About Our Undergraduate Studies

Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies at the University of Toronto is a program for students in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences who seek a deeper understanding of the Latin American regions, their histories, cultures, and societies.

The interdisciplinary core of the program begins with its required “gateway” courses, LAS200H1 and LAS201H1, wide-ranging lecture courses with tutorial discussion sections that are open to students in their second year of undergraduate study. Further courses at the 300-level and beyond examine cultural, geographical, historical, literary, political and social topics from across Latin America. The program’s research and pedagogical mission encompasses everything from indigenous cultures and civilizations through histories and theories of colonialism, and the ideas, peoples, and commodities that have come together within a far-reaching trans-Atlantic cultural sphere. It also includes the transnational investigation of Latin American migrants and their descendants in Canada and elsewhere. Offering an overarching set of perspectives on a diverse region in the world, LAS encourages its students to connect, and to branch out into the complementary disciplines of their choice, while at the same time committing themselves to an emphasis upon the experiences of Spanish and Portuguese America.

LAS seeks to inspire knowledge and experience across the University’s three-campus community and beyond. One of our primary missions is to provide opportunities for students to engage with new ideas, to enter discussions, to meet people with similar interests – in short, to humanize their learning.

Courses are important, but most Latin American Studies Majors and Minors come to our programs for more than coursework alone. Follow their lead and take advantage of a variety of extra-curricular events sponsored by the program. In previous years, we have had a lecture series in collaboration with Ryerson University focused on journalism, Making News in the Americas. Nowadays, our calendar goes from the Latin America Film Series, to special speakers and social evenings, to the Latin American Studies Luncheon Series held on many Wednesdays throughout the year (if you RSVP in advance, a light lunch is served). We are currently collaborating with our colleagues at the Institute for Islamic Studies for our Islam & Latin America series, where we examine contemporary challenges and historical struggles of two seemingly different populations. We hope to see you there soon!

Portuguese

In addition to a full range of courses in language, Portuguese studies at the University of Toronto offers courses in culture, literature and linguistics. The courses in the literatures and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking countries include the study of the most significant masterpieces written by Lusophone writers and a survey of the major historical and cultural trends and issues of these countries. The courses in linguistics range from an introduction to Portuguese linguistics to courses on language varieties and dialects in the Portuguese-speaking world, sociolinguistics, phonetics, and second language acquisition. Together with extracurricular activities, the program provides the tools to learn, know and understand the vast and rich Portuguese-speaking world in a dynamic and interactive way. It serves the programs in Latin American Studies, European Studies and in African Studies.

The Department encourages students to consider completing part of their course work at a university in Portugal or Brazil. 

The University of Toronto offers a summer course in Lisbon, Portugal where students can take language instruction equivalent to our PRT100Y, PRT220Y or PRT320Y language courses in one of the most vibrant and safest cities in Europe. With the city of Lisbon serving as the classroom, this program offers courses designed for students who want to improve their Portuguese language skills or want to learn a new language altogether. Interested students should see the Summer Abroad website for Portugal.

Spanish 

Spanish studies at the University of Toronto are mainly, but by no means exclusively, concerned with the language and literature of the Spanish-speaking peoples. Courses in Hispanic linguistics, in business Spanish, in the history and structure of the Spanish language and literature are complemented by studies of the socio-political, artistic, and intellectual history of both Spain and Spanish America. Spanish and Portuguese form part of the interdisciplinary programs in European Studies and Latin American Studies. 

Following an introduction to the methodologies of critical analysis as applied to Hispanic texts, students have a wide selection of courses on the literatures of Spain and Spanish America: medieval Spanish literature; early modern prose, verse and drama; the modern novel, short story, poetry, drama, film and much more. In all years, the works are read and discussed not only in terms of their individual artistic value but also as illustrations of the outlook and the intellectual climate of their age. Students can also select from a variety of courses in Hispanic linguistics, from an introduction to Hispanic linguistics to courses on Spanish varieties, bilingualism, sociolinguistics, phonetics and structure of Spanish.

In conjunction with Woodsworth College, the department makes two summer courses available in Seville, Spain (SPA100Y and SPA255Y). With the city of Seville serving as the classroom, this program offers courses designed to introduce students to Hispanic culture and the Spanish language. Interested students should see the the Summer Abroad website.