Courses of Interest
Insurgent Archivings: On the Sentient, the Storied and the Yet To Come
Does the weight of history offset the plasticity of people and power? How do the historical and the unhistorical come together in refiguring social life and futurity? The seminar takes on these vital debates to 1) trouble commonsensical understandings of the archive as expressing a solid past that overdetermines the present and to 2) open pathways for an anthropology of the accidental, the sentient, and the yet to come. Attuned to diverse ethnographic sensoria and dissenting storytelling, we probe the political stakes of decolonizing archives and seek to nurture the traces of alternative visions that people mark out day-to-day.
Research Program in Development Studies
Drafts of papers, articles, and chapters of dissertations or books, prepared by graduate students, faculty members, or visiting scholars, are exposed to critical analysis by a series of seminars organized by field. The chief objectives are for the writers to receive the benefit of critical suggestions, for all participants to gain experience in criticism and uninhibited oral discussion, and for students and faculty members to become acquainted with the research work going on in the department. Third- and fourth-year graduate students are expected to attend; first-and second-year students and faculty members are invited to attend.
Advanced Topics in Modern Architecture: Inventing the "Isms": from "Modernism" to "Postmodernism," 1945-1980
"Modernism" and "postmodernism" emerged as rival ideas in architecture and culture between 1945 and 1980. What Auden named "the age of anxiety" was obsessed with the felt loss of the avant-guard movements of the interwar period, and the need to develop - in Britain, Italy, France, Japan, Brazil and others - a postwar identity through naming, and branding, architectural approaches, forms, and political stances. Through case studies of architectural projects, theoretical texts and the cultural contexts of these movements, we discover the historical, geographical and critical complexity to the usual narratives of "Modernism to Postmodernism."
Introduction to Portuguese I
Students will be taught the fundamental skills of oral comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, while gaining exposure to the Portuguese-speaking world through the media, literature, film and the music of Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa.
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, Portugal and Lusophone Africa.
POR 260/LAS 260
Myth, Memory and Identity Politics in Lusophone Cinema
This course will analyze the role of cinema in the construction (and deconstruction) of national and transnational identities and discourses in the Portuguese-speaking world. We will examine recurring cultural topics in a wide variety of films from Brazil, Portugal, and Lusophone Africa and Asia, situating works within their socio-historical contexts and tracing the development of national cinemas and their interaction with global aesthetics and trends. Through these cinematographic productions we will illuminate complex relationships between Portuguese-speaking societies and analyze significant cross-cultural differences and similarities.
POR 562/LAS 562
Luso-Brazilian Seminar: Modernismos Negros
Modernism in Brazil is about to turn 100. Like similar artistic movements in Latin America, it was initially influenced by the primitivism of the European avant-garde, which saw Black and Indigenous people as the unconscious, unwitting bearers of modernity. In this seminar, we will examine how modernism has evolved and how those who were mere objects became subjects, and how today we may refer to Black modernisms, rather than a single modernism produced by a largely White elite.
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.
AAS 244/ART 262/LAS 244
Introduction to Pre-20th Century Black Diaspora Art
This course focuses on the networks, the imaginaries and the lives inhabited by Black artists, makers, and subjects from the 18th through 19th centuries. It revolves around the Caribbean (particularly the Anglophone Caribbean), North America and Europe. We will reflect on how pre-twentieth century Black artists are written into history or written out of it. We will explore the aesthetic innovation of these artists and the visionary worlds they created, and examine their travels, their writings, along with the social worlds and communities they formed. The course incorporates lectures and readings and, if possible, museum visits.
ART 346/LAS 362
Art, Politics, and the Screen
From news streamed on laptops to grassroots organizing on smart phones, screens have become a primary site for the experience of politics in our contemporary world. This course explores the historical genealogy of the political primacy of the screen by investigating how artists have used screens as a means to document, visualize, and enact political processes over the past century. Looking to a range of media such as film, video, and slide projection, the course is divided into thematic units that address issues of oppression, colonialism, and revolution; sexuality and gender; race and its representation; and native peoples' struggles.
COM 376/AAS 371/GSS 439/LAS 376
Crafting Freedom: Women and Liberation in the Americas (1960s to the present)
This course explores questions and practices of liberation in writings by women philosophers and poets whose work helped to create cultural and political movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Starting in the 60s, we will study a poetics and politics of liberation, paying special attention to the role played by language and imagination when ideas translate onto social movements related to social justice, structural violence, education, care, and the commons. Readings include Gloria Anzaldúa, Angela Davis, Silvia Federici, Diamela Eltit, Audre Lorde, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Gayatri Spivak, Zapatistas, among others.
