Courses

Fall 2024 Courses

The Politics of Climate Change and Energy Transitions in Latin America (SA)
Subject associations
LAS 312 / POL 459 / ENV 313

In this seminar we will examine the variety of responses adopted in Latin America to the need for an energy transition. We begin with an overview of climate change on a global scale and its impact on Latin America. We follow with a general discussion of important sectoral issues that arise in any energy transition and different policy responses that seem to be available, examining their pros and cons/costs and benefits. The final two weeks consider various 'ideal' policy options for an energy transition suited to national situations.

Instructors
David R. Mares
Undocumented: Migrants, Refugees, and Rights in Latin American Literature and Culture (CD or LA)
Subject associations
LAS 328 / SPA 367

How can we grasp and conceptualize the experience of being displaced from home, stranded in a refugee camp, or living undocumented in a foreign country? This interdisciplinary course explores this question by interpreting literature, cultural and political theory, international law, film, and art on forced displacement by twentieth-century and contemporary Latin American authors and artists. Its goal is to provide students with a sophisticated critical vocabulary and a sound historical perspective to grapple with the cultural, ethical, historical, and political implications of today's global migratory and refugee crises.

On Women and Witches: Latin American Writers, Artists, Activists (CD or LA)
Subject associations
LAS 352 / SPA 369 / GSS 467

This course explores the relationship between gender and power through an analysis of "practices of craftsmanship" of so-called rebellious Latin American women who were seen as witches, traitors, even monsters, but also as enchanters, healers, and creators. We will examine women's skills, artistry, and agency, often dismissed as "malos saberes" (bad knowledge) in literature, performance, songs, and the visual arts. Starting with an exploration of witches in colonial times, our journey includes mythic, literary and cultural figures such as La Malinche, Frida Kahlo, Gabriela Mistral, and Doña Bárbara.

Instructors
Isabella Vergara Calderon
Carceral Politics and Intimacy Across Central America (CD or SA)
Subject associations
LAS 384 / ANT 284

Central America resurfaced with El Salvador's war on gangs, arresting over 75,000 people in the past two years. This course will examine the history and politics of carceral logics around crime and race in Central America through an intersectional and ethnographic perspective. Starting with a historical excavation, we'll focus on Central America's war on gangs from a transnational perspective, including the role of the U.S. in the making of a "gang crisis", and we will examine the policing of black and indigenous populations. Throughout the course, we will discuss how carceral politics shape forms of intimacy, especially in the family realm.

Instructors
Grazzia Grimaldi

Cross-Listed Fall 2024 Courses

 Note: Listed in order of LAS course numbers.

Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas (SA)
Subject associations
SOC 210 / LAS 210 / URB 210 / LAO 210

By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. We consider the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race.

Instructors
Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Introduction to Latin American Cultures (CD or LA)
Subject associations
SPA 222 / LAS 222 / LAO 222

This course offers an introduction to modern Latin American literature and culture. It focuses on the complex ways in which cultural and intellectual production anticipates, participates in, and responds to political, social, and economic transformations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through a wide spectrum of sources (essays, fiction, poetry, film, and art), students will study and discuss some of the most relevant issues in Latin American modern history, such as modernity, democracy, identity, gender, memory, and social justice.

Instructors
Javier E. Guerrero
Interdisciplinary Design Studio (LA)
Subject associations
ARC 205 / URB 205 / LAS 225 / ENV 205

The course focuses on the social forces that shape design thinking. Its objective is to introduce architectural and urban design issues to build design and critical thinking skills from a multidisciplinary perspective. The studio is team-taught from faculty across disciplines to expose students to the multiple forces within which design operates.

Instructors
Mario I. Gandelsonas
Small Masterpieces: Art of the Short Story in Latin America (LA)
Subject associations
SPA 226 / LAS 226

"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it," states philosopher Hanna Arendt. This course studies the magic of storytelling in Latin America's rich archive of short stories from indigenous tales retold by Nobel prize winner Miguel Angel Asturias and the philosophical fictions of J. L. Borges and Julio Cortázar to contemporary short masterpieces by Mariana Enríquez, Samanta Schweblin, and Junot Díaz. Each class will be devoted to the close reading of one masterful short-story. Students also will practice the art of storytelling by reconstructing stories behind Latin American photography, painting, and sculpture.

