Courses

Spring 2020

 

Brazil LAB Course

LAS 329 / ANT 329 / ENV 379 / POR 329
Amazonia, The Last Frontier: History, Culture, and Power

This course focuses on the Brazilian Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest and the ancestral home of over one million indigenous peoples, now threatened by deforestation and fires. Further degradation will have disastrous consequences for its peoples, biodiversity, rainfall and agriculture, and global climate change. Combining perspectives from the social sciences and the humanities, we will critically examine projects to colonize, develop, and conserve the Amazon over time and reflect on the cultural wisdoms of its guardians. Students will work together to develop alternative visions to safeguard the forest for Brazil and the planet.
Instructor: Miqueias H. Mugge
Guest lecturers: Lilia M. Schwarcz (USP) & Virgínia Amaral (Museu Nacional) 

 

Courses of Interest

ANT 240 / HUM 240
Medical Anthropology

How might anthropology and the humanities deepen our understanding of illness, healing, and cure? This course explores the cross-cultural significance of medicine and present-day struggles for wellbeing in the U.S. and comparatively. We will interpret illness narratives and medical stories and analyze therapeutic itineraries, health disparities, and caregiving. While attending to human plasticity and the ways biosocial and medical realities shape each other, we will learn ethnographic methods, engage in critical ethical debates, and experiment with modes of expression. Students will develop community-engaged projects.
Instructors: João Biehl, Onur Gunay

 

LAS 218 / URB 218
Social Justice: The Latin American City

This course deals with difficult questions of how urban social justice is understood, demanded, pursued, and meted out.The UN reports that more than half of the world's population now lives in cities, a transformation especially profound in Latin America. In this course, we will critically assess both this urban terrain and the tools and theories we use to apprehend it, from `environmental racism' to the 'circuits of capital', and from the 'Pink Tide' to the 'postpolitical'.
Instructor: Ben Alan Gerlofs

 

LAS 318 / POL 373
From Zapata to the Cold War: Latin America's 20th Century Revolutions

In this lecture course we will analyze key 20th century Latin American revolutions within their regional and global context, focusing on the ideologies that motivated insurgents and the legacies left in the wake of national transformation. We will read broadly across the literature on Latin American revolutions, analyzing historical arguments, comparing and contrasting existing narratives, and building our own arguments about revolutionary processes. Crucially, we will consider how revolutionary dreams met with violent counterrevolution in the crucible of cold war.
Instructor: Bridgette Kathleen Werner

 

LAS 339 / ANT 396 / ART 388
Towards a Material History of Latin America

This class looks beyond traditional archival approaches to explore the postconquest history of Latin America through an analysis of objects, landscapes, and the human body as "alternative archives". Beginning with the era of European invasions in the 15th and 16th centuries, we will explore the material traces of colonial and postcolonial lives and examine the ways that archaeology, environmental science, forensics, and art history can shed new light on historical actors and narratives that would otherwise remain marginalized or even invisible.
Instructor: Noa Emrys Corcoran-Tadd

 

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.
Instructors: Elisa Silva

 

ART 220 / LAS 230
Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art

This course focuses on key issues of 20th and 21st c. Latin American art. A thematic survey and general methodological introduction, we will treat emblematic works and movements, from Mexican muralism and Indigenism to experiments with abstraction, pop, conceptualism, and performance. Questions discussed include: What is Latin American art? What is modernism in Latin America? What is the legacy of colonialism? How do Latin American artists engage transnational networks of solidarity under conditions of repression? How can postcolonial, decolonial, and feminist theory illuminate the art and criticism produced in and about Latin America?
Instructors: Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Irene Violet Small

 

SPA 229 / LAS 227
Continuity And Discontinuity in Colonial Latin America

An overview of literary and cultural production in the Americas before and after the Spanish invasion. Topics include pre-Columbian visual and verbal expressions; discovery, invention, conquest, and resistance; the historiography of the New World; native depictions of the colonial world; gender, grammar and power. We read texts in a variety of genres that were written and performed in numerous linguistic and visual codes. The Native American chronicles will include texts written in alphabetic script as well as visual representations that draw elements from pre-colonial forms of iconic script.
Instructors: Nicole D. Legnani

 

POR 304 / LAS 311
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History: Sound and Sense

