Undergraduate offerings at the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures (ILAC) provide students with different ways of focusing their learning. We grant undergraduate degrees in Iberian and Latin American Cultures and Spanish. The former emphasizes comparative study across periods, regions, and neighboring languages; the latter focuses on that one language, its literature and contexts. In addition, many students earn minors in Spanish or Portuguese, which provide capacious introductions to the cultural production in those respective languages. We are the only academic unit within Stanford humanities that focuses on the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula from the medieval period to the present, of the Spanish-speaking communities of Latin America from the colonial period to the present, of the Portuguese-speaking communities throughout the world, and the Spanish-speaking communities of the United States. Our different major and minor options allow students to attain deep cultural expertise across these areas and/or to focus on one or two of them during their years of study. For detailed information on the areas of research and teaching of the ILAC faculty, click here.
A rich roster of classes and public events allows undergraduates to pursue a rigorous and personally-enriching study of the literatures and cultures emerging from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. Such a study can be the standalone intellectual pursuit of a student's college career or happen in combination with other disciplines. Over the years, our majors, double-majors, minors and elective course-takers have launched lifelong explorations of core humanistic questions centered in the cultures of the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America, and Latinx communities in the United States. Sustained cultural immersion, most often coupled with the ability to think and write in a different language, make ILAC students well-informed global citizens. Given the program's focus on critical thinking, open discussion, and close textual analysis, undergraduate majors are provided excellent preparation for a large number of professional fields, including business, education, international relations, law, and medicine. The Department has a longstanding commitment to broadening the study of Spanish to Portuguese and Catalan, often setting these distinct, yet interrelated domains into conversation. It similarly broadens the scope of what constitutes literature, often narrowly conceived as text-centric, to cinema and visual culture writ large.
Seeking to provide contextualized knowledge, the Department balances an emphasis on literary studies with a diverse set of approaches to cultural and social issues. Upon completion of our programs, students will have had the opportunity to examine, assimilate, and reflect upon timeless works by such giants as Miguel de Cervantes, Luís de Camões, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Gertrudiz Gomez de Avellaneda, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Rosario Castellanos, Federico García Lorca, or Pedro Almodóvar. They will also carry with them the cultural and linguistic competence to participate as locals in the rich cultural life of vast swaths of the world.
The Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) centers in Santiago de Chile and Madrid, Spain, are the ideal complement to an ILAC education. Students can spend one quarter or more in these Centers, among other options for international education available in consultation with the Chair of Undergraduate Studies. Students who plan to travel abroad early in their Stanford careers can make the most of preparing their trip, and also of furthering their knowledge upon their return, through taking cognate ILAC classes at the appropriate level.
Our students often find relevant offerings in the following residential program, community center, and areas studies center respectively, Casa Zapata, El Centro Chicano y Latino, and the Center for Latin American Studies at Stanford University. Students typically start their journey in ILAC by enrolling in Language classes at the pioneering Stanford Language Center.
For step-by-step guidance on our majors and minors, please consult the Bulletin as follows:
Undergraduate Student Services Officer
Pigott Hall, Bldg. 260
Chair of Undergraduate Studies
Bldg. 260, Rm. 202
Undergraduate Peer Advisor