Instructors
Gabriela Nouzeilles
Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art (SA)
Subject associations
ART 220 / LAS 230

This course focuses on key issues of 20th and 21st c. Latin American art. A thematic survey and general methodological introduction, we will treat emblematic works and movements, from Mexican muralism and Indigenism to experiments with abstraction, pop, conceptualism, and performance. Questions discussed include: What is Latin American art? What is modernism in Latin America? What is the legacy of colonialism? How do Latin American artists engage transnational networks of solidarity under conditions of repression? How can postcolonial, decolonial, and feminist theory illuminate the art and criticism produced in and about Latin America?

Instructors
Irene V. Small
Languages of the Americas (CD or EC)
Subject associations
SPA 233 / LIN 233 / LAS 233

This course explores the vast linguistic diversity of the Americas: native languages, pidgins, creoles, mixed languages, and other languages in North, Central, and South America, including the Caribbean. We will examine historical and current issues of multilingualism to understand the relationship between language, identity, and social mobility. We will discuss how languages played a central role in colonization and nation-building processes, and how language policies contribute to linguistic loss and revitalization. This course has no prerequisites and is intended for students interested in learning more about languages in the Americas.

Instructors
Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo
Introduction to Pre-20th Century Black Diaspora Art (CD or LA)
Subject associations
AAS 244 / ART 262 / LAS 244

This course focuses on the networks, the imaginaries and the lives inhabited by Black artists, makers, and subjects from the 18th through 19th centuries. It revolves around the Caribbean (particularly the Anglophone Caribbean), North America and Europe. We will reflect on how pre-twentieth century Black artists are written into history or written out of it. We will explore the aesthetic innovation of these artists and the visionary worlds they created, and examine their travels, their writings, along with the social worlds and communities they formed. The course incorporates lectures and readings and, if possible, museum visits.

Instructors
Anna Arabindan Kesson
Identity in the Spanish-Speaking World (CD or LA)
Subject associations
SPA 250 / LAS 250 / HUM 251 / LAO 250

How are ideas of belonging to the body politic defined in Spain, Latin America, and in Spanish-speaking communities in the United States? Who is "Latin American," "Latinx," "Boricua," "Chino," "Moor," "Indian," etc.? Who constructs these terms and why? Who do they include/exclude? Why do we need these identity markers in the first place? Our course will engage these questions by surveying and analyzing literary, historical, and visual productions from the time of the foundation of the Spanish empire to the present time in the Spanish-speaking world.

Instructors
Christina H. Lee
Literatures from the Forest: Amazonian Storytelling, Activism, and Art (LA)
Subject associations
POR 270 / LAS 270

The ancestral home of millions of dwellers, the symbolic space of the Amazon rainforest and its cities has been dominated by colonial thought for almost 500 years. Fortunately, the last few decades have witnessed the emergence of critically engaged Indigenous artists, whose productions provide a decolonizing perspective and create a broader and deeper artistic imagination. This course will critically examine how writers, travelers, and visual artists have imagined and re-imagined Amazonia.

Instructors
Rodrigo Simon de Moraes
Colonial Latin America to 1810 (HA)
Subject associations
HIS 303 / LAS 305

What is colonization? How does it work? What kind of societies does it create? Come find out through the lens of the Latin America. First we study how the Aztec and Inca empires subdued other peoples, and how Muslim Iberia fell to the Christians. Then, we learn about Spanish and Portuguese conquests and how indigenous resistance, adaptation, and racial mixing shaped the continent. You will see gods clash and meld, cities rise and decline, and insurrections fail or win. Silver mines will boom and bust, slaves will toil and rebel; peasants will fight capitalist encroachments. This is a comprehensive view of how Latin America became what it is.

Instructors
Vera S. Candiani
Food, Culture & Society (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 311 / LAS 335

This course explores the central role of food in everyday life in US and global contexts. Using a comparative global perspective, we will address key questions about histories of food production and consumption, the ways in which food production and distribution differentially affect the lives of those working in the food industry and those consuming food. We will think through how global shifts in food production and distribution impact human lives on national, local, and familial levels.