How do emotion and movement appear in Brazilian music? While music is a form of translation and dialogue everywhere, the song in Brazil is an especially porous form, capable of daily reinvention of languages, traditions and habits, thus questioning history and politics. How are identity, sexuality, orality and writing worked out in musical genres such as samba, hip hop, rock? How is the African Diaspora cyphered in Brazilian music? How does that process differ from other diasporic communities? Is Brazilian music really Brazilian? These are some of the questions the seminar will address through listening and scholarly discussion.
Instructors: Arto Lindsay, Pedro Meira Monteiro

 

POR 562 / COM 556
Luso-Brazilian Seminar: Clarice Lispector: 100 years

This seminar focuses on Clarice Lispector, arguably one of the most important fictionists of the 20th Century Brazilian Literature. In the year of her centenary, students are asked to respond to Lispector’s oeuvre both critically and creatively, inspired by a close reading of her fiction.
Instructor: Marilia Librandi

 

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 peopling of tropical America; development of hunting/gathering and agricultural economies; neotropical climate and vegetation history; and the material culture and social organization of native Americans. Field and laboratory experiences will incorporate methods and problems in field archaeology, paleoenthnobotany and paleoecology, and archaeozoology.
Instructors: Dolores R. Piperno, Anthony Ranere

 

HIS 333 / LAS 373 / AAS 335
Modern Brazilian History

This course examines the history of modern Brazil from its independence in the 1820s to the present day. The lectures, readings, and discussions chart conflict, change, and continuity within Brazilian society, highlighting the role played by disenfranchised social actors in shaping the country's history. Topics include the meanings of political citizenship; slavery and abolition; race relations; indigenous populations; uneven economic development as well as Brazil's experiences with authoritarianism and globalization.
Instructor: Isadora Moura Mota

 

HIS 450
Remaking the World, 1820-2020: Territories, People, and Global Orders

This course explores the currents and counter-currents of thinking about global integration and conflict. It is a voyage into the history of ideas, conceptions, and narratives in action - how they shaped policy, molded public opinion, and defined research agendas and the history of the modern social sciences. This course covers a long arc. It begins with debates in the mid-nineteenth century about free trade and empire, slavery and freedom and ends with the challenge of climate change and the meaning of the Anthropocene.
Instructors: Jeremy Adelman

 

HIS 504 / LAS 524
Colonial Latin America to 1810

Covers the history, historiography and theory of Latin America's early modernity. Readings offer a vehicle to discuss questions such as why some types of historical questions seem more urgent than others at different times and what are the origins and meanings of historiographical shifts over the evolution of the field. To explore such questions and find out what problems of past historiographical traditions remain unsolved and deserve a new look, both classic texts and more recent works that display new approaches are read, often in counterpoint. Students of early modernity, colonial empires and world history will profit from the course.
Instructor: Vera Silvina Candiani

 

EEB 338 / LAS 351
Tropical Biology

Tropical Biology 338 is an intensive three-week field course based in lowland rainforest in Panama. The origins, maintenance, and major interactions of terrestrial biota in tropical rainforests will be examined. The course will involve travel to three different field sites, field journaling, and completion of independent field based research projects.
Instructor: Janeene Marie Touchton

 

EEB 346
Biology of Coral Reefs

This field and lecture course provides an in-depth introduction to the biology of tropical coral reefs, with an emphasis on reef fish ecology and behavior. Each day begins with a lecture, followed by six to eight hours on the water, and ends with data analysis, reading and a discussion of recent papers. Students learn to identify fishes, corals and invertebrates, and learn a variety of field methods including underwater censusing, mapping, videotaping and the recording of inter-individual interactions. Each year group projects will vary depending on previous findings and the interests of the faculty.
Instructor: Maria A. Echeverry Galvis

 

EEB 521
Tropical Ecology

Intensive three week field course during (dates to be determined) in a suitable tropical locality. Readings, discussions, and individual projects. The content and location are varied to suit the needs of the participants. Students provide their own travel funds
Instructors: Julien Ayroles; Daniel Rubenstein

 

