Established first in the 1970s as “Hispanic Civilizations,” the Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies (LAIS) at UC Santa Barbara is the oldest interdisciplinary program on our campus, and the only one in the UC system that offers an Iberian component. LAIS provides training both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, offering Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Masters of Arts (M.A.) degrees. At the undergraduate level LAIS can also be taken as a minor.
LAIS examines the people and cultures of Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries throughout the world. Such study encompasses not only Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, but also Angola, Mozambique, the Philippines, Macao, and Chicano and Puerto Rican populations in the U.S. However, most students center their studies on Latin America and its linguistically diverse populations. For, even though Spanish and Portuguese are the region’s predominant languages, millions speak Quechua, Aymara, Nahuatl, Guaraní, Mayan, and many other indigenous languages. Likewise, Catalan and Basque are widely spoken in Spain, among other Iberian languages. Now in LAIS, thanks to the increasingly diverse linguistic expertise of its faculty, we are able to offer a training that encompasses a variety of these otherwise neglected –cultural, linguistic and political-- perspectives within the Latin American and Iberian world.