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Latinos in Canada, LAS401H1

Latinos in Canada, LAS401H1, explores the history of the different Latin American immigration waves to Canada, and the way in which these diasporas sought to carve a place of their own. Using an interdisciplinary perspective, the course allows students to familiarize themselves with the work of a range of scholars who critically engage with issues of Latinidad. Considering concrete examples of community organization through a volunteer placement, the course studies the mechanisms used by diverse groups of Latin Americans in Toronto to build, maintain, negotiate or erase their national identities. This is accompanied by an analysis of the manner in which issues of race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and the construction of immigrant ‘otherness’ within Canadian society create particular contexts of reception for Latino populations.

Students stand outside restaurant

LAS401 Students stand outside restaurant


Latin American Studies Program, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Faculty of Arts & Science

Instructor / Program Coordinator

Berenice Villagomez


Community-Based Project, Placement, or Partnership; Curricular Community-Engaged Learning

Information for Interested Students

Visit the website of the Latin American Studies program for more information.

Benefits to Students

Students gain a better understanding of transnational communities and contemporary historical issues in Latin America from people with direct lived experience of those moments. Students explore and generate knowledge to contribute to the emerging field of Latino-Canadian Studies. As students are matched (as much as possible) to a placement that aligns to their academic and career goals, they gain career advice, grow their professional networks, and familiarize themselves with some of the issues faced by the Latin American and Latino communities in Canada related to their field.

Benefits to External Partners and the Community

Community partners approach the Faculty and present projects that need support from students. In the past, students have provided content expertise, research and data analysis support, grant writing, methods training and capacity building workshops for specific programs that community partners then manage.

Benefits to the University

Students who are not able to go abroad for financial or family reasons can still have some experience with Latin American communities in Toronto. This serves as an informal capstone course in the years that it is offered in. We maintain ties to the Hispanic / Latin American community in the city.

Advice for Faculty and Staff Interested in Creating a Similar Experiential Learning Opportunity

If you are on the fence about creating or adapting a current offering into a CEL course, do it! There are many resources available to you to support the setup of a CEL, and these courses are a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved. If done correctly, your students will appreciate how their studies come to life outside of the university, and you will gain valuable insight into your own scholarship. If working with diverse and/or immigrant populations, keep in mind that some community groups are struggling to establish themselves and fund their initiatives. Be aware of the weight that the name of the University of Toronto has in these communities’ aspirations, and do your own research to find partners with credibility in their own community.