Fall 2022 Courses
This course explores Latin American and Caribbean culture and its connections with Europe and Africa through references to witches, witchcraft, and other forms of religion and power exercised by women, including practices from Santería, Palo Monte and other Afro-Caribbean religions. With a wide lens on how many women and queer bodies have been considered deviants, dangerous, and deemed punishable, this class will look at how colonialism and its aftermath shaped discourses around religion in the Americas, and how legal documents, visual arts, film, novels, and theater, have represented and contested those discourses and bodies.
This course aims to help students elaborate a critical and historical perspective on transformations, taking Latin American art as its case of study. Considering the archive as a historical apparatus, it focuses on understanding the complexity of archives in the contemporary art world. The course will provide students with a knowledge that will help them in their own use of archives. This course is developed for students interested in the Latin American region including those focusing on art history, literature, politics, and students from additional fields interested in pursuing comparative perspectives to conduct their research.
This course offers an introduction to the theory, ethics, and history of the idea of international protection, while looking specifically at how Central Americans have engaged with the US asylum system over time. We will study the origins of the ideas of refugee protection, who is understood to qualify and why, how that has changed over time, and what this means for a broader understanding of human rights across borders. In collaboration with local asylum attorneys, students will get hands on experience conducting research and putting together reports to assist in real cases and, if conditions permit, we will attend immigration court.
This course examines pandemics, diseases, and other global health concerns through the lens of multispecies relations. We study knowledge production (epistemology) throughout this course, the cultural structures that make certain "ways of knowing" possible, and the shifting boundaries of knowing and being provoked by modes of inquiry centering multispecies entanglements. We consider the ongoing effects of environmental change and the world-making knowledge practices of experts that drive new perspectives on global health. Finally, we reflect critically on multispecies care and the future of planetary health. First-year students are welcome.
Latin America has experienced a revolution in citizen participation in recent decades. Hundreds of millions have participated in thousands of new institutions that bring ordinary people directly into government decision-making, in the hope that these new forms of engagement will improve public services, decrease inequality, and strengthen democracy. After decades of experimentation, we can finally take stock of the participatory turn in Latin America. Our primary goal in this course, then, will be to understand whether new democratic innovations have lived up to high expectations many have placed in them, and if so, under what condition.
Cross-Listed Fall 2022 Courses
Note: Listed in order of LAS course numbers.
Anthropologist Sidney Mintz famously explored connections between sugar, capitalism, and modern global history. This course borrows his approach to explore the ways that sugar - with reference to other commodities such as coffee and petroleum - have shaped societies in the Caribbean and Latin America (and, less obviously, Europe, Africa, and Asia). Through short stories, poems, archival documents, essays, novels, films, and art about sugar and its worlds, students will study histories of enslavement and marronage, environmental history, Cold War tensions, modernization, and major literary, filmic and artistic movements.
This introductory course examines what it means to be Latino/a in the United States and how Latino/a culture has been defined in historical and contemporary contexts. In this course students will learn how legacies of colonialism and modernity affect Latino/as and how they negotiate empire, identity, language, culture, and notions of home. Students will learn how certain Latino/a cultures and communities were formed in the United States, as well as how gender, class, race, and sexuality inform these ideas of identity in a given space and place.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Flotsam. Jetsam. Hunger. Nudity. Lone survivors washed ashore. What can tales of shipwreck tell us about the cultures, societies and technologies that produce them? We read narratives and watch films of disaster and survival from the sixteenth century to the present, with an eye to how these texts can challenge or reinforce the myths that empires and nation-states tell about themselves and others.
From Argentina to Mexico, Chile to Ecuador, women writers and artists from across Latin America are enjoying growing acclaim after years of marginalization. Their path-breaking work has brought to the fore new themes and perspectives, embracing both experimental and documentary poetics. Through a series of short texts, films, theater, and visual artifacts, this course offers an introduction to Latin American women's remarkable literary and artistic contributions in the 20th and 21st centuries.
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.
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," "Chino," "Moor," "Guatemalan," "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.
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.
In this seminar we will work with five journalists from Spain and Latin America who write about culture for newspapers and magazines. Students will develop their own texts about contemporary culture-interviews with novelists, artists, dancers, etc., as well as reviews of plays, films, and other cultural performances in the tri-state area. Student texts will be workshopped in class, with input from invited journalists. Invited journalists include Carlos Manuel Álvarez (Cuba), Yoani Sánchez (Cuba), Juan Cruz (Spain), among others.
This course studies contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean in literature and visual arts. Placing emphasis on the changing relationships between aesthetics and politics, it analyzes literary and visual styles that emerge with new forms of imagining the relations between culture and politics while enacting different power relations and cultural dynamics. We will engage with visual works from the Art Museum and will hold some classes at the study rooms. Class taught in English; readings and written assignments can be done in English or Spanish.
