Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies (LALACS) is one of the newest academic programs at Dartmouth. It was first established with the name Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) in 1993, as an interdisciplinary area studies program centered on Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1997, the name was changed to LALACS in order to reflect the incorporation of another dimension: Latino Studies. At present LALACS is an interdisciplinary program composed of two separate tracks: Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS), and Latino Studies (LATS). The program officially became a permanent academic program on February 13, 2006.
The LALACS Program is committed to fostering a collaborative environment for students, faculty, and staff in which they can produce and share knowledge about Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean languages,cultures, societies, politics, geographies, and histories, LALACS makes great effort to reflect Dartmouth's history of excellence in liberal arts under graduate education, independent student research, international understanding, and community service. Our interdisciplinary curriculum allows faculty and students to work across more established disciplinary boundaries while at the same time promoting the rigorous demands of scholarly methodologies, theories, and critical approaches. Most of LALACS's classes are small and provide direct student-professor interaction. In addition, the affiliated faculty members regularly work with students on independent research projects and honors theses.
While its campus is located in a rural New England setting, Dartmouth's proximity to large urban centers in the Northeast such as New York City and Boston gives it access to diverse, transnational Latino communities. LALACS Majors and Minors who study abroad in the Spanish and Portuguese Department's Foreign Study Programs (FSPs) in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Salvador, Brazil receive credit toward their electives, and students can also participate in Georgetown University's summer programs in Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile for major and minor credit.
LALACS faculty and students maintain close ties to the William Jewett Tucker Foundation through its Cross Cultural Education and Service Program in Nicaragua and its alternative Spring Break in the Dominican Republic, as well as the Tucker Foundation's numerous opportunities for community-based learning and global service. Students who major or minor in LALACS leave the program with the analytical tools to conduct interdisciplinary research, the adaptability to engage with various types of communities (regional, ethnic, language-based, academic, business, etc.), and an acute awareness of the regional and transnational complexities of the Latin American, Latino and Caribbean experience.