Courses – 2016

/Courses – 2016
Courses – 2016 2018-07-04T20:39:36+00:00


COMPLIT 85500 – Faulkner, Garcia Marquez and the Global South – GC: T, 4:15 – 6:15 pm, 4 credits, Prof. Jerry Carlson

“There is always another way to envision modernity, a way that the violent categories of the political moment deny. Envisioning the other way is one of the things that artists are there to do.” – Adam Gopnik

Master storytellers from the Americas William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez share much more than the Nobel Prize in Literature. They are authors from corners of the Western Hemisphere – the American South and Caribbean Colombia, respectively — thought to be marginal to the literary mainstream until their arrival as creators of Yoknapatawpha and Macondo. Deeply committed to their regions, they are important because their tales reach beyond literary regionalism. Their formally innovative narratives struggle to express how traditional agrarian societies face the brutal arrival of industrial capitalism in its many avatars. This rich dialectic of narrative form and historical process makes their work enormously attractive to artists from the Global South who see in Yoknapatawpha and Macondo models of their own experiences.

By textual analysis the course will explore the relations among the works of the two canonical authors, descendants from their artistic family trees, and theorists of the Global South. Readings from Faulkner and Garcia Marquez may include As I Lay Dying, Absalom! Absalom!, Leaf Storm, and 100 Years of Solitude. Other novels may include Red Sorghum (China) by Mo Yan and On Black Sisters Street (Nigeria) by Chika Unigwe as well as such films as Oriana (Venezuela) by Fina Torres and In the Time of the Gypsies (Serbia) by Emir Kusturica. Theorists under consideration may include Edouard Glissant, Fredric Jameson, Achille Mbembe, Walter Mignolo, and Boaventura de Sousa Santos, among others.

While placing narratives and theory together, the course will be guided by the astute observation of Carlos Fuentes: “Art gives life to what history killed.” – See more at:


ASCP. 81500 – Encountering Latin America GC: W, 4:15-6:15p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Fiol-Matta


“Encountering Latin America” is an introduction to the travails of the Latin America-US relationship since the Spanish American War of 1898, as seen through the arc of culture and cultural politics in the region. It is well known that the US was perceived—correctly—as a worrisome neighbor since José Martí’s first writings on the reaches of empire, “from within the belly of the monster,” during his exile in New York City.

From the Monroe Doctrine to the Good Neighbor Policy, traversing the Cold War and the age of insurgencies exemplified in the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and others, to the post-1973 oil crash economies that unleashed cataclysmic migrations and provoked substantial changes to states and sovereignty, the grip of finance capital from NAFTA all the way to the current debt crisis in Puerto Rico, we will consider classic texts and others that update the discussion for contemporary American Studies students.

Topics include culture and policy, race, gender, social movements after the 1990s, left politics as exports to the US/cultural expression and the new geographies of the left; music as grid of identity, cinema as a window into otherness, literature as an enterprise of capital, the blogosphere and internet, new visual art, and social networks as environments of inter-American sociability.

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HIST 77300- Law and Justice in the History of the Latin American City, c. 1500 to the present GC: T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Amy Chazkel

This doctoral-level course examines the long history of cities in Latin America, from the early colonial era in the fifteenth century to the present day, with a particular focus on scholarship at the intersection of the study of the law and the humanities. We will consider topics that include, but are not limited to: the founding of cities as an expression of imperial power; gender and the question of private and public urban life; the centrality of urban slavery and freedpersons to the sociolegal history of Latin American cities; the long history of urban crime, justice, and policing; urban protest and social movements; architecture and power; and the history of struggles over control of urban space and time. A topic that we will treat in particular depth is the history of what has come to be called the “right to the city” as it developed out of centuries of struggles over urban resources throughout the region.   In addition to our readings, students will work throughout the semester toward producing an in-depth, publishable-quality historiographic essay as a final project.   This course is designed equally to explore the law and justice as crucial elements in the humanistic study of cities on the one hand, and, on the other, to familiarize students with a panorama of some of the most cutting-edge new scholarship on Latin American history, from the colonial era to the present. Students in this course do not need to have any prior knowledge of Latin American history, and students from other disciplines are warmly welcomed. All required readings will be in English; reading knowledge or Spanish and/or Portuguese would expand the possibilities available for writing the final paper but it not a requirement.

