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Course Offerings

Spring 2011-2012

Click on the course title to visit the course page on the Registrar's site.


LAS 318/WWS 498/POL 471
Passive Aggressive Diplomacy: US-Latin American Relations
This seminar surveys US-Latin American diplomatic relations. The focus will be on old or recurrent historical myths and disparate perspectives on the nature of hemispheric links. Key Cold War crises will be reviewed, especially as they affect the present. Topics covered: The Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations' approaches to democracy, security, and economic policies; and new issues in relation to the larger emerging countries (Mexico and Brazil) and Andean governance in the context of the current crisis of globalization and evolving crosscurrents of power in the international system. Other Information: Students will also give a short presentation on a book report or policy recommendation paper. The analyses and class participation should be "multidisciplinary" and seek to aid and/or elucidate both US and Latin American attitudes. Ricardo Luna is a former Peruvian Ambassador to the US, UK, and UN.
Ricardo Luna. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 W.

LAS 323/GSS 322
Body, Beauty, and Race in Latin America
The course explores the linkages between the body, as a symbolic cultural form, and ideas about beauty, appearance, racialised perceptions of skin color, and physical characteristics within the Latin American context. We'll examine how practices and concerns about beauty are by no means trivial, they reveal the depth of racial and racist attitudes and their consequences for the performance of national identity, femininity and masculinity, and the sense of self-worth. Examples include beauty contests; the representation of indigenous, black, and mestizo bodies; and cosmetic surgery. Other information: Students will give two oral presentations: One based on one of the week's topics comparing and contrasting the readings; and the second presenting the progress of the final project. The final project is a portfolio made up of a 1500-word critical report (applying course readings) and a data file. The portfolio aims to bring together knowledge and understanding of constructions of the body, beauty, and race in Latin America.
Mónica Gabriela Moreno Figueroa. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 Th.

LAS 401/SPA 410/HIS 409
Latin American Studies Seminar: From Colonial to Global: Early Latin American History
For a long time, early Latin American history has been studied from a colonial, national, or Eurocentric point of view. This course will introduce other insights, mostly contemporary debates and questions. First, we shall travel through the societies and cultures covered by the Iberian empires in order to define modalities and peculiarities of Iberian globalization. Second, special importance will be given to processes of mestizaje as a crucial dynamic for this globalization. Finally, we'll analyze the historical links between America, Islam, China and Christian Europe in order to open up the study of the New World to its real global context. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Some training in history, ethnohistory, and/or anthropology; an interest in movies, art history, music, and museums; and a small knowledge of another language (european or amerindian) such as Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, French, Latin, Nahuatl, or Quechua. Other Information: This course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduate students.
Serge M. Gruzinski. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.


ANT 221/LAS 228/JDS 222
The Anthology 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 -- as diaspora, transnationalism, globalization, and sovereignty. Other information: PLAS certificate students must write the final paper on a Latin American topic and provide a copy to the Program.
Natasha Zaretsky. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

COM 238/LAS 238
Contemporary Latin American Literature
This course is an introduction to the study of contemporary Latin American literature and visual arts. Placing special emphasis on the changing relationships between aesthetics and politics, we will analyze the emergence of different contemporary genres and themes, covering the most important tropes and problems that have configured contemporary Latin American culture (from magical realism and testimonio to the present). Class will be conducted in English; readings will be available in translation and in the original language.
Susana Draper. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 W.

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. ENROLLMENT BY APPLICATION OR INTERVIEW. DEPARTMENTAL PERMISSION REQUIRED. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Prerequisites: 211, and 321 and enrollment in the EEB Spring Semester in tropical ecology program in Panama.
Richard Cooke and Dolores R. Piperno. Schedule: L01 TBA, B01 TBA.

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. ENROLLMENT BY APPLICATION OR INTERVIEW. DEPARTMENTAL PERMISSION REQUIRED. Other Requirements: Open to Juniors Only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: EEB 321 and enrollment in the EEB Spring semester tropical biology program in Panama.
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 changing social relations, political regimes and economic development.
Jeremy Adelman. Schedule: L01 9:00 am–9:50 MW, P01 TBA.

