Latin American studies majors and minors gain a holistic understanding of a region that is economically, politically, and culturally vital to the United States. The Latin American studies program at Millsaps builds upon the College's substantial presence in the region and offers an integrated approach to the study of Latin America's human and ecological diversity. The program provides a broader perspective than would be possible by taking classes within a single department. Students who major in Latin American studies enjoy careers in business and government and also with nonprofits, immigrant rights associations, and fair trade organizations due to their intimate knowledge of that specific part of the world. Careers in medicine and law also benefit from understanding the cultural heritage of the U.S. population that is Latino.
B.A., Pomona College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Iowa
"I’m known to many students and faculty colleagues as simply “Griff,” and I’m chair of the English Department. Although I teach many kinds of classes, my specialty is Renaissance studies. So classic writers from this era—including English ones like Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton, and even Italian or Spanish ones like Petrarch, Ariotso, and Cervantes—tend to make appearances in my syllabi. In fact, one of my most popular courses, The Romance, features all of these writers in order to trace a literary tradition that extends from medieval times, through the Renaissance, and on down to the present day via J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Monty Python, and even Game of Thrones. I love seeing what happens when students are turned loose to come up with their own romance-inspired projects while reading these authors. If I can help you unlock your own creative sensibilities, that’s when I’m really teaching.
"My Shakespeare classes have also been some of the most popular on campus. It may sound clichéd, but a college education is incomplete without a Shakespeare class. And I’m not talking just to English majors. I’ve had anthropology, education, classics, modern foreign language and psych majors take Shakespeare with me, and lots of pre-meds and business majors, too. Shakespeare permeates our culture; my students get intimate with him.
"And because my own research focuses on the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds, in 2009 I helped found the Millsaps Latin American Studies Program, which I currently direct. In this capacity I often lead summer study abroad trips to the college’s facilities in Yucatán. I hope you’ll join me there!"