Fall 2020


Brazil LAB Course

LAS 308 / GHP 308
Health, Education and Work in Latin America

This course explores how health, education and work impact vulnerability and inequality in Latin America. Drawing from comparative studies, the seminar assesses these structural aspects of well-being and social development with an eye towards policy implications.On health we will examine overall disparities in care access and outcomes, persistent but neglected issues such as mental health and violence and emerging issues such as the preparedness for global epidemics. On education, enrollment, performance and how it relates to a changing world. On work, we will discuss employment patterns and wage inequality across race, ethnicity, and gender.
Instructor: Marcelo Medeiros


Courses of Interest

POR 304 / LAS 311
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History: Performing Brazilian Culture

Students will be introduced to Brazilian culture through the concept and practice of performance and the creation of characters. What are the stereotypes of Brazilian culture? How are they constructed and parodied? What is the role of humor in social criticism? How does TV represent class, gender and racial conflicts? How can we criticize culture within the popular media? What are the relations between center and periphery, popular culture and high culture, literature and ecology? How is the body performed and represented? Dance, music, poetry, theater, films and fiction will be part of a final performance about Brazil and its multiple faces.
Instructor: Marilia Librandi


POR 562 / LAS 562
Luso-Brazilian Seminar: The Story as Gift

In one of his broadcast writings for children, Walter Benjamin says that the more we understand something, the more we can rejoice in it, and the less we're fixated on possessing it. In this Luso-Afro-Brazilian seminar we discuss how stories are crafted as gifts, as if, by sharing the story through a narrator, the author wanted to give it away, thus avoiding its possession. We test Benjamin's hypothesis: is literature an act of sharing, rather than keeping knowledge to ourselves?
Instructor: Pedro Meira Monteiro


PHI 372 / SPA 393 / LAS 372
Latin American Philosophy

The course deals with philosophy as practiced in Latin America from the Spanish Conquest until the contemporary period. Unifying themes are race, identity, and the relationship between European influences and the specific circumstances of Latin America. We will explore these themes by examining the following topics among others: the use of Aristotelian ideas in debates about the appropriate treatment of the indigenous populations of the Americas; and ways in which Latin American thinkers employed ideas of the French enlightenment, Comte's positivism and Marxist concepts to articulate programs for political and cultural change.
Instructor: Hendrik Lorenz


HUM 328 / ENG 270 / ART 396
Language to Be Looked At

This seminar focuses on the intersection of language and visual art in the twentieth-century. We begin by examining modernist and avant-garde experiments in word and image and then investigate the global rise of concrete and visual poetry and text-based art movements after World War II. We compare and combine methods from literary studies and art history, as well as other disciplines, including history, sociology, and philosophy. We examine artworks from, and the networks that connect, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Instructors: Joshua Kotin, Irene Small


LAS 212 / ANT 212
Environmental Sovereignties: Indigenous Social Movements in the Americas

In this course we will examine how Indigenous peoples in the Americas have mobilized in the protection of environmental rights, against extractivism, and in defense of natural resource, territorial, and political sovereignty. We will draw connections and explore differences in the panorama of Indigenous social movements in hemispheric perspective, and the nature of state and elite responses to these protest movements. In so doing, we will draw out a broader understanding of how flashpoint moments of protest expose the political, social, and colonial fault lines that underpin everyday life in the Americas.
Instructor: Bridgette Kathleen Werner


LAS 307 / JRN 307 / COM 371 / SPA 374
Journalism, Politics, and Power in Latin America

Journalism has played an outsized role in Latin America's political and cultural life, whether as a form of witnessing, an instrument of analysis or a tool for resistance and revolt. This course will look at work from across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, exploring different approaches writers have taken, and highlighting a series of recurrent themes, foremost among them journalism's tangled relationship with power. We will mainly focus on print, but will also deal with film, TV, and photography. Throughout, students will be encouraged to reflect on parallels between the reportage of the past and the contemporary media landscape.
Instructor: TBA


LAS 313 / ENV 333
Political Natures: The Politics of Nature and Development in Latin America

Popular imaginaries depict Latin America as both brimming with pristine nature and afflicted with devastating environmental degradation. This seminar explores Latin American nature as an ecological, political and cultural creation, asking: Where do these imaginaries of pristine/despoiled nature come from? How are they used, perpetuated or debunked by scientists, Indigenous peoples, politicians and NGOs? We apply these questions to an array of environmental issues, including climate change, deforestation and ecotourism, to analyze the effects of these imaginaries on people's lived experiences of nature, conservation and economic development.
Instructor: TBA


