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Courses in Latin American Studies

Fall semester 2008-09

ART 443/LAS 443
Global Exchange in Art and Architecture

This course examines the global exchange in art and architecture between and among the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas in the period 1492–1800. The course focuses on the geographical, historical, religious, anthropological, and aesthetic aspects of issues such as cultural encounters, diffusion, transculturation, regionalism, and related topics.
Other Information: This course should be of interest to students in all aspects of regional studies, in history, art, and in general to all concerned with global questions. For department majors, satisfies Renaissance/Baroque/late Islamic distribution requirements.
Thomas D. Kaufmann. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 M.

ECO 371/LAS 346
Topics in Country and Regional Economics: Latin American Economies

At the start of the new millennium, many countries in Latin America contemplate frustrating growth experience and persistent inequity. This course will examine the empirical evidence concerning growth episodes, and the magnitudes and causes of inequality. We will also use economic theory to discuss the various attempts at solving these problems.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: ECO 300 or ECO 310.
José A. Scheinkman. Schedule: L01 11:00am–12:20 MW.

HIS 309/LAS 312
History of Modern Mexico

The course studies Mexico between two historic defeats: that of the mid-nineteenth century, when it lost half of its territory to the U.S., and that of the P.R.I., at the polls in 2000. One of these events ushered a period of civil war; the outcome of the other is still disputed. How can we explain Mexico’s transit from richest colony in the Americas to a nation with unresolved social, economic and political struggles and an economically semi-colonial role internationally? What have been the causes of internal tension? How have different social sectors sought to resolve these tensions and the explanation for the outcomes over time?
Vera S. Candiani. Schedule: S01 11:00am-12:20 MW.

LAS 401/POL 435
Latin American Studies Seminar: Development and Democracy in Latin America

This course explores issues of democracy and development in Latin America. It will focus on how the complex interactions between current processes (e.g., market-oriented economic reforms), structural and historical characteristics (i.e., social inequality), and politico-institutional factors (i.e., political parties, state structures) shape democratic quality and the prospects for socioeconomic development in the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and Uruguay, seen in comparative perspective.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: An introduction to Latin American politics and history, or an introduction to international studies. If you have taken neither type of course, please contact the instructor before registering.
Other Information: In lieu of a final exam, students will write a research paper focusing either on a specific country (different from the cases analyzed during class) or a particular topic (i.e., social movements, drug trafficking, social policy, political representation, ethnic or gender inequality, etc.).
Juan Pablo Luna. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 W.

LAS 405/LAS 705/HIS 401
Latin American Studies Seminar: Health and Society in Latin America during the Twentieth Century

Emphasizing social, cultural, and institutional dimensions, this course will examine the development of public health in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 20th century. Organized into three main sections, the course will cover the persistence of indigenous concepts and healing practices which underwent discrimination; sanitation studies of these indigenous practices as well as the “silver-bullet” eradication programs of the early and late 20th century; and the examination of indigenous resistance to official programs and of the work done by medical doctors leading holistic public health programs such as primary health care.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: The course is directed to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is not necessary. Films from the National Library of Medicine will be included in discussions. Students must hand in and discuss with the professor a preliminary title and outline of the 20–page paper before the break of the term. Final research paper can be done on the history of health and medicine in a certain country or a relevant cross-country discussion.
Other information: The course will link the discussion of historical events with contemporary developments in Latin American countries, examine the reception of international health agencies, and the responses to the AIDS and Cholera epidemics as well as to neoliberal health reforms. This course will count as one of the four specified history courses required for students following the history of science track. Note: Graduate Students wishing to enroll, please contact the Instructor.
Marcos Cueto. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

LAS 406/SPA 406
Latin American Studies Seminar: Visions from Utopia: Cuban Literature of the Nineties

With the disappearance of the Soviet bloc in 1989 and fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba entered what many consider the worst crisis in its history. Without Soviet financial support, much of Cuba’s infrastructure collapsed and the once-mighty Cuban publishing industry was crippled. One of the few positive aspects of this phenomenon was the diffusion of Cuban literature to publishing houses in Spain and Latin America. This course will examine how this international projection brought thematic diversity to Cuban literature, as well as the ability to address topics considered uncomfortable within Cuba.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200–level Spanish course.
Other Information: Course will be conducted in Spanish.
José Manuel Prieto. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 M.

