University offers new sociology class

Dr. Joe Valades will be teaching a new class during the fall 2014 semester as a special topics class called SOC 492 introduction to Latino studies. The focus of this class will be on the history, contributions and current issues of the Latino populations in the United States’mainly

the Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and some Latin American populations.

Valades created and taught a similar class at the University of Nebraska at Omaha when he was there during the 90’s. He also assisted in creating and chairing the Chicano/Latino Studies Program.

Valades has a wealth of personal experience, along with the depth of research in this area. His objective in teaching this class is to introduce students to further their understanding of the Latino and Hispanic populations.

“At present most people living in the Northern Plains regions have a passing understanding or familiarization, mainly from the media and of course food, so it’s important that they understand Latino’s greater influence on culture in terms of history, language, religion, education, politics, and art,” Valades said.

It is Valades’ hope to expand people’s awareness of the Spanish origins, indigenous American influences and overall pervasiveness of Latinos today. One certainly sees their presence in modern-day pop culture, and with the most recent presidential election, we are now appreciating how influential their vote has become. Likewise, Latinos, mainly Mexicans and many Latin Americans, are at the heart of the immigration issue.

This class will be a worthwhile elective and students are encouraged to make plans to enroll.