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Courses in Latin American Studies

Spring semester 2007-08

AAS 328/LAS 328/POR 328
Race Relations and Black Identities in Post-Emancipation Brazil

This seminar offers an extensive review of the sociological literature on race relations and Black movements in Brazil, from Abolitionism to present day’s debates on affirmative actions and the place of Blacks in Brazilian academy. Our goal is to strengthen the theoretical background of students in the social sciences interested in doing field research in Brazil or in Race Politics.
Antonio Sérgio Alfredo Guimarães. Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 W.
ART 267/LAS 267
Introduction to Mesoamerican Visual Culture
This course explores the visual and archaeological world of ancient Mesoamerica, from the first arrival of humans in the area until the era of Spanish invasion in the early 16th century. Major culture groups to be considered include Olmec, Maya, and Aztec. Preceptorial sections will consist of a mix of theoretically-focused discussions, debate regarding opposing interpretations in scholarship, and hands-on work with objects in the collections of the Princeton University Art Museum. Other Information: Course can serve as a component of the Archaeology concentration.
Bryan R. Just. Schedule: L01 3:30pm - 4:20 MW.
COM 238/LAS 238
Contemporary Latin American Literature
This course is an introduction to the study of contemporary Latin American literature and visual arts. It will provide the student with essential tools to critically read and analyze texts from different traditions and styles. By placing special emphasis on the problem of space, history, bodies, freedom, and politics, the course will analyze the emergence of different contemporary genres such as neo-realism, neo-detective, and neo-picaresque fiction. The aim is that the student will become familiar with the most important themes in contemporary Latin American writing.
Susan Draper . Schedule: L01 1:30pm - 2:50 TTh.
COM 382/LAS 382
Colonialism, Technology and the Environment in Latin America
This course will explore Spanish colonialism, technology, and the environment in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. We will look at Spanish imperial scientific and technical expansion, as well as Creole and national narratives in order to provide a genealogy of the modern notion of “natural resources” in colonial Latin America. We will investigate how imperial practices such as cartography, metallurgy and botanical knowledge laid the foundations of the Scientific Revolution and modern ideals of the Enlightenment by understanding nature in terms of raw material and standing reserve.
Orlando N. Bentancor . Schedule: L01 2:30pm – 3:20 MWF.
EEB 332/LAS 350
Pre-Columbian Peoples of Tropical America and their Environments
The pre-European history of Amerind cultures and their associated environments in the New World tropics will be studied. Topics to be covered include the people of tropical America; development of hunting/gathering and agricultural economies; neotropical climate and vegetation history; and the art, symbolism, and social organization of native Americans. Field and laboratory experiences will incorporate methods and problems in field archaeology, paleoenthnobotany and paleoecology, and archaeozoology. Limited to juniors in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama. Prerequisites and Restrictions: EEB 210 or 211, and 321. Enrollment in the EEB Spring Semester in tropical ecology program in Panama.
Richard Cooke and Delores R. Piperno. Schedule: L01 TBA, B01 TBA.
EEB 338 /LAS 351
Tropical Biology
“Tropical Biology” is an intensive, three-week field course given at four sites in Panama, examining the origins, maintenance and major interactions among terrestrial plants and animals. The course provides the opportunity to appreciate (1) floral and faunal turnover among four rainforest sites (beta-diversity); and (2) floral and faunal turnover along vertical gradients, from ground to upper canopy, at two rainforest sites (vertical stratification). Fieldwork is supported by six orientation walks that introduce participants to common orders and families of plants and arthropods. Other Information: Students carry out group and individual projects in the field. Orientation lectures and informal walks help them choose projects, and report on them with scientific standards. Group and individual projects aiming at testing particular hypotheses with basic statistics are suggested, but students are encouraged to propose their own. Students report on all projects in Word documents following standard publication guidelines and deliver informal PowerPoint presentations before the class.  Other Requirements: Open to Juniors only.
Yves F. Basset. Schedule: L01 TBA, B01 TBA.
HIS 408/LAS 408
Selected Topics in 20th Century Latin America: US - Latin American Relations Since 1898
This course examines the evolution of U.S.-Latin American relations since the War of 1898. We will explore the political, social, economic and cultural dimension of U.S. interventions south of the border.
Jeremy I. Adelman. Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 M.
LAS 402/HIS 402
Latin American Studies Seminar:
Human Rights Activism in Latin America, 1970s-1990s
Focusing on Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, this course examines the birth and development of movements that protested human rights violations by right-wing authoritarian regimes in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. We will explore some of the basic concerns that scholars have raised about authoritarianism in late 20th century South America. The class will also analyze the first efforts at denunciation launched by political exiles and transnational networks, the formation of groups of victims' relatives, the role of human rights claims, and the ways in which the post-transitional democratic governments faced these calls for accountability.
Vania Markarian. Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 T.
LAS 404/POL 436
Latin American Studies Seminar:
The Politics of Constitutional Change in Latin America
The purpose of this seminar is to analyze the politics of constitutional change from a theoretical and comparative perspective. We will discuss different approaches to constitutional stability and change and apply them to explain selected cases of constitutional reform in Latin America. The seminar is divided into three sections: concepts and approaches, institutional design and variation, and constitution making episodes. We conclude with a discussion about the impact of constitutional design on democratic performance.
