Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies
(LACS Ph.D. Concentration - Code 013107)
(Please include code under Program Information in your application.)
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The program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish with a specialty concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies requires a total of 60 graduate credits (30 beyond the Master’s) for completion of the degree. The Department of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) administers this new specialty, in collaboration with the Spanish Program of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC). Please make sure to state on your application "LACS Ph.D. Concentration Program Code 013107," so that your application is processed correctly and efficiently. Students who already hold an M.A. degree in LACS (33 credits) will have to complete only a minimum of 27 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements. Students who already hold an M.A. degree in any other appropriate field will need to complete a minimum of 30 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements.
This Ph.D. specialty is conceived of as qualitatively different from conventional language and literature programs. Its originality lies in the integration of area and ethnic studies within a disciplinary framework that includes the humanities as well as the social sciences. Broadly defined, cultural studies reflects a theoretical emphasis on the critical theories that focus on how issues of diversity, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, and race shape cultural, historical, socioeconomic, political, and educational processes. The program also pays attention to the manner in which globalization, (im)migration, and transnationalism are forging new hemispheric visions of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In light of this reality, our research and teaching agenda is also focused on the U.S. Latino experience and its relationship to the countries of origin. This feature of our program reflects faculty interest and expertise and distinguishes us from other institutions in the field of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
The program is recognized as a viable alternative to the single department/discipline based structures that dominate most university settings. "Alternative" does not mean substitution; it means a valid, complementary, and different model with its own set of persuasive advantages. These advantages include paradigmatic shifts in the context of scholarship, a novel and inclusive curriculum, as well as research in frontier territory not charted inside structures that are more conventional. LACS's multidisciplinary approaches are integral to its impressive basic and applied research and service outreach activities to institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean and in local, national, and international multicultural communities.
Some of the main areas of expertise of LACS faculty include development studies, women's studies, cultural studies, migration studies, Mesoamerican anthropology, Caribbean literature, education, and Puerto Rican studies. Study abroad and field research opportunities are available with institutions in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Nicaragua. The Department of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) at the University at Albany is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive program of its kind within the SUNY system. It is the only academic department that currently offers an M.A. graduate degree and a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in addition to undergraduate majors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Puerto Rican Studies. Its twenty-two jointly appointed faculty, includes six core faculty, and its cross listed courses now represent a total of twelve University departments and three colleges or schools.
The Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CELAC) and the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (IMS), autonomous research units overlapping LACS in geographical coverage and faculty, also have made significant contributions with their publications, conferences, and attracting grant resources and promoting international collaborations.
Most LACS graduates pursue careers in education, international business, government service, public policy, law, criminal justice, and social work. Degree candidates are also expected to demonstrate advanced language proficiency in Spanish and another language spoken in Latin America and the Caribbean (other than English). A limited number of fellowships and assistantships are available to applicants on a competitive basis. Graduate students receiving these awards must maintain good academic standing and will be subject to annual review. The maximum assistantship/ fellowship funding allowed will be two years for the M.A. and two years for the Ph.D.
Students who are not residents of New York State and are awarded an assistantship or fellowship grant will receive out-of-state tuition waivers for the first academic year only. During this first year of study, the students must establish permanent residency in New York State by processing all required materials to establish residency. For information on state residency guidelines and procedures, please refer to the Office of Student Accounts website NYS Residency . Please note that you must change your permanent address to a New York State location shortly after your arrival and change your driver's license as well. Should you qualify for a second year of grant funding, your residency would have to be in place because tuition waivers for the second year will cover only in-state tuition.
Credit Requirements: A total of 30 credits beyond the M.A. to include:
LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT ( See Guidelines )
- Knowledge of Spanish
- Second language other than Spanish and English
CORE SEQUENCE: 18 CREDITS
LCS 500 (3 credits)
LCS 504 or LCS 505 or LCS 508 (select 2 to make a total of 6 credits)
LCS 502 (3 credits)
Approved Graduate Methods Course (3 credits)
LCS 503 (3 credits)
** Students with a Master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University at Albany will substitute Lcs 500, 502, 503, 504 or 505 or 508 with 18 credits of other LCS courses as advised.
