A welcome message from Prof. Claudia Milian, LSGS Faculty Director.

Get started on your Certificate in Latino/a Studies in the Global South!

Check out the goings-on at LSGS.



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​We have curated an exciting line-up of speakers this semester. Take note, join us, and spread the word: on Monday, 5 September, experimental poet, playwright, and labor activist Rodrigo Toscano will read. And on Thursday, 17 September, Juan Felipe Herrera, the twenty-first Poet Laureate of the United States, ​will share selections from his books of poetry and meet the public. All events are free and open to the public. Please scroll down for more details.

Rodrigo Toscano is an experimental poet, playwright, and labor activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry, among them: Explosion Rocks Springfield (Fence Books, 2016); Partisans (O Books, 1999); The Disparities (Green Integer, 2002); Collapsible Poetics Theater (Fence Books, 2008), which was chosen for the National Poetry Series; and Deck of Deeds (Counterpath Press, 2012). Poet and essayist Brian Blanchfield had these words to say in the PEN America about Toscano's Explosion Rocks Springfield, a work that "consists of eighty iterations of a kind of book-length system, a machine—as I read it—that runs class and labor and collective anxiety and grief through a single disastrous urban American incident, an event frequent enough to be generic, a lesser item in any news cycle. 'The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care,' the journalistic title of each poem, resets the operations of an inquiry that moves in and around the news of a violent blast. These are five of the books’ poems, continually combustible at the limits of our untenable pressure." Five of Toscano's poems from Explosion Rocks Springfield are featured here. You can also head over to Puerto del Sol, a journal by MFA candidates at New Mexico State University, where a great and thoughtful interview with Toscano appears.

    • Juan Felipe Herrera | 17 Nov.
    • Juan Felipe Herrera | Thursday, 17 November, 4:30p | Perkins Library, Gothic Reading Room | Co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost; the Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences; and the Department of Romance Studies.

Juan Felipe Herrera is the twenty-first Poet Laureate of the United States. He was first selected for this honor on 10 June 2015, and was reappointed this year to serve, once more, as a “consultant in poetry.” Herrera’s role as U.S. Poet Laureate heralds the first time that a Mexican-American––and by extension Latino––author has been recognized with the country’s highest honor in poetry since this post was created in 1936. A poet, photographer, anthropologist, cartoonist, and multimedia artist, Herrera is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Stanford University, and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He is the author of thirty books in a wide array of genres, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels, and picture books for children. Herrera also served as the Poet Laureate of California from 2012–2014 and was elected as a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets in 2011. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and two Fellowships in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), among many others. He has won, as well, awards from PEN USA; PEN American Center; the Smithsonian Institute; and the National Book Critics Circle, to briefly enumerate a handful of his accolades. The position of U.S. poet-in-chief involves crafting projects and broadening audiences for poetry. During his laureateship’s first term, Herrera embarked on a nation-wide poetry project entitled “La Casa de Colores” (“The House of Colors”). Herewith, Americans were (and still are) invited to contribute a verse to an “epic poem” about the U.S. experience. Herrera’s vision essentially asked poets and nonpoets––in a word, the nation––for a poem. As the Library of Congress website notes, the aim of “La Casa de Colores” is to have “a house for all voices [where] we will feed the hearth and heart of our communities with creativity and imagination. And we will stand together in times of struggle and joy.” “La Casa de Colores” is updated monthly. The project champions multiple voices and histories and highlights a new theme each month about an aspect of American life, values, or culture. This undertaking also allows, as Herrera told NBC News, for his poetic voice to be “made by everyone’s voices.”

    • Fall 2016 courses

Introduction to Latino/a Studies
Introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Latino/a Studies, and how it reconfigures the study of the United States and the Americas. Considers literature, history, sociology, economics, politics, culture and language in examining terms such as: Latino, latinidad, Global South, transnational, globalization, and multiculturalism. Exploration of alignments and divergences of Latino/a Studies with African and African American Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Critical US Studies. Classroom learning will connect with the community outside of Duke. Required introductory course for students in the Latino/a Studies in the Global South certificate program.