LAO 200/SOC 341/LAS 336
Latinos in American Life and Culture

This course will consider how Hispanics are transforming the United States even as they evolve as a people. Topics to be examined include the social and cultural significance of Hispanicity as an ethnic category, whether Hispanics are redrawing color lines, the implications of the unprecedented geographic dispersal of Latinos, and what the burgeoning second generation portends for the future contours of social and economic inequality; their political influence; and their myriad cultural imprints through music, literature and language. Other information: Active participation in precept is expected.
Marta Tienda. Schedule: L01 11:00am–11:50 MW, P01 TBA, P02 TBA.

POL 367/LAS 367
Latin American Politics

The course analyzes twentieth 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 Peru. Other Information: This course is open to first year students.
Deborah Yashar. Schedule: L01 10:00am–10:50 MW, 11:00am–11:50 W, P01 TBA.

POR 221/LAS 223
Introduction to the Literature and Culture of the Portuguese-Speaking World

This course will serve as an introduction to film, literature, history, culture and language of Northeast Brazil. Beyond regional dialects and cultural practices, we will explore historical, political and social constructs from within (and without) the northeast and will problematize the stereotypes and discrimination so often directed toward northeasterners. Reading selections each week and then watching a film inspired by that work. Course material is organized into sections which represent four distinct geographic areas contained in the lived and imagined experience of the Brazilian Northeast: a selva, o sertão, o terreiro e a cidade. Prerequisites and Restrictions: POR 208 or instructor's permission
Megwen M. Loveless. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 M.

POR 405/SPA 405/LAS 415
Latin American Essays

This seminar will focus on how intellectuals phantasize the uniqueness of Brazil and Latin America, and how they conceive the differences between "Iberoamerica" and the United States. The centuries-old Shakespearean geography in The Tempest will be studied, in order to situate, in the imagination of those intellectuals, Ariel, Caliban, and Prospero. The goal of this seminar is to understand how the North-American mirror works in shaping an alluring Latin American (Brazilian and Spanish American) "difference" that can be at once enchanting and deceptive. Other Information: SPA/POR certificate applicants must write papers in the respective target language. Graduate students can choose to substitute the midterm and the final take-home exam with a final paper.
Pedro Meira Monteiro. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 F.

SPA 351/LAS 347/LAO 351
Topics in the Culture of Cities: Buenos Aires, Havana, Mexico City

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. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese concentrators and certificate candidates will be required to write all papers in Spanish in order to receive credit. Other Information: Course conducted in Spanish. If course is closed, please email to be placed on a waiting list.
Rubén Gallo. Schedule: L01 1:30pm–2:50 W, P01 1:30pm–2:50 M, P01A 7:30pm–8:50 W.

SPA 356/LAS 365
Roberto Bolaño: Adventures in Cultureland

Forty years after the emergence of Gabriel García Márquez, the narrative works of the Chilean Roberto Bolaño have once again put Latin American literature at the center of the world's cultural mainstream. Quiet poet, public storyteller, and heir of Borges' most intricate speculations and the beatniks' nomadism, Bolaño broke with the recipes of magical realism and opened a fresh literary horizon by combining anti-intellectual vitalism and erudite conceptualism. This course explores the artistic strategies of an author who made Jim Morrison dialogue with James Joyce, and went from being an anonymous eccentric to a New York Times bestseller. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen Prerequisites and Restrictions: At least one LA distribution area course in SPA. Other Information: Course will be taught in Spanish; written assignments in Spanish and English. NOTE: Concentrators in Spanish and students pursuing a Certificate in Spanish will be required to write all assignments in Spanish.
Susana Draper. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

SPA 401/LAS 428
Topics in Hispanic Culture (Europe and America): Literature in 19th Century Hispanic America

This course studies some of the debates on the doctrine of natural rights of man that took place in nineteenth century Spanish American literature. Special attention will be given to the fact that many of such public debates preceded intellectual writings, and popular revolutions or civil wars, when the ideas were no longer the exclusive domain of literate elites. The reconstruction of these disputes between republicans and monarchists, liberalism and conservatism, and socialism and Catholicism, will allow us to reread some of the canonical texts of Hispanic literature and thought of that century. Other Requirements: Open to Juniors, Seniors, and Graduate Students Only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: For undergraduates: a 300-level SPA course or instructor's permission.
Rafael Elias Rojas Gutirérez. Schedule: S01 11:00am–12:20 TTh.