FOCUS AREA (9 credits with a LACS M.A. or 12 credits without it, in one of the following ( See List of Supporting Courses )
FORMAL REQUIREMENTS (load credits only) (see Guidelines)
- Culture, History, and Society (9 or 12 credits including Lcs 781) or
- Language, Literature, and Fine Arts (9 or 12 credits including Lcs 781
- Dissertation Committee approved by Graduate Studies Committee ( see Guidelines )
- Reading list approved by Graduate Studies Committee ( see Guidelines )
- LCS 781 Directed Readings/Annotated Bibliography of approved Reading List (see Guidelines)
- Ph.D. Qualifying Exam approved and completed ( see Guidelines )
- Dissertation Proposal approved by Graduate Committee ( see Guidelines )
- LCS 899 Dissertation defended ( see Guidelines )
- Recommendation for Conferral of Doctoral Degree submitted ( see Guidelines )
Guidelines & Procedures
For the Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean , and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies (LACS) of the Spanish Ph.D.
Language Requirement (English, Spanish, and one other language
Prior to admission, degree candidates will demonstrate proficiency in Spanish by completing at least one upper level course taught in Spanish with a grade of B or better. Before or after admission, candidates must also demonstrate knowledge of a second language used in Latin America and the Caribbean (other than English and Spanish, e.g. Portuguese, French, Quiche, Dutch, Haitian Creole) by passing an undergraduate course in that language with a grade of B or better. A second language could be the native language of the candidate. Second language proficiency must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Candidates will complete 27 credits of graduate course work beyond the MA in LACS, or 30 credits beyond an approved MA. Coursework will include a core sequence of 15 credits (LCS 500, 502, 503, 504 or 505 or 508, and one approved course in methods), and a focus area of 15 credits (including LCS 781 Directed Readings) in either Culture, History, and Society or Language, Literature, and Fine Arts. Candidates with an MA in LACS from the University at Albany will substitute 15 other credits (as advised) for the core sequence and complete 12 credits (including LCS 781 Directed Readings) in the focus area. Independent Study (LCS 695) and Topics courses (LCS 696) are strictly for unusual academic contexts and require the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
The composition of all dissertation committees will be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee of LACS for approval. Students admitted with an MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their first semester of coursework; students admitted without the MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their fifth semester of coursework. By the end of the first (or fifth) semester, the student will ask a full time faculty member of LACS to serve as director of the dissertation committee.
The dissertation director should not dictate the composition of the dissertation committee, but with the assistance of the dissertation director, the student will select two additional full time faculty members of LACS to form the dissertation committee. The dissertation committee director will ensure that there is sufficient expertise on the committee about the topic of the dissertation. When necessary for additional expertise on the topic of the dissertation, a fourth full time faculty member for the dissertation committee could be chosen from outside the department or the university. Once all members have agreed to serve, the dissertation director will inform the Director of Graduate Studies in writing about the composition of the dissertation committee. The Director of Graduate Studies will seek the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee and inform the dissertation committee and the student in writing of the decision of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Reading List / Directed Readings LCS 781
Once all course work has been completed (except LCS 781), the student will submit a reading list for the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. The reading list will be divided into three sections: 1. works related directly to the dissertation topic; 2. works related to the background areas around the dissertation topic; 3. works about theory and method necessary for research on the dissertation topic.
The Dissertation Committee director will submit the reading list approved by the dissertation committee to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval by the Graduate Studies Committee. Once the reading list has been approved by both committees, the student will enroll in LCS 781 under the supervision of the dissertation director. For successful completion of LCS 781, the student will prepare an annotated bibliography of the approved reading list. Annotations will demonstrate that the student has studied each item on the reading list and will explain briefly (in one paragraph) how each item on the reading list will be used for the preparation of the dissertation.
While completing LCS 781, the student will write the Director of Graduate Studies to request a qualifying examination based on the annotated bibliography of the reading list. This written request must be made no later than October 15 or April 15 of the previous semester.
The qualifying examination will be prepared by the dissertation committee, approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, and administered by the Director of Graduate Studies. The qualifying examination will consist of six questions, two questions each in all three sections of the reading list. The student will answer one question in each of the three sections of the reading list: 1. dissertation topic; 2. background areas around the dissertation topic; 3. theory and method. The student will submit answers to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than three days after receiving the examination. The answer to each of the three questions should be typed (double-spaced), and each answer should be 7 to 10 pages long, documented as a research paper.
Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy
A student is admitted to candidacy (ABD) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and may undertake work on the dissertation subject to the following:
a) satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination;
b) satisfactory completion of the research tool requirements by fulfilling the foreign language requirement;
c) completion of the University residency requirements (where appropriate).
