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Courses in Latin American Studies

Spring Semester 2010-2011

ART 365/LAS 370
Introduction to Mesoamerican Visual Culture
This course explores the ancient culture known today as Olmec, which flourished from 1500-600 B.C. Renowned for its monumental sculpture, fine pottery, and delicate jade carvings, many aspects of the Olmec remain enigmatic. In this course, we will delve deeply into what is and is not known about the Olmec, with a heavy focus on visual culture both as explanans and as explanandum. The course will include intensive study of original works of art, both in the collections at Princeton and in other area collections. Issues of authenticity, quality, and provenance related to these works will also be considered. Other Information: The course will include a series of group and individual writing projects, ranging from object-specific formal analyses to critical précis of academic papers. Students will also develop a term research paper on a topic of their choosing, to be approved by the instructor. Prerequisites and Restrictions: ART 267/LAS 267 or ART 268/LAS 268, or permission of the instructor. Spanish literacy preferred. Enrollment by application or interview. Departmental permission required. Other information: To access the application go to: For Art and Archaeology concentrators, satisfies African/Pre-Columbian distribution requirement.
Bryan R. Just. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 Th.

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. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Prerequisites: 211, and 321 and enrollment in the EEB Spring Semester in tropical ecology program in Panama. Enrollment by application or interview. Departmental permission required.
Staff. 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). Students carry out individual projects at the sites. Fieldwork is supported by six orientation walks that introduce participants to common orders and families of plants and arthropods. Other Requirements: Juniors Only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: EEB 321 and enrollment in the EEB Spring semester tropical biology program in Panama. Enrollment by application or interview. Departmental permission required.
Yves F. Basset. Schedule: L01 TBA, B01 TBA.

HIS 304/LAS 304
Modern Latin America since 1810
This course surveys the main themes of Latin American History from independence to the present. The main focus is on the interaction between states and citizens, social relations, and economic development.
Robert Karl. Schedule: L01 2:30pm–3:20 TTh, P01 TBA.

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 single-party regime of the PRI at the polls in 2000, after over 70 years of uneasy rule. Civil war followed one of these events; the outcome of the other is still in dispute. How can we explain Mexico's transition from the richest colony in the Americas to a nation with unresolved social, economic, and political struggles? What have been the causes of internal tension and how have different groups sought to solve them? Why have the drug cartels gained so much ground?
Vera S. Candiani. Schedule: L01 11:00am–11:50 MW, P01 TBA.

LAS 302/ANT 302/WOM 303
Gender and Latin American States

This course examines the intersection of gender, power, and identity in various states in Mesoamerica. It explores states of different time periods and political movements (e.g., pre-Columbian, colonial, national and transnational state systems), bisecting traditional divides in prehistory and history. Rather than approach gender from an evolutionary perspective, readings and discussions focus on comparative analyses that both challenge monolithic perspectives of social power and underscore historical contingency in the constitution of gender.
Christina T. Halperin. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 M.

LAS 313/SPA 311
Immigration Debates in the United States

This course will examine the current national debate over immigration, studying the historical context and the social impact of immigration to the United States since 1990, primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean; as well as the evolution of policy. This is a writing course in which we will read and practice different journalism styles for reporting this contentious issue, from the neutral news voice to the blog blast. Prerequisites and Restrictions: This is a combined public policy and writing course. Interest in testing different styles of journalism writing and in honing a non-fiction writing style is essential. Other information: The course will include a trip to The New York Times and visits by advocates from different sides of the immigration debate.
Julia D. Preston. Schedule: S01 7:30pm–10:20 M.

