Fall 2023 Courses
This course will explore the intellectual history of race, gender, and sexuality in Latin America. We will first analyze the representation of these intersections in reggaetón and Latin trap. Students will then examine the impact of conquest, colonization, and slavery in the rise of racial categories and heteronormative gender norms in the history of Latin America. Furthermore, we will focus on multiple case studies, such as the legacies of the Haitian Revolution, the history of racial genocide in Puerto Rico, the Hollywood representation of Latin America, and colorist beauty standards in Brazil and Mexico.
This course examines the transnational intersection of law and natural resources in the Spanish Borderlands of North America. We will study how the Spanish empire (and later an independent Mexico and the emerging United States) defined natural resources as property rights and allocated such resources to Europeans and Indigenous peoples who lived in the arid landscapes of the far northern frontier (what became present-day Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, & California). The course also explores the conflict that developed in the U.S. over natural resources after 1848 between the Hispanic civil law and Anglo-American common law.
Beginning as early as Don Quixote, experiments with translation have long accompanied Hispanic literary innovation and, often, political subversion. In this course, we will consider Latin American and Latinx texts from across much of 20th and 21st centuries that engage translation as trope, form, or material rearrangements (including translation narratives, fake translations, mistranslations, transcreations, conceptual experiments) and those that rewrite established texts from the margins. We will read these materials alongside translation theory and criticism to tease out the aesthetics and politics of translation in each undertaking.
This course provides an overview of classic theories of state building, resistance, and political violence, as well as contemporary challenges to these theories and how they apply to Latin America. Drawing on a range of methodological traditions and examples from around the region, and a few from elsewhere, this course offers a look at the complex relationship between political authority and violence. The class examines this relationship at different scales, from the state to the street gang and everything in between.
How are social rights won in Latin America? After decades of increasing income inequalities, Latin America experienced an impressive and unexpected expansion in social policy. The arrival to government of Left parties across the continent in the early 21st century raised hopes of progress toward universalism in social policy. Yet, persistent inequities across sectors of the population undermined progress toward a universalist welfare regime. This course offers an overview of the general trends, achievements, and shortcomings of these developments, as well as the social forces and historical circumstances that determined these changes.
Cross-Listed Fall 2023 Courses
Note: Listed in order of LAS course numbers.
This introductory course examines what it means to be Latinx in the United States. We explore how processes of racialization are connected to class, gender, and sexuality, as well as other identity markers. We discuss themes of labor, cultural production, policing, and sexuality. In this course, students will learn how the legacies of white supremacy and Coloniality impact Latinx communities. This course studies experiences and events through cultural texts comprising verbal and non-verbal communication and representation and analyzes how Latinx communities negotiate empire, identity, language, and notions of home.
An introduction to modern Latin American cultures and artistic and literary traditions through a wide spectrum of materials. We will discuss relevant issues in Latin American cultural, political, and social history, including the legacies of colonialism, the African diaspora, national fictions, gender and racial politics. Materials include short stories by Jorge Luis Borges and Samanta Schweblin; poems by Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén and Mexican poet Sara Uribe; paintings by Mexican muralists; films by Santiago Mitre and Claudia Llosa; writings by Indigenous activist Ailton Krenak.
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 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.
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," "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.
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, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. We will explore how Black activists have partnered 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.
Familiar and unfamiliar beings, under the guise of gods, ancestors or vampire-like creatures, dominate representations of conquest and invasion. Drawing on texts by indigenous and Spanish authors alike, we examine the reception of these mythic beings and their place in historical narratives of the conquest of Mexico, the American Southwest, and the Andes.
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.
This course explores the supposedly "untranslatable" concept of saudade. We will consider its political, economic, cultural and aesthetic manifestations and social implications through analysis of literary and sociological texts, music, cinema, and more from across the Lusophone world. Topics will include im/migration and the transnational experience, music and performativity, the role of nostalgia in politics and the colonial experience, national mythmaking and depictions of utopia. Particular attention will be paid to the prevalence of saudosismo in popular culture, where classical texts and forms often make surprising appearances.
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.
This class will concentrate on some of the earliest and most extensive religious and historical texts authored by Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, specifically by the Maya, Mexica (Aztec), Hopi, and Diné (Navajo). This set will allow for a critical and comparative study of Native rhetoric, mythic motifs, notions of space and time, morals, and engagements with non-Native peoples and Christianity.
This course focuses on Indigenous world-makings in the Anthropocene. We will reflect on how the current climate crisis is actively being produced through the destruction of Indigenous worlds. Two key anthropological questions guide our seminar: How do Indigenous groups differently understand world endings? How are Indigenous peoples resisting neocolonial and extractivist violence? We will work mainly with ethnographic writings, films, journalistic reports, and artworks, with a focus on Indigenous perspectives. Starting in Amazonia, we will develop a comparative perspective of Indigenous worldings across the Americas.
Drawing from critical theory, the seminar explores how past and present-day Brazilian predicaments shape cultural landscapes, with a focus on diverse peripheral artistic perspectives. As we challenge the idea of a single Brazilian history and identity and break open what literature is and does, we will engage the works of a new generation of Black, Indigenous, and women writers, who is recasting our sense of the colonial/anti-colonial, systemic racism, orality and storytelling, power and insurgency. Through multiple media, we will probe the creative force that is decolonizing the Brazilian arts and articulating alternative world-makings.
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.
Woolf once said, "It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly." We address and complicate the notion that women need a room of their own in order to write and create by examining the ways in which Latin American women and queer writers, artists, and filmmakers interrupt, deconstruct, reshape, and at times shake the patriarchal house of writing and the dominant gaze of film and art by performing gender in unexpected and ingenious fashions, feminizing and expanding the sites of symbolic production.
Fall 2023 Courses (Registrar's website)
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)