Spring 2014

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LAS 2104. History of Mexico.
Allen Wells.
A survey of Mexican history from pre-Columbian times to the present. Topics include the evolving character of indigenous societies, the nature of the Encounter, the colonial legacy, the chaotic nineteenth century, the Mexican Revolution, and United States-Mexican relations. Contemporary problems are also addressed.
LAS 2110. Beyond Capoeira: History and Politics of Afro-Brazilian Culture.
Laura Premack.
Seminar. Brazil has the largest population of African descent outside Africa. Nowadays, Brazilians pride themselves on their country’s unique racial and cultural heritage, but it hasn’t always been this way. For centuries, many Afro-Brazilian practices were illegal. Now, however, we are in the midst of what might be called an Afro-Brazilian renaissance. This is something to be celebrated, but it is also something to be questioned. Do these efforts to delineate, praise, and preserve Afro-Brazilian culture actually limit our understanding of it? Has labeling certain aspects of Brazilian cultural heritage as African created a situation in which other ways that Africa has influenced Brazil are overlooked? Just what do we mean by “African” and “Brazilian” anyhow? Takes a historical and anthropological approach to these and other related questions.
LAS 2161. Contemporary Argentina.
Allen Wells.
Seminar. Texts, novels, and films help unravel Argentine history and culture. Topics examined include the image of the gaucho and national identity; the impact of immigration; Peronism; the tango; the Dirty War; and the elusive struggle for democracy, development, and social justice.
LAS 2180. Borderlands and Empires in Early North America.
Matthew Klingle.
Survey of the making of North America from initial contact between Europeans and Africans and Native Americans to the creation of the continent's three largest nations by the mid-nineteenth century: Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Topics include the history of Native populations before and after contact; geopolitical and imperial rivalries that propelled European conquests of the Americas; evolution of free and coerced labor systems; environmental transformations of the continent's diverse landscapes and peoples; formation of colonial settler societies; and the emergence of distinct national identities and cultures in former European colonies. Students write several papers and engage in weekly discussion based upon primary and secondary documents, art, literature, and material culture.
LAS 2205A. Advanced Spanish.
Elena Cueto Asin.
The study of topics in the political and cultural history of the Spanish-speaking world in the twentieth century, together with an advanced grammar review. Covers a variety of texts and media and is designed to increase written and oral proficiency, as well as appreciation of the intellectual and artistic traditions of Spain and Latin America. Foundational course for the major. Three class hours per week and one weekly conversation session with assistant.
LAS 2205B. Advanced Spanish.
Nadia Celis.
The study of topics in the political and cultural history of the Spanish-speaking world in the twentieth century, together with an advanced grammar review. Covers a variety of texts and media and is designed to increase written and oral proficiency, as well as appreciation of the intellectual and artistic traditions of Spain and Latin America. Foundational course for the major. Three class hours per week and one weekly conversation session with assistant.
LAS 2211. Introduction to the Study and Criticism of Francophone Literature.
Hanetha Vete-Congolo.
Introduces students to the literary tradition of the contemporary Francophone world. Focuses on major authors and literary movements in historical and cultural context. Conducted in French.
LAS 2409A. Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Poetry and Theater.
Margaret Boyle.
A chronological introduction to the cultural production of the Spanish-speaking world from pre-Columbian times to the present, with particular emphasis on the analysis of poetry and theater. Examines major literary works and movements in their historical and cultural context. One weekly workshop with assistant in addition to class time. Conducted in Spanish.
LAS 2409B. Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Poetry and Theater.
Enrique Yepes.
A chronological introduction to the cultural production of the Spanish-speaking world from pre-Columbian times to the present, with particular emphasis on the analysis of poetry and theater. Examines major literary works and movements in their historical and cultural context. One weekly workshop with assistant in addition to class time. Conducted in Spanish.
LAS 2410. Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Essay and Narrative.
Gustavo Faveron Patriau.
A chronological introduction to the cultural production of the Spanish-speaking world from pre-Columbian times to the present, with particular emphasis on the analysis of essay and narrative. Examines major literary works and movements in their historical and cultural context.
LAS 2720. Latinas/os in the United States.
Marcos Lopez.
