Latin American Studies

You will explore the Latin American mosaic in all its dimensions through Hispanic studies, history, government, sociology, women's studies and anthropology. If you want an immersion in a Latin American culture, the faculty will help you find a program abroad.

Maggie Joyce '16 leads a campus tour of high school juniors.

A student charts her course: a focus on Latin America

She’s only a sophomore but Maggie Joyce ’16  already has lined up a course of study and experiences that support an interest that traces back to high school – Latin America. She’s mapped out a major, applied to study in Argentina and secured a summer internship at a think tank that deals with Latin American and U.S. policy.

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Joyce considered a Latin American studies minor, but to squeeze in everything she wanted to pursue she opted for an economics minor and a world politics major with a focus on Latin America. She’s also taking Spanish language courses. The open curriculum at Hamilton College, she says, allowed her to follow all her interests.

In high school, Joyce did independent study on U.S. – Latin America relations, which got her pondering how, despite its proximity, people in the U.S. get relatively little exposure to Latin America. “I wondered why is that. It sort of fueled my interest,” she says.

Gregory Jabaut '05 during a college service trip he led to the Dominican Republic.

A graduate’s progress: a job that doesn’t feel like one

Gregory Jabaut ’05 studied Spanish at Hamilton College and delved into Latin American studies, then followed that interest to the State University of New York, Albany, where he earned a master’s degree in Latin American literature. From there, he got a job teaching Spanish at a school in Albany, became assistant head and then moved into a position as assistant director of international programs at Siena College.

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It’s a job that doesn’t feel like one, says Jabaut, who serves as the primary study abroad advisor on campus and facilitates international exchange partnerships all over the world.

At Hamilton, the complex political and socio-economic issues of Latin America, and in particular how they were presented in literature, grabbed his academic attention. Considering the continuing growth of the U.S. Latino/Hispanic population, he says, he figured he would be doing himself a professional and personal favor by better understanding Latin American cultures.

“Through coursework in sociology, literature, language, linguistics and history, among many others, I feel that I truly gained a balanced and comprehensive understanding of the Latin American experience. I also furthered my public speaking and writing abilities,” he says.