LAS 402/POL 435
Latin American Studies Seminar - Surviving Good Governance: Public Administration after the Reforms
This seminar introduces students to the main issues in state and public administration reform carried out in Latin America over the last 15 years. The three main points to be discussed are Classical Weberianism, New Public Management, and Neo-Weberianism. The seminar will present a critical review of each, both in theory and implementation. In addition, the seminar has the practical goal of providing students with the capacity not only to understand, but also to reproduce and further elaborate arguments for and against each of the main reform models, generally and in specific cases of application. Other information: Every two classes a question posed by the instructor will be discussed. Examples of possible questions are: What are the advantages/disadvantages of a permanent state bureaucracy?; State bureaucrats are neither elected, nor appointed by elected officials. Can we consider the state bureaucracy as a democratic institution? Why are there so many political appointees in Latin American countries? Are there any other reasons/motivations for this fact beyond self-interest?
Agustin E. Ferraro Cibelli. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

MUS 259/LAS 259
Caribbean Music from Contradanza to Reggae, Salsa and Beyond

Explores the history, aesthetics, and social significance of music in the English and Hispanic Caribbean from the late 18th C to the present day. Genres studied include those in the art, traditional, and popular realms (e.g., music of santeria, contradanza, son, salsa, nueva trova, bomba, bolero, merengue, bachata, ska, reggae, dancehall, dub, calypso and soca) in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad. We consider the social conditions that led to the birth and diffusion of these genres; their musical characteristics; and the interrelationships among the musical styles of the Caribbean.
Noriko Manabe. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 M.

NES 306/LAS 307
Arabs in the Americas: Middle Eastern Migrants in the US and Latin America

This course will examine the history of an often forgotten component of the great waves of migration to the Americas: Arabic-speaking migrants from present-day Lebanon and Syria who scattered through the US and Latin America. Using sources ranging from historical scholarship to memoirs, congressional reports and press articles, we'll consider the social, economic, political, and legal histories of the Middle Eastern men and women who settled in places as varied as Brooklyn and Buenos Aires. Crossing the lines between US, Latin American, and Middle Eastern history, we'll embark on a fascinating journey on the trail of these forgotten migrants. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Freshman may take the course with instructor's permission.
Andrew K. Arsan. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 W.

POR 301/LAS 303
Modern Brazilian Literature and Culture

A study of 20th- and 21st-century literature, with the aim of discussing the blooming of new narrative and poetic forms in Brazil. Works by Mario de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Manuel Bandeira, Graciliano Ramos, João Cabral de Melo Neto, Clarice Lispector, Luiz Ruffato, Adriana Lisboa. Prerequisites and Restrictions: POR 208 or instructor's permission.
Pedro Meira Monteiro. Schedule C01 7:30pm–8:30 TTh.

POR 304/LAS 311
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History – Music and Literature in Brazil

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, Guimaraes 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 try to understand why Brazil is so often identified as a richly "musical" country. Other information: Music by Caetano Veloso, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Jose Miguel Wisnik, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Noel Rosa, Luis Gonzaga, Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, Ernesto Nazareth, Romancal, Seu Jorge, Anima, Joao Gilberto, among others.
Pedro Meira Monteiro. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 F.

POR 306/LAS 360/ARC 307
Urban Modernism and Its Discontents
An overview of the cultures and histories of major cities in the Portuguese-speaking world, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, Lisbon and Luanda. This course explores some of the tensions between modernization projects and cultural production during the late 19th and 20th centuries, examining representations of the city in literature (poetry and prose), maps, film, painting, photography, and music. We will focus on topics like the favelas, São Paulo's urban explosion into a megalopolis, the architectural history of Brazil's modernist capital, and the potential consequences of Rio de Janeiro hosting the 2016 Olympics. Other information: The class will be conducted entirely in English. If a student is pursuing a POR certificate, however, written work is to be completed in Portuguese. Note: To receive credit for a PLAS certificate, the final paper must be written on a Portuguese-speaking Latin American city and a copy must be submitted to PLAS.
Bruno M. Carvalho. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

POR 401/VIS 447/LAS 447
Shooting the Enemy in Non-Fiction Cinemas
Among the questions that define the nature of nonfiction film, one of the principal ones is the question of responsibility towards those one wants to film. Documentaries about the "enemy" or the "adversary" constitute the most extreme manifestation of this problem, and can therefore be seen as the most radical testing ground for nonfiction film. This seminar will explore the dilemmas faced by documentary filmmakers who choose to represent the enemy, be it a war enemy, a class antagonist, a political opponent, a social monster, a dictator, a torturer or an ambivalent friend. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Taught in English, but some materials may be only available in Portuguese or Spanish. Knowledge of these languages is helpful, but not required.
João Moreira Salles. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 W, F01 7:30pm–10:20 T.