Gabriel L. Negretto. Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 W.
POL 431/LAS 431
Seminar in Comparative Politics: Latin American Political Economy
This seminar covers selected topics in the political economy of Latin America. The main emphasis will be on the international and domestic roots of the neo-liberal economic reforms since the 1980s. We will pay special attention to the debate about the extent to which these reforms were compatible with democratic politics. We will also analyze the role of economic crisis as a driver of reforms and the implications of the region's high income inequality for the prospects of democracy and economic liberalism in Latin America. Other Requirements: Not open to Freshmen.
Grigore Pop-Eleches. Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 Th.
POR 301/LAS 303
Modern Brazilian Literature and Culture
What happens when music and literature meet? How does a literary project convert itself into music? And what if music itself turns into literature? We will address these and other issues in order to answer the question posed by literary critic and musician Jose Miguel Wisnik: How does it happen that in Brazil a popular singer like Caetano Veloso can be the most profound critic of its major writer, Guimarães Rosa? And what if that criticism is nothing but a song? From the act of listening to music to the close reading of literature, we will come to understand why Brazil is so often identified as a richly 'musical' country. Prerequisites and Restrictions: POR 208 or instructor's permission. Other Information: Readings (of poetry, prose and song lyrics) will be mainly in Portuguese. Classes will be taught in Portuguese, though discussions can be held in Spanish or English.
Pedro Meira Monteiro .Schedule: C01 11:00am - 12:20 TTh.
SPA 222/LAS 222
Introduction to Latin American Cultures
This class offers an introduction to modern Spanish American literature and criticism organized around basic questions on reading, writing and culture. What does literature say about history, politics, identity and culture in Spanish America, and how does it say it? How can we write about literature? Prerequisites and Restrictions: SPA 107 or 108, although another 200-level class (particularly SPA 207) is strongly suggested. Students who already took SPA 222 are not allowed to enroll in this class. Other Information: Course conducted in Spanish. Students are expected to actively participate in all class discussions.
Gabriela Nouzeilles. Schedule: L01 11:00am – 12:20 T, P01 11:00am – 12:20 Th, P01A 11:00am – 12:20 Th.
SPA 332/LAS 332
Modern Latin American Poetry
An introduction to the major poets and poetic trends in modern Latin America and the Caribbean, spanning the period from the end of the 19th century to the present. Intensive readings of texts by José Martí, Rubén Darío, Vicente Huidobro, César Vallejo, Pablo Neruda, Luis Palés Matos, Gabriela Mistral, Julia de Burgos, Jorge Luis Borges, Rosario Castellanos, and José Emilio Pacheco. Special attention to songs and lyrics by Violeta Parra, Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés, Violeta Parra, Spinetta and Carlos Varela. Emphasis on close textual analysis and class discussions. Readings and discussions in Spanish. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level Spanish course or instructor’s permission. Other Information: Course will be conducted entirely in Spanish.
Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones. Schedule: L01 1:30pm – 2:50 T, P01 1:30pm - 2:50 Th, P01A 1:30pm – 2:50 Th, P02 3:00pm – 4:20 Th.
SPA 345/LAS 345/COM 383
Topics in Latin American Literature and Ideology: Octavio Paz
This seminar will provide an overview of Octavio Paz's writings from the 1930s until his death in 1998, as well as a discussion of his intellectual dialogue with Georges Bataille. Paz, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, is a crucial figure in 20th century literature. We will study his poetry, his writings on India and the Far East, and his dialogue with theorists from the College de Sociologie, including Bataille, Roger Caillois, and Michel Leiris. We will compare Paz’s and Bataille’s approaches to eroticism, literature, and theoretical concepts like expenditure, abjection, and excess. Other Information: Course will be taught in English. Written work must be done in Spanish if Concentrator or Certificate applicant.
Rubén Gallo. Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 W.
SPA 350/LAS 349
Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies:
Dictatorship and Transition in Southern Cone Cultures
This course will focus on canonical and recent cultural production within the experience of dictatorship and post-dictatorship in Southern Cone countries. We will analyze the crisis of representation and the configuration of the transition in terms of reorganization of space, time, and visuality. The course includes canonical and non-canonical literature and cultural critique on the dictatorship and the transition, as well as visual materials dealing with the problematization of the gaze and the normalization of violence after the military regimes.  Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level Spanish course or instructor’s permission.  Other Information: The course will be taught in Spanish.
Susana Draper. Schedule: S01 3:00pm - 4:20 TTh.
SPA 351/LAS 347
Topics in the Culture of Cities: Mexico City, Havana, Buenos Aires
This course will focus on the influence of modernism (and its architectural, artistic, and literary versions) on three Latin American cities during the 1950s: Buenos Aires, Havana, and Mexico City. We will examine the history of such large-scale transformations by reading texts on urban planning by Le Corbusier and his Latin American disciples, as well as criticism of the modernist city by its numerous detractors, like Marshall Berman and Jane Jacobs. We will consider the debates about the modernist legacy in Latin America as we read novels and watch films representing these three cities during the 1950's. Other Requirements: Not open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Department of Spanish & Portuguese concentrators and certificate candidates, as well as LAS Concentrators, will be required to write all papers in Spanish in order to receive credit. Other Information: Course conducted in English. If course is closed, please email to be placed on a waiting list.
Rubén Gallo. Schedule: C01 7:30pm - 10:20 Th.