ENV 345/URB 345/ARC 345/LAS 395
Thinking Through Soil
Soil is a critical resource for an increasingly urbanized planet. In this course our goal will be to familiarize ourselves with the fundamentals of soil science and soil theory in order to consider the relationship between soils and the urban environment. Through engagements with both humanistic and empirical scholarship we will develop a perspectival approach to tracing the diverse political and disciplinary contexts in which soil is made an object of knowledge. In particular, the course will feature an extended case study of Mexico City's wastewater agriculture system, and the colonial history of indigenous Latin American soil knowledge.
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.
HIS 484/LAS 484/LAO 484/AMS 484
Borderlands, Border Lives
The international border looms large over current national and international political debates. While this course will consider borders across the world, it will focus on the U.S.-Mexico border, and then on the Guatemala-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border. This course examines the history of the formation of the U.S. border from the colonial period to the present. Borders represent much more than just political boundaries between nation states. The borderlands represents the people who live between two cultures and two nations. This course will also study those individuals who have lived in areas surrounding borders or crossed them.
LAS 312/HIS 313
Revolution in Twentieth-Century Latin America
Over the course of the twentieth century Latin America was transformed by a cascade of revolutions. We will use these upheavals as a red thread for understanding the region's history, from the dismantling of slavery in Cuba to the tumult of Mexico in the 1910s, and from Cold War coups in Guatemala and Chile to guerrilla insurgency in 1980s Peru. Using primary sources alongside a range of secondary literature, we will explore the varied causes and consequences of revolution as well as the social dynamics and motivating ideas they had in common. We will also analyze the new political systems and cultural developments that emerged in their wake.
LAS 317/ENV 376/ANT 317
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 lecture 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.
LAS 324/ANT 324
Battling Borders in the Americas
In this course we will study borders, literal and imagined, and those who contest and enforce them. From internal, invisible gang borders in Central America, to the externalization of the US border, to barriers to belonging, we will look at movements that challenge borders (migrant caravans, immigrants' rights activism, coyote networks) and the enforcers of borders (the regional migration regime, the asylum system, and non-state actors who police mobility.) Tying together migration, deportation, and resistance, this course asks: how are borders maintained? What does transgressing them mean for those in power and for those who do the crossing?
LAS 390/ANT 392/GHP 390
Multispecies Worlding and Global Health Policies
This course examines pandemics, diseases, and other global health concerns through the lens of multispecies relations. We study knowledge production (epistemology) throughout this course, the cultural structures that make certain "ways of knowing" possible, and the shifting boundaries of knowing and being provoked by modes of inquiry centering multispecies entanglements. We consider the ongoing effects of environmental change and the world-making knowledge practices of experts that drive new perspectives on global health. Finally, we reflect critically on multispecies care and the future of planetary health. First-year students are welcome.
POL 351/SPI 311/LAS 371
The Politics of Development
This course investigates the key political drivers of economic development and human welfare. It explores the effects of geography, historical legacies, policy, incentive design, and institutional capacity on standards of living, including vulnerability to disease and climate risk. Uses theory, comparison, and case studies to motivate discussion.
POR 310/LAS 359
The Sweet Pain of Saudade
This course explores the supposedly "untranslatable" concept of saudade. We will consider its political, economic, cultural and aesthetic manifestations and social implications through analysis of literary and sociological texts, music, cinema, and more from across the Lusophone world. Topics will include im/migration and the transnational experience, music and performativity, the role of nostalgia in politics and the colonial experience, national mythmaking and depictions of utopia. Particular attention will be paid to the prevalence of saudosismo in popular culture, where classical texts and forms often make surprising appearances.
SPA 345/LAS 345
Topics in Latin American Literature and Ideology: 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.
SPA 363/LAS 334
Critical Theory in Latin America and Beyond
This course introduces students to a variety of approaches to the study of art and culture, with a focus on those produced in and about Latin America. Was the Haitian Revolution victorious thanks to strong military leaders or shrewd masses? Are films a fun escape or a means to rethink the world? How do people with little internet access make creative use of new media? How do we understand art's relation to history and politics? Readings include selections from the Black Radical tradition, Marxism, Feminism, Subaltern Studies, Aesthetics, as well as select examples from literature and film. Nor prior knowledge of theory expected.
SPA 388/LAS 358
The Skins of the Film: Latin America and the Politics of Touching
Film is comprised of multiple surfaces: the screen, the actors, the structure of the darkroom, the mobile devices of the audiovisual present, the bodies that vibrate around us, the actual strip of plastic that records the images... Critics have already broadly debated how film touches us politically and emotionally. This seminar formulates a different question: how do we touch film? In Latin America, the interaction between filmic skins is founded on the relationship between art and politics. We will consider how filmmakers debate the politics of the surface and how spectatorship poses a deeply political problem for the region.