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ANTH 72100 — Concept Revolution Latin America, GC: Wednesday 1145am-145pm, 3 credits, Prof. Julie Skurski

Contact the Anthropology Ph.D. Program for more information.

MUS 88400: Seminar in Ethnomusicology: Topics in Caribbean Music (The Dominican Republic, the French Caribbean, and the British West Indies), (CONTACT MUSIC PROGRAM FOR LOCATION AND TIMES) Professor Peter Manuel

This seminar explores diverse aspects of the folk, salon, and commercial popular music cultures of the Dominican Republic, the French- and English-speaking Caribbean, and their diasporic communities in the USA. Genres covered will include merengue, bachata, reggaetón, contradanza, konpá, bélé, gwo-ka, zouk, roots reggae, quadrille, dancehall, calypso, soca, Indo-Caribbean traditional and modern musics, and the musics of Afro-Jamaican and Afro-Dominican religions. Dynamics of race, gender, creolization, and diasporic interactions will be recurring themes. Grades will be based on a term paper, a short analysis assignment, class reports on readings, and class notes. –

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Theatre and Society: Performance and the Latin American City, Thursdays, 2:00pm to 4:00pm (CONTACT THEATER PROGRAM FOR LOCATION) Professor Jean Graham-Jones

This course builds upon recent theory and scholarship regarding urban culture to examine the multiple and varied historical relations between performance and the Latin American city. While incorporating into our study selections from the performance histories of such cities as Bogotá, Havana, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Santiago, and São Paulo, we will take as our central case Buenos Aires, one of the Americas’ cultural megalopolises and home to arguably more theatrical activity today than any other city in Latin America. We will benefit from various disciplinary approaches to studying urban performances as we proceed in a roughly chronological fashion from before European arrival to the contemporary period. On the way we will consider, through theatrical and other performances, the often-contentious relationships surrounding such key topics as the (capital) city and the nation; immigration and indigeneity; artistic experimentation and the commerce of art; memory politics and memory sites; and urban cultural survival and reinvention in the “global city.” All in-class examples will come from Latin American urban artistic production; however, students are welcome to consider other cities as possible subjects for their individual research projects. Evaluation: Students will be assessed through participation (including a series of required online responses and in-class interventions), a brief class presentation, and a final research paper (15-20 pages).

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SPAN 78200 – Mapping New York City in Translation GC: Monday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Allen,

The “cities in translation” Sherry Simon describes in her marvelous 2012 book of that title include Montreal, Brussels, Barcelona and Dakar but specifically exclude New York, where, citing Doris Sommer, Simon sustains that “bilingual aesthetics… are oppositional” in that they take place on a home-host, insider-outsider divide. This course posits that New York’s Anglo-Hispanic axis runs through a number of sites that may correspond to Simon’s notion of the “dual city,” in which “two historically rooted language communities feel a sense of entitlement to the same territory.” These sites of translation involve literature, music, art, education, history, theatre, journalism, commerce and many other features of the city’s life. Beginning with a historical overview of writers, translators, periodicals, films and other entities that have created the cultural space of Nueva York/New York, the course challenges each student to select a site of translation within New York City — be it an individual writer, artist or musician, past or present, or an institution such as a museum, serial publication, theatre, shop, restaurant, musical venue, archive, etc.—as the focus of a research project. The research will investigate issues of translation and bilingualism as they play out at the chosen site, and will also involve the practice of translation. One end result will be a collaborative map of Nueva York/New York to be presented and distributed at the Latin American Studies Association’s 50th Anniversary International Congress May 27-30. This course will be taught in English and Spanish. –