POL 367/LAS 367
Latin American Politics

The course analyzes 20th century Latin America. The course maintains a thematic focus—presenting competing theoretical arguments about democracy and development in the region. The readings and lectures evaluate these arguments in the context of six cases: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico and Brazil.
Other Information: This course is open to first-year students and counts towards WWS disciplinary perspectives requirements.
Deborah J. Yashar. Schedule: L01 11:00am-11:50 MW, P01 1:30 pm-2:20 W, P02 10:00am–10:50 Th, P03 11:00am-11:50 Th, P04 2:30pm-3:20 W, P05 3:30pm-4:20 W.

POR 300/LAS 315
Literary Masterpieces of Portugal and Brazil

The course will offer an introduction to the works of two major Brazilian writers, Guimarães Rosa and Rubem Fonseca, through the analysis of their most famous short stories. The relations between language and violence and the social and cultural tensions between rural and urban territories will be the central issues to be discussed and developed. Prerequisistes and Restrictions: POR 208, POR 209, or instructor’s permission.
Jussara M. Quadros. Schedule: C01 7:30pm–10:20 W.

SPA 227/LAS 227
Contemporary Issues in Spain and/or Latin America

This course focuses on current political, social, and cultural issues in Argentina, including social movements, the democratic transition, new developments in film, tango and rock, environmental conflicts in Patagonia, international tourism, and economic changes. The course will give students an introduction to present day events and trends, mostly through a perusal and analysis of local newspapers, recent academic essays, websites, and documentaries.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: SPA 207, 208 or 209; or instructor’s permission.
Other Information: Course taught in Spanish.   Some films to be viewed outside of class in East Pyne Language Resource Center.
Staff. C01 1:30pm–2:50 MW.

SPA 331/LAS 331
Modern Latin American Fiction

The purpose of this course will be to design a reading map of Borge’s work. His theory of fiction and his concept of reality will define the framework of a debate of his notion of literature. The way in which his texts determine a new and controversial use of literary tradition and cultural heritage will be a central focus of analysis.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200–level Spanish course or instructor’s permission.
Other Information: Course conducted in Spanish.
Ricardo E. Piglia. Schedule: L01 1:30pm–2:50 T, P01 1:30 pm–2:50 Th, P01A 1:30pm–2:50 Th, P02 3:00pm-4:20 Th.

SPA 345/LAS 345
Topics in Latin American Literature and Ideology: Islands and Literature in Latin America and the Caribbean

Islands have been central in literary, political, and philosophical traditions. Beginning with the influential classics The Tempest and More’s Utopia, this seminar will focus on islands in modern Latin American and Caribbean fiction, poetry, historical accounts, and film. Special attention given to the Antilles and to narratives of shipwrecks and castaways, as well as to representations of death and regeneration, paradise and hell. Consideration of the debates on slavery and empire in the “sugar islands,” and works by Benítez-Rojo, Cabrera-Infante, Carpentier, Glissant, C. L. R. James, Jamaica Kincaid, Lamming, Naipaul, Palés Matos, and Pedreira.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: Spanish 207 or its equivalent; open to first-year students with advanced standing in Spanish.
Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones. Schedule: S01 3:00pm–4:20 TTh.

SPA 401/HIS 409/LAS 428
Topics in Hispanic Culture (Europe and America): Intellectuals and Power in Latin America and the Caribbean

This course will explore the works and significance of intellectuals in 20th century Latin America and the Caribbean where intellectuals have played a distinctive role. We examine the ways in which journalists and poets, historians and social scientists have grappled with the problem of power, how it works, how it changes, and how to seize it. How has concern about power shaped intellectual life? What role do intellectuals play in the making of public ideologies, conservative, nationalist, socialist? Classic texts will be selected from among Latin America’s foremost writers to study such themes as revolution, democracy, nationalism, and exile. Other Requirements: Open to Juniors, Seniors, and Graduate Students Only.
Other Information: Course will be conducted in English. Students will be encouraged to use the rich resources on Latin American intellectuals available at Rare Books and Manuscripts in Firestone Library.
Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones and Jeremy I. Adelman. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 W.