SPI 396/ECO 396/LAS 399
Education Economics and Policy
This course is designed to describe the policies defining the provision of educational services with special attention to the context of the US and Latin America. The focus will be on policies that have implications for understanding inequality in education and income through the lens of economic theory of human capital. The course topics will include governance, accountability, choice, finance, and personnel policies for K-12 education, with a focus on the role of teachers; it will also briefly cover issues related to early childhood education and higher education. Class sessions are a mixture of lectures and student-led discussions
ANT 219/ENV 219
Catastrophes across Cultures: The Anthropology of Disaster
What is the relationship between "catastrophe" and human beings, and how has "catastrophe" influenced the way we live in the world now? This course investigates various types of catastrophes/disasters around the world by mobilizing a variety of theoretical frameworks and case studies in the social sciences. The course uses an anthropological perspective as its principal lens to comparatively observe often forgotten historical calamities throughout the world. The course is designed to explore the intersection between catastrophe and culture and how catastrophic events can be a window through which to critically analyze society and vice versa.
ANT 387/ENV 387
Anthropologies of Climate and Change
This course explores the weather as a massively consequential complex of environmental, geophysical, political, social, engineering, and spatial processes. We think through the tensions of contemporary climate and change as sites through which political strategies, social theory, and the toolkits of humanistic anthropological thinking are reconfigured. And we explore climate as a keyword to consider nihilism, hope, new and old fantasies of engineering, and unexpected imaginaries of planetary resilience or collapse. Topics include climate change, policing, geo-engineering, climate militarism.
CEE 334/SPI 452/ENV 334/ENE 334
Global Environmental Issues
This course examines a set of global environmental issues including population growth, ozone layer depletion, climate change, air pollution, the environmental consequences of energy supply and demand decisions and sustainable development. It provides an overview of the scientific basis for these problems and examines past, present and possible future policy responses. Individual projects, presentations, and problem sets are included.
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.
ENV 304/ECO 328/EEB 304/SPI 455
Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy
The dynamics of the emergence and spread of disease arise from a complex interplay between disease ecology, economics, and human behavior. Lectures will provide an introduction to complementarities between economic and epidemiological approaches to understanding the emergence, spread, and control of infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as drug-resistance in bacterial and parasitic infections, individual incentives to vaccinate, the role of information in the transmission of infectious diseases, and the evolution of social norms in healthcare practices.
ENV 380/ENG 480/COM 386
Cities, Sea Level Rise and the Environmental Humanities
This course explores how cities worldwide will be impacted by sea level rise. Students will consider solutions being put forward to address the impacts, such as managed retreat; hard engineering, such as building sea walls; or soft engineering, such as preserving and restoring natural buffers, be they coral or oyster reefs or mangrove forests. Through global texts engaging the issue of sea level rise, the course considers how ideas, meanings, norms and habituations differ from one location to another and how these differences manifest in and are informed by laws and social practices as well as arts and literature.
GEO 102/ENV 102/STC 102
Climate: Past, Present, and Future
Which human activities are changing our climate, and does climate change constitute a major problem? We will investigate these questions through an introduction to climate processes and an exploration of climate from the distant past to today. We will also consider the impact of past and ongoing climate changes on the global environment and on humanity. Finally, we will draw on climate science to identify and evaluate possible courses of action. Intended to be accessible to students not concentrating in science or engineering, while providing a comprehensive overview appropriate for all students.
The Land Crisis for Food, Climate and Wildlife
To provide food and wood, people have plowed up, cut-down and otherwise heavily altered forests, savannas and grasslands that occupy 75% of the world's land. These actions have caused one third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and most of the world's loss of biodiversity. The world is also on course to demand more than 50% more food and wood by 2050. This course will explore the challenges these human demands pose to climate and ecosystems and possible solutions. Students will contribute to the class with oral presentations, including a major presentation linked to a final class paper.
HIS 432/ENV 432
Environment and War
Studies of war and society rarely address environmental factors and agency. The relationship between war and environment is often either reduced to a simple environmental determinism or it is depicted as a war against nature and ecosystems, playing down societal dynamics. The seminar explores the different approaches to the war-environment-society nexus and highlights how and why the three spheres should be studied in conjunction. The objective is to assess how and why environmental and societal factors and forces caused and shaped the conflicts and how in turn mass violence shaped societies and how they used and perceived their environments.
Microeconomic Analysis for Policymakers
This course presents concepts and tools from microeconomic theory with an emphasis on how they are applied to public policy analysis. No previous experience in economics required although students should be familiar with basic concepts in calculus. A strong understanding of algebra is a prerequisite.