Latinx and Latin American Studies Program

Haag Hall, Room 204
5120 Rockhill Road
(816) 235-5854
Fax: (816) 235-5542

Mailing Address
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Latinx and Latin American Studies
Haag Hall 204
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Program Description:

The mission of Latinx and Latin American Studies (LLS), a program based in the College of Arts and Sciences, is to function as a vehicle for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching, research and outreach focusing on Latinas/os-Chicanas/os in the U.S. The LLS program will provide an awareness and understanding of the wide diversity of Latino communities, cultures and backgrounds. The development and expansion of our curricula will serve to empower our students with the concepts and skills to better understand a rapidly growing Latina/o population. The LLS program will engage students, scholars and the greater Kansas City community in collaborative projects, programs and service learning efforts. These efforts will foster new curricula and advance research and outreach scholarship to create new knowledge to better understand the cultural, economic, and historical experiences and contributions of U.S. Latinas/os-Chicanas/os and their diasporic origins.

Program Activities:

  • Provide all UMKC students with critical understanding of the historical, political and social context in which Latino/Chicano communities have evolved and continue to be established in the U.S., with particular attention to the greater Kansas City metropolitan area and the Midwest region. Crucial to this goal is the understanding of the transnational nature of these community ties.
  • Provide access to a quality education for Latina/o students and other students interested in Latina/o-Chicana/o Studies and at the same time enhance diversity on the campus.
  • Strengthen ties with UMKC Latina/o alumni
  • Engage other area Latina/o professionals in LLS activities
  • Strengthen ties between the UMKC and the Latino community.
  • Establish UMKC as a center of teaching, learning and research on Latino/Chicano populations.
  • Establish and/or strengthen alliances with local Latina/o community organizations, e.g. Guadalupe Center (KCMO), El Centro (KCK), Dos Mundos, KC Hispanic News, Mattie Rhodes Art and Counseling Center, The Mexican Consulate, Latino Writers Collective
  • Create alliances/connections with local non-Latina/o organizations, e.g. Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Public Libraries and the Kansas City Museum


Miguel A. Carranza1,2 professor emeritus of latina/latino studies and sociology; B.A. (Kearney State College); M.A., Ph.D. (University of Notre Dame).

Associate Professor:

Theresa L. Torres1,2; associate professor of latina/latino studies and sociology; B.A. (Benedictine College); M.A. (Boston College); Ph.D. (Catholic University of America).

Academic Advisor:

Norma E. Cantú

Members of UMKC Graduate Faculty

Members of UMKC Doctoral Faculty


LLS 201 Introduction to Latinx and Latin American Studies Credits: 3

This course addresses and examines the social, economic, and political factors that have influenced the historical experiences of Latinx in the U.S. and Latin Americans. Attention will focus on the major concepts, issues and debates in the field of Latinx and Latin American Studies. Particular consideration will be given to an analysis of and understanding as to how these factors have influenced the past and present status of Latinxs in U.S. society. Given the diversity existing within the Latinx population, the course will be comparative, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary in nature.

LLS 300 Special Topics in Latinx and Latin American Studies Credits: 3

A variable content course offered in the area of Latinx and Latin American studies.

LLS 310 The World of Latinx Youth and Adolescents in the U.S. Credits: 3

This course will provide a general introduction and in-depth understanding to the largest group of racial/ethnic adolescents in the United States: Latinx youth. An historical examination of Latinx youth will provide a better understanding of their present status, with emphasis on their contact and interactions within social institutions. Additionally, students will analyze the experiences Latinx youth have within and among other groups in the broader social context based on past, present, and possible future interactions.

LLS 315 Arts Of African and New World Cultures Credits: 3

This historical survey of ethnographic arts examines the diasporas of African art and the influences of Africans on the arts of new world cultures (in Brazil, Surinam, Cuba, Haiti, and the United States) and Meso-American art and the influence of Meso-Americans on the arts of the Native North American cultures.