Policing Latinidad
How does the criminal justice system make itself felt in the everyday lives of Latinas/os? From border enforcement, to stop and frisk, to the phenomenon of mass incarceration, many Latinas/os find themselves and their communities enmeshed within a dense web of surveilleince, punishment, and detention. This interdisciplinary course will examine the historical, political, economic, and social factors that have, in many ways, criminalized Latinidad and/or rendered Latinidad illegal. We will examine how race, class, education, gender, sexuality, and citizenship shape the American legal system and impact how Latinas/os navigate that system. This course will pay special attention to the troubled and unequal relationship between Latinas/os and the criminal justice apparatus in the United States and how it has resulted in the formation of resistant political identities and activist practices.


 Introduction to Spanish-American Literature (US Latino/a Literature 1960s-Present)
This seminar is an introduction to Latino and Latina literary production and its heterogeneous voices and imaginations in the United States. The formation of a Latino/a literary cannon, its thematic strands, cultural connections, historical and political contexts, theoretical approaches, and circulation in the American world and beyond will all be surveyed to gain a critical and resourceful overview of the range of nationalities, communities, locations, identifications, and practices that fall under the Latino and Latina designation. The course will draw from a wide variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, autobiography, film, and performance art. Among the questions guiding this course are: How are Latina and Latino identities envisioned and manifested since the Civil Rights Movement? How does a Latina- or  Latino-specific cultural production dialogue with the U.S. multiracial landscape?

Spanish for Heritage Speakers
Designed for students who are heritage speakers, educated almost exclusively in English, with little exposure to Spanish in academic setting. Linguistic work contextualized through three major fields: arts (music, literature, cinema, painting, sculpting); society (Latinos & language in the US, traditions, immigration related topics); and mass media (television, radio, newspapers, new technologies).


Health, Culture, and the Latino Community
Exploration of health issues in the Spanish-speaking world shaped by social, cultural, political, ethnic, and economic determinants. Topics to be explored include: cultural competency, community beliefs, medical practices and policies, preventive medicine, mental health.
LSGS 306 / SPANISH 306/ GLHLTH 326

Latino/a Voices in Duke, Durham, and Beyond
Community-based interaction with Durham Public Schools. Topics for consideration: Latino/a identity, access to education for immigrants, academic performance, assimilation, general pressures of family and peers, bilingualism, configurations of ethno-racial consciousness.

Bridging Cultures
Exploration of key issues surrounding Latino communities in Durham and beyond, focusing on issues of culture and immigration, health, education, economy. Course includes a minimum of 15 hours of service learning with a local organization, plus other out-of-class and weekend community trips. Projects promote the development of intercultural competence, as well as facilitate opportunities for building bridges with the local community. Assessment based on knowledge of content, oral and written Spanish, and community engagement. Previous 300-level course is recommended before taking this class. Minimum requirement: Spanish 204 or equivalent.


Politics of Food
Explores the food system through fieldwork, study, and guest lectures that include farmers, nutritionists, sustainable agriculture advocates, rural organizers, and farmworker activists. Examines how food is produced, seeks to understand its workers and working conditions in fields and factories, and, using documentary research conducted in the field and other means, unpacks the major current issues in the food justice arena globally and locally. Fieldwork required, but no advanced technological experience necessary. At least one group field trip, perhaps to a local farm or farmers market, required.

Myth, Ritual, Symbol
What might something as everyday as a football game, a dream, watching a movie or telling/hearing a bedtime story reveal about deeply human processes like identity and power? What about weddings, or war? This course examines the apparent contradiction that a myth is both untrue (separate from a fact or science) and "the mythic" refers to deep human history, to ways of thinking, believing, and feeling that have life and death effects (like the Myth of the American Dream, or of Oedipus). Or that we dismiss ritual as something empty, rote, and meaningless, (separate from spontaneous, real events) and yet our lives are filled with both small, quotidian rites (the morning shower and coffee, going to church, synagogue mosque, temple...) and built around profoundly moving ways we recognize life transitions (baptism, turning 21, graduation, funerals). This course looks at both small and large myths, rituals, and symbols to explore how they produce meaning, make blobs of flesh into human beings, construct and maintain power differentials, and refuse and resist injustice and exploitation.


Introduction to Spanish-American Literature
A survey of major writers and movements from the periods of discovery to conquest, colonial rule, and early independence. Includes works by native Indian, "mestizo", and women writers. Prerequisite: Spanish 301, 331S, or AP Spanish Literature score of 5. 


