropriate to their course of study, and have functional competence in at least one of the region's other languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, or any of the region's autochthonous languages.  Language competence can be certified by any of the regularly scheduled language exams offered by Northwestern's foreign language departments, or by coursework in the appropriate language.