ENG 384 / ENV 383
Environmental Justice Through Literature and Film

How can literature and film bring to life ideals of environmental justice and the lived experience of environmental injustice? This seminar will explore how diverse communities across the globe are unequally exposed to risks like climate change and toxicity and how communities have unequal access to the resources vital to sustaining life. Issues we will address include: climate justice, the Anthropocene, water security, deforestation, the commons, indigenous movements, the environmentalism of the poor, the gendered and racial dimensions of environmental justice, and the imaginative role of film makers and writer-activists.
Instructor: Rob Nixon

 

SPA 372 / LAS 374 / LAO 372 / GSS 421
Drag Kings: An Archeology of Spectacular Masculinities in Latinx America

The figure of the drag king has been practically absent from Latinx American critical analysis. Taking what we call "spectacular masculinity" as our starting point, a hyperbolic masculinity that without warning usurps the space of privilege granted to the masculinity of men, this course revises the staging of spectacular masculinities as a possibility of generating a crisis in heterosexism. We will highlight notable antecedents of the contemporary DK show, and study the hegemonic masculinity and its exceptional models through a critical technology that turns up the volume on its dramatization and its prosthetic/cosmetic conditions.
Instructors: Javier Enrique Guerrero

 

POL 351 / WWS 311
The Politics of Development

This course will focus on the state's role in promoting economic growth and distribution in the developing world. The core organizing question for the course is: why have some regions of the developing world been more successful at industrialization and/or poverty alleviation than other regions. The students will learn about the patterns of development in Asia, Africa and Latin America, with special attention to such countries as China, India, South Korea, Nigeria and Brazil. General challenges that face all developing countries - globalization, establishing democracy and ethnic fragmentation - will also be analyzed.
Instructor: Atul Kohli

 

WWS 350 / ENV 350
The Environment: Science and Policy

This course examines the ways domestic US and international environmental regulatory frameworks adopt, interpret and otherwise accommodate scientific information. The course focuses on several case studies, that provide insights into the science-policy interactions which emerge from managing natural resources and environmental risk. Topics include air pollution; climate change; ozone depletion; managing the world's forests, fisheries, and ecosystem services, and global trade in wildlife. Students will explore the science underlying these issues as well as current policies and the range of future policy responses.
Instructor: Michael Oppenheimer, David Wilcove

 

WWS 540
Urbanization and Development

Examines the histories, processes and nuanced dynamics that contribute to the making of cities in the Global South. We explore central debates in the study of these cities across geography, urban studies and planning, and development studies. Students deepen their understanding of the Global South, how it is conceptualized and what this means for urban development, while identifying patterns and specificities across the comparative contexts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, we consider how these complex factors are, or should be considered, in policymaking and planning interventions in cities of the Global South.
Instructor: Devane Brookins

 

Language Courses

POR 102
Introduction to Portuguese II

A continuation of POR 101. Students will continue to develop skills of oral/aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, while gaining further exposure to the Portuguese-speaking world through the media, literature, film and music of Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa. Students who successfully complete POR 102 will place into POR 107.
Instructor: Luis Gonçalves

 

POR 106
Introduction to Portuguese for Spanish Speakers

Normally open to students already proficient in Spanish, this course uses that knowledge as a basis for the accelerated learning of Portuguese. Emphasis on the concurrent development of understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The two-semester sequence POR 106-109 is designed to provide in only one year of study a command of the language sufficient for travel and research in Brazil and Portugal.
Instructor: Luis Gonçalves, Andréa de Castro Melloni

 

POR 109
Intermediate Portuguese for Spanish Speakers

Students will further develop their language skills, especially those of comprehension and oral proficiency, through grammar review, readings, film and other activities. The two-semester sequence POR 106-109 is designed to give in only one year of study a command of the Portuguese language sufficient for travel in Brazil, Portugal and beyond.
Instructor: Andréa de Castro Melloni

 

POR 110
Intensive Portuguese

An intensive course designed for students who have fulfilled the language requirement in Spanish or another Romance language. Knowledge of one of these languages provides the basis for the accelerated learning of Portuguese. This one-semester 'crash' course teaches fundamental communication skills--comprehension, speaking, reading and writing--and some exposure to cultural aspects of the Portuguese-speaking world, but does not offer an in-depth study of grammar.
Instructor: Nicola Cooney

 

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 Brazil, 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.
Instructor: Nicola Cooney