REL 276/LAS 276/WOM 276
Saints and Sinners: Women and the Church in Colonial Spanish America
An introductory exploration of women's experience of and participation in the Catholic Church and colonial Christianity in Spanish America. Through primary sources, secondary readings, lectures, and discussion, we will look at women's roles in the processes of conquest and colonization; how conversion and religious change affected gender ideologies and gender relations within indigenous communities; women's daily encounters with the church and participation in devotional culture; and the ways women's complex relationships with the colonial church was shaped by race and social status. Other information: Previous work in Latin American history, religion courses, or women and gender studies courses are helpful, but not required, and beginning students with no previous knowledge or experience are very welcome.
Jessica Delgado. Schedule: L01 11:00am–11:50 MW, P01 TBA.

SPA 342/LAS 342
Topics in Latin American Modernity - Workshop on Contemporary Literature and Arts

Meet the writers! We will study the work of several young, cutting-edge writers and artists from Latin America. Five of them will travel to Princeton and meet with seminar students. Discussion will focus on the relation between literature and politics, and the impact of globalization and other 21st century developments on culture. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Fluency in Spanish (reading and speaking). Other information: Course will be taught in Spanish.
Rubén Gallo. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

SPA 345/LAS 345
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." Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level SPA course or instructor's permission. Other information: Course will be taught in Spanish.
Susana Draper. Schedule: S01 3:00pm–4:20 TTh.

SPA 350/LAS 349
Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies - Contemporary Cuban Literature and Visual Culture

In this course we will read literature and essays, examine artwork, performances and blogs, and watch films produced in Cuba or the diaspora from the 1990s through the present. Themes include the economic crisis, publishing and new media, post-cubanidad, the Raul Castro era, and others. Authors, filmmakers and artists, some of whom will visit the class, include: Antón Arrufat, Tania Bruguera, Los Carpinteros, Víctor Fowler, Abilio Estévez, Carlos Garaicoa, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Fernandez Pérez, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Ena Lucía Portela, Antonio José Ponte, Reina María Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Tabío, Anna Lidia Vega Serova, Zoé Valdés. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level SPA course or instructor's permission. Other information:
Course will be taught in Spanish.
Rachel Price. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–2:50 MW.

SPA 351/LAS 347/LAO 351
Topics in the Culture of Cities - Spanish, Latin American, and Latino Nueva York
An exploration of the ways in which Spaniards, Latin Americans, and Latinos have imagined and experienced New York. How and why did Nueva York become a diaspora city for "hispanos"? Themes include: Caribbean and Latin American migrations and the shaping of new identities; the growth of "barrios"; the city between empires and the legacy of 1898; the role of art, literature and music in the creation of cultural memories; political and cultural debates in the city from the Mexican Revolution through the Spanish Civil War; race, Afro-Latinos and responses to racism. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Course taught in English with readings and papers in English. However, Spanish concentrators and certificate candidates are required to write papers in Spanish. Some reading knowledge of Spanish preferred. Other information: PRIOR to the first class meeting, registered students are expected to visit NUEVA YORK (1613-1945) an exhibition jointly organized by the New York Historical Society and El Museo del Barrio. This exhibition will be held at El Museo del Barrio in New York City from September 17, 2010 through January 9, 2011.
Arcadio Díaz Quiñones. Schedule: C01 11:00am–12:20pm TTh.