Courses of Interest, Spring 2008

AAS 342/ENG 397/MUS 364
Rhythm Nation

What do we mean when we say something has "rhythm"? What happens when we identify with a nation? What part does "rhythm" play in our identification with nations or what Benedict Anderson calls "imagined communities"? This class will question and expand conceptions and re-conceptions of location, listening, mediation, performance, identification, and culture in the interdisciplinary crossroads of music, literature, cultural studies, performance studies, and sound theory. Our approach will be both historical and theoretical with an emphasis on independent research. Other Information: Audio and Video Reserves: TBA (Note: All films and videos available via the Language Resource Center, 011 East Pyne, unless otherwise noted). This course would be an approved cognate for Latin American Studies concentrators provided that they do their major written work on a Latin American or Caribbean topic.
Mendi L. Obadike and Meredith A. Martin . Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 M.
La Nueva Latina
This course is about modern conceptions of Latina women in the United States. We will explore this topic using a variety of resources including feminist theory, academic writing, literature, and film. What is La Nueva Latina? Where do Latinas fit into the cannon of feminist theory? How have stereotypes emerged to characterize Latinas as sassy, sensual, etc., and how true are theses stereotypes? How are Latinas subjugated/empowered by popular media representations? This course will encourage participation. Other Information: Please email the course organizer,, if you are interested in enrolling in this course.
Arlene Dávila. Schedule: S01 1:30pm-4:20 Th.
ANT 221
The Anthropology of Migration and Diasporas
Mass flows of migration define the history of modern nations. Indeed, policies towards immigrants and refugees reflect how nations struggle to define themselves. Migrants’ experience reflects these complexities – challenging borders while reaffirming the continued significance of national boundaries. We will explore migration from the perspective of anthropology and ethnographic approaches to the experience of those moving across national borders as they negotiate belonging, citizenship, and identity. We also explore key themes and frameworks in the study of migrant experience, such as diaspora, transnationalism, globalization and sovereignty. Other Information: This course would be an approved cognate for Latin American Studies concentrators provided that they do their major written work on a Latin American or Caribbean topic.
Natasha Zaretsky. Schedule: S01 1:30pm – 2:50 MW.
ANT 570
Interdisciplinary Research: The Anthropology of Globalization
The global is not a given—it is made through intense, unexpected and highly unequal exchanges. This seminar examines political, social, and subjective processes that accompany economic globalization (with a focus on Latin America and Asia). We will address shifts in modes of production, governance, consumption, and self-fashioning and we will draw from ethnography, documentary films, and political economic accounts. We will also critically engage the theories that inform the ways social scientists think and write about power, values, and human agency in the global economy. How theoretically generative is ethnography? Which concepts make our science more realistic, better? Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students only. Other Information: This course would be an approved cognate for Latin American Studies concentrators provided that they secure approval from the Instructors; and all papers must be on a Latin American topic.
João Biehl. Schedule: S01 9:00am - 11:50 M.
EEB 350
Vertebrate Tropical Biology
This field course will address the life history characteristics of tropical vertebrates and the physiological traits that underlie those. Students will learn how tropical life histories differ from those in the temperate zone and will use eco-physiological techniques while conducting experiments and observations at a Smithsonian Institute field station. In particular, students will trap wild vertebrates; conduct baseline behavioral and physiological measurements; attach radio transmitters to individuals and monitor them over time in the forest. Students will then analyze the data and write a scientific manuscript. Other Requirements: Open to Juniors only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Enrollment limited to EEB juniors only and they must be enrolled in the Tropical Ecology Program in Panama. Other Information: Part of spring semester in Panama. Under "Requirements/Grading" section, 20% of course grade is field notes.
Martin C. Wikelski. Schedule: S01 TBA, B01 TBA.
FRS 106
Brazilian Popular Music: A Dialogue with the United States
Since Carmen Miranda came to the United States in the late 1930s to become one of the best known singers of radio days, Brazil has been an indelible part of the American musical imagination. The long history of dialogue with the U.S. leads to what nowadays would be the various and consistent “rediscoveries” of Brazilian music, of which the “lounge music” of Bebel Gilberto and Seu Jorge are a good example. The goal of this seminar is to trace Brazilian popular music in its historical dialogue with the United States, trying to understand how it became one of the most important instruments for understanding and publicizing Brazil in America. Even though it is not necessary to know Portuguese to take this course (since we will deal mainly with scholarship and media prepared for an English-speaking audience), this seminar has been designed as a journey through the world of Brazilian popular music, and it can serve as an opportunity for freshmen to start thinking about learning Portuguese, thus taking advantage of the resources and faculty we have at Princeton in this field. Other Information: For more information please consult The Freshman Seminar Catalog.
Pedro Meira Monteiro. Schedule: 7:30pm-10:20 Th.