Instructors
Hanna Garth
Contemporary Latin America in Literature and Visual Arts (CD or LA)
Subject associations
COM 353 / LAS 357 / VIS 356

This course studies contemporary Latin American & Caribbean literature and visual arts. Looking at the changing relationships between aesthetics and politics, we will analyze how textual and visual works respond to different forms of violence and express other forms of imagining relations among bodies, communities, and territories. Texts will be available in the original & translation. Some classes will take place at the Art Museum study room at Firestone

Instructors
Susana Draper
The Skins of the Film: Latin America and the Politics of Touching (CD or LA)
Subject associations
SPA 388 / LAS 358

Film is comprised of multiple surfaces: the screen, the actors, the structure of the darkroom, the mobile devices of the audiovisual present, the bodies that vibrate around us, the actual strip of plastic that records the images... Critics have already broadly debated how film touches us politically and emotionally. This seminar formulates a different question: how do we touch film? In Latin America, the interaction between filmic skins is founded on the relationship between art and politics. We will consider how filmmakers debate the politics of the surface and how spectatorship poses a deeply political problem for the region.

Instructors
Javier E. Guerrero
Art and Violence in Spain and its Empire (LA)
Subject associations
SPA 371 / LAS 361

How do images communicate the pain of others? What made art so troubling that led people to attack it, and to try to regulate it? This course explores the connections between art and violence in Spain and its empire during the early modern period, a period of globalization, religious conflict, and cross-cultural encounter. We will interrogate how did representations of war, martyrdom, and sexual violence affect their viewers and shape their ideologies, and explore the dangerous power of images by focusing on phenomena such as censorship, iconoclasm, and racism.

Instructors
Cloe Cavero de Carondelet
Global Urbanization (SA)
Subject associations
SPI 379 / SOC 390 / URB 379 / LAS 370

For the first time, most people now live in cities. One in seven humans lives in an urban slum. We analyze the political, economic, and social dynamics that both create and arise from urbanization, informality, and attempts to govern our contemporary urban world. We ask how formal and informal institutions change inequalities of shelter, work, race, and other social identities, across urban space. We investigate the links between the processes of urbanization and climate change, and how they shape the politics of cities. We draw from cases across the globe and the US, along with a range of social science methods and theoretical perspectives.

Instructors
Benjamin H. Bradlow
Development Opportunity for Latin America (SA)
Subject associations
SPI 383 / LAS 383

This course offers an overview of Latin America's political and economic development issues. Understanding the region's challenges from institutions to infrastructure, from inequality to insecurity, from poverty to social development, will provide a broad perspective. Also analyzing successful policies inside the region or in other parts of the world, contributes to discuss areas of enhancement: institutions, human capital, competitiveness, investment, equality, and stability among others. In addition, the course intends to explore history and renewed opportunities in the relationship between the US and Latin America.

Instructors
Juan C. Pinzon
Modern Mexican History (CD or HA)
Subject associations
HIS 442 / LAS 442

This seminar explores Mexico's history from independence (1821) to the contemporary era. We delve into the contentious process of nation building, the explosive outbreak of the first major social revolution of the 20th century, and the creation of a remarkably durable one-party state that was far from revolutionary. Readings focus on the political, social, and cultural negotiations that shaped these processes. Key themes include indigeneity, political violence and dissent, migration, urbanization, capitalism and the environment, and Mexico's relationship with the U.S. We will also visit the university museum to analyze revolutionary art.

Instructors
Corinna Zeltsman
Crafting Freedom: Women and Liberation in the Americas (1960s to the present) (CD or LA)
Subject associations
COM 476 / AAS 476 / GSS 476 / LAS 476

This course explores questions and practices of liberation in writings by women philosophers and poets whose work helped to create cultural and political movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Starting in the 60s, we will study a poetics and politics of liberation, paying special attention to the role played by language and imagination when ideas translate onto social movements related to social justice, structural violence, education, care, and the commons. Readings include Gloria Anzaldúa, Angela Davis, Silvia Federici, Diamela Eltit, Audre Lorde, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Gayatri Spivak, Zapatistas, among others.

