Are Latin American governments extractivist, or the victims of exploitation? This course tackles environmental history by moving through various Latin American landscapes and communities, from the Sonoran Desert and Amazonian Rainforest to Patagonian icefields and Peruvian glaciers. By focusing on a range of natural resources and commodities, from silver and sugar to oil and water, the course uses an historical approach to understand the intersection of economics, social movements, environmentalism, and conceptions of space, place, and nature.
Fall 2018 Latin American Studies Courses
Environment and Extraction in Latin America
Instructors: Ryan C. Edwards
Social Justice and the Latin American City
This course deals with difficult questions of how urban social justice is understood, demanded, and delivered. We will critically assess distinct approaches to social justice through case studies of Latin American cities, exploring explosive urban growth in Lima and Cochabamba, the politics of gentrification and neighborhood change in Santiago and Chicago, and the shape of popular politics and urban governance in Mexico City. This course will also prepare us for a Spring 2019 course in urban Latin America.
Instructors: Ben Alan Gerlofs
The Economic Analysis of Conflict
The purpose of this class is to introduce students to the microeconomic analysis of internal conflict. Students will study how conflict imposes economic costs on the population. We will study how we can apply economic theory and rigorous empirical methods to the microeconomic analysis of internal conflict. The class will cover three broad topics: (i) the proximate causes (or correlates) of war; (ii) the economic legacies of conflict; and (iii) forced migration.
Instructors: Ana María lbáñez
Memory and Urban Space in Latin America
This class focuses on the politics of representation of state violence and the legacies of dictatorships in South American cities. Students will be introduced to central concepts of memory studies and their relation to space. Cities are crucial contexts for the negotiation of a contested past. The course focuses on memory sites, like monuments, memorials, and museums, and their role in transitional justice. By pairing theoretical debates with case studies in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, we explore the emergence of memory practices `from below' that reshape collective memory, analyzing how they relate to official politics of the past.
Instructors: Ulrike Capdepon Busies
Anthropology of Populism
Recently populist movements have gained prominence in both Europe and the USA, having inflected the political landscapes of these two regions in arguably irreversible ways. There are important differences between so-called right wing and left wing populism; the similarities, however, are equally salient: they both, appeal to a seamless "people" as the undivided source of sovereignty; draw on a a friend/enemy political logic; reject all forms of mediation in favor of the direct communication between authoritarian leaders and their followers. This course explores this emergent populism both empirically and theoretically.
Instructors: Rafael Sánchez
Courses are listed by catalogue number
Interdisciplinary Design Studio
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 Isaac Gandelsonas, Aiala Levy
El Género Negro: Crime Fiction
This course is an introduction to crime fiction from early 20th-century "locked room" mysteries to 21st century narco-narratives. It examines short stories, novels, films and critical writings about detective and crime fiction in Latin America and Spain. Topics include the genre's links to high and low literature, to film and to historical contexts such as immigration, state crime, drug culture and globalization. Authors include Roberto Arlt, María Elvira Bermúdez, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, Alicia Giménez Bartlett, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Ricardo Piglia, Fernando Vallejo, and others.
Instructors: Rachel Lee Price
Myth, Memory and Identity Politics in Lusophone Cinema
This course will analyze the role of cinema in the construction (and deconstruction) of national and transnational discourses in the Portuguese-speaking world. We will examine a number of recurring cultural topics in a wide variety of films from Africa, Brazil and Europe, situating works within their socio-historical contexts and tracing the development of national cinemas and their interaction with global aesthetics and trends.
Instructors: Nicola Trowbridge Cooney
Introduction to Latin American Cultures
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 Enrique Guerrero
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History: Indigenous Brazil
This course analyzes current indigenous issues in Brazil, and the struggle for human and land rights that affect the Guarani Kaiowá, Yanomamis, Krenaks, Bororos, among other ethnicities. The emergence of contemporary indigenous literature and filmography will be studied along with canonical Brazilian literature and ethnographical studies. Topics include the building of the Belo Monte dam, the Rio Doce mining disaster, the survival of languages, the spread of Indigenous traditions, and the work of Indigenous writers and filmmakers.
Instructors: Marilia Librandi
Topics in Cinema and Culture: Latin American Film - Poetics and Politics of the Third World
An exploration of a series of critically acclaimed contemporary Latin American films, accompanied by readings that provide a theoretical and historical framework for its analysis. Topics to be discussed, among others: subalternity and the Third World; sexual and racial politics; postcolonial poetics; genocide; cultural hybridism and mestizaje; dictatorship and populism; biopolitical fantasies.
Instructors: Javier Enrique Guerrero
Afro-Diasporic Dialogues: Black Activism in Latin America and the United States
This course investigates how people of African descent in the Americas have forged social, political, and cultural ties across geopolitical and linguistic boundaries. We will interrogate the transnational dialogue between African Americans and Afro-Latin Americans using case studies from Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. We will explore how black activists and artists from the US have partnered with people of color in Latin America and the Caribbean to challenge racism and economic inequality, while also considering why efforts to mobilize Afro-descendants across the Americas have often been undermined by mutual misunderstandings.
