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Latin American Studies (research)

From 2016-2017 onwards the Research Master Latin American Studies concentrates on Latin American Modernities: Resistance, Revival and Change.

The programme focuses on ideas and practices of resistance and change in Latin America and the Caribbean. Students will learn how to conduct research on the different forms through which modernity is lived out and implemented in the Latin American region. From the theoretical mindset on modernities, the programme will train students to carry out research on three main themes:

  • Culture and identity: socio-symbolic constructions; everyday life; (im)material culture; social, collective and individual identities.

  • State-society relations: legitimacy; authority; governance and order.

  • Literature, arts and media: the produced culture circulating through the press, (audio)visual and electronic media.

The programme consists of a number of obligatory courses, which you can combine with electives in your chosen theme of interest and related research methodology.
Most courses are taught in Spanish and some electives in English or Portuguese. Students can write their papers and thesis in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
After the first year students go to Latin America for a research period of 8 – 12 weeks to gather materials for their thesis.

For more information on the course structure please see ‘More Info’.
Contact: Martine van Leeuwen (Coordinator of Studies).

First year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Resistance, Revival and Change; Mechanisms and Expressions 10
Theoretical Approaches to Modernities in Latin America 10

Thematic accent I, choose one of the following:

State-Society Relations:

Estado, Sociedad Civil y Políticas Públicas en América Latina 10

Literature, Arts and Media:

El lugar de lo político en la literatura y el cine 10

Culture and Identity:

Interculturality 1: Key Concepts 10

Second semester

Research School Course Latin American Studies 10

Methods I, choose one of the following:

Methods I: Research Seminar on Fieldwork 10
Methods I: Research Seminar on Cultural Analysis 10

Thematic accent II, choose one of the following:

State-Society Relations:

Brazil Visiting Chair 2017: The BRICS and economic and international changes 10
Chile Visiting Chair 2017: Politics and Public Policies in Chilean Education: Contexts, Actors and Ideologies 10

Literature, Arts and Media:

Desplazamiento, memoria e identidad en la narrativa y el cine latinoamericanos 10
Thematic Course Latin American Cultural Analysis 10

Culture and Identity:

Neoliberalism and Illegality: Flows, Commodities, Locations 10
Staat-Sociale Bewegingen relaties in de Andes regio 10

Second year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Thematic Accent III 10
Methods II: Research in Latin America 20

Second semester

Methods III: Writing Workshop 5
MA Thesis Latin American Studies (Research) 25

More info


The programme has the following objectives:
1. to broaden and deepen the students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, and train them in the use of scientific methods in the area of contemporary history, cultural and social analysis of Latin America;
2. to enable students to develop the following academic and professional skills: − the ability to solve academic problems independently, critically and creatively;
− the ability to analyse complex problems;
− the ability to clearly report academic results, both in writing and orally;
3. to prepare students for an academic career at a university for postgraduate programmes;
4. to prepare students for a non-academic career in the public or private sector for which advanced research skills and practical research experience are a prerequisite.

Programme structure

First year

Theoretical Core Courses – 20 EC
In the first year of the programme you will take two core courses: ‘Modernities in Latin America and the Caribbean’ and ‘Resistance, Revival and Change: Mechanisms and Expressions’. These courses mark the start of the programme and allows you to acquire knowledge on theoretical debates centered around the concept of modernity.

Thematic Electives – 20 EC
Throughout the programme you get three opportunities to select electives in your chosen theme of specialization. The themes are ‘State-society relations’, ‘Literature, arts and media’, and ‘Culture and identity’.
The thematic electives combined with the core courses will help you to define your own research interest within the profile and expertise of the programme.

Research Seminar (Methodology 1) – 10 EC
In this Research Master the acquisition of research methodologies is of central importance. In the second semester of your first year, you start preparing for your research in the second year. The course will teach you the basics of writing a research proposal.

Graduate School – 10 EC
Research Schools courses offer training in both methodology and area specific knowledge. Research MA students choose courses at the Research Schools that relates most with their possible area of research.

Second year

Research in Latin America (Methodology 2) – 20 EC
Based on the prepared proposal from your first year, you will start your second year by carrying out the research project in Latin America or the Caribbean under local supervision and with guidance from your supervisor in Leiden.

Thematic Elective – 10 EC
In your second year you will also choose one thematic elective again. See description above.

Writing workshop (Methodology 3) – 5 EC
The writing workshop will provide support in how to present your findings in different academic writing formats (for example: PhD research project; article publication; funding proposal).

Thesis – 25 EC
Write your thesis based on the material you collected in Latin America or the Carribean.

Master thesis and requirements for graduation

The Research MA Latin American Studies is concluded by a 25 EC Research Master thesis.
The thesis is based on original research in primary sources and will be ca. 30.000 words in size (excluding footnotes, literature or appendices). The thesis has to meet a high scholarly standard; it should be possible to rework the results of the thesis in to an article for an academic journal. Students are guided in writing their thesis by thesis supervisors.

Requirements for graduation are:

  • Successful completion of all courses (75 EC)

  • Successful completion of a research project (20 EC)

  • Successful completion of MA Thesis (25 EC)

Please note that you are also asked to fulfill certain administrative procedures, as can be found on the website of Latin American Studies.