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The Department of Latin American, Latino, & Iberian Studies (LALIS) is a diverse community that perceives the study of language, literature, and culture as integral to understanding the human experience. Our interdisciplinary humanities program highlights the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas, including varieties of Spanglish in the United States. Our unique and expanding course catalog, which emphasizes content relevant to the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds, includes courses in languages, literatures, linguistics, and community-based learning, as well as film, theater, performance, translation, cultural, and Latino studies. In LALIS, we welcome students of all linguistic backgrounds, whether their language experience began at home or in school, in the United States or abroad. We prepare students to engage in purposeful lives by fostering intellectual curiosity and integrity, cross-cultural awareness, and linguistic empathy. 

We are committed to empowering students to combat racial and social inequities. 

Student Success
  • Matt Kanwit, '05 has been promoted to Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh.
  • Congratulations to the 2022 LALIS Award Winners:

Outstanding LALIS Majors
Hannah Grace Howell
Anna Postma

Outstanding Service to the Richmond Hispanic Community
Ally Osterberg

Outstanding Assistant Teacher in LALIS
Isabelle Drayer

The Modern Languages Award-Latin American, Latino & Iberian Studies
Braxton Hughes


Faculty Highlights

  • Giancaspro Published

    David Giancaspro, assistant professor of Spanish, and Josh Higdon, '21, published the article, "(Ir)regular Mood Swings: Lexical Variability in Heritage Speakers' Oral Production of Subjunctive Mood" in Language Learning.

  • Giancaspro Published

    David Giancaspro, assistant professor of Spanish, published a chapter in Language in Development and Use: A Crosslinguistic Perspective.

  • Méndez Invited to Brazil

    Mariela Méndez, associate professor and chair of LALIS, was invited to Brazil in December ’20 and January ’21 to give lectures at Universidade Federal de São Paulo and Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro on Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector.

  • Vazquez Published

    Karina Vazquez, director of community-based learning, and a number of her students, recently published “Vulnerable Bodies: Domestic Violence in The Hispanic/Latinx Community During A Pandemic” in Latinx Talk. Read the article here.

  • Méndez Published

    Mariela Méndez, associate professor and chair of LALIS, just published a co-edited volume of essays on contemporary Argentinean writer María Moreno titled El Affair Moreno (Buenos Aires: Editorial Mansalva, 2020).

  • Méndez Published

    Mariela Méndez, associate professor of LALIS and WGSS, published “Operación Araña: Reflections on How a Performative Intervention in Buenos Aires's Subway System can Help Rethink Feminist Activism.” in a renowned history journal from Brazil.

  • Herrera and Méndez Published

    Patricia Herrera, associate professor of theatre, and Mariela Méndez, associate professor of LALIS and WGSS, published an “Performando un activismo feminista: El trabajo de Debora Kuetzpal Vasquez en La Marca” in Conjunto.

  • Méndez awarded

    Mariela Méndez, Associate Professor of LALIS and WGSS, has received a Fulbright Scholar Award to support three months in Rio de Janeiro to advance her research on understanding representations of genders and sexualities in Latin American newspapers and magazines.

  • Vazquez and Wright Published

    Karina Vazquez, Director of Community-Based Learning, and Martha Wright, Assistant Curator of Academic and Public Engagement, published "Bridging Gaps and Disadvantages: University Students using Museums in Spanish as a Practice towards Inclusion" in University Museums and Collections Journal.

  • Feldman receives two grants

    Sharon G. Feldman, Professor of Spanish and Catalan Studies, received a grant from the Fundación SGAE to translate and adapt into English Un conte de Nadal (A Christmas Carol) and another from the Sala Beckett to translate Fairfly, an award-winning contemporary Catalan play by Joan Yago.

Scholarship Repository Readership

The University of Richmond's Scholarship Repository shares faculty publications with a world-wide audience. The map below shows where articles from LALIS faculty are being read around the globe.

LALIS Feature Stories

Alexandra Harter, '18

Alexandra Harter, '18, graduated with a degree in History, and Spanish. Alexandra was a Museum Attendant with UR Museums between 2016-2018 and was a Research Assistant for Dr. Elizabeth Kissling during the spring 2018.

During the summer of 2018, Alexandra worked for the Department of Latin American, Latino & Iberian Studies and UR Museums curating a Spanish language Museo Ambulante for three different Spanish proficiency levels. The exhibit topic is "La familia/The Family," as represented in different paintings, photographs, and prints from the UR Museums collection. Alexandra created Spanish scripts for the tour and three sets of activities ranging from vocabulary learning to advanced writing. The Museo Ambulante "La familia" will be used by students enrolled in LAIS 301- Spanish in the Community for their semester long CBL Project, and by future UR students interested in delivering bilingual tours for UR Museums. At the same time, Alexandra applied her Spanish skills and Museum knowledge while working as a Docent at the Agecroft Hall and Gardens. She plans to attend graduate school to earn a MA in Museum Studies with a History focus.


UR Learning Abroad: Gwen Setterberg,

UR Learning Abroad: Gwen Setterberg, '15

UR Learning Abroad: Gwen Setterberg, ’15 discusses her academic year in Brazil and how living abroad gave new meaning and understanding to the music she loves to perform.

Latin American and Iberian Studies: Práctica Oral

Latin American and Iberian Studies: Práctica Oral

In Práctica Oral, University of Richmond students learn Spanish through small group conversation. These interactive and fast-paced sessions are led by fellow undergraduate students who serve as assistant teachers.

Upcoming Events

There are no events currently scheduled.

SSIR Living on the Frontera, Trip to San Diego and Tijuana
Living on the Frontera: U.S./Mexico Border

Contact Us

Mailing Address:
Department of Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies
University of Richmond
211 Richmond Way
Carole Weinstein International Center
University of Richmond, VA 23173

Phone: (804) 484-1543
Fax: (804) 484-1544

Department Chair: Mariela Méndez
Administrative Coordinator: Sarah Helen Studebaker
Director of Community-Based Learning: Karina Vazquez
Director of Spanish Intensive Language Program: Ted Peebles