Curriculum Resources

African Diaspora in Latin America

The term African Diaspora refers to the communities of persons throughout the world who descend from African peoples.The Atlantic Slave Trade forced more than 10 million Africans to the New World, with vast numbers relocated to present day Latin America and the Caribbean. Brazil alone received almost 5 million.

Américas Award for Children and Young Adult Literature

CLASP (Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs) founded the Américas Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States, and to provide teachers with recommendations for classroom use.

Ancient American Civilizations

Ancient American Civilizations, particularly the Aztec, Inca, and Maya, were some of the most technologically advanced ancient societies.  Aztec societies were found in modern day Mexico and were known for discoveries in tool making, medicine, and astronomy.


Archaeoastronomy is the study of how people have understood the mysteries of the sky and how they incorporated these mysteries into their cultures.  This lens of study provides a unique context in which to examine ancient American civilizations such as the Inca, Aztecs, and Maya.

Art, Music and Dance in Latin America

Art, Music, and Dance have always been a part of life in the region, even dating back to pre-colonial times.  As time progressed, all three elements became intertwined with the local and national realities of each country, creating a wide variety of traditions and celebrations.


Brazil is one of the most naturally diverse countries in the Western Hemisphere. It is home to beaches, the Amazon, and major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Not only is Brazil the largest country in Latin America, it is gaining ground as a major global player. Its economy is now ranked as the fifth largest in the world and it is host to the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.


The Caribbean is comprised of over 700 islands, including the nations of Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  Each country has its own unique and multi-faceted history, shaped in various ways by its location between continents.

Central America

Central America is the isthmus that bridges North America to South America. It is home to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. A region rich in natural resources, it is also plagued by extreme poverty and political corruption.

CLAS Culture Boxes

Guatemalan and Ecuadorian Culture Boxes filled with objects from those countries. Available for Teacher check-out.


Coffee has been one of the most highly demanded commodities in the world for centuries. It is produced in over 70 countries worldwide and is a primary export for several Latin American nations including Brazil, Guatemala, and Colombia.


Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea, famous for the 1959 Socialist Revolution of Fidel Castro which ushered in a controversial era of communism.

Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated across Latin America October 31-November 2. During that time, people across Latin America honor their dead and celebrate the cycle of life. The holiday originated in Mexico, though it is celebrated in Guatemala, Bolivia, and other countries in Latin America.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a small country in the Caribbean, located on the island of Hispañola, shared with its neighbor to the West, Haiti.


Guatemala is a nation torn between the past and the future, struggling to enter modern global society while clinging to a tumultuous, yet proud past.


Explore resources for your classroom about Haiti. Featured resources include the children's book Haiti My Country, featuring poems by Haitian teenagers about their cultural identities and Poto Mitan: Women, Pillars of the Haitian Economy, a documentary about economics and gender in contemporary Haiti. Teachers who teach Their Eyes Are Watching God may also review a lesson plan linking Zora Neale Hurston's work in Haiti to her famous novel.

Latin America 101: Background Resources

Various presentations on Latin America for K-12 classroom use.

Latin America and the United States

The relationship between Latin America and the United States has been complicated from the early nineteenth century to the present.  Interests of the two regions are intertwined economically, socially, and politically. Over the past century, a combination of ideology, national security, economic interests, and cultural factors have shaped inter-American affairs.

Latin American Cities

These resources explore life in Latin American cities.

Latin American Film

CLAS has a number of resources available on the topic of Latin American film,  some of which have come out of K-12 Educator Summer Institutes held at  UT-Knoxville, Milsaps College, WKU, and Vanderbilt.

Mexico (Estados Unidos Mexicanos)

The United Mexican States is a federal republic in North America.  With a population of over 120 million people, it is the largest Spanish speaking country in the world.

Migration and Immigration

Migration as a process affects all parts of the world and Latin America is no exception.  From rural/urban to international, migration constantly changes the social, economic, and cultural realities of Latin American communities.

Modern Indigenous Societies

Many indigenous societies continue to thrive in contemporary Latin America, with a myriad of cultures and languages. In Guatemala alone, more than 20 indigenous languages are spoken.

Religion & Spirituality

Prior to colonization, indigenous societies dominated the region, with a variety of religious practices and traditions.  Following colonization by Spain and Portugal, Catholicism (often forcibly) became the dominant religion in the colonies. With the introduction of the slave trade, the process of religious syncretism created a blend between native, African, and Christian traditions that continue to influence local practices.

Resources for World Language Teachers (Spanish & Portuguese)

Resources for classroom use ranging from lesson plans to presentations on world foreign language teaching.


Retablos are devotional paintings in the form of folk art, usually expressing gratitude, that have become increasingly important with Mexico to US immigration.

South America

South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and the Falkland Islands.

Women and Gender

Over the past half century, great advances have been made in gender rights in Latin America. The long held ideal of the masculine machismo is being challenged by changing gender roles and family structures.

Zora Neale Hurston in the Americas

While Zora Neale Hurston is best known for her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, it is less widely known that Hurston wrote that novel while doing fieldwork on traditional health and healing practices in Haiti. Hurston’s work was truly transnational, following questions about the human experience and the African Diaspora through New York, the U.S. South, as well as to Jamaica, Haiti, and Honduras. This collection provides lesson plans and resources related to Hurston’s engagements with gender, spirituality, health, race/racism, and folklore across the Americas. It is a collaboration between scholars from Tuskegee University and Vanderbilt University in the departments of English at both universities, as well as the African American and Diaspora Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University.