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Overview

The general issues dealt with in Hispanic-American, Puerto Rican, and Chicano studies remain similar, whether the people you’re studying are native to (or descendents of people) from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, or another Latin American country. And though all have dealt in some way with the problems of identity, race, national recognition, and changing culture, each of these nationalities has had distinctive experiences in their own countries and in the United States. In this major (or one subset of it—not all schools group them together as we’ve done here), you’ll learn how Hispanic, Puerto Rican, and Chicano cultures have affected and been affected by American culture, and how those effects have been viewed by society throughout the nations’ histories. You’ll study the diverse challenges these groups have encountered in the past and the problems they’re facing today, including economic and political discrimination. You’ll study the constantly evolving roles of Hispanic, Puerto Rican, and Chicano women—and the men, children, and families to which they belong. And you’ll learn about the substantial artistic and literary contributions each of these groups has made.

Throughout your studies, you’ll gain exposure to Hispanic, Puerto Rican, and Chicano art, language, music, politics, psychology, and literature. You’ll begin to form ideas of what it means to identify oneself as “Hispanic-American,” “Puerto Rican,” or “Chicano,” and how the relationship between identity and race has evolved. This major will give you the opportunity to become knowledgeable in many different fields, including political science, English, women’s studies, psychology, sociology, history, and others. Hispanics recently became the largest minority of the American population, so learning about the past, present, and future of these different cultures makes more sense every day.

You do know Spanish, don’t you? Start now if not. Chances are your career may at some point involve working with these unique populations, either directly or indirectly. And it is difficult to understand any culture before you understand its language.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Classism, Racism, and Sexism

  • Constitutional Relations Between Puerto Rico and the U.S.

  • Dominican Identity Formation

  • Hispanic Communities in the United States

  • History of the Dominican Republic

  • Puerto Rican Cultural Heritage

  • Race, Gender, and Ethnicity

  • Social Class Development in Puerto Rico

  • The History of Cuba

  • The Puerto Rican Educational Experience


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

You’ll be best prepared for this major by taking courses in English, history, philosophy, and religion. Language courses, especially Spanish, are recommended. This major will expose you to many different disciplines, so feel free to explore any classes that interest you. A diverse background of knowledge will be your best preparation.