Instructors
Susana Draper
Collecting and Exhibiting Art of the Ancient Americas (HA)
Subject associations
ART 485 / LAS 485

How have collecting practices shaped the perception of Indigenous cultures in the Americas? The recognition and reception of native art and architecture reflects the evolving intellectual preoccupations of collectors over 500 years. Charting this history, topics will include the role of archaeological illustrations; the invocation of national identities; issues of appropriation in modern and contemporary art; the faking and restoration of objects; the ethical considerations of museum display; the reconstruction of ruins into tourist destinations; and misrepresentations in New Age religiosity, conspiracy theories, and popular entertainment.

Instructors
Alanna Radlo-Dzur
Colonial Latin America to 1810
Subject associations
HIS 504 / LAS 524

We cover the history, historiography and theory of Latin America's early modernity. Canonical works are compared to recent literature in economic, social, political, environmental, and cultural history. Key questions: Why and how do historiographical modes change? Is colonization a class, national, or ethnic phenomenon? Why does Spanish colonization in the Americas differ from French, English, and Portuguese? Why did the peasantry survive in Latin America and not elsewhere in the continent? Was race structuring? How did Latin America become capitalist? Welcome, students of early modernity, empires, the Americas, global history, and pedagogy.

Instructors
Vera S. Candiani
Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature: Documenting the Real: Truth, Representation, and the Latin American
Subject associations
SPA 548 / ART 549 / LAS 548

This course focuses on documentation and the returns of the real in Latin American fiction, art, photography, theater, and film that seek to represent, record, or enact the real, social life,and/or the natural world in an accurate, truthful way, and that claim to embody some kind of epistemological or evidentiary truth. We cover a wide range of debates about representation and realism, from nineteenth century non-fiction and the real maravilloso to more recent developments in documentary photography, theater, and film. Readings include texts by Arias, Barthes, Borges, Brecht, Bellatin, Carpentier, Foster, Jaar, Cabrera Infante, and Coutinho.

Instructors
Gabriela Nouzeilles
Seminar in Theory and Literature: The Illusion of the Individual
Subject associations
POR 550 / LAS 550

From Greek atomism to modern liberalism, the individual has reigned supreme as the organizing principle of meaning. Driven by the rejection of "Western" assumptions, contemporary thought and artistic practice have experimented with forms of collective cognition. The seminar aims to analyze some of these experiments, from the Portuguese-speaking world and beyond, and thus measure whether we are capable of thinking and feeling beyond the prison of the individual, or even without it.

Instructors
Pedro Meira Monteiro
PhD Proseminar: Nuclear Architectures
Subject associations
ARC 571 / ART 581 / MOD 573 / LAS 571

From secret laboratories to monumental infrastructures and the many landscapes of war, energy, and waste in between, nuclear power is at the core of a vast and radically understudied array of 20th c. architectures. Central to the most iconic architectural images of the post-war era while also rendered invisible in apparently unseen wastelands, atomic weapons, nuclear reactors, and atmospheric fallout eventually attracted intense architectural attention. Drawing on multiple literatures, the seminar explores how the nuclear penetrated beyond warscapes to enter even the private spaces of the domestic realm and the human body.

Instructors
Beatriz Colomina
Sylvia Lavin
Download the PLAS Fall 2024 Courses E-flyer

 

We are so lucky to have such diverse offerings and focus on incredibly important topics such as migration, the creation of borders, political organizations aiming to represent the poor and marginalized, and the state of justice in countries that have suffered from repression such as military dictatorships. -Elise Kratzer '24

This was by far the best led class I have taken at Princeton; the format of us filling out worksheets ahead of time so that you already knew our initial thoughts allowed discussions to be rich and fulfilling. The mix of theoretical discussion with practical research was really enjoyable and I feel like I am walking away from the class both with something concrete and a new frame of mind around thinking about conflict. It was clear throughout the class that you are truly an expert in the field and I am grateful to have had the chance to take this class with you.  -Franklin Maloney ‘20 regarding: LAS 376: The Economic Analysis of Conflict taught by Ana María Ibáñez (PLAS Visiting Research Scholar and Visiting Professor - Fall 2018)