By the end of the semester that follows the successful completion of all the exams and requirements, each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must submit a dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be at least 10-15 pages long and contain the following:
- a title,
- a general description of the project, including a clear critical/theoretical approach to the topic,
- description of each chapter,
- a bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Upon the Dissertation Committee's approval of the dissertation proposal, the candidate may start writing the dissertation during which time each semester s/he must enroll in the Lcs 899 (Doctoral Dissertation) course (counts as load credit only). The dissertation itself is expected to manifest thorough knowledge of literary, cultural or linguistic theory, depending on the candidate's field, and the candidate must demonstrate the ability to perform mature scholarly research elaborating on previous critical judgments. The dissertation may be written in English or Spanish.
The candidate will present the proposal to the Dissertation Committee in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The dissertation proposal should be circulated among members of the Dissertation Committee well in advance of the meeting, and the meeting date and time should be announced at least two weeks before the presentation.
The dissertation committee members will make suggestions for change in the proposal, and after these changes have been incorporated, the Dissertation Director will transmit a final version of the proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies for the approval of the Graduate Committee. The dissertation proposal itself should be at least 10-15 pages long, not counting the bibliography which should be appended to it.
Dissertation Progress Report
Every semester, the dissertation director will indicate progress on the dissertation on the LACS PH.D. ADVISEMENT FORM and circulate copies of this form to the members of the dissertation committee and to the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies will place this advisement form in the student's file.
LCS 899: Doctoral Dissertation ((3-12 load credits)
Dissertation credits count as load credit only and are graded L/U. They cannot be applied to the 30 credits (post M.A.) minimum requirement for the Ph.D. You may register for load credit only after all the other requirements are completed.
Once the dissertation is completed, the dissertation director will forward copies of it to the members of the dissertation committee requesting written critiques from committee members within two to three weeks. The dissertation director will circulate these critiques among dissertation committee members and place copies of them in the student's file. Members of the dissertation committee may request a meeting with the candidate at any time. Candidates may also request a meeting with the dissertation committee or with any of its members at any time.
Changes in the Composition of the Dissertation Committee
To avoid conflicts of interest, the members of the dissertation committee should not be related to each other as spouses or partners. If the Graduate Studies Committee (which includes the Chair of LACS) determines that there is a potential for conflict of interest in the composition of any dissertation committee, it will appoint a new dissertation committee in consultation with the Dissertation Director and the candidate. The candidate has the right to reconstitute the Dissertation Committee at any time. When this right is exercised, the candidate should inform all members of the Dissertation Committee in writing in a timely and considerate manner after the matter has been discussed with the Dissertation Director and with other members of the committee.
All committee members should honor the candidate's request for change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should also respect the right of all committee members to withdraw from the committee at any time. The candidate should inform the Director of Graduate Studies of any change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should also resubmit a dissertation proposal for the approval of the new Dissertation Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. The Director of Graduate Studies will place all proposals approved by both committees in the candidate's file.
In consultation with the candidate and the Dissertation Committee and in accordance with departmental procedures, the Director of Graduate Studies will arrange a date for the defense of the dissertation. The candidate will defend the dissertation in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The dissertation director will chair the defense, and the members of the dissertation committee will vote in private and announce their decision to the candidate and to those in attendance at the defense.
