Introduction to U.S. Latina/o Literature, 1960s–Present
This seminar is an introduction to Latino and Latina literary production and its heterogeneous voices and imaginations in the United States. The formation of a Latino/a literary cannon, its thematic strands, cultural connections, historical and political contexts, theoretical approaches, and circulation in the American world and beyond will all be surveyed to gain a critical and resourceful overview of the range of nationalities, communities, locations, identifications, and practices that fall under the Latino and Latina designation. The course will draw from a wide variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, autobiography, film, and performance art. Among the questions guiding this course are: How are Latina and Latino identities envisioned and manifested since the Civil Rights Movement? How does a Latina- or Latino-specific cultural production dialogue with the U.S. multiracial landscape?
Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas: The World According to the Indigenous People of Latin America
The basic philosophical architecture of the three great civilizations of America: Maya, Aztec and Inca. The course links the current indigenous revival in the Andes (Bolivia and Ecuador), in the South of Mexico, and in Guatemala, with the survival of their historical legacies. This course calls into question many held beliefs upon which the idea of our own “American” past stands. We start from the assumption that Maya, Inca and Aztec civilizations are to the past and present of America, what Greek and Roman civilizations are to the past and present of Europe. Focuses on the basic conceptual foundations of these civilizations (concepts of time and space, economic and social organization, education, religion, art and literature, philosophy) and on their survival, through time, to today. Understanding the past in the present will help students to understand the growing presence and influence of Indigenous populations (Native Americans, Fourth Nations) in shaping global futures.
CULANTH 367S, ICS 460S, LSGS 412S
The América Borderlands
Culture and Politics of the Américas Borderlands explores the intersection of North and Latin America through the movement of people, products, ideas, and technologies. We’ll focus on “dirt” as both a thing (“the ecstatic skin of the earth”) and as a concept—of matter (and people) out of place. Through this we’ll look at culture and agri-culture, including the production and consumption of food and pharmaceuticals—both legal and illegal—and the different borders they cross, from outside to inside our bodies and across nation-state lines. The course explores ecosystems and environmental struggles that defy borders. It examines “women’s work,” so often connected to cleaning and childcare, and how assigning such tasks to migrant women “frees” their often whiter, wealthier sisters for more satisfying work. We also explore why U.S. border policies so often seem irrational: strawberries rot in the fields for lack of workers as the border is militarized, or thousands of people perish and millions are incarcertated in the “war on drugs” as U.S. noses—including at least once the President’s—continue to inhale. We look at science and technology, ecology, law, popular culture, and violence to think about how people, borders, and land intermingle and make each other. We explore the simultaneity of danger and desire that surrounds those people and things considered “out of place” to understand—and resist—violent irrationalities.
Latinas/os and Education
A comprehensive examination of the education of Latinas/os, the most rapidly growing ethnic minority group across the nation’s education system. Explores historical, legal, sociocultural, ethical, and political contexts that shape their experiences along the K-16 educational pipeline. Themes to be explored include educational disparities, biculturalism, bilingualism, immigration, and the role of family and community in Latina/o students’ education. The intent of this course is to provide students with foundational knowledge necessary to understand the issues related to the education of Latina/o students.
LSGS 290S.03, CULANTH 290S.03, SOCIOL 290S.03