Latinos/as/x in the United States

HON 398 – Dr. Carina Bandhauer

Modes of Inquiry: Textual Analysis, Artistic Creation and Analysis, Historical, Social and Cultural Analysis

Course Description:

This is an introduction to Latinas and Latinos (hereafter Latinx) in the United States. The course offers a comparative look at the rich and varied experiences of Latino/a/x populations both past and present in the US social structure. We will begin the semester with some basic definitions and by looking at some general statistics. Then we will delve right into an historical exploration of what ties Latin American countries to the US. We will survey US political, economic and cultural expansionism and imperialism in Latin America and the Caribbean. This will help to show how a singular economy within the Americas has been forged and how transnational migrations and cultural flows have been encouraged. We will discuss the extent to which these transnationalisms have created an American society that goes well beyond the southern border of the United States of America.


In the second half of the semester we will explore many social and political struggles, issues and milestones. Some topics include labor struggles and organizing, and a variety of intersectional identities. We will look at various political struggles that combine economic and social struggles such as the Chicana Movement and the Borinquen Movement and more contemporary struggles, especially undocumented peoples, and challenges faced by Latino/a/x youth within the education system. The course also examines countercurrents to Latino/a/x populations, including racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. We will examine Americanization projects, English Only campaigns, experiences, and anti-immigrant activism, including legislation and raids targeting Latino/a/x communities.


Because the Latino/a/x population is so diverse the possibilities for this course are limitless. Specific Latina/o/x groups or issues not covered by this course syllabus, but which interest students are welcome contributions. Students are encouraged to explore and develop these interests. The format of the class is multifaceted using a combination of readings, lectures, discussions, presentations and if and when possible: outside speakers, events, films, and fieldtrip(s). Special this semester, we’ll be partaking in a common read with some other classes of Maria Hinojosa’s book Once I Was You. We’ll also be hosting Ms. Hinojosa (the top Latina journalist in the United States) for a speaking event at WCSU.


This course is highly interdisciplinary, straddling the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, history, geography, political science, economics, literature, American studies, education, justice and law administration, and Spanish; additionally, the course holds strong relevance for students in nursing, art, music, and business.