Courses of Interest, Fall 2008

AAS 428 / ENG 428
Latina/o Performance

This interdisciplinary seminar examines U.S. Latina/o performance from the 1960s to the present. Students will engage the creative traditions that have emerged from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the post-colonial aesthetic concerns shaped by Caribbean migration, and the social preoccupations that have defined urban and suburban life. The class will learn to put formal motifs in conversation with a set of conceptual terms, including mestizaje, borderlands, transculturation, choteo, and disidentification. We will alternate between plays, critical readings, live performances, videos, and music. Performers include ASCO, Josefina Báez, Nao Bustamante, Carmelita Tropicana, Daddy Yankee, Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Xiomara Laugart, John Leguizamo, Lin Manuel-Miranda, the Puerto Rican Travelling Theater, and El Teatro Campesino.
Other Information: Students are expected to examine all outside course materials (videos, recordings, etc.) as indicated by the syllabus. Field trips are mandatory.

Alexandra T. Vazquez. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

ANT 335
Medical Anthropology

Medical anthropology looks at the interaction of illness, social environment, and medicine from a cross-cultural perspective. It compares non-medical models of disease causality and healing with biomedical ones, and explores how social and technological inequalities shape disease and health outcomes (with a focus on Latin America). Students learn to collect and interpret individual illness narratives as well as to assess the cultural and political dynamics of global public health problems. The course draws from ethnography, medical journals, media reports and films. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen.
Other Information: This course is designed for students in the social sciences, humanities, and biological sciences. The Fall 2008 offering of this course is not open to Freshmen. Program in Latin American Studies concentrators must write on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.
Noelle Jean Molé. Schedule: L01 1:30pm-2:50 W, C01 1:30pm-2:50 F.

COM 308
Postcolonial Literature/Postcolonial Criticism

Comparative transnational readings of key works in the postcolonial literature and theory will be covered in this course. Writers from and about South Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, moving from the definitive figures of the early twentieth century (Lenin, Du Bois, Césaire, Fanon, Senghor) to the present (Achebe, Bhabha, Djebar, Said, Spivak, et. al.) will be studied. How have writers in both metropolitan and colonized societies represented processes of colonization? How do literature and criticism read and write coloniality differently? How have representations of colonialism and imperialism multiplied and changed in today’s world? Why are questions of gender so central in the postcolonial world? Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen.
Other Information: Program in Latin American Studies concentrators must write on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.
Benjamin Conisbee Baer. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 Th.

COM 535
Contemporary Critical Theories: Space, Fiction, & Freedom (Diagrams of Control & Lines of Flight)

The seminar will consist of a reflection about the configurations of space, fiction, and freedom in contemporary literature, critical theory, and visual arts. The aim is to explore different ways of questioning with respect to the relationships between space, control, and writing, and to analyze how the literary becomes a privileged site for deploying critical discourses about space and freedom. Special emphasis will be paid to recent Latin American literature and post-structuralist philosophy. Topics to be explored include prison imaginaries, body and gaze, archives, photography and disappearance, and figures of the desert. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only.
Other Information: One class presentation, one term paper. Note: Program in Latin American Studies concentrators must write on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.
Susana Draper. Schedule: S01 2:30pm–5:20 Th.

ENG 400 / WOM 403 / AMS 400
Latina/o Sexualities

This course examines the study of sexuality as it pertains to the production and representation of Latina/o identities. Students will consider the integral role scholarship and literature on Latino sexuality have played in the history of feminist theory and GLBTQ studies. Classic Chicana feminist texts and the anthropological study of Latino sexual practices will be examined in light of their praised interventions to US studies on gender and sexuality. Students will also explore more recent contributions by Latino scholars that trouble the simplistic ways in which Latina/o sexuality has been taken up as an exotic and radical departure from foundational work on sexuality. Students will engage sexuality in its plurality, examining multiple imaginings of Latina/o sexuality through fiction, performance theory, queer Latina/o critiques, and studies on emerging Latino masculinities.
Ricardo Montez. Schedule: S01 3:00pm–4:20 MW.

