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The Department of Latina/Latino Studies offers a wide range of courses that draw from the disciplinary expertise of its faculty but emphasize an interdisciplinary focus distinctive to the field. Whether in lower-division introductory courses or in graduate seminars emphasizing particular themes or issues, our nationally recognized and award winning faculty work closely with students who share a deep investment in Latino/a culture, history, and politics. Students who come to Latina/Latino Studies from an array of academic fields and professional interests repeatedly stress the significance of our courses given their timely, invaluable relevance for understanding Latina/o communities in the United States. Our curriculum also represents the cutting edge of Latina/Latino studies research, scholarship, and pedagogy.

Why I Majored/Minored in Latina/Latino Studies

"After taking LLS 100 with Dr. Dowling, I fell in love with the field. The complex growing demographics [of Latinos] merits attention. I was interested in increasing my knowledge on issues facing this community and how the struggle is different from others.”

Joe Palencia, Class of 2011

“I minored in Latina/o Studies because I felt it was a great opportunity to learn about the contributions of Latinas/os to US history. To me it is important that I know my history and the history of those who came before me, and taking LLS courses has helped me to develop an active voice in the Latina/o community. In the Fall I will be attending the University of California San Diego as a Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies. I believe that because I took LLS courses, I discovered how much I love ethnic studies. Taking LLS courses has helped me to understand how communities develop through transnationalsim, migration, gender, sexuality, race, etc. To understand ethnic studies you must understand the cultural and social constructions that surround different communities, and I think that LLS has introduced to me many concepts of study that will assist me in my graduate career.”

Christina Green, Class of 2010

“I chose the LLS major because I felt that I needed to learn more about Latino history and culture. I was not exposed to much Latino history in high school and I know that is the case with many Latino students. Therefore, when coming to the U of I many of my peers felt like they have gained a better understanding of themselves because of LLS. It was a very rewarding experience for me to learn about the history of my people, because as we continue to grow in this country, I felt it was important for me to know the origins of our past..”

Crystal De La Huerta, Class of 2012

"Personally, earning a minor in Latina/o Studies educated me on the history of discrimination, assimilation, and diasporas across the world that I would not have otherwise learned. Professionally, I can utilize this knowledge to speak from the perspective of a Latino and incorporate that into my work to foster the needs of Latinos. I really enjoyed my LLS courses and highly recommend students to enroll in them. At the end, you will become a more well-rounded student and gain knowledge of history that is otherwise omitted in most texts.”

Elvis Guzmán, Class of 2010