LACS is widely recognized for its research and teaching that conceptually bridges the study of Latin America and the Caribbean and Latina/o Studies. LACS prepares its students to comprehend the complexity and richness of the transnational Latina/o experience, to develop an understanding for distinctive histories and development of Latin American and Caribbean nations, and to mature into socially conscious and critically informed individuals with the necessary skills to professionally succeed and positively influence society.
Interdisciplinary approaches, new research methods, a rethinking of concepts such as nation, borders and racial and cultural identity were needed to understand the contemporary reality of Latinidad. LACS prepares students in all these areas. LACS majors have embarked on careers in education, media, law, social services, non-profit advocacy and social justice organizations, health care, public policy, translation, urban planning, and higher education.
Latinx make up about 18.3% of the population of the United States, about 60 million people. This makes the United States the third largest Latin American nation after Brazil and Mexico. While the vast majority of Latinx live permanently in the United States, their racial and ethnic identity, linguistic practices, creative and artistic expressions and social values are nourished by the cultural traditions and historical legacies of their countries of origin.
Globalization, advances in social media and communication technologies, expanded affordable air travel have created virtual translocal and transnational Latina/o communities. Because of the profound demographic changes in the U.S., it is increasingly more important for students to develop an understanding of the diverse cultures and histories, and the interconnectness of Latin America and Latinx communities.