Latinas/os are the largest minority group in the United States. Analyzes the Latina/o experience in the United States with special focus on migration, incorporation, and strategies for economic and social empowerment. Explores diversity within the U.S. Latina/o community by drawing on comparative lessons from Cuban-American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Chicano/Mexican, and Central American patterns of economic participation, political mobilization, and cultural integration.
LAS 2774. The Borderlands of United States Empire: Puerto Rican Identities and Histories.
Melissa Rosario.
Using Puerto Rico as a case-study from which to study borderlands theory, focuses on Puerto Rico’s unique political status in history, describing how its relationship to the U.S. as “ foreign in a domestic sense” has shaped Puerto Rican Identity and community formation. Topical focus placed on questions of language and representation, migration patterns, and relationships between mainland and island based populations, as well as the psychological effects of colonialism. Develops students’ understanding that borders are both literal and metaphorical, but have real material effects on the unequal treatment of certain groups, even those purported to be part of the same nation-state.
LAS 3202. The Idea of Latin America.
Enrique Yepes.
Studies how the region currently known as “Latin America” has been conceptualized from the fifteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Which geopolitical interests have shaped the idea of a geographical entity called Latin America? What does the term mean in different parts of the world? What has been the fate of alternate terms such as Abya-Yala, Indo-America, just America, Iberian-America, Spanish America, or the Indies? The analysis of various texts (in literature, history, cartography, philosophy, art, film, music, journalism) introduces intellectual and political debates around these terms, the region’s vast diversity, and whether or not it makes sense to consider it a unit. Conducted in Spanish.
LAS 3211. Bringing the Female Maroon to Memory: Female Marronage and Douboutism in French Caribbean Literature.
Hanetha Vete-Congolo.
History has retained the names of great male Caribbean heroes and freedom fighters during slavery such as the Haitians, Mackandal or Toussaint Louverture, the Jamaican, Cudjoe or the Cuban Coba. Enslaved Africans who rebelled against oppression and fled from the plantation system are called maroons and their act, marronage. Except for Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Blue Mountains, only male names have been consecrated as maroons. Yet, enslaved women did fight against slavery and practice marronage. Caribbean writers have made a point of bringing to memory forgotten acts of marronage by women during slavery or shortly thereafter. This course proposes to examine the fictional treatment French-speaking Caribbean authors grant to African or Afro-descent women who historically rebelled against slavery and colonization. The literary works will be studied against the backdrop of “douboutism”, a conceptual framework derived from the common perception about women in the French Caribbean as expressed in the Creole say “fanm doubout” which means “strong woman”. Authors studied may include Suzanne Dracius (Martinique), Fabienne Kanor (Martinique), André Schwart-Bart (Guadeloupe), Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe), Evelyn Trouillot (Haiti). Conducted in French.
LAS 3226. A Body "of One's Own": Latina and Caribbean Women Writers.
Nadia Celis.
What kind of stories do bodies tell or conceal? How are those stories affected by living in a gendered body/subject? How do embodied stories relate to history and social realities? These are some of the questions addressed in this study of contemporary writing by women from the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States Latina/Chicana communities. Films and popular culture dialogue with literary works and feminist theory to enhance the course examination of the relation of bodies and sexuality to social power, and the role of this relation in the shaping of both personal and national identities Authors include Julia Álvarez, Fanny Buitrago, Magali García Ramis, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and Mayra Santos-Febres, among others.Taught in Spanish with readings in Spanish and English.
LAS 3239. Borges and the Borgesian.
Gustavo Faveron Patriau.
An examination of the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges’s work, focusing not only on his short stories, poems, essays, film scripts, interviews, and cinematic adaptations, but also on the writers who had a particular influence on his work. Also studies Latin American, European, and United States writers who were later influenced by the Argentinian master. An organizing concept is Borges’s idea that “a writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.”
LAS 3362. Spiritual Encounters: African Religion in the Americas.
Laura Premack.
Investigates how African, European, and indigenous beliefs about the spirit world have combined in the development of African diasporic religion in the Americas. Historicizes and theorizes the development of several varieties, focusing particularly on Candomblé, Umbanda, and Spiritism in Brazil. Also considers Santería in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and New York; Vodun in Haïti; Hoodoo in the Mississippi Delta; and Obeah in Jamaica and Guyana. Explores concepts of syncretism, hybridity, cultural encounter, identity, performance, and diaspora.