ARC 205 / URB 205 / LAS 225 / ENV 205
Interdisciplinary Design Studio

The course focuses on the social forces that shape design thinking. Its objective is to introduce architectural and urban design issues to build design and critical thinking skills from a multidisciplinary perspective. The studio is team-taught from faculty across disciplines to expose students to the multiple forces within which design operates.
Instructor: Mario Gandelsonas


SPA 233 / LIN 233 / LAS 233
Languages of the Americas

This course explores the vast linguistic diversity of the Americas: native languages, pidgins, creoles, mixed languages, and other languages in North, Central, and South America, including the Caribbean. We will examine historical and current issues of multilingualism to understand the relationship between language, identity, and social mobility. We will discuss how languages played a central role in colonization and nation-building processes, and how language policies contribute to linguistic loss and revitalization. This course has no prerequisites and is intended for students interested in learning more about languages in the Americas.
Instructor: Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo


SPA 237 / LAS 237 / GSS 237
Wildness, Whiteness, and Manliness in Colonial Latin America

What did it mean to be "wild," "manly" or "white" in Early Modernity, and how do these categories function today? This course explores films made in the last fifty years, featuring "descents into savagery" and the colonial texts that inspired them. Among other topics, we'll discuss: coloniality and its effects; primitivism and progress; media and mediation; race and gender; healing practices; intercultural dialogues; and community-based performances.
Instructor: Nicole D. Legnani


HIS 303 / LAS 305
Colonial Latin America to 1810

What is colonization? How does it work? What kind of societies does it create? Come find out through the lens of the Latin America. First we study how the Aztec and Inca empires subdued other peoples, and how Muslim Iberia fell to the Christians. Then, we learn about Spanish and Portuguese conquests and how indigenous resistance, adaptation, and racial mixing shaped the continent. You will see gods clash and meld, cities rise and decline, and insurrections fail or win. Silver mines will boom and bust, slaves will toil and rebel; peasants will fight capitalist encroachments. This is a comprehensive view of how Latin America became what it is.
Instructor: Vera Candiani


SPA 330 / POR 330 / LAS 390
Junior Seminar: Spanish and Portuguese-Speaking Worlds

This seminar has been designed to assist SPO concentrators in the production of their fall JP. With such end, the seminar will be conducted as a writing workshop. The emphasis of the first part of the seminar will be on introducing students to the approaches, critical concepts and tools utilized in cultural studies in the Luso-Hispanic and Latinx world. In the second part of the seminar, students will be expected to write and share their JP-in-progress, as well as comment on their peers' ongoing work. By the end of the semester, students should have completed about eighty percent of their independent work.
Instructors: Christina H. Lee, Marilia Librandi


SPA 345 / LAS 345
Art, Memory, And Human Rights in Latin America

This course studies artistic and cultural practices that created different aesthetics and politics of memory that have become essential in order to respond, denounce, and creatively resist to different forms of violence and human rights violations. Looking at literature, visual arts, memory museums, and film, the course will pay special attention to different articulations among visual, discursive, and territorial regimes of signification, from the 1950s to the present. Some classes will be held at the Art Museum in order to work with materials from the Latin American collection.
Instructor: Susana Draper


POL 367 / LAS 367 / WWS 367
Latin American Politics

Democracy and military rule. Revolutions and social movements. Economic booms and busts. This class debates these core themes in contemporary Latin American politics in order to better understand 21st century opportunities and challenges in the region. We discuss enduring and yet uneven democracies; rising populism and weak parties; neoliberal and statist development strategies; crime and violence; ethnic and racial inequalities; and contentious politics and social protest. The course adopts a thematic focus and evaluates competing theoretical debates in the context of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Instructor: Deborah J. Yashar


ENV 200
The Environmental Nexus

This course offers an introduction to the scientific, technological, political, ethical and humanistic dimensions of the nexus of environmental problems that pose an unprecedented risk at mid-century: climate change, biodiversity loss, and food and water for 9 billion people. All sections of ENV 200 will meet together for lecture each week, but students will enroll in one of six possible precepts that will meet separately and pursue a particular disciplinary focus and earn credit for the corresponding distribution area.
Instructor: Stephen Pacala