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Latina/o Studies and Writing in Business

Latina/o Studies is a vibrant field that intersects with many disciplines. The intersections between Latina/o Studies and business are rich, and there are many underexplored avenues for scholars to pursue. As the Latina/o/x population in the United States grows, many businesses are now placing a greater emphasis on advertising to Latina/o/x people. At the same time, many businesses profit from detrimental structures and policies that disproportionately affect Latina/o/x populations.

This page is designed to introduce you to some of the issues at the crossroads of Latina/o Studies and business and provide you with ideas and guidance to help you design a business unit. This page also includes a sample Unit Assignment. Instructors may directly incorporate the sample unit assignment into their syllabi, but the assignments are also designed so that instructors can easily modify and adjust the sample to align with their goals for the unit.

 
What Are Some of the Major Topics at the Intersection of Latina/o Studies and Business that my class might explore?

Like any discipline, the field of Latina/o Studies is constantly evolving. The following list is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather is designed to demonstrate the breadth of topics that intersect with Latina/o Studies:

  • Divestment
  • The economic impacts of Colonialism and US Imperialism
  • The privatization of ICE detention facilities
  • Migrant labor and labor rights
  • Socially-responsible business models
  • Calls for corporate responsibility and corporate responses
  • Targeted marketing campaigns and advertisements
  • Limits of corporate models of diversity and inclusion
  • Community-centered business practices
  • Generational wealth
  • Barriers to representation within corporations and businesses
  • (Under)Representation of intersecting Latina/o/x identities in corporate spaces

As an Instructor, What Can I Incorporate into a Business-Based Latina/o Studies Unit?

A useful starting point for instructors is to consider where their own expertise might intersect with Latina/o Studies, and then conducting supplementary research to help build your assignment. For example, if you specialize in 19th century transcendentalism and environmental humanities, you might consider designing a unit assignment that centers on the impacts of corporate environmental policies on Latina/o/x populations.

Current events and community-based resources can also be a useful starting place for generating ideas. Examine your daily interactions with businesses and corporations (or consider your students’ interactions) and research their intersections with Latina/o/x populations. This can be a useful starting place to develop topics to anchor a unit assignment.  You might also consider crafting projects tied to the local community, or asking your students to think about their own hometowns. The Latina/o Studies Program Staff are available for consultation as you embark on creating or modifying a unit assignment.

When designing your unit, you might consider consulting the following resources:

When creating your unit, you may also want to consider incorporating the following lessons into your schedule:

  • An introduction to Latina/o Studies
  • Background information on various forms of business writing, and a brief history of Latina/o/x contributions to various genres of business writing
  • A discussion of racial and ethnic bias in businesses and companies and recent strategies to address these issues
  • A discussion of business/marketing practices that adversely affect Latina/o/x populations and alternative, more ethical practices
 
What Types of Unit Assignments Lend Themselves Well to Latina/o Studies?

            There is no limit to the types of units one can create that incorporate Latina/o Studies. The Sample Unit Assignment culminates in a website for a proposed product/service that will serve NC Latina/o/x communities, but can be easily modified to incorporate other topics or to develop a different genre of final project. Other final projects could include:

  • Press releases
  • Memos
  • Business proposals
  • Business Plan
  • Business Reports
  • Product Pitches
  • Curated Social Media Pages
 
Sample Unit Assignment

In this assignment, students prepare a website for a proposed product/service that will serve NC Latina/o/x communities. Students begin by conducting market research and compose a lean startup plan which build the foundation for this website.

            Note: this sample unit project is broad in scope, but could easily be modified to focus on a narrower subfield.

LSP Writing in Business Sample Lesson Plan (PDF version)

LSP Writing in Business Sample Lesson Plan (MS Word version)

 
Bibliography

The following books may be helpful to consult when building your course:

  1. Dávila, Arlene, Latinos, INC: The Marketing and Making of a People (Berkeley, CA: The University of California Press, 2012).
  2. Noguchi, Yuki, “Under Siege And Largely Secret: Businesses That Serve Immigration Detention.” (NPR)
  3. Galeano, Eduardo. Open veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. (New York, NY: Monthly Review Press, 1973).
  4. Valdés, M. Isabel. Marketing to American Latinos: A Guide to the In-Culture Approach. (Ithaca, NY: Paramount Market Publishing, 2000).
  5. Urquiza, Soraira. “Food Justice: Marketing to the Latino/a Communities,” Latinos and Latinas at Risk: Issues in Education, Health, Community, and Justice. (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2015).
  6. Corrigan Correll, Timothy. “Productos Latinos: Latino Business Murals, Symbolism, and the Social Enactment of Identity in Greater Los Angeles.” The Journal of American Folkore. Vol. 127, no. 505. 2014.
  7. Pisani, Michael J. and Alfonso Morales. “Informality and Latino‐Owned Businesses: A National Portrait of Unregistered Latino‐Owned Businesses.” Social Science Quarterly. Vol. 101, no. 2. 2020.
  8. Delgado, Melvin. Latino Small Businesses and the American Dream: Community Social Work Practice and Economic and Social Development. (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2011).
 
 
 
 

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