(Guidelines Revised by Graduate Studies Committee – Spring 2004)
List of Supporting Courses
Culture, History, and Society
- LCS 506 Caribbean Leaders and Societies
- LCS 507 Three Island Revolutions
- LCS 508 Seminar: U.S. Latinos
- LCS 509/SOC 576/ International Migration: History, Theory, Methodology
- LCS 510 Workers and Globalization
- LCS 511 Introduction to Cultural Studies
- LCS 515 U.S. Latino Culture and Literature
- LCS 551 Gender and Class in Latin American Development
- LCS 556/POS 556 Authoritarian and Comparative/
Representative Regimes in Latin America
- LCS 560 Urban Poverty in Latin America
- LCS 572/GOG 572 Issues in Latin American Geography
- LCS 573/GOG 573 Comparative Metropolitan Planning
- LCS 575 Caribbean Migration
- LCS 585/ECO 585 Land and Labor in Latin America
- LCS 593/POS 593 International Relations of Latin America
- LCS 599 Special Topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (as advised)
- LCS 695 Independent Study and Research (1-6 cr.) (as advised)
- ANT 533 Mesoamerican Archaeology
- ANT 633 Seminar in Mesoamerican Archaeology
- ANT 641 Seminar in Mesoamerican Ethnology
- ANT 643 Seminar in the Native Mesoamerican Texts and Literature
- ANT 648 Seminar in South American Ethnology
- ANT 666* Seminar in Ethnohistory
- ANT 667/PLN 672 Housing Problems and Policies in Third World Cities
- HIS 569 History of Mexico
- HIS 570 History of the West Indies and Central America
- HIS 572 History of Brazil
- HIS 665 Readings in Latin American History
- HIS 667 Seminar in Latin American History
- SOC640Gender Inequality
Language, Literature, and Fine Arts
- LCS 514/SPN519 Literature of the Hispanic Caribbean
- LCS 515 U.S. Latino Culture and Literature
- LCS 517/SPN 513 Cultural Foundations of Latin American Literature
- SPN 500 a/b Intensive Introduction in Spanish
- SPN 502 The Linguistic Structure of Modern Spanish
- SPN 505 History of the Spanish Language
- SPN 507 Spanish Scholarly Writing
- SPN 508 Advanced Spanish Communication
- SPN 509 Spanish for Teachers
- SPN 510 Topics in Spanish Language
- SPN 512 Cultural Foundations of Latin American Literature: Colonial Age
- SPN 514 Cultural Foundations of Spanish Literature: To the Catholic Kings
- SPN 515 Cultural Foundations of Spanish Literature: Golden Age
- SPN 516 Cultural Foundations of Spanish Literature: Since 1700
- SPN 517 Spanish American Theatre
- SPN 518 Spanish American Short Story
- SPN 521 Spanish Literature for High School Teachers
- SPN 522 The Twentieth Century Spanish American Essay
- SPN 523 Spanish American Colonial Prose
- SPN 525 Spanish American Colonial Poetry
- SPN 526 Spanish American Poetry of the Modernist Period
- SPN 527 Spanish American Poetry Since Modernism
- SPN 528 Spanish American Romanticism
- SPN 529 Spanish American Narrative Prose of 19th Century
- SPN 586 Spanish American Novel from 1910 to 1950
- SPN 587 Contemporary Spanish American Novel
- SPN 605 Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism
- SPN 606 Applied Critical Theory
- SPN 680 Introduction to Literary Research
- SPN 681 Seminar: Novel
- SPN 684 Seminar: Literary Themes
- SPN 685 Topics in Hispanic Linguistics
- SPN 694 Directed Readings in Spanish
- SPN 695 Topics in Hispanic Literature
- SPN 721 Studies in Hispanic Literature
- SPN 793 College Teaching of the Spanish Language
- POR 502 Linguistic Structure of Modern Portuguese
- POR 505 History of the Portuguese Language
- POR 512 Survey of Brazilian Literature
- ANT 528 Mesoamerican Linguistics
- ANT 533 Mesoamerican Writing Systems
- ANT 571 Mesoamerican Language Instruction
Advanced Methods Courses
Students enrolled in the LACS track of the Spanish Ph.D. program should take LCS (SPN) 511 introduction to Cultural Studies or an advanced methods course in a field related to the dissertation topic. Choosing this course should be made in consultation and with the approval of the student's LACS graduate advisor.
The following are some of the methods courses accepted by the Department to satisfy this requirement:
- ANT 508 Proseminar in Ethnology
- ANT 600 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology
- ANT 608 Field methods in Ethnology
- HIS 590 Quantitative Methods in History
- HIS 591 Research and Writing in History
- HIS 594 Readings and Practicum in Oral and Video History
- SOC 509 Research Methods
- SOC 535 Qualitative Research Techniques
- SPN 605 Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism
- SPN 606 Applied Critical Theory
- SPN 685 Methods in Research
- ENG 542 Literary Theory since 1950
- ENG 642 Trends in Critical Theory
- WWS 565 Feminist Theory
* In order to receive credit for this course toward the Ph.D. degree, students must work on Latin American, Caribbean, or U.S. Latino related topics.
Explanation of course prefixes:
AAS Africana Studies
AOS Administration & Policy Studies
POS Political Science
ESOC Educational Sociology
TBI Languages and Cultures Education
LCS Latin American and Caribbean Studies
WSS Women’s Studies
LACS COURSE DESCRIPTIONS