Main content

Why should I study Latin America this summer?

A brief interview with the instructor: Leandro Benmergui

What questions does your summer course help students address?

Was Latin America “discovered” or “invented” by Europeans? If native people of the Americas and the great Mayan, Incan, and Aztec civilizations already existed way before the arrival of Europeans, why is it that we still call it a discovery? Why is it that all the culture before the arrival of Europeans is pre-Colombian?

These are some of the questions that Introduction to Latin America seeks to uncover: the course seeks to analyze the history of things we take for granted without questioning much. We look at Latin America and the history of colonialism, neocolonialism, the origins and transformations of race and racism, the situation of indigenous groups, culture, music, architecture and, of course, Messi and soccer.

Whether you are familiar with the region or not, this course will cover key questions to think not only about Latin American but also about notions of “Western Civilization” and the history of the United States.

How is taking your course online different from in-person?

I am a strong believer of meeting my students in the regular classroom during the academic semesters. That in-person format helps me to learn how to teach a class that really fits the needs of student who choose to take my class online during summer or winters terms.

I have been teaching online (and face-to-face) for several years now. Every type of class requires its specific organization, clear learning goals, and forms of assessment that really takes into consideration the needs of online education. To be honest, my classes are not “easy” but at the end of the summer or winter term you will have a strong idea of Latin American diversity. Most importantly, you’ll leave the course with a lot of new questions.

What should students know (or find out) before signing up for your course? 

As you sign up for courses, think about a class that will challenge you to think about other cultures, other histories, and the relationship between the U.S. and the world. In other words, think not only about learning about “other” people but how that is going to challenge who “you” are.

Sign up for CRN: 20019 HIS1600 Intr. to Latin American Studies