This course examines the history of modern Brazil from the late colonial period to the present. Lectures, readings, and discussions challenge prevailing narratives about modernity to highlight instead the role played by indigenous and African descendants in shaping Brazilian society. Topics include the meanings of political citizenship; slavery and abolition; race relations; indigenous rights; uneven economic development and Brazil's experiences with authoritarianism and globalization.
The Caribbean has been at the center of modernity and globalization since the 15th century, when European, African, and Asian migrants joined indigenous inhabitants in a violent crucible that produced new cultures, landscapes, rhythms, and political imaginations. This course begins with classic reflections on the Caribbean before centering on recent literature and art from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Recent works address issues such as debt, migration, climate change, gender, music, and the afterlives of slavery in the region.
The course will explore the relationship between literature and politics since the 19th century, starting from the processes of independence led by intellectuals who based their ideas on the French illustration to the U.S. Constitution of 1776. Those ideas defined the new Latin American nations. However, dictatorships dominated above the laws. This contradiction gives oppression and misery a decisive weight in literary creation and the figure of the dictator emerges as the dominant character in the 20th century novels. The seminar will be taught by internationally acclaimed writer Sergio Ramírez, former vice president of Nicaragua.
This course explores the cultural productions surrounding narcos and cocaine in Colombia and Mexico, two countries whose imaginaries have become globally associated with drug trafficking. Beginning with the transformation of the coca leave into an illegal global commodity, passing through the emergence of the figure of the "sicario" in the 1980s, all the way to Netflix's 'Narcos' vision of the War on Drugs and cryptococaine, the course will engage critically with so-called narco-aesthetics in chronicles, movies, television series, short stories, podcasts, and art
Studies a variety of texts (poetry, comedia, mystery play, letters) written by the most celebrated female Hispanic writer of the seventeenth century, widely considered to be the first feminist of the American hemisphere. Discussions include: rhetoric and feminism; Sor Juana's literary forbearers; freedom and repression in the convent; correspondence with other writers in the viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru; performances of gender and sexuality in colonial Mexico. Sessions to view and analyze first editions of Sor Juana's works of the Legaspi collection will be held at the Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone.
This course is designed to describe the policies defining the provision of educational services with special attention to the context of the US and Latin America. The focus will be on policies that have implications for understanding inequality in education and income through the lens of economic theory of human capital. The course topics will include governance, accountability, choice, finance, and personnel policies for K-12 education, with a focus on the role of teachers; it will also briefly cover issues related to early childhood education and higher education. Class sessions are a mixture of lectures and student-led discussions.
The international border looms large over current national and international political debates. While this course will consider borders across the world, it will focus on the U.S.-Mexico border, and then on the Guatemala-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border. This course examines the history of the formation of the U.S. border from the colonial period to the present. Borders represent much more than just political boundaries between nation states. The borderlands represents the people who live between two cultures and two nations. This course will also study those individuals who have lived in areas surrounding borders or crossed them.
The course will examine the place of plantation slavery in the development of capitalist modernity. We will focus on two classic texts: Eric Williams' Capitalism and Slavery, and CLR James' history of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins. We will also discuss in this context Marx's critique of capitalist slavery in Capital, and its importance for the tradition of Caribbean critique. Also to be considered are the writings of Toussaint Louverture, Henry Christophe, and Aimé and Suzanne Césaire as they develop original critiques of slavery, colonialism, and Antillean capitalism.
Modernism was one of the most transcendental literary movements in the Spanish language. It was a daring literary adventure that renewed poetry, narrative prose, and even journalism. It was headed by Rubén Darío, and formed a great school of followers both in Spain and in Latin America, from Juan Ramón Jiménez to Jorge Luis Borges. It will be explained considering its influences from symbolism and French Parnassianism, to the introduction of very adventurous forms of literary expression that broke the old nineteenth-century molds, a revolution that conquered a brilliant myriad of writers. A movement that had also a great political influence.
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.
Bachelorhood is at the center of diverse forms of architectural programs, assuming massive connotations and demographic significance. It has shaped much of what we know about dormitories, boardinghouses, hostels, studios, garçonnières, penthouse apartments and minimum housing experiments. Despite its pivotal role in the history of domestic architecture, it has been neglected as an exceptional or temporary status. The seminar explores multiple meanings of singleness and its typological responses as a key for understanding and rethinking modern household paradigms, housing policies and residential design in Latin America and elsewhere.
What is the matter of theory? This course is an introduction to critical theory and to some of the conceptual questions that animate theoretical discussions among scholars today, such as the role of form and structure, ideology and cultural value, difference and representation, and the social and epistemological status of culture and theory itself. In addition to examining texts by Barthes, Bosteels, Fanon, Foucault, Irigaray, Mitchell, Rama, and Richard, we perform theoretical readings of specific literary and visual artifacts by Borges, Bellatin, Darío, Martel, Rennó, Revueltas, Schweblin,Vallejo.
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)