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Contents of the master's program

This research-oriented master's program provides an in-depth overview of Latin America from the perspectives of the following disciplines: ancient American studies, cultural and social anthropology, gender studies, history, literatures and cultures of Latin America, economics, political science, and sociology. Distinguished by the fact that its students are introduced to scholarly work and related activities early, and make early knowledge gains, the program brings together regional and disciplinary perspectives and has a strong focus on area studies. By considering historical and contemporary dynamics and contingencies, students grapple with regional problems of a region characterized by marked social diversity and interdependent, entangled inequalities.

The region of Latin America, in geographical and cultural terms, encompasses Hispanic America, Brazil, the Caribbean, and the interconnections that extend beyond the region. The changing perception of Latin America in the global context—in particular from transregional, intersectional, and decolonial perspectives—is a major focus, both in the longue durée and in selected cases. Historical continuities, ruptures, and transformations in Latin America, as well as analytical approaches from Latin America itself, are always examined and reflected in the context of their local and global interconnections and their interdependent differences.

Students comprehensively engage with approaches from the humanities, cultural studies, and social sciences, considering the dynamics of borders in relation to social and spatial mobilities, inequalities, imaginaries, discursive conventions and practices, forms and strategies of representation, the environment, sustainability, human-nature relations, cultures, economies, politics, materialities, provenance, gender relations, societal diversity, conviviality, etc. In doing so, students examine forms of cultural, socioeconomic, and gender difference in various contexts and by incorporating a range of materials, productions, approaches, and concepts from the Latin American world and scholarship.

Students learn about different challenges of the Latin American continent as well as locally developed approaches to solve them. They are introduced to preconditions, conditions, and characteristics of the Latin American present, including its historical constitution. More specifically, students discuss and apply interpretive approaches and theories on transformation, development, and inequalities in Latin America, as well as on historical-cultural action, representations, and the interconnections of the region.

Understanding the concepts and paradigms of Latin American studies and the Global South is as important as learning about and gaining a critical perspective on the theories and methods of the humanities, social sciences, and gender studies—all of which, in addition to decolonial perspectives, permeate all facets of the program.

Early in the program, students choose a concentration in the humanities or cultural sciences, social sciences, regional studies (Brazil), or in a field related to gender issues (profile area). This concentration shapes the student’s entire course of study. Students can also choose a supplementary area of study, such as a linguistic-cultural focus, including creative writing; Brazilian Portuguese, particularly as a supplement to regional studies; or indigenous languages as a supplement to history, culture, and social anthropology. During the program, students are also introduced to supervised academic work and good academic practice.