Introduction to Contemporary Latin America
An interdisciplinary gateway for the undergraduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, this course offers an introduction to the problems and themes that shape contemporary Latin American society and culture. Rather than providing a comprehensive overview of modern Latin American history (which is covered in a separate History class), this course examines issues that loom large in Latin America today. The topics change from year to year -  Fall 2015 is likely to include (among others) the normalization of relations with Cuba, ongoing debates about migration, the rise of gang violence in Central America, drug legalization campaigns, and pressing environmental concerns. The main assignment for the semester will center on students developing individual WordPress sites on an issue that they choose in consultation with the instructor. 


Latino/American Pop Art: Contesting Freedom at the Dawn of Neoliberalism
This seminar examines art, politics, and critical literature from the 1960s and 1970s across the American continent (north, central, and south). We will examine the work and criticism of Pop artists who participated in the simultaneous emergence of conceptualism, nuevo realismo, performance, and environmental art. We will follow their engagement with mass media and popular culture (music, television, and popular theater), and discuss their work in relation to theoretical and historical studies of the neoliberal economies and philosophies that were being imposed under the repressive regimes of the period. A central question for us will be: how did artists imagine freedom at this crucial historical moment? Students will have the opportunity to contribute the research they produce in the seminar to an exhibition planned for the Nasher Museum of Art. This means the assignments for the course will take the form of in depth research into individual art works included in the exhibit for future wall texts, historical landmark events to be included in a timeline and catalogue, and the selection and explanation of popular culture (songs, films, etc.) for programming that will accompany the exhibit. Assignments will be adapted for undergraduate and graduate students in collaboration with the professor, and will include both individual and collaborative projects.

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    • This fall semester, we're inaugurating a Lunchtime Talk Series with LSGS Alums. Angie Díaz, a graduate student in the Program in American Studies at Yale University, will inaugurate our efforts to promote the Program's sustained engagement with our graduates, and most particularly between our current and former students. Angie earned a B.A. in History as well as a certificate from the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South (LSGS) at Duke University in 2014. She is interested in the ephemeral moments of crossing borders between nations, histories, and cultures, particularly for Chicanos/as in Texas.

Latin@ Studies Workshop Series
    • Latin@ Workshop Series | Duke-UNC 2016
    • LSGS and the UNC Latina/o Studies Program have joined analytical forces this Spring 2016 by starting a Latin@ Studies Workshop Series. The goal of this collaborative undertaking is straightforward: to explore and dynamically engage with the scholarship being produced by Latin@ Studies interlocutors at both Universities. What are you working on now, what are you working on next? What are you revising? What are we, as Latina/o Studies faculty, studying? Write us and let us know if you'd like to share your work with us this semester.

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    • LeBrón Postdoc Headeer
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Marisol LeBrón is the 2015-2017 LSGS Postdoctoral Associate. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies at Dickinson College. An interdisciplinary scholar working across American Studies and Latino/a Studies, Professor LeBrón's research and teaching focus on social inequality, policing, violence, and protest movements in Puerto Rico and U.S. communities of color.

Her writing has appeared in Women & Performance; NACLA Report on the Americas; Souls: A Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society; and the edited volume Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016), among other venues. She is currently at work on her first book, "Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico," which examines the growth of punitive governance in contemporary Puerto Rico.

Professor LeBrón holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University. She went to Oberlin College for her undergrad, where she received by B.A. in Comparative American Studies.

This is an exclusive LSGS post by Prof.John Mckiernan-González on the federal court proceedings this October of Perales Serna et al v. Texas Department of Health State Services. This civil rights lawsuit was filed by the non-profit organizations Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and the Texas Civil Rights Project on behalf of a group of mothers in The Lone Star State whose U.S.-born children were denied birth certificates by the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit.

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 YouTube Channel

​Tune into our ever expanding YouTube channel, which features highlights from a number of distinguished speakers who have given public talks sponsored by the Program. Professor Raúl Coronado spoke on "Surrounding One's Self with the Beauty of Life: Historicizing Nineteenth Century Latina/o Writing." Professor Lázaro Lima, E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Chair in the Liberal Arts and professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies and American Studies at the University of Richmond, delivered a public lecture entitled "Losing Sotomayor: On the Political Limits of Representative Latinidad." Author Jennine Capó Crucet read from her collection of short stories How to Leave Hialeah (University of Iowa Press, 2009), and answered questions from students in the “Introduction to Latino/a Studies” seminar, taught by Walter Mignolo, William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature and Romance Studies.