Courses of Interest

FRS 154
Slavery: Ancient and Modern
Paul L. Miller ’41 Freshman Seminar in Human Values
Slavery is readily admitted to have been one of the transcendent evils of our human past. And yet in that same past slaves and slave labor—not freedom or free labor—were commonly found in almost every part of the world. It is only very recently that slavery has come to be regarded as unusual or fundamentally immoral. Our focus in this seminar will be on a comparison of two of the world’s most intensely studied systems of slavery: the slave society of the Roman Empire and that of the modern Antebellum South of the United States. Wider comparisons will be drawn in both cases. In the ancient case, we will refer to materials from Egypt, the Near East, the world of the Greek city-states, and early mediaeval Europe; and, on the modern side, materials from the Caribbean and Latin America. Some of the main questions that we shall investigate in this comparative perspective include: What is slavery? Why and how do systems of slave labor arise? How are they maintained? How does the institution of slave holding impact the moral thinking and behavior of the whole society of which slaves are part? What sorts of resistance to slavery were possible? How and why do slave systems come to an end? How did slaves themselves live within the system of servitude in which they were kept? Other Information: 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.
Brent Shaw. Schedule S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

HIS 506
Modern Latin America since 1810
Course examines interactions between states and citizens since Lain American independence with an additional consideration of the region’s integration into global economic and political systems. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only. Other Information: Some Spanish is highly recommended. See instructor for more details.
Robert A. Karl. Schedule: S01 TBA.

POR 562/ARC 564/ MOD 564
Luso-Brazilian Seminar – Writing and Urban Life

This interdisciplinary seminar explores different writers' representations of urban experience, and how the development of cities has been shaped by writing. Issues to be approached will include the impact of new media (i.e., photography, phonography, film) and urban transformations on literary imaginaries and city life; the interface between literacy, orality and visual cultures (including cartography and architecture); relationships between fiction writing and social history; intersections between modernity and city planning. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Other information: Readings by major authors will be paired with theoretical and/or historiographic texts. Although focus will be on Luso-Brazilian texts and cities from the late nineteenth century onwards, examples from other cultural and historical contexts will be a constant throughout the course, and students are encouraged to work within a comparative framework. Discussions may be held in English, Spanish, and/or Portuguese, to be decided in conjunction with the students on the first day of class.
Bruno M. Carvalho. Schedule: S01 1:30pm-4:20 Th.

SOC 340/REL 390
God of Many Faces: Comparative Perspectives on Migration and 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 how is it 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: 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.
Patricia Fernandez-Kelly. Schedule: L01 10:00am–10:50 TTh, P01 TBA.

SPA 401
Topics in Hispanic Culture (Europe and America) – Women Writers of Spain and Latin America
Close reading of female-authored works ranging from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. A series of oral reports on normative and moralistic texts will enable us to contrast the ways in which women saw themselves with the ways in which they were seen by men. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 300-level SPA course or instructor’s permission. Other Information: Course will be taught in Spanish. 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.
Ronald Surtz. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

SPA 554
Latin American Neobaroques: Literature, Philosophy, Politics

Departing from a brief review of central concepts about the "barroco de Indias," this course explores the idea of the neobaroque (up to the neobarroso) in Latin America as an aesthetic, historical, political, and philosophical idea; themes include poetics, desire, fetish, coloniality, empire, and philosophies of history. Authors may include Carpentier, Lezama Lima, Haroldo de Campos, Cabrera Infante, Sarduy, Perlongher, Irlemar Chiampi, Benjamin, Lacan, Deleuze, Marx. Readings in Spanish, English, Portuguese. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Studies Only.
Rachel Price. Schedule: S01 4:30pm-7:20 M.

WWS 488
Special Topics in Public Affairs - Arts and Cultural Policy in Contemporary Cuba

This course will address the creation, promotion and consumption of art and culture in Cuba--and will analyze the policy framework within which this takes place. It will examine the goals of the revolutionary government with respect to literacy and cultural democracy and will review how these objectives have been realized through changing circumstances since 1959. It will ask how cultural policy relates to diversity, emigration, tourism, the preservation of heritage, and the fraught histories of imperialism and nationalism. Other Requirements: Juniors and Seniors Only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: This course will be offered in Cuba to participants in the Princeton program in Havana. Departmental consent is required to add this class.
Staff. Schedule: S01 TBA.

Course Offerings