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SPAN 87100 – Subjectivity, TV Miniseries, and the 40th Anniversary of the Coup d’état in Chile GC: Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Dapia

During the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the coup d’état in Chile in September 2013, television played a crucial role. A remarkable plethora of programs emerged ranging from documentaries series such as “Chile, las imágenes perdidas” (Chile’s Forbidden Images), which featured never-before-seen footage of dozens of episodes of repression during the years of dictatorship, to docudramas such as “Ecos del desierto”(Echoes of the Desert), the first major commercial TV series to deal with the slaughter of the “Caravan of Death” in a fictional way and thus offering a glimpse into the military world, which, to my knowledge, has not been explored before. This new tradition of successful TV programs dealing with Pinochet’s dictatorship and thus consciously seeking to contribute to collective memory was inaugurated by “Los 80” (The Eighties). It was produced by Andrés Wood and ran over seven seasons (from 2008 to 2014). This new television trend was continued by “Los Archivos del Cardenal” (The Cardinal’s Files), which ran over two seasons (2011; 2014) and was based on cases that were represented by the Vicaría de la Solidaridad, Chile’s most active human rights organization during the 1970s and 1980s. This course explores the notion(s) of subjectivity underlying two of these television series, “Ecos del desierto” and the first twelve-episode season of “Los Archivos del Cardenal.” Some of the questions that we intend to discuss are as follows: How do these TV series portray one’s sense of subjectivity when confronted with terror, oppression, and torture? If, according to some philosophers and theorists subjectivity implies a process of enslavement of our fluid selves, how do we distinguish between the enslavement allegedly in-built in the process of becoming a subject and the enslavement inherent in a subjectivity paralyzed by terror and cruelty? What elements of subjectivity are the targets of oppression? How does human rights talk become constitutive of subjective positions? Why can certain subjectivities so enthusiastically embrace and act for repressive regimes? How can one create new, corporeal, gendered and oppositional subjectivities that challenge hegemonic forms of subjectivity? Do our attempts to forge new subjectivities necessarily occur through the very ideological framework that we choose to challenge? Among the theorists of subjectivity that we shall engage with to frame our discussions are Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, León Rozitchner, and Slavoj Žižek. This course will be taught in Spanish.

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SPAN 87400 – Latin American Critical Theory GC: Tuesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Degiovanni,

This seminar will discuss groundbreaking texts produced by Latin American cultural analysts in the last thirty years. In what will be an inquiry into the politics of academic knowledge in the global theoretical marketplace, we will map the genealogical lines and epistemological crossroads that played a crucial role in the emergence of a number of scholarly discourses about Latin America—notions of modernity, colonialism, globalization, and the popular will be pivotal in this course. We will also examine issues and disputes that helped unleash disciplinary shifts vis-à-vis other theoretical and critical paradigms produced in the U.S. and Europe. The reading list will include texts by Ángel Rama, Antonio Cornejo Polar, Julio Ramos, Néstor García Canclini, Walter Mignolo, Beatriz Sarlo, Román de la Campa, John Beverley, and Josefina Ludmer. This course will be taught in Spanish.

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SOC 82800 – Immigrant Communities, Tuesdays, 11:45 – 1:45pm, 3 credits, Room TBA, Professor Angie Y. Chung

The course will cover the evolution, structure, and dynamics of immigrant communities in the United States with particular attention to the ethnic economy and community politics of contemporary Asian and Latino enclaves. We will cover a wide range of ethnic communities from socially isolated, self-sufficient ethnic enclaves to transnationally-embedded global economies to multiracial suburbs on the metropolitan outskirts. Among other things, we will discuss different scholarly perspectives on what constitutes an ethnic enclave, why some thrive while others decline, how they may empower and exploit, how they are culturally consumed, and how they are integrated into the urban political economy. Students will have the opportunity to develop an instructor-approved community project relevant to the course.