LLS 320 Ethnic and Minority Perspectives in Psychology Credits: 3

The theory, methods and content of psychology relevant to the interests and needs of ethnic minorities, and the contributions of ethnic groups and other minorities to psychology.

Prerequisites: PSYCH 210 with a C- or better.

LLS 322 Race and Ethnic Relations Credits: 3

The nature, origin and dynamics of ethnic and race relations in the U. S. and other societies. Specific attention will be given to the historical and contemporary contexts of prejudice discrimination and confrontation.

LLS 346 Urban Latin America Credits: 3

Introduction, overview, and analysis of major contemporary urban issues in Latin America.

LLS 348 Latinx Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees in the U.S. Credits: 3

This course addresses the culture of societies of U.S. citizens, immigrants, and refugees of Latin American heritage living in the U.S. The course emphasizes recent anthropological, historical, cultural, and sociological studies.

LLS 353 Covering Urban Latinx Communities Credits: 3

This course focuses on journalistic methods of reporting Latinx communities, which are part of major urban areas. It covers topics on immigration, health care, policy, cultural diversity, race, legal issues, and education. It brings the voice of the Latinx communities into news stories. Various story-telling skills and ideas taught in this course will prepare students to cover the Latinx communities in urban areas and beyond.

LLS 397 Independent Readings in Latinx and Latin American Studies Credits: 1-3

Students will complete extensive readings in an area selected by the student with prior consultation with instructor.

LLS 400 Advanced Special Topics in Latinx and Latin American Studies Credits: 1-3

This course is a variable content course and offered as a result of specialized faculty interest, student demand, or the availability of a visiting expert in a field closely related to Latinx and Latin American Studies.

LLS 404 Women and Gender in Latin America Credits: 3

This course studies gender in Latin America from the eve of conquest by the Portuguese and Spanish in the fifteenth century to the present. It examines how ideas about gender affected the lives of Latin American men and women. This course additionally analyzes how gender and race contributed to the creation of a hierarchical social order. Finally, it discusses the exercise of authority within and outside households and its impact on private and public spaces.

LLS 405 Colonial Latin America (From the Encounter to the Early 19th Century) Credits: 3

This course discusses the conquest and colonization of Latin American by the Spanish and the Portuguese imperial powers from the time of the encounter to the early nineteenth century. It studies the Iberian, Indigenous and African cultures and their influence in the creation of a hierarchical imperial order. Emphasis is given to the impact of the conquest, the economics of exploitation, race, sexual and gender identities and, religious and legal domination.

LLS 406 Modern Latin America Credits: 3

This course studies social, political, economic and cultural trends in Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Discussion topics include nation building after independence with an emphasis on gender and race in the creation of national identities and new forms of social stratification; integration of national economies into the world economic system; the expansion of political participation and citizenship; immigration and the tensions caused by the forces of modernization and tradition.

LLS 407 Latin American Crises and Opportunities Credits: 3

This course studies why Latin America has experienced in the 20th and 21st centuries recurrent economic and political crises – and why it is still a land of enormous opportunity. While this is primarily a history course, it undertakes a multidisciplinary examination of the region’s strengths and weaknesses by discussing theories of economic development, political and sociological models as well as the influence of crime and violence. Case studies anchored in representative countries will be used to illustrate historical trends and theories.

LLS 421 Made in the USA: Latinx Art and Experience Credits: 3

This course focuses on art of and by members of the U.S. Latinx community. Students in this course will engage with the politics of representation, gender, sexuality, race, class, and ethnicity in Latinx art, as well as visual and popular culture.

LLS 431 Hate & Bias Crimes Credits: 3

The purpose of this course is to examine the development and enforcement of hate crime law within our legal system. Discussion focuses on the causes and consequences of hate crimes, the constitutional issues associated with bias crime statutes, and the effectiveness of formal and informal social controls for eliminating hate and bias crimes.

LLS 497 Directed Research Credits: 1-3

Students will develop and conduct a research project in an area selected by the student under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may only enroll in 6 total credits of LLS 497 during their time at UMKC.

Prerequisites: Junior or Senior Level Standing.