AAS 310/ENG 324/MUS 256
Music from the Hispanophone Caribbean

This interdisciplinary seminar utilizes the musical cultures of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba to reflect upon the aesthetic, migratory, and social histories of the Hispanophone Caribbean. Students will listen to the sounded legacies of conquest, slavery, colonialism, and U.S. intervention and occupation. The effects of transnational migration on music's performance and reception will also be one of the key themes in the course. We will not only consider the creative traditions and receptive worlds embedded in musical recordings, but will also pay attention to music's traces in literature, film, and other ephemera. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen.
Alexandra T. Vazquez. Schedule: S01 1:30–4:20pm Th.

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. Students learn to collect and interpret individual illness narratives as well as to assess the cultural and political dynamics of global 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. Note: Students pursuing a concentration in Latin American Studies must write their final paper on a Latin American topic.
João Biehl. Schedule: L01 1:30pm–2:50 M, C01 1:30pm–2:50 W.

EEB 350
Vertebrate Tropical Ecology

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. ENROLLMENT BY APPLICATION OR INTERVIEW. DEPARTMENTAL PERMISSION REQUIRED. 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.
Margaret C. Crofoot. Schedule: S01 TBA, B01 TBA.

FRS 156
Pottery: Archaeology, Art, and Technology

Barrett Family Freshman Seminar
Pottery sits at the intersection of art and technology, simultaneously part of aesthetic systems and complex tools requiring specialized knowledge of their production. This course explores archaeological approaches to pottery including stylistic, typological, modal, mineral, and chemical studies. We will survey a range of prehistoric pottery traditions, including those from Greece, Japan, Peru, and Mesoamerica. Students will examine how technological studies of pottery illuminate new avenues for understanding aesthetic systems and how aesthetic systems emerge from the materiality of pottery. Part of the course will involve experimental studies of pottery production (e.g., clay preparation, ceramic forming, and open-pit firing) in which students will test their own questions about the social, artistic, and technological milieus of ancient cultures. Note: Students pursuing a concentration in Latin American Studies must write their final paper on a Latin American topic.
Christina Halperin. Schedule: 1:30pm–4:20 T.

FRS 160
Race and the History of Racism in Brazil: An Alternative to the United States?

Barrett Family Freshman Seminar
In his memoirs, President Obama refers to the day his mother took him to the movies to see a Brazilian film from the 1950s, which depicted “black and brown” Brazilians singing and dancing in carnival-like manner in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. What Obama writes when he describes the moment he looked at his mother’s face is poignant, and can make us think about the role Brazil has played in the imagination of those who, in the United States, think about race and the history of racism throughout the world: “Her face, lit by the blue glow of the screen, was set in a wistful gaze. At that moment, I felt as if I were being given a window into her heart, the unreflective heart of her youth. I suddenly realized that the depiction of childlike blacks I was now seeing on the screen, the reverse image of Conrad’s dark savages, was what my mother had carried with her to Hawaii all those years before, a reflection of the simple fantasies that had been forbidden to a white middle-class girl from Kansas, the promise of another life: warm, sensual, exotic, different.”
Like the United States, Brazil has a long history of slavery and racism, but differently from the United States, Brazil has not postulated any “one-drop rule” to establish color lines in a segregationist manner. This may explain profound differences between the two nations, their histories and cultures, but at the same time it reveals a common fascination by a racially mixed and hybrid society, one in which differences between individuals would be less clear, be they based in color, phenotypical traces, linked to biology, or to economic and social status. Obama’s passage is key for the discussions we will be holding during this seminar: Why is it that Brazil so often seduces the rest of the world as being a colorful and supposedly less racialized society? Why in the 1930s was Brazil, seen as a “melting pot,” just one step from racial apartheid? Is “racial democracy” as a concept just an infamous invention that hides oblique and nonetheless cruel forms of racism in Brazil? Is racial democracy just a myth? But if it is a myth, what does that myth tell us about the society that invented it? If “race matters,” as per Cornel West’s witty expression, does it matter equally in different countries? How do we understand a society that is democratic on its surface, with mixed and hybrid cultural demonstrations (such as in music, arts, and sports), but which at the same time discriminates between its people socially (in the work environment, in terms of justice, as can be seen throughout its history)? Addressing these and other questions, we’ll analyze a variety of sources (literature, painting, newspaper articles, film, music, demographic data) in order to understand how race has been conceived in Brazil in different and rich ways, and how Brazilians often think of themselves as an “alternative” to the United States. Finally, we will understand how Brazil can be so deeply paradoxical, and how, despite being the last country to abolish slavery in the Western world (1888), it was long considered the “country of the future,” at once the cradle of racial democracy and a repository of urban violence, as exposed in the media through the typical drug lords in the “favelas,” most of them “black and brown” young people. The first half of the seminar, from February to March, will be co-taught by Princeton’s Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures Pedro Meira Monteiro, and Princeton’s Global Scholar Lilia Schwarcz, a distinguished Latin American scholar of race and racism. Professor Meira Monteiro alone will teach the second half of the seminar. While students who take this seminar are not required to know Portuguese, they are strongly encouraged to start learning Portuguese, either in the fall or the spring semester of their freshman year. Those freshmen who, in addition to the seminar, take Portuguese classes at Princeton in 2011–12 will be given priority in registering for the Portuguese language program that Princeton will hold in Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 2012.
Pedro Meira Monteiro. Schedule: 1:30pm–4:20 Th.