Our YouTube channel also features:

• "A Conversation with Artist, Cartoonist, & Writer Lalo Alcaraz," who visited LSGS on 9 November 2015 and screened the premiere of Fox Television’s animated show Bordertown, where he served as a consulting producer.

• Key moments from Russell Contreras's talk, “Diss/Appearing Latinos: Immigration Politics and Contemporary News Coverage.” Contreras 
is a reporter for the Associated Press in Albuquerque, N.M. covering race, immigration, and the American Southwest. He serves as President of UNITY: Journalists For Diversity, and  is completing a book on President John F. Kennedy’s last night and his historic visit with Mexican American civil rights leaders.

"Tactile Optics: Prints from the Cheech Marin Chicano Collection" captures focal points from a panel  presentation with Claire Fox, author of Making Art Panamerican: Cultural Policy and the Cold War (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) and Professor in the Departments of English and Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa; E. Carmen Ramos, curator for Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and Dr. China Medel, curator of the “Tactile Optics” exhibit. Pedro Lasch, Associate Research Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke, moderated the exchange of ideas, placing Chicana/o and Latina/o art in a hemispheric framework.

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    • "Tactile Optics: Prints from the Cheech Marin Chicano Collection" ran from 5 December 2014 to 6 March 2015 at Duke's Fredric Jameson Gallery. The exhibit marked the first time that the twenty-six giclée re-prints donated by actor Cheech Marin were presented in a collected format on Duke's campus. LSGS was one of a selected number of institutions that received this portfolio from Marin’s The Chicano Collection in 2009. Marin’s goal of bringing visibility to the rich and diverse Chicano school of American painting was realized at Duke as prints were hung in various offices, classrooms, and hallways throughout campus.

    • Findings

​​» New U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera Made a Fantastic Debut in D.C.Washington Post coverage on Juan Felipe Herrera, the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States. "If there were any doubt, Herrera, the first Mexican American U.S. poet laureate, made it clear that he’s bringing a new sense of wonder and drama to the position. His inaugural reading was infused with humility and graciousness, but it was also an elaborately choreographed event informed by his years as a teacher and activist." ​Read the 10 June 2015 news release on Herrera's appointment from the Library of Congress here​.

» A Conversation on Latino Representation in U.S. Art History Departments

» From Latin@ to Latinx: an NPR piece, "​'Latin@' Offers A Gender-Neutral Choice; But How To Pronounce It?," and a feature article from Latina, "Why We Say Latinx: Trans & Gender Non-Conforming People Explain."

» Taking My Parents to College, Jennine Capó Crucet's op-ed in the New York Times about being a first-generation Latina college student.

» Three Things You Should Know About Birthright Citizenship:  "… the U.S. is an anomaly in the world when it comes to this issue. Most of the rest of the world, for example, gives people citizenship based on a concept known as jus sanguinis, literally 'by right of blood.'"

Latinas in History: An Interactive Project.

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Durham Neighborhood Group Gets to Know Hispanic Neighbors Better. Durham's rise in the Latina and Latino population "isn't all due to immigration from Latin America." Instead, "We are seeing more families coming here from other places in the United States."

» From Tobacco to Tortillas: Latinos Remake Durham, North Carolina, an NBC News article about Bull City's Latinas and Latinos: "After a two-decade period of adjustment, this city of Southern heritage appears also to be cultivating a Hispanic heritage. 'People are getting used to the fact that Latinos are here.'"

& More

    • R. Galvan | Collectible Series 2013
    • R. GalvanCollectible Series. Mint condition objects. | 2013



Lend your ears to "Taking on Academia: A Conversation about Latino Studies," a podcast from NPR's Latino USA centering on the field's importance, its current state, and what educators want going forward. The episode features Frances R. Aparicio, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University; Nancy "Rusty" Barceló, President of Northern New Mexico College; and Juana María Rodríguez, Professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Latino/a experience affects the entire United States, if not the world.