POL 356
Comparative Ethnic Conflict

This course introduces students to the study of ethnic conflict. We will examine different theories of ethnically based identification and mobilization; cover different types of ethnic conflict such as riots, genocide, hate crime and war; and study past and present cases of ethnic conflict around the world. Other Requirements: Not open to Freshmen.
Other Information: Program in Latin American Studies concentrators must write on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.
Rafaela M. Dancygier. Schedule: L01 10:00am–10:50 MW, P01 11:00am–11:50 W, P02 1:30pm-2:20 W, P03 2:30pm-3:20 W, P04 7:30pm-8:20 W.

POR 562
Luso-Brazilian Seminar: 100 Years after Machado de Assis

This course will focus on the work of Machado de Assis (1839–1908). We will read some of his best known novels and short stories. Through the analysis and discussion of recent critical texts on Machado’s work we will be able to perceive that some of the most disturbing social issues of contemporary Brazil can already be found in his plots, thus raising questions on the relationship between literature and society, present and past, writing and politics. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen.
Pedro Meira Monteiro. Schedule: S01 5:00pm–7:50 T.

SOC 340/REL 390
God of Many Faces: Comparative Perspectives on Migration & Religion

Immigrants often experience discrimination in areas of destination. Religion can strengthen their sense of worth, particularly when the circumstances surrounding departure from the country of origin are traumatic, as with exiles and refugees. We take a comparative approach and use examples from the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The course broaches questions such as: how does religion transform and is transformed by the immigrant experience? When is religion used to combat stereotypes? Are there differences between the way men and women or dominant groups and racial minorities understand religion?
Other Information: Program in Latin American Studies concentrators must write on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.
Patricia Fernández-Kelly. Schedule: L01 2:30pm–3:20 TTh, P01 TBA, P02 TBA.

SPA 209
Spanish Language & Culture through Cinema

A course designed to improve oral and writing skills, while significantly increasing students’ knowledge of cultural affairs in an ever changing Hispanic work. A significant amount of time will be dedicated to intensive debate on a wide variety of topics presented in films. Students interested in contemporary cinema may find this course especially enlightening. The grammar component of the course aims to ease the path to a more fluent communication in Spanish. The diversity of Hispanic culture is presented from the standpoint of a selected number of film directors.
Prerequisites and Restrictions: SPA 108 or 107 in addition to instructor’s permission. Please e-mail E. Martínez-Bogo.
Other Information: Sample films (in Spanish with English subtitles): Alfonso Arau–Como agua para chocolate; Juan Carlos Tabío–Lista de espera; Carlos Saura—¡Ay! Carmela; María Luisa Bemberg—De eso no se habla; Fernando Trueba—Belle epoque; Pedro Almodóvar—Todo sobre mi madre.

Enrique Martínez-Bogo. Schedule: C01 11:00am–12:20 MW, C02 1:30pm–2:50 MW, F01 7:30pm–9:50 Th.

SPA 547
Narrative Prose in Latin America: La ficción paranoica

The purpose of this seminar is to analyze the “Paranoid Fiction” model in contemporary Latin American narrative. The detective genre as a distinctive form of paranoid fiction will be our point of departure for a more general discussion on the uses of genres and its social function. We will also analyze the debate on the detective genre, studying its development and localization in Latin America. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only.
Ricardo E. Piglia. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 M.

SPA 548
Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature: The Sixties in Latin America

The sixties in Latin America were years of sweeping political, social, and cultural transformations, all propelled by a form of revolutionary thinking that would change forever all dimensions of personal and collective experience. This seminar explores those transformations as they manifested in different types of practices and discourses, including literature, political philosophy, cultural criticism and material forms (film, fiction, comics), taking as a starting point current political and academic debates about the legacy of the sixties. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only.
Gabriela Nouzeilles. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 Th.

Course Offerings