Instructors: Reena N. Goldthree
Slavery and Emancipation in Latin America and the Caribbean
This course explores the history of African slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean from the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade in the early sixteenth century to Brazilian emancipation in 1888. The course will focus on the lived experiences of enslaved Africans, while also examining the broader social, political, legal, and cultural contexts. The assigned materials will include a variety of written primary and secondary sources, films, and visual images.
Instructors: Reena N. Goldthree
Junior Seminar: Spanish and Portuguese-Speaking Worlds
This seminar will introduce students to theoretical concepts and tools necessary for historical, political, cultural, literary, and sociolinguistic analysis of issues of power and identity in the Luso-Hispanic and Latinx worlds. It will also serve as an introduction to diverse research objects and approaches: digital resources, bibliographical search, archives, ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, and close-reading. We aim at combining tools and strategies from two main methods of inquiry: cultural/literary analysis and qualitative research. We will offer guidance, models and practical activities to understand and apply these methodologies.
Instructors: Alberto Bruzos Moro, Germán Labrador Méndez
The Anthropology of Selected Regions: The Amazon
We survey the Amazonian region as the product of dynamic historical, economic, and ecological processes, focusing on how ethnographic traditions have contributed to its construction. From accounts of shamanism to reflections on the ethics of ethnographic fieldwork, anthropological debates around Amazonian cultures have animated broader discussions about the consequences of resource exploitation, the boundaries of nature and culture, and what it means to be human. We identify some traditional themes of Amazonian anthropology and examine emerging spaces, actors, and questions that continue to make the region relevant to anthropological inquiry.
Instructors: Justin Dieter Andres Perez
Topics in Latin American Literature and Ideology: Politics of Memory and Human Rights in Global Latin America
This course explores recent cultural and artistic productions that deal with human rights and political violence issues in contemporary Latin America, focusing on the politics of memory behind representations of the past in the context of a "global" marketing of memory. By working with literature, testimony, film, photography, truth commissions, and processes of museification, it analyzes different modes of figuring the past as well as the areas that these languages leave aside when memory becomes the target of a "global market" and "trauma tourism."
Instructors: Susana Draper
Introduction to Digital Humanities
This course will introduce students to debates and approaches in the Digital Humanities from a global perspective. We will consider the foundations of DH while also discussing concerns involving access, maintenance, and care for projects over time in regions with physical restraints such as connectivity restrictions. On seminar days, we will work through theoretical concerns and explore the possibilities and limits of existing tools. On studio days, we work in small teams to gather data from primary sources in RBSC, which we will then use with software and platforms to build skills in computational analysis, data collection, and DH research.
Instructors: Nora C. Benedict
Indigenous Expressions: Native Christianities in Colonial Mexico
In this seminar, we will discuss ideas about conversion, authorship, translation, and histories in the context of Indigenous people's engagement with Christianity in colonial Mexico. In particular, we will be looking at the ways that Native Americans shaped Mexican Catholicism and the ways we can think of Indigenous people as authors and creators of their religious traditions rather than merely adopters or receivers of the Christian faith as taught by Spanish colonists.
Instructors: Jessica Delgado
Human Rights in Latin America
Home to both shocking atrocities and heroic justice movements, Latin America illuminates the range of challenges, successes, tensions, and promises of the human rights project. Students will trace legacies of mass violations, such as those left by authoritarian rule. Students will then engage with contemporary human rights problems in the region, including the "war on drugs"; prison abuse; dissenters' rights; indigenous land struggles, sexual and reproductive rights; and economic, social and cultural rights in the face of extreme inequality.
Instructors: Fernando Ribeiro Delgado
This seminar will focus on the modern architecture and urbanism in Havana, including the old colonial city, Art Deco, the International Style, the footprint of the American presence (from the mob to the sugar mills), buildings from the Cuban Revolution and the Soviet period. How can Cuba's world-class heritage survive the pressures being brought by the continued violence of the embargo, the rising flood damage due to climate change, and the social impacts of gentrification? Given the absence of large-scale industry, what are the social and environmental costs of the tourism industry which constitutes the main livelihood of the island?
Instructors: Esther Roseli da Costa Azevedo Meyer
Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature: Mario Vargas Llosa:Literature and Politics
This seminar discusses a selection of Mario Vargas Llosa's major political novels in dialogue with the works of political philosophy that shaped his thinking. Our discussion begins with Vargas Llosa's engagement with radical Marxism in his youth, his active participation in the Cuban Revolution in the early 1960s, leading up to his turn towards liberalism in the 1980s. Political theorists discussed include: Marx, Mariátegui, Sartre, Fidel Castro, Edmund Wilson, Karl Popper, Octavio Paz, Isaiah Berlin. Topics include: guerilla warfare, class struggle, the market, social justice.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Luso-Brazilian Seminar: Amerindia, Literature and Perspectivism
This seminar establishes links between literary theory and contemporary ethno-anthropology through an intensive reading of Amerindian Perspectivism and Multinaturalism and its potential to renew our understanding of literature from the 16th century to current debates on Indigenous lives and ecological survival. Writings by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Tania Stolze Lima, Pedro Cesarino, among others, are read in conjunction with literary texts by Oswald de Andrade, André Vallias, Josely Viana Baptista, Ana Miranda, and the work of contemporary indigenous authors such as Davi Kopenawa Yanomami and Ailton Krenak.
Instructors: Marilia Librandi