All Latin American studies majors will designate one upper-level course taken in their senior year as their capstone course.
In addition to the normal work for the designated course, the student will register for a two credit (half course) LATS 400 Capstone module and undertake a substantive individual project and a public presentation of the project as evidence of having completed the capstone. If the capstone course is taken in the fall, the additional capstone work, and registration for LATS 400, may be fulfilled in the spring.
The student should select the course to which the capstone will be connected in consultation with his/her major advisor, and should notify the course instructor and the LATS chair of this designation prior to registering for the course. If the course instructor has any questions about what this would mean that cannot be answered by the prospective student, the LATS chair will help to clarify.
LATS 400 will only run as a stand-alone course if at least three graduating seniors require it. In the case LATS 400 does not run as a stand-alone course, students may fulfill this requirement through Private Reading work, ideally with faculty knowledgeable in the capstone project’s topic. If no faculty are available to sponsor the private reading, then it will be sponsored by the LATS chair.
The capstone project is designed to provide majors with an opportunity to integrate their knowledge of Latin America gained through interdisciplinary course work, as well as to address the analytic and theoretical issues inherent within the field of Latin American studies, issues first raised in the LATS introductory course.
No later than one week before the start of the capstone semester, the student and instructor of the course to which the capstone will be connected will determine the general theme of the project as well as its required length. Normally, the project will be an extended critical essay or research paper 15-20 pages in length; the LATS chair can also provide input to this discussion. The students will then submit a one-page abstract and bibliography to the LATS chair.
Depending on the course, the instructor, and the student, other projects may be acceptable as well, including translations, performances, exhibits, or other creative work. In the latter three cases, the student will be expected to provide a shorter accompanying essay.
At the end of each semester, the department will organize an event at which all graduating seniors who have completed a capstone project will give a 10-15 minute presentation.
The capstone project will receive two grades, one for the written and one for the oral component. Both grades will be collectively determined by the continuing Latin American studies faculty, and will be incorporated into the final grade for the capstone project. These grades are in addition to the course grade determined by the instructor for work over the semester.
Honors as Capstone
An Honors project in Latin American studies automatically fulfills the capstone requirement. Honors projects in other related fields may count as the Latin American studies capstone provided the topic has a substantial Latin American component, subject to approval of the LATS chair in consultation with the major advisor. All capstone projects include an oral presentation at the LATS capstone event.
Students double-majoring in Latin American studies and related fields such as Hispanic studies, history, comparative American studies, or cinema studies are encouraged to propose a single capstone project that pulls their majors together, as long as a significant portion of the project is related to Latin America.
Students interested in completing honors Latin American studies should consult with the chair of the curricular program at the beginning of the second semester of their junior year. Honors work normally consists of the preparation of a thesis under faculty supervision.
Samples of student honors projects will be posted as they become available.