Courses

Fall 2018 Latin American Studies Courses

Fall 2018

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.
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.
Memory and Urban Space in Latin America
This class will focus on the urban representation of state violence and the legacies of dictatorships in South America. 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.
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

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Cross-Listed Courses

Fall 2018

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
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
Hispanic Studies: Introduction to Cultural Analysis
An introduction to the analysis of contemporary cultural texts and objects (literature, film, photography, art, theatre, images) from Spain, with the support of various theoretical ideas. The course's main objective is to provide students with a set of strong conceptual, analytical and linguistic skills, which will be of great help in 300-level literature and culture courses.
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.
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
The Prado Museum: A Virtual Tour of Spain
This course focuses on the Prado Museum in Madrid as a central institution to understand Spanish art and culture. Using different sources (paintings, literature, documentary films, audiovisual resources, essays), this class will offer a virtual tour to one of the most important art institutions worldwide. The course will consider topics such as gender, nation-building, the popular, nature, historical memory and democracy, in relation to art and exhibitions. It offers a general overview of Spanish history since 1819 to present day.
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
Witchcraft, Rituals and Colonialism
This course will explore witchcraft and rituality in the Americas through accusations and identity claims. We will look at how witchcraft has been used in colonial and imperial contexts to control, sanction, and extract power from women and marginalized groups in different periods, as well as how people make claims to witchcraft and rituals as a way to thwart domination. Topics include: shamanism in Latin America, the Mexican Inquisition, Afro-Latinx and Caribbean diasporic religious systems, and the contemporary social media ritual activism of "bruja feminisms." Students will be introduced to theories of race, gender, and sexuality.
Instructors: Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús
Havana
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
Main Currents of Spanish Thought, 1848 to the Present: Cultural Wars & Subalternity
This course seeks to explore the cultural logics of the Spanish Modernity since 1789 to the present, studying the historical configuration of Iberian Modern cultures though aesthetics, as a violent process that involves memory, power and communities. Among the topics to be addressed are places of memory, national imagination, hegemony and resistance, subalternity, political subjection, biopolitics, popular cultures, political art, underground aesthetics, historical memory, mass cultures, avant-garde and poetics in a wide range of texts and materials, from zarzuelas, theater plays and poems to novels, documentary films and images.
Instructors: Germán Labrador Méndez
Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature: Architecture and Literature: Perverse Spaces
A study of the role of heterotopic architectural spaces in 20th-century literature, with special emphasis on "perverse spaces" (brothels, hotels, arcades, chambers, cells, voyeuristic and exhibitionistic configurations). We will read novels by Marcel Proust, Thomas Mann, Salvador Novo, Reinaldo Arenas, Roberto Bolaño, Michel Houellebecq, and theories of space and sexuality by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Beatriz Colomina, Beatriz Preciado, Anthony Vidler, Mark Wigley, and Rem Koolhaas.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Seminar in Literary Theory
What is the "matter" of theory, its basic content and scope? This seminar studies the main trends in modern theoretical thought from Russian Formalism and their reduction of literature to formal systems of signification and the Frankfurt School's readings of mass culture, to most recent interpretations of the role of power in cultural production in Foucault, Deleuze, Sarduy, Spivak, Rama, Hall, and others. This seminar seeks to develop a coherent overall overview that incorporates philosophical and social perspectives on the fundamental questions of critical thinking.
Instructors: Maria Gabriela Nouzeilles