FRS 118
Uncertain Destinies: Hispanics and the American Future

The Hispanic population is entering a critical phase of its history. Continuing current demographic trends, nearly one in five U.S. residents will be Hispanic by 2025. We will consider how Hispanics are forging new hybrid identities and are transforming the country as they disperse geographically and enter the schools, labor market, and health care systems in growing numbers. We will also consider the ethical dilemmas posed by “mixed families” of U.S.-born, foreign-born, and undocumented persons; the ethical and legal challenges concerning the “rights” of undocumented residents; the implications of the Hispanic geographic scattering for race relations and for residential and school segregation. We will work with the Community-Based Learning Initiative to explore Princeton’s Hispanic community, which exemplifies many of the issues currently faced by Hispanic immigrants. Other Information: For more information please consult The Freshman Seminar Catalog.
Marta Tienda. Schedule: 1:30pm – 4:20 T. 

FRS 170
Chile: From Revolution to Reform and Beyond
This course will cover contemporary Chile, around the waves of reform and revolution, authoritarianism and democratization of recent decades. It corresponds—if I may be allowed to say so—to a kind of autobiography of my generation. In Chilean contemporary history, three “revolutions” (we will discuss what is it meant by them) have taken place: Eduardo Frei´s “Revolution in Freedom” (1964–70), Salvador Allende´s “Chilean Road to Socialism” (1970–73), ending in democratic breakdown and a military coup (1973), and the Neoliberal Revolution of General Pinochet and the “Chicago Boys” (1973–90), within a highly polarized country that become a “nation of enemies.” The course will focus on certain aspects of contemporary Chile (reform and revolution, authoritarianism and democratization) within a broader comparative perspective in Latin America. It will include not only the traditional syllabus, but DVD presentations with some of the most salient features of recent history, and firsthand experience in this whole process. Other Information: For more information please consult The Freshman Seminar Catalog.
Ignacio Walker. Schedule: 1:30pm – 4:20 T.
HIS 504
Colonial Latin America to 1810
This course is a starting point for further exploration of Latin America’s colonial past, with an emphasis on Mexico and the comparative possibilities that fan out towards the Andes and to “marginal” regions. How historians have written and thought about this past has changed over the last two decades, with new concepts and topics coming to the fore. We will explore what these new trends involve, why some types of questions now seem more urgent than others, and what problems of past historiographical traditions still remain and deserve a new look. So our readings will include classics as well as more recent works that display new approaches. Other Requirements: Not open to Freshmen.
Vera S. Candiani. Schedule: S01 1:30pm - 4:20 Th.
POR 561
Modern Brazilian Literature
The principal phases of modern Brazilian poetry and narrative prose from romanticism through modernism. A special analysis is given of certain unique figures (such as Machado de Assis) and works (such as Ossertoes) that have deeply modified the national literary tradition as a whole. Other Requirements: Not open to Freshmen.
Jussara M. Quadros. Schedule: S01 7:30pm - 10:20 Th.
SPA 548
Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature : Literatura y Memoria
The seminar will explore the relation between literature and memory in modern Latin American and Caribbean literatures. Study of such concepts as memoria, olvido, and represión. How has concern about remembering or forgetting shaped individual works? How have writers contributed to cultural and political memories? Close reading of texts by Gabriel Mistral, César Vallejo, Borges, José María Arguedas, Gabriel García Márquez, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Margo Glantz, José Luis González, Juan José Saer, and Ricardo Piglia. Selected films and documentaries by contemporary filmmakers. Discussion of relevant philosophical and critical texts: Plato, Augustine, Freud, Agamben. Other Information: Selected films and documentaries will be screened. Schedule to be announced. Open to Graduate Students only or with Instructors permission.
Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones. Schedule: S01 1:30pm – 4:20 W.
SPA 551
Body, Perception, and Writing in Latin American Literature and Film
What then is the body? Some would say that it is an unstable, changing historical construct and that therefore its definition is continuously changing, a sort of aporia between nature and culture. This seminar explores the role of the body in Latin American cultural, visual and literary traditions, with an emphasis on the relationships of power that operate an immediate grasp upon it, marking it, writing it, disciplining it, torturing it, and making it signify. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students only.
Gabriela Nouzeilles . Schedule: S01 5:00pm - 7:50 Th.
WWS 572D/POL 524
Topics in Development: Democracy, Violence and Citizen Security
What is the relationship between violence and democratization? Why have new forms of violence peaked in some places and not others? This course will address violence in third-wave democracies in Latin America, Africa, and Eurasia by looking at theoretical debates, empirical patterns and normative implications. We will evaluate competing theoretical discussions of the role of violence in state building; analyze newly democratized cases in light of if/how/why they have (un)successfully secured citizen security; and finally, debate democratic policy options in light of the oft-cited tension between public order and civil liberties. Other Requirements: Not open to Freshmen. Other Information: For a more complete list showing recent additions to the WWS course offering for this term, please see Spring Term Course Offerings on the WWS website: . This course would be an approved cognate for Latin American Studies concentrators provided that they do their major written work on a Latin American or Caribbean topic.
Deborah Yashar. Schedule: S01 TBA.

WWS 594E
Topics in Policy Analysis (Half Term):
International Migration and Public Policy (Session I)

This course examines the theoretical models put forth to account for international migration, reviews the empirical evidence on hypotheses derived from these theories in different world regions, develops a synthetic framework for understanding immigration in the contemporary world, and uses this framework to analyze immigration policies in the United States and other migrant-receiving nations. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students only. Other Information: This class will meet from 2/4/2008 to 3/15/2008. For a more complete list showing recent additions to the WWS course offering for this term, please see Spring Term Course Offerings on the WWS website: . This course would be an approved cognate for Latin American Studies concentrators provided that they do their major written work on a Latin American or Caribbean topic.
Douglas S. Massey. Schedule: S01 TBA.

WWS 594F/SOC 594
Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term):
Immigration, Ethnicity, and Public Policy (Session II)
This course examines recent theories and research on the process of immigrant adaptation, the uses of immigrant workers in the receiving labor markets, and the challenges faced by the second generation as it seeks to integrate successfully. We will devote primary attention to the experience of immigrants in the United States, especially in the contemporary period. European case studies and literature will be brought to bear for comparative purposes at selected points in the course. Students will be responsible for a class presentation and a term paper. The course will be based on a combination of lectures and seminar-type discussion. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students only. Other Information: This class will meet from 3/24/2008 to 6/3/2008. For a more complete list showing recent additions to the WWS course offering for this term, please see Spring Term Course Offerings on the WWS website: .  This course would be an approved cognate for Latin American Studies concentrators provided that they do their major written work on a Latin American or Caribbean topic.
Alejandro Portes. Schedule: S01 TBA.

Course Offerings