POR 208
Journeys in Portuguese: Studies in Language and Culture

Designed as a journey through the Lusophone world this course seeks to present the Portuguese language in context by exploring historical, social, political and cultural aspects of Brasil, Portugal, and Lusophone Africa through the media, literature, film, music and other realia. Students will increase their fluency and accuracy in both written and spoken Portuguese, broadening their vocabulary and mastery of syntax through textual analysis, discussions, oral presentations and grammar review. An advanced language course and overview of the Lusophone world, POR 208 seeks to prepare students for further study of literature and culture. Prerequisites and Restrictions: POR 109 or instructor's permission. Note: Students pursuing a concentration in Latin American Studies must write their final paper on a Latin American topic.
Megwen M. Loveless. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–2:50 T Th.

SPA 209
Spanish Language and 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 world. 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. ENROLLMENT BY APPLICATION OR INTERVIEW. DEPARTMENTAL PERMISSION REQUIRED. Prerequisites and Restrictions: SPA 108 or SPA 207 in addition to instructor's permission. Please email Alberto Bruzos Moro ( Other information: Selection of contemporary Latin American and Spanish films. Note: Students pursuing a concentration in Latin American Studies must write their final paper on a Latin American topic.
Alberto Bruzos Moro. Schedule: C01 11:00am–12:20 MW, F01 7:30pm–10:20 Th.

SPA 224
Hispanic Studies: Introduction to Cultural Analysis

Focus on the analysis of short fiction and poetry from Latin America and Spain (Quevedo, Machado, García Lorca, Borges, Cortázar, César Vallejo, Carmen Martín Gaite, etc), but the course will also offer an introduction to the analysis of other Hispanic cultural artifacts, in particular film and photography (especially Mexican). Texts will be studied in light of theories by Bakhtin, Barthes, Said, etc. Students do not need to have any previous knowledge or expertise about literary theory or literary/cultural analysis. Other Requirements: Open to Freshmen and Sophomores Only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Another SPA 200-level course or instructor's permission. Note: Students pursuing a concentration in Latin American Studies must write their final paper on a Latin American topic.
Manuel-Angel G. Loureiro. Schedule: C01 1:30-2:50 T Th.

URB 201/SOC 203
Introduction to Urban Studies

This course will examine different crises confronting cities in the 21st century. Topics will range from immigration, to terrorism, shrinking population, traffic congestion, pollution, energy crisis, housing needs, water wars, race riots, extreme weather conditions, war and urban operations. The range of cities will include Los Angles, New Orleans, Paris, Logos, Caracas, Havana, New York, Hong Kong, and Baghdad among others. Note: Students pursuing a concentration in Latin American Studies must write their final paper on a Latin American topic.
M. Christine Boyer. Schedule: L01 11:00am–12:20 T, P01 TBA, P02 TBA, P03 TBA, P04 TBA, P05 TBA.

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. DEPARTMENT CONSENT IS REQUIRED TO ADD THIS CLASS. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: This course will be offered in Cuba to participants in the Princeton program in Havana.
Shanti Pillai. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 T.

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