University of California, Santa Cruz

To review an updated LALS course list, please click HERE.

To access the UCSC Schedule of Classes, please click HERE.

LALS 240/FMST 240: The Culture and Politics of Human Rights in the Américas

Graduate Seminar

This seminar explores the field of human rights by tracing its genealogies – both conventional and alternative – and provides students with an understanding of human rights that engages and moves beyond its legal conventions. The course focuses on the Américas region, a rich site in which to grapple with the legacies and subject of human rights. The graduate seminar is divided into three parts: The first part involves readings that represent the critical genealogies of human rights, the second part includes readings that contest state narratives about internal conflicts, and the third part grapples with the importance of developing a critical human rights framework that recognizes its colonial legacies as well as its generative and inventive invocations when used as tools for social justice. How have human rights – as an analytical lens, as methodology, and as a critical framework — facilitated the efforts, desires, and hopes of social movements?

LALS 194Q: Globalization in the Américas

Senior Seminar

This course explores the subject of globalization by delving into the economic, social, and cultural aspects of it. The course begins by introducing students to the theoretical tenets of globalization. In doing so, students develop a common language, framework, and understanding upon which to discuss globalization in the Américas for the duration of the course. Rather than simplify globalization to being either entirely positive or negative, this course seeks to offer a more complex portrayal of globalization in the region so students can navigate and understand the gray (or middle) areas of globalization which are not captured in either the pro- or anti-globalization discourses.

LALS 186: Field Research Methods


This course provides students with insight into the qualitative research process by putting students in the role of researcher. Students are introduced to the many methodological and epistemological aspects of conducting qualitative field research. Students learn how to write field notes, construct research questions, identify appropriate data for the research design, create interview instruments, and are introduced to qualitative data analysis. The course also covers the role of ethics in research, specifically the human subjects approval process. Course objectives include helping students discover their epistemological position(s), obtain skills to collect, interpret and analyze data, and grapple with the various methodological dilemmas encountered in the research field.

LALS 172 – Visualizing Human Rights


Documenting human rights issues has become a critical pedagogical and activist tool in social justice movements throughout the world. Audiovisual, social media, and other artistic mediums have had a profound impact in shaping how we come to understand human rights issues. In other words, human rights movements in all its forms are crossing many realms – from the legal to the socio-cultural. In this course, “visualizing human rights,” we will investigate the forms in which the meaning and significance of human rights are reflected in various outlets – from media-makers to artists and journalists – and explore pressing social justice issues facing the Latina/o and Latin American communities. These issues include indigenous struggles in South America, immigration, poverty, environmental justice, gender-based violence, and state terror. The class will incorporate and focus on interactive media, podcasts, social media outlets (i.e., Twitter), photography, documentaries, public art, blogs, and other relevant media platforms.

LALS 165: Contemporary Perú


This course explores contemporary issues facing the country of Perú. Students explore the historical formation of the state in order to contextualize the current state of affairs. Students then learn about the country’s armed internal conflict of 1980-2000. These two decades of violence introduced a reign of terror that has yet to be fully dealt with in the post-conflict period. Students gain knowledge about the wealth of natural resources in the country and the ongoing mining struggles where indigenous peoples are up against transnational corporations and the state over control of those resources and lands. Perú’s rich multicultural and multiracial society is discussed throughout the course as well the formation of transnational families resulting from an increasing number of Peruvians having family members living outside of Perú today.

LALS 150: Afro-Latinos/as


This course explores the social, cultural, and political aspects of life for African descendants in the Américas. The course delves into various topics about Afro-Latinos/as, such as understanding the role of race and racism in the Américas, transnational racial identity and stereotypes, and the regional formation of a cultural and political community of African descendants. Students gain a comparative understanding of the experiences of Afro-Latinos/as in the U.S. and African descendants in Latin America/Caribbean. Lastly, students learn about the human rights struggles for justice of African descendants in the region and about the rich tradition of Black radical thought.

LALS 50: Transnational Feminist Organizing in the Américas

Lower-Division, Formerly LALS 80W

This course provides students with an introduction to transnational feminist organizing in the Américas. Students learn about transnational feminist theories, the inter-connection of local and global contexts, and how U.S. women of color and women from Latin America politically organize in response to a range of injustices.