Ph.D. in Latin American, Iberian, and Luso-Afro-Brazilian Literatures and Cultures (LAILAB)
LAILAB General Information
The doctoral program in Latin American, Iberian, and Luso-Afro-Brazilian literatures and cultures welcomes candidates interested in interdisciplinary cultural, literary, and media studies. Our program exposes students to an array of research areas and methodologies including the environmental humanities, cinema studies, urban studies, performance studies, gender and queer studies, diaspora studies, and human rights. Coursework, workshops, lectures, film screenings, and other events expose students to cutting edge approaches in Hispanophone and Lusophone cultural studies, broadly conceived, including Spain, Portugal, Spanish America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Africa, Black diasporas, and more, from the early modern period through contemporary times.
Recent dissertation projects have focused on transatlantic topics such as Lorca’s legacy in Latin America, gypsification in Cuban and Spanish film and performance, and Cuban indianos who return to Spain. Spanish American projects have focused on environmental and social apocalypse in Latin America, the Venezuelan crónica and economic crisis, political and gender violence in Colombian cinema, women silent filmmakers in Chile, Central American poetry and environmental degradation, and indigenous autonomy in Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico. We welcome comparative and transatlantic dissertation projects that engage with materials in both Spanish and Portuguese; recent projects have compared the literature of the Amazonian rubber boom in Peru and Brazil, and political violence in Portugal, Angola and Colombia. A current dissertation explores Afro and Indigenous futurisms in Spanish American and Brazilian literature and film.
As our TAs gain experience teaching Spanish or Portuguese, they are given the opportunity to teach higher-level undergraduate courses, both in language and in literature. Student progress throughout the program is carefully monitored, so that their time to degree is consonant with their individual research program. In the recent past, our PhDs have been offered tenure-track positions at Brigham Young University, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, University of North Florida, Jacksonville State University, Gettysburg College, and Scripps College. We actively recruit students through our web page as well as department-funded recruitment trips. Our graduate student population is comprised of native born U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of many countries in the Spanish-speaking world and beyond. Approximately half of our current faculty and graduate students are native Spanish speakers.
Beginning with Fall 2024 students entering their PhD graduate program that semester, at the conclusion of a full-time PhD student’s one-year term of appointment as a TA or GA, or following the conclusion of such student’s one-year fellowship, the University shall offer the fulltime PhD student support through the completion of the fifth year of the student's doctoral program provided the student is making adequate academic progress in their program through TAships, GAships or University-sponsored fellowships. Health insurance is provided. In addition, we offer all Ph.D. students funds for research and conferences.
Graduate Program Consortium
Rutgers participates in a regional consortium of graduate programs at other universities. These include Princeton University, NYU, Columbia, Fordham, and the CUNY Graduate Center. Students may take elective courses at these universities. All students have access to the library collections of all the consortium universities
Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificates
Many of our students pursue a graduate certificate in another field via elective courses. Students most frequently opt for certificates in Women and Gender Studies, Cinema Studies, Africana Studies, Cognitive Psychology, Environmental Studies, and World Languages Teaching.
A limited number of summer teaching positions are available, paid at the official summer school rate. The department runs study abroad programs in Cuzco, Peru and Salamanca, Spain in the summer and doctoral students are eligible to apply as program assistants. Study abroad assistants are paid a salary as well as all travel expenses.
Yzur: Biannual Journal of Literature, Culture and Artistic Creation
Yzur is the Department of Spanish and Portuguese’s biannual journal of literature, culture, and artistic creation at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. In 2001, Yzur took its first steps and travelled between worlds thanks to a group of graduate students from Rutgers. In 2018, after being dormant for a few years, Yzur returns with the current generation of graduate students in the department to follow and renew this literary legacy. Yzur publishes texts (poetry, fiction, essays) and visual art related to Spain and Latin America. The selected works will be published two times a year in the journal’s web site: www.yzurlit.com
Ph.D. in LAILAB Learning Goals
The doctoral program in Spanish literature trains students at the highest level to assume academic positions in the field.
Ph.D. in LAILAB
General Course work:
Doctoral candidates are required to complete twenty-four credits of course work beyond the MA and twenty-four credits of research. Students are required to take either 940:612 Seminar: Literary Theory or 195:501 Introduction to Literary Theory, as well as 940:501 Methodology of Teaching and Research. (required of all new incoming fellowship and TA recipients.) Doctoral students in Spanish are also required to take three credits in an area of their choice related to their field of study. MA candidates who are found eligible to continue for the Ph.D. will determine a major field of study upon notification of eligibility. Students who have received a Master's degree from other institutions are welcome to apply for admission to the doctoral program. Their admission is provisional and is reviewed by the Graduate Faculty upon completion of nine credits of course work. At that time the students determine a major field of study. Students in the PhD program are encouraged to take their PhD Comprehensive Examination in January or March of their 4th year. They are expected to have taken their PhD Comprehensive Examinationby the end of their 4th year.
Transfer of credits:
If a student does not hold a graduate degree from another institution, a maximum of twelve credits may be transferred from another institution after the completion of twelve Rutgers credits. These are determined by the Graduate Director, and final approval must be attained from the Graduate School.
PhD students must demonstrate the ability to conduct research in a language other than Spanish or English. The language will be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Director. This requirement must be completed before taking the PhD exam. Normally, candidates can satisfy this requirement by 1) taking a written reading exam offered through the Graduate School at the language lab, 2) successfully completing an advanced course in the literature of that language, or 3) submitting a summary, translated to English or Spanish, of an academic work written in the target language.
Courses Outside the Department:
Normally, no more than six Rutgers credits taken outside the program may be counted towards the degree.
Students are permitted to register for only three credits of independent study toward the completion of each degree. In the past, many students have chosen this option in the semester prior to their doctoral exams in order to prepare the dissertation prospectus. The work of the student during the semester of independent study must not replicate any course offering of the graduate catalog. (Exceptions will be made for required courses that are not offered in a timely fashion.) The program for the independent study course must be approved by the Graduate Director and faculty member who will serve as the course instructor; planning and approval of this option must take place during pre-registration of the semester prior to the actual course work. The professor involved in teaching the course must agree to do so. Normally the person chosen as director would be the student's chosen dissertation director. The option for independent study is not open to students in the first semester of their program.
Yzur: Biannual Journal of Literature, Culture and Artistic Creation
Yzur is the Department of Spanish and Portuguese’s biannual journal of literature, culture, and artistic creation at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. In 2001, Yzur took its first steps and travelled between worlds thanks to a group of graduate students from Rutgers. In 2018, after being dormant for a few years, Yzur returns with the current generation of graduate students in the department to follow and renew this literary legacy.
Yzur publishes texts (poetry, fiction, essays) and visual art related to Spain and Latin America. The selected works will be published two times a